Monday, December 16, 2013

Milk drinks

Why is it that when you buy Vanilla flavoured milk, the Vanilla doesn't sink to the bottom like Choclate does.  Just wondering ,,,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's Dino DNA ...

Well, probably not, but researchers have discovered components of blood cells in a 46-million-year-old fossilized mosquito. It is the first found fossil of a blood-engorged mosquito and while it might be a Jurassic Park life-imitating-art opportunity, there is apparently no viable genetic material in the sample. Who knew that DNA has a finite life span - around 6.8 million years? The fossil was found - heavens can only guess how given the size of mosquitos - unless they were much, much bigger way back when - in Montana!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tourist attraction?

There's trouble in Summer Bay! No not the "Home and Away" one; it's a Resort near Florida's Disney World. Guests were given only a short time to escape when a 30m "possible sinkhole" opened at the Resort causing a building to collapse. No-one was hurt in the incident - which means the 105 folk evacuated were much luckier than Florida man Jeff Bush who died in February when the earth opened under his bedroom - swallowing it and him. Hundreds of sinkholes open up in the U.S. each year - and according to a report on Florida's "sinkhole season" lasts from the start of the state's rainy season to the end of Summer. As Larry McKinnon, a Sheriff's Office spokesman suggested: Florida is famous for bugs, alligators, pythons, hurricanes and now sinkholes.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Words ... who's responsible?


S read me a quote from one of the blogs she was reading today and asked me to guess whose it was (the quote not the blog). She said it was someone I had been talking about only recently and that was enough for me to guess correctly ... and on my first go. The other two people it could have been were Lizzie Borden (who, although there is that ditty about her killing mother and father, was actually acquitted at trial) or Christa McAuliffe (the winner of the NASA Teacher in Space Project who was lost, together with the other six crew members, in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986). For some reason though, it was Mother Teresa who came to mind first. I have been reading about her decision to minister to the poorest of the poor in 1946, when she was 36 and traveling on a train on her way to a retreat. I hadn't realised that the Home for the Dying she opened in 1952 afforded those who were there the opportunity to die with dignity, according to the rituals of their faiths. According to Wikipedia: "Muslims were read the Quran, Hindus received water from the Ganges, and Catholics received the Last Rites". I hadn't realised how controversial some of her views were ... for example, reportedly failing to give painkillers, even in severe cases. According to Mother Teresa's philosophy, it is "the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ". It's usually the way, sometimes though isn't it that others can see both good and bad in people: Mother Teresa was honored throughout her lifetime, and afterwards, and she was even appointed an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia!


Friday, August 09, 2013

Now, where are those keys?

What will they think of next? Apparently, someone has produced an app for the iPhone (and they're planning to have it for Android-based smartphones at some point) which will keep a copy of your keys for you ... not a real copy, of course, but a virtual copy ... it takes a photograph of your keys and scans them into a diagram which a locksmith can then use to make your new keys. According to the report I read on Zite, the app is called KeyMe but it doesn't yet appear to be available from the Australian iTunes store - possibly because we do not yet have participating locksmiths. But the whole thing isn't a bad idea at all - as long as the whole thing has the right security protocols and doesn't fall into the wrong hands. Now there's an idea for a crime novel ... valet parking ... copies of keys (house and car) ... multiple robberies.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Meat ... the future

"It tastes like despair." That was how one of the characters on "Better Off Ted" (and what did that title mean anyway?) described the meat they made in the lab at Veridian Dynamics. It was the stuff of fiction then but now it's a reality. Over the weekend food critics in London were able to sample meat that had been made in a laboratory. It apparently didn't have the same flavour as all-natural meat although that might have been due to the cooking techniques. I didn't see anyone delicately (or otherwise) discard the meat after tasting it - a la Jeff Goldblum's character in "The Fly" after he has teletransported it and found something had been lost in translation - so it seemed edible. So what now? Will it be mass-produced and be used as an off-set against carbon credits? If they can grow meat rather than graze it, surely that could significantly change the environmental outlook - especially as cattle contribute so much CO2 to the ecosystem. But, more importantly, will it come in different flavours ... colours? Pork ... lamb ... beef - and what will they call it so it's not confused with "real" meat?

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Building for the future

Well ... what do they know that we don't? In Brisbane, Queensland, they're building a new Riverwalk. The last one was washed away in the 2011 floods. This one will be built to survive a one-in-2000-year flood. So, if Australia has only been under white settlement (with written records) for 250 years or so, how can they possibly know what a 2000 year flood event looks like? If it's because they have already seen one, is a Riverwalk that will withstand another one necessary? Or do one-in-2000-year events happen more regularly these days?

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Music Man

Tully, far north Queensland: A karaoke party was interrupted last Friday night when a man, 175 cm tall and Caucasian in appearance, and with a moustache, and grey and blond hair, walked into the house, smashed the karaoke machine with a shovel and left. Police are still looking for the man - and hopefully they'll ask him if he did it because (a) he loves music or (b) he hates music.

Not a good night out

Aaron James Belt wept today as he was sentenced to three and a half years jail (parole was set at nine months) for glassing two students at a nightclub in August 2011. There is something about this that I just don't understand, especially as he was not drunk at the time.

It all started in the nightclub when two university students entered the toilets where Belt was in a cubicle. They told him to hurry up. As Belt was leaving, a scuffle broke out between them and he came back a short time later with a friend. All may still have been well at that point had Belt not been carrying a beer bottle and had one of the students not accidentally head-butted him. Belt thought it was a deliberate act and reacted by smashing the bottle on one student's head, shattering the bottle, which Belt then slashed across his face, breaking his nose and cutting an artery. He then turned on the other student, slicing him across the forehead. Even though both of the glassed men were bleeding badly, Belt left the bathroom and would have left the Club if security guards had not stopped him. The report I read did not say what Belt's friend was doing while this was happening. Belt, who was not drunk or impaired by illness at the time of the attacks, wept as he was sentenced.

What I don't understand though is, even if the toilets were full, how do you accidentally head-butt someone?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Decisions ...

Reports today suggest that brilliant English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author Stephen Hawking was so ill with pneumonia (contracted during a visit to CERN) in 1985 while writing his Brief History of Time that doctors offered to turn off his life support system. His then wife, Jane, refused and Hawking, who has a motor neurone disease which has progressed over the years to leave him almost entirely paralyzed, recovered but not without being given a tracheotomy which removed what remained of his speech. He had previously used partner-assisted scanning to communicate but at about this time he was given a computer program called "The Equallizer" from Walt Woltosz - allowing him, unassisted, to select between nearly 3,000 letter/word options.  One of his nursing staff (he required full-time care after the life-threatening pneumonia), Elaine*, had a husband who was a computer engineer and he rigged a portable computer to go on Mr Hawking's wheelchair ... giving him the true power of speech.  One of the first things he did with his new computer-generated voice (with an American accent which he has kept unchanged) was to ask his assistant to help him finish Brief History.  And the rest is ... History was finished and for a work that set out to be a popular book which "would make the universe accessible to the general public" - it was ... staying on the best-seller list for over 4 years (237 weeks) and making Stephen Hawking a household name. 

* Elaine subsequently left David and married Mr Hawking in 1995, but they have since divorced.

Say what?

Is it just me or does this seem counter-productive?  One of the suggestions received for possible inclusion in the "Queensland Plan" (the 30-year look ahead being pioneered by the current Queensland Government and seeking public input) is ... compulsory (my emphasis) volunteering.  It seems that these notions may not even belong in the same sentence!  Compulsory = required by rule;  Volunteer = agree freely.  It will be interesting to see if this and other ideas championed in the plan get any traction.  And, come to think of it, did anything ever come out of that Summit organized by the Labor Government just after it came to power back in '07? I can't remember the details now but they were looking at a way to improve Australia in the coming decades and enlisted the input of hundreds of Australians, mostly leaders in their fields.  Hmmmm ... might have to go and have a look.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Look ... there on the horizon ...'s an Election! I saw this in today's The Courier Mail and was immediately stuck by that this must be advertising the Labor Party's "new" asylum solution for the benefit of the voting public ... unless there are potential asylum seekers who are subscribing to The Courier Mail. I'm interested to know what other press the ad has appeared in ... and how much government money is being spent on internal (to Australia) advertising ... and whether it appears in the electronic versions of publications as well. Doubtless the Government has a good reason for doing this advertising ... besides electioneering ... but I have to wonder, too, how long this has been in the pipeline given it was only announced last week by K Rudd, less than a month after he took over the leadership of the ALP again. Whoever it was that said the wheels of government move slowly hadn't reckoned on this lot!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A suitable tribute?

Being a tribute band! How cool would that be? How would you decide who to emulate? I was wondering about this and related questions while I watched AbbaLive tonight. Do you need a physical appearance similar to the star? I have a friend who looked, at one stage, a little like John Denver (was I the only one who saw that?) and I think I looked like Elton John once too.  Is that enough for the kernel of an idea for a tribute show? The two Johns! Although we might need a better title or name change here in Australia because of the "John" thing.  And, as someone has now suggested, an ability to sing would be a bonus! Does this mean lip-syncing is not allowed? 


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Time to grieve

I saw this on FaceBook today and thought it was actually quite helpful in trying to understand people coming to terms with the human condition.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

No ... not Zombies again

For those who enjoyed 28 Days Later - well, "enjoyed" may not be exactly the word for a movie showing modern-day England overtaken by Zombie ... but it wasn't bad, and certainly was much better than some thought it would be ... do not even be part-way tempted to watch 28 Weeks Later. I had put it off and put if off and put it off for a good couple of years, but finally, I have succumbed ... and am sorry that I did. I'm not sure if it's the same production team responsible for the film as the first one, but this one was blood-thirsty, gory, and seemed to be conveying one message ... beware spoiler follows ... it was all the children's fault ... the re-contamination of Britian, and, when they escape by helicopter over the White Cliffs of Dover, the contamination of France and, one would think, the rest of the world. And if they come up with anything even faintly resembling 28 xxxx later, be afraid ... very afraid.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Listening to Radio National's Books and Arts Daily program about a new play Alienation (not to be confused with Alien Nation - a science fiction television series from some years back where speckle-headed aliens come to share Earth) I was surprised to hear comment that being an alien abductee could be a bit like being someone from the WatchTower Society (aka Jehovah's Witnesses) - no matter how much you believe what you are saying, no-one is going to believe you (or listen to you?).  

Good news - RSI is no more

It was bound to happen sooner or later - it appears that RSI - Repetitive Strain Injury - is no longer a problem in the workplace.  It has apparently been replaced by Occupational Overuse Syndrome.  I'm not sure where I was when that changeover took place - but I'm glad I'm up-to-date now!  

Thursday, June 06, 2013


I'm rewatching "The Mist'' (based on Stephen King's novel of the same name) and this version is in black and white. I'm fairly sure the original was in colour and filled with horrific images and lots of blood and gore. Is it more or less scary in colour? Have they even done studies into this - and, if so, how would they measure different levels of "scared"? And does level of "scared" vary from person to person? Is there a common denominator - a scare rating?

Monday, June 03, 2013

Mind the brain

The mind is truly an amazing thing. Years ago, an item made its way around the internet - it was a paragraph where all the letters of the words were jumbled save for the first and last letters. The point was that you could read and understand it and I always thought it could have a great application for those puzzles you see - 9 or so letters usually in a 3 x 3 grid, and you had to find as many words words as possible, including the 9-letter one, Well, I was stumped this morning with this one: CEO NNO TPM, I tried combination after combination, none the wiser: PEMTONCON, PONTEMCON, CONTEMPON, CONNOTEMP. My second-last shuffle gave - still no joy - CEMTONNOP and then - my last go before l resorted to an anagram program: CONEMOPNT. And just as I thought: if I had the right first and last letters, would the world magically appear - it did! Brain 1: Me 0. Highlight the space COMPONENT and copy and paste it into your browser search bar to see the answer if you don't have it already!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The brain still works ... just!

I saw this vehicle at the Markets this morning and it took me two looks to actually work out what it meant! Ah well, next time I see something like this I might get it first time!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Doctor Who?

I was doing a puzzle the other day - it was anagrams - names of television shows - and the answer was Doctor Who ... although it could well have been Torchwood (the Doctor Who spin-off)! Who would have thought there names were anagrams? I had certainly never noticed it before ... and I am still a little pleased that someone thought to do it!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

End of an era

I know I haven't watched it for a long time but I know there are folk who do ... and they will be horrified to hear that they will no longer be able to catch up with Days of Our Lives (sands through the hour-glass) when Channel 9 stops broadcasting it on April 26! I'm not sure if it was this or another American soap where one of the main actors went upstairs to get something (a pair of socks or maybe skis for a trip) and didn't reappear for several years - and then it was if nothing had happened!

Friday, February 01, 2013


I thought it would save me some time (and lead to more regular blogging) if I could use Siri (on the iPhone) for dictation/recording - but based on the following, this may not be the best solution:
* Driving along the Gold Coast hwy today it just isn't getting any better the line Stromley 600 astilbe and Princess to pick people way from the light rail works are also
* Teasley TUBSLEY Park in Southport is that Mandor Tuesday and public
* The weather is school monkey one thing here this today on the way last stop.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Accidental ?

The full details are a little sketchy now (I really should have blogged this as soon as I made a note to ... when it happened) but two Australian men holidaying in Phuket have been arrested for accidentally shooting two German tourists. Hmmm ... how does that happen? Apparently, and I'm not sure if this is the police or the two men who were saying this, they had meant to shoot a Danish tourist (aka Danny) but missed and hit the Germans instead. Hmmmm, I guess that would make it an accident of sorts, but what I don't understand is how two Australian "tourists" end up with a gun in Thailand. The men reportedly had links with a motorcycle club here in Australia, but I can't fathom what kind of accident it must have been for them to have a gun fall into their laps while they were there ... and then for them to run into someone that they wanted to shoot. Ah well, this may be one story we will never know in full ... and just another reason to be careful while you're on holiday! You never know who's out there gunning for someone - and whether they're a decent shot or not!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


For far too long I have been trying to get to my backlog of articles - clipped but never read - and finally I did - and was amazed to see that something I had seen on National Geographic in the last few days rated a mention. i had seen a man cut a pig's carcass in half - and here was information about him and what he used - his invention the Crovel. Tim Ralston is a Prepper - someone who fears The End Of The World As We Know It and who is doing something about it ... geting ready, being prepared, being a Prepper! And he's helping other people get reading with products like the Crovel - which started life as a Prepper accessory and which now more than doubles as a weapon - and made him more than a million dollars in the process!

It's hard to know what the Preppers will prepare for now that the Mayan Apocalypse prophecy appears to not have been fulfilled ... we're keeping more than an open mind because if it does herald a new Age of Enlightenment, it would be unfortunate starting it off as a Naysayer!