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?