Saturday, 28 March 2009

Rudd and Obama

Australia is a modest player on the world stage - we are small in population, large in area and some people think we punch above our weight, on the world stage. Is there a larger world stage than visiting the US President? Maybe not.

The Prime Minister has been in the US this week - NY and Washington, and meeting all the right people, and getting plenrty of media coverage in Australia, even a mention by the US President at his press conferences.

However, many Australians think that there is a somewhat syncopantic relationship with the US......what they want, Australia, as the dutiful lap dog, does. Or maybe better illustrated in the cartoon that appeared today in the Weekend Australian. Cartoonist is Bill Leak, who can be a bit in your face at times, and definitely has an irreverent streak.

This is!

For others who may not know, the Prime minister's wife [ coming through the door] also runs a very successful multimillion dollar recruitment agency with offices in a number of countries.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Wolfram Alpha - Google Has A REAL Rival

Do you use Google? The real answer is probably who does not!

BUT.............what about real answers, not just a list of places that might have the answer?

Rumour hath it that this will be coming to a place near you VERY SOON. I have only seen reviews, and wow........if it does what it is supposed to do, it will be stunning.

Read an in depth review:

Monday, 16 March 2009

Facebook NOT

I am not a Facebook devotee, not even someone who likes it or believes it useful.

Others agree...........

This article is a profound anti Facebook rant, and a lot of people seem to agree. Log off Facebook and live.

This is the link:

It is well written and worth a read. What do you think?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Container Deposit Legislation for the NT

It is like a bolt of lightning..........The Northern Territory Government announced today a container deposit scheme, to be similar to that in South Australia.

The press release in part says:

The Chief Minister Paul Henderson today announced the Northern Territory will introduce a cash for containers scheme to reduce litter and boost recycling efforts. “Cash for containers will make the Territory cleaner and greener – it will reduce litter by rewarding people who do the right thing,” Mr Henderson said. “This Government has always supported a national approach to legislation providing cash for containers but I’ve been disappointed with the slow progress. I’m not prepared to wait further.

“I’m taking the lead and hope other states will follow.

“My Government has made the commitment in principle to adopt cash for containers legislation by 2011 provided it is financially viable, legally sound and can deliver in both urban and remote centres. “That’s why I have set up a reference group to further explore those three criteria, and report back to Government in July.”

The Environment Minister Alison Anderson will chair the reference group, which will include Fannie Bay MLA Michael Gunner and the Independent Member for Nelson Gerry Wood. Ms Anderson said the NT’s scheme will be modelled on South Australia’s container deposit legislation where cans, bottles and cartons attract a 10c refund.

“The results in South Australia clearly show cash for containers is a success. In other states beverage containers typically contribute up to 40% - 50% of litter by volume – in South Australia they contribute less than 20% by volume,” she said. “I don’t pretend the scheme is going to fix all our litter problems but it’s very effective for what it targets.

“It gets litter off the streets and money into the pockets of people who do the right thing. It gives kids and community groups a chance to raise funds and we can show a clean green image to visitors who come to share our unique environment and lifestyle.”

The Independent Member for Nelson Gerry Wood said he is simply rapt that after nearly 20 years of trying, a Northern Territory Government has finally bitten the bullet and announced a program that will do great things for the Territory environment and the community.

This is quite amazing............and seems to go against the efforts of a number of strident industry lobby groups who have resisted such a move for many many years.

Sure it is still a year or more away - in 2011 - but that is time to develop the legislation and show others we can do the right thing! [ as the old Keep Australia Beautiful slogan goes]

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Are Sports Shoes Good for You? It is Fiction, not Fact!

Any sports person on two feet has their favorite sports shoe brand and even model. With the odd tear or three when a model changes and is no longer available, and a new type of shoe has to be examined. I have done it myself. Should you worry?

Some recent research in Australia shows that there is NO evidence that sport shoes work to improve performance or to prevent injury.

This is like a red rag to a bull................or is it?

The article below came from the ABC web site, and definitely makes interesting reading. What do you think?

Sports shoe claims still untested: scientists

Shoe sham? Scientists say more research is need into the benefits of hi-tech running shoes. (ABC news)

Scientists say there is no evidence to support the widespread belief that running shoes with sophisticated cushioning or heel supports prevent injury.

Researcher Craig Richards from the University of Newcastle says his team searched almost 60 years of articles relating to running, shoes and injury prevention, and found no published tests on whether hi-tech shoes have a real world benefit. "We searched all the articles we could identify in the major databases since 1950," Dr Richards told ABC Radio's PM program. "None of them have actually been control trials and most of them are just reiterating expert opinion or referring to studies which have been performed in a laboratory which don't actually have any real world meaning. "The bottom line is that these shoes have been experimental for the last 20 years and [are] still experimental."

Dr Richards admits some will argue with his findings.

"To health professionals, to runners to shoe retailers and to the sort of shoes that manufacturers have been producing this is absolutely heretical," he said. "This is why it is such an interesting finding and one which really needs to be pursued by some careful scientific research now, to establish whether these shoes are good for you, whether they do nothing for you or whether they are actually harmful for you."

President of the Australasian Podiatry Council Brenden Brown says that does not mean consumers should necessarily jump off the treadmill and throw away their shoes. "I think that it's quite easy to say to say that there are no studies out there suggesting that these shoes in fact work, but there are many products that we use in medicine, health and everyday life [and] there aren't studies to back up their use," he said.

Ben Ly, who manages a fitness centre in inner Sydney, says high quality performance footwear does make a difference to training. "If you look at the Olympics that were in you know, the 70s and the 60s when they were running in pure flat based shoes on tartan [sic], a lot of people were probably getting more stress fractures than ever before," he said. "There was no orthotics, there was no inbuilt arch. "Flat feet is a growing problem. A lot of people are getting pronation in the ankle which relates to knee pain which relates to knee injury, which relates to the hip to the back. It all relates to everything, it all starts at your feet."

Liz Brett, a sports and recreation manager and former Australian Olympic volleyballer, also recommends people spend money on shoes to reduce the risk of injury. "I do chat to people who come to the UTS fitness centre occasionally and particularly those who aren't wearing proper running shoes who are on the treadmill, I'll often go up and ask them if they've considered purchasing a pair of running shoes," she said. "You can hear it, you can hear the slapping when you're on the treadmills and you think, it's just an injury waiting to happen."

But she admits she hopes she has not fallen victim to a marketing con job. "Bloody hope not. I've spent too much money over the years on [shoes] to be conned," she said. "While there may not be enough information out there or enough research on this particular topic, I do think it's fair to say that there really are good shoes that improve not necessarily improve performance but certainly reduce the risk of injury."

Do you think you have been conned?

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Murder and Mayhem

While not a pleasant subject, Rapid Creek - our suburb has been among the infamous and topical today.

It seems that two people argued last evening and a man apparently hit a woman over the head with a nulla-nulla [ big wooden stick] which seems to have caused her death. At least that is how the media is reporting the incident.

We were past the area - just about 150m from our house twice this morning in the car, relatively early, at about 0800hrs and again around 0900hrs, with nothing seen. Then a few hours later the area was roped off, and police everywhere. It may be they were just treating the area as the crime scene, and doing some more forensic work.

The area is in scrub near Rapid Creek itself, an area commonly used by people for card games and drinking, hiding in the scrub areas where the Police are unable to easily see people. We have some local laws prohibiting drinking in public within 2 kilometres of licenced premises [ this is about 1km or a tad more].