Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Future Directions of Media and the ABC

New media, old media, newspapers, media moguls, barons....................the comments abound about newspapers, news radio and TV and new media outlets, especially today.

Australia, like a few other countries, has a publicly supported [ie taxpayers monies] national broadcaster, the ABC. It is 77 years old and seems to be slowly reviving, not atrophying from old age..........it is about renewal. That is the buzz word.

But as for most organisations ,without internal renewal, or even a bit of external re- modelling, they do wither.

The article penned by Mark Scott, the Managing Director of the ABC in October 2009 is a very interesting take on the national broadcaster, and the media landscape of the future and along the way, taking a deft dig at those media organisations who want to charge for content. Read Murdoch!

If you are interested in media futures read it here:

I think it is, at worst, interesting. At best..........an exciting media future.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Politicians in the Picture - Jane Aagaard

Politicians are well known, world wide, for “getting into the news”.

On Saturday, the Global Green Challenge cars headed off from Darwin to Adelaide. It was a fairly typical Darwin October day………hot – about 36C when they left, and humid – 60%. Not much cloud around, plenty of hot blasting sunshine, and with most sensible people watching, staying in whatever shade was around.

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly [Jane Aagaard] was the starter, boldly stepping into the sun and waving the Northern Territory flag to get them on their way. She had the honour, as State Square, outside the Parliament Building where they started, is in her bailiwick.

I loved the hat………..and she must like the black top, and the gold chain, that is being worn, as she seems to wear them often.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Solar Car Race - Global Green Challenge Part 2

The solar car race is different to the "conventional" car event. In this race, the vehicles run all day - 0830 - 1800hrs, and essentially stop by the side of the road, to go on the next day.

Previous winners of the event have AVERAGED 100km/hr plus.........yes, that is correct, over 60mph.

The vehicles are built for speed, not comfort and most certainly do not have much in terms of driver comforts - most are closed for aerodynamic efficiency, and a lot of water is consumed by the drivers in the approx 40C temperatures out on the road.

Winners are expected to take about 3-4 days to reach Adelaide, about 3300 kms from Darwin.

See http://www.globalgreenchallenge.com.au/ for more details.

More current photos here - http://photos.globalgreenchallenge.com.au/

The photos are of two overseas entries - from MIT in the US and Cambridge University

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Global Green Challenge 2009 Part 1

Global Green Challenge 2009 Darwin to Adelaide

This event began today at 1230 Darwin time.

Today the street legal vehicles departed. These are alternate energy vehicles, and range from a converted “postie bike” [a 110cc Honda] running on ethanol to a Tesla Roadster all electric plug in vehicle which is an advanced sports car.

The Tesla received a lot of attention……….and deserved. It is a beautiful vehicle. But it still has to complete the 3300kms to Adelaide, and like all the electric vehicles range will be an issue.

They are prepositioning generator trucks to compensate for no refuelling depots for the electric vehicles.

There are also some very efficient diesel cars including the new Mini-D, as well as a Suzuki Alto. Even a petrol Holden V8, and they hope to achieve better than 9L/100kms, by being light on the accelerator.

There are more photos at:


And detailed information at
www.globalgreenchallenge.com.au . There is also a blog run by the owner of the Tesla Roadster, which is a real story in itself. See
www.internode.on.net and go to the Internode blog which focuses on the Global Green Challenge blog [around 21 – 28 October 2009].

Tomorrow the solar powered vehicles leave. They come in all shapes and sizes………more then.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

The Yellow Steps

The yellow steps are not enough in number to be John Buchan’s “The 39 Steps”, nor are they as elegant as the Arthur Stace script on Sydney Streets of “Eternity” in beautiful copperplate running lettering, but they are still mysterious, and on our streets.

By now, I have seen them in 5 or 6 locations around the foreshore at Rapid Creek in Darwin, mostly on the bike path in the area, as well as several on paved asphalt streets in the area.

It looks as if someone steps in a spot with a lot of paint then walks out for 6-10 steps at normal pace, leaving yellow footsteps behind.

The old adage of “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footsteps” seems true here. The locations are not overly close to houses, nor indicative of someone planning a bit of criminal activity.

Yes, we have a normal amount of graffiti activity around the Darwin city area on walls and even public items such as electricity junction boxes…………….but painted footsteps?? Have they been elevated from graffiti to folk lore – Eternity was!

The first time the steps were seen, I, like others I suppose, assumed paint had been spilt, and someone walked in it, barefoot. But when now at least 6-8 more have been seen………..we do have a story, surely. When did they first appear? How many locations are there? Who is the perpetrator?

Watch this space………..maybe.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Pride of India - More Great Flowering Trees

Pride of India – the name says it all. A fantastic flowering tree that gets to about 8 m [40 feet]. Botanical name - Lagerstroemia speciosa. Alternate common names – crepe myrtle or Persian lilac [there are others too] Here in Darwin they are flowering right now, mid October. There seem to be three common forms here in Darwin – pale pink, cerise [dark pinky /red] and lilac, and often they are inter mingled where they have been used as street trees. Unfortunately, they can be somewhat susceptible to termites, and there are a few sad specimens that seem to have been somewhat significantly damaged by termites, probably as a result of stress due to poor watering in the dry season, where not all street trees get well looked after by the adjacent householder.
They say that the tree benefits from year round watering, but the most magnificent flowering specimens tend to often be relatively less irrigated. There is a trade off between large well grown trees and plenty of flowers – so a balance is needed to get both.

This year the trees seem very prominent with excellent flowering.

Bangalore in India has some excellent specimens, and they are commonly grown as ornamentals in SE Asia – Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Singapore and tropical Australia, even as far south as Sydney. There was one at my parents house in Sydney, but it never grew to be the giant tree seen in the tropics, more like a large woody shrub. Still flowered beautifully though, and deciduous!

At this time of the year, when it is hot, very dry and dusty and the weather is plain just stinking hot, the presence of some of these great flowering trees in full bloom do help to lift your mood.

As does a good mango - yes, it is mango season too!!

Thursday, 15 October 2009


What a way to go.............the Holden Commodore, long the lust car of the masses in Australia. A boy's first car, maybe the first kiss car for a lady. Most certainly a car used to do a bit of speeding or hooning in many parts of Australia. And a Holden Commodore last weekend also won the Bathurst 1000, an iconic car race in Australia.

To be injured and broken, sitting quietly on a suburban nature strip...............and to be subjected to the indignity of some local council parking inspector slapping a yellow "take notice" sign: to be moved or else! It obviously was not moved, and then followed up by a formal fine notice [ in the plastic sleeve].

And the final indignity..............being dumped upon by the yellow flowering fluff of a local melaleuca tree.

It is still there............some considerable time later.

The event has been watched with interest, as it is travelled past almost every time we leave our suburb by car.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Those MAGNIFICENT Poinciana Trees - Again

I know I have had a post about poinciana trees before - even about this time of the year. Afterall, this is the time of the year they flower.

And flower they do............magnificent canopy of orange - red or red flowers that literally cover the tree. Leaves are gone, mostly, just a few remaining black seed pods from last year and red flowers, and red flowers and red flowers.

They occur in many areas around Darwin and the intensity of the flowering is virtually in inverse proportion to the amount of water received during the dry season. Lack of care seems to help with the leaf drop and massive flowering...........almost the "last hurrah", a galant effort to procreate before the storm season commences.

This magnificent specimen is in full colour, although they do grow much bigger, and is in Robinson Road, Millner.

It is spectacular.

Yes........I know that trees in flower have had quite a few posts of late. But.....'tis the season!

And they do look great!

You have to be positive at this time of the year. Hot days - 35 - 37C and very, very strong sun, that seems to burn and burrow through bare skin in minutes, so getting out and doing much between 1100 and 1500hrs is very foolish. The old colonial adage of " Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" is very true. You tend to be lethargic and seeking shade and a good overhead fan, or even better.........into the air conditioning. The weather is very sapping of energy if you are working outside.

The photos were taken around the middle of the day, but from a short venture out of an air conditioned vehicle, to take them without too much shadow.

These trees absolutely flourish in these conditions.