Thursday, 31 March 2011

Are You Canadian?

What an indictment of Canada!

The article below absolutely slams democracy in Canada.

Definitely worth a read and could be a mirror to a similar range of issues across many other westen democracies.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Get Active

Always easier to say than do, to be active.

Yet there continues to be more and more evidence to suggest serious, regular, hard physical activity is good for you, right from an early age.

The following is a snippet from a larger article on physical activity. It does not even consider the mental effects that a good endorphin kick gives you though.

Most regular exercisers do appreciate the mental benefit of a good hard workout. It seems that kicking off the sit and look at a screen syndrome IS important especially for children. And habits established in youth tend to persist as an adult.

What do your children do?


The researchers found that vigorous activity like running, jogging, and playing sports are associated with thicker bones.

The top 25 percent of individuals involved with vigorous physical activity had bones that were seven square millimeters greater than the bottom 25 percent.

However, the top and bottom percentiles of those who engage in light physical activity such as walking showed no difference in bone thickness. The point to take away from this study is that it is important, from an early age, to engage in vigorous physical activity in order to prevent bone problems later in life.

Children should be encouraged to run around and play sports.

Habits such as sitting around, watching TV, and playing video games should be discouraged, because it does young bodies a disservice when they get older. It is a child's natural instinct to run around.

At the early stages of our lives, we all have (or feel we have) much more energy, and that energy should be released. However, for adults, it is important to choose the correct vigorous physical activity so that it does not interfere with other health issues. For example, adults with bad knees can take long distance bike rides rather than jogs. Or people with bad backs can go swimming at a neighborhood fitness center or in their backyard pools.

Maintaining a vigorous workout throughout our lives will help prevent osteoporosis. On the other hand, walking, while still a healthy activity, has little effect on bone health.

Link to published article:

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Batteries New and Old

Over the past 4 months it has been very wet and rainy.

Maybe that has put too much fungal matter in my brain..............but whatever, there have been two total stuff -ups over batteries.

First was a long saga over the remote control for a stereo unit in the bedroom. It died, and that was a pain as we often listen to the radio before going to sleep at night. Getting out of bed to turn it off was a real pain in the bottom. And the remote did not seem able to be revived, even with changed batteries. A new unit was difficult to find or purchase, but then saw so thought it might be possible to get another.

Then thought, maybe should test again............lo and behold, new batteries and it works!!!

What silly twit I have been. This process went for for about a year.

Part two involves a kitchen wall clock, the one we all seem to have on the wall, the analog one children learnt to tell the time from and so on. It has had indigestion, especially in wet weather, and would not work. As soon as the humidity went up, it went down, then started again in drier conditions. A battery change seemed to have little effect.

So bought a new one, alhough was not a well liked option [ that is a critical issue for an every day wall clock]. Anyway, retested the old one with a NEW battery...........and it has not missed a beat since, about a month ago and with some very humid weather around. The recently purchased clock went back to the store.

Moral of the stories - make sure the batteries are fully charged and new.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Rebel Idealism

It is hard to imagine life in a civil war. Us in western democracies take freedom for granted, but the following piece [ from The Australian online] is a well crafted op ed piece that we all need to read.

Rebels live and die by Western ideals
David Burchell

From: The Australian
March 21, 2011 12:00AM

A FEW years ago Mohamed Mustafa Nabbous, citizen of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, was that most familiar figure of our era: the ingenious, small-scale internet service provider, running a modern small business by his wits using a motley assemblage of computer hardware, improvising solutions as he went.

Judging by his social-media photos from that time, young Mohamed must have been quite a Jack the Lad. Still today, if you ply the foreign oceans of old internet forums, you can follow his progress through the dangerous shoals of digital communication in a country where, until very recently, all information was supposed to emanate from a single source.

At some point along this voyage young Mohamed - or Mo to his friends - hit on a simple, brilliant thought: while wires and wireless hubs are always vulnerable to sabotage or failure, the satellite, cycling above the clouds in the pure space, soars above all such terrestrial restrictions. And so began Nabbous's particular life-project, the independent satellite TV station Libya Alhurra - which he ran out of a noisy, improvised office in that whitewashed Libyan coastal city, where the bright breezes of the Mediterranean vie with the blank white heat from the southern desert.

Ever since February 17, Nabbous's hand-held videos have appeared (most uncredited) on broadcasts from CNN, al Jazeera, and occasionally even the BBC. Last Saturday, when Muammar Gaddafi's forces first entered the western precincts of Benghazi, and shells were plummeting into its neighbourhoods, it was young Nabbous - striding around the city with his portable video camera - who first and most effectively disproved the mad colonel's fantastical claims about a ceasefire.
Ever the citizen of the world, Nabbous had a good line in reality-TV chatter ("I'm probably crazy to be filming this," he would exuberantly say, as Benghazi's bombed power plant exploded around him); while his slightly melodramatic exclamations ("Oh my God, Oh my God!") betrayed the distinctive demeanour of the internet geek.

In one house in Benghazi's western precincts two young children, one four years old and the other five months, were hospitalised by shell-fragments: Nabbous discovered the bloodied pillows they had been nestling on, and presented them to us with forensic care. Where, he asked, was the ceasefire here? Where was the Western intervention, which so many people across the city, however naively, assumed would begin immediately after the UN passed Resolution 1973?
And through the magic of the satellite, Nabbous's queries sped across the world in an instant, even as the French, British and Canadian fighter-bombers were loading up with fuel and munitions - only for them to arrive just a little too late.

Some time on Saturday morning, however, Nabbous's video camera suddenly died, and on Libya Alhurra his previous broadcasts - the endless concrete walls pitted with shell-fragments, the familiar burnt-out cars, the jumbled shoes and faces of onlookers as the hand-held camera dips and soars along its crazy journey - went into permanent loop.

At some point in his progress he had been hit in the head by a sniper's bullet: he died a few hours later in Benghazi's pitifully understaffed hospital, with his young pregnant wife by his side. He was 28 years old.

Of all the features of our interaction with the non-Western world today, surely none is more stultifying than that curious blend of moral arrogance and moral defensiveness with which we greet even a simple, unadorned plea for help. There is something troublingly luxuriant in the long-winded debate we have carried out in recent weeks over whether it can ever be right for us to interfere in the affairs of a non-Western country - even as the citizens of Libya were begging for our help, the Arab League had authorised it, and commentators across the region were pleading to be rid of the awful embarrassment of Gaddafi's interminable reign.

It is hard to avoid the sense that we have come to enjoy this kind of agonising, in roughly the same way that the ancient philosophers used to enjoy the bracing experience of physical privation - and in a broadly similar manner as we seem to enjoy sympathising with distant victims of natural disasters, so long as the elements present them to us as one heart-rending spectacle after another, and in an orderly sequence.

By contrast with our own complicated blend of pleasure and discomfiture, there is genuine tragedy in the plight of the present opposition movements across north Africa and the Middle East - both in their naive hope in the power of pure spontaneity, and in their awed discovery of the capacity of the semi-organised political movement, in polities designed to avoid all traces both of spontaneity and opposition.

In Egypt today, as the young oppositionists are rapidly becoming aware, spontaneity and idealism are already being trumped by the pragmatic merits of the disciplined party organisation - so that, as Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris predicted on Al Mihwah TV the other week, the main beneficiaries of June's hastily contrived general elections may turn out to be the rump of Hosni Mubarak's old NDP and the Muslim Brothers - and a new rough beast might be shambling towards Cairo to be born.

By the same token, for all their courage and sheer exuberance, Libya's rebels have so far counted too much on the power of human optimism, and too little on the dull mechanics of military discipline - so that, as one Egyptian participant sadly noted the other day, they seem to have fashioned an army with a superb capacity to defend itself, but a complete inability ever to attack.

Yet, for all their flaws and inadequacies, we have to say this of the young heroes of Benghazi: that they actually believe in the ideals to which we generally only pay lip-service. Nor do they seek to mingle their liberating irony towards the absurd pronouncements of their pantomime President with our own disabling irony towards the affairs of the world in general.

We should be grateful for passionate souls such as Nabbous, who, in all their innocence of spirit, actually perform in their life's drama the acts of moral decision most of us only prattle on about.

[see it all here -]

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Eggs Benedict for Breakfast - at Home!

With a three month long [ absolutely true - first started on 11 December and has not gone off shore since] rainy monsoon we need cheering up. Something to beat the rain, which has been on all but a few days.

Why not a great breakfast to lift the spirits?

Eggs Benedict are a bit of a favorite for breakfast, but getting the Hollandaise sauce just right is a tricky issue. Consistency and lack of lumps being issues that are a bit difficult to deal with in the usual double saucepan version of making the sauce. That alone puts one off preparing it.

Voila!........we have a new kitchen device - a Thermomix and it does the job excellently, at a setting of 90C, just below boiling, in 8 minutes.

We have a new Scanpan egg poacher too, and today was the day for a double hit.

A great Hollandaise sauce, eggs a little soft and runny in the centre, on toasted Turkish bread [ preferred to the traditional muffin]. YUMMY!!!

It will be tried again........for sure.