Friday, 28 October 2011

Decadence and Shellfish

Decadence goes back a long way; it is not a new phenomenom.

Read the quote -

"Shellfish are the prime cause of the decline of morals and the adaptation of an extravagant lifestyle"
Pliny the Elder - Ancient Rome.

I have not heard of that quote before, but it is a pertinent one at this time of year in Australia, a time when local oysters are beginning to become plentiful.

I am not sure of that issue about moral decline, although I am equally as sure that I do enjoy oysters!!

Of course, oysters are not just the fare of the rich. For many years, oysters were thought food for only the poor. They could be gathered for free from local seashores, and can still be in many parts of Australia.

Historically, the rich purple dye, Tyrian purple, was produced from shellfish in ancient times, even prior to Roman times, and Pliny described the process in some detail [details on wikipedia]. Maybe that was the link between the rich and eating oysters.

Or was it the reputed aphrodesiac properties of oysters?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Stereotypes for the Northern Territory

The popular ABC show Q and A was held in Darwin last Monday evening. Our family was otherwise engaged and did not attend, so I am reliant on the media [ but is that wise ?- see post below].

It seems the show has caused a flurry of score and counter score among many.

To many, Darwin - and by inference, the whole of the NT -is seen a city of yobbo stereotypes, cultural cretins and many worse derogatory terms. It might be laid back, but it sure is not uncultured, uncivilised, nor full of yobbos. We, as a population might enjoy a drink [ it is hot you know], enjoy boating or fishing and water sports [ it is hot you know], and dress down rather than up, day to day [ it is hot you know] but we also are active, culturally aware, and articulate.

Our viewpoint is driven by location and surrounds - with strong links to Asia as well as awareness, concern and tolerance of the local indigenous population. Sometimes we are unable to influence views on these topics, views often held by those with less real knowledge about the issues.

One local ABC reporter got fed up with the piffle being bandied around after the show, and has written an op ed piece for the ABC web site. There are a lot of comments, too!

She is a resident - albeit a relatively newcomer, but the spirit of the piece does hold true.

We do loathe being taken as idiots..........we are not.

While it is the season of the falling mango, long reputed to be the most troppo time of the year, and a highpoint of undesirable behaviour, locals just get on with it, tolerating the weather.........knowing that rain is coming. Elsewhere around the monsooon tropics, this pre wet season time is often the period of holidays......a time when work is less, think Songkran in Thailand in April for example, equivalent to our October/November time. But northern Australia is endowed with an inappropriate calendar schedule, imposed by temperate Australia.

Like anywhere else we have citizen behavioural problems, but we are not unaware of those.

The climate is tough on materials and people and the survivors and locals are coloured by that. Not like the soft latte set of southerners, politicians included, esconsed in their ivy towers.

Even Gurrumul, that great NT musician, is probably better known elsewhere than in Australia.

For more, read it here -

We do not really like being fed drivel by the latte set.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Truth in Media

We all use the mass media- whether it be newspapers, online information or tv. But do we trust it to report fairly and accurately?

Some say that commercial sources are less trust worthy than public broadcasting. In Australia as well as some other countries such as the UK, Germany, Holland there is a strong public broadcast ethos, but less so in the USA, where National Public Radio [ NPR] is only a small player, but some say, a growing one.

A recent study, shown below shows that for the USA, we now have less trust in the mass media.

And this was before the recent scandalous stuff appearing about the various arms of the Murdoch media empire in the UK as well as in the USA.

Go figure........

Recent polls show a sharp decline in Americans' trust of the news media in today's GoFigure infographic.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Cyling - Do You?

Cycling can be a means of transportation, exercise, work, sport or just fun.

This past week in Australia has had the annual ride to work day. Did you?

I did not.......but then my trip to work is a short walk across the carport, into the office.......maybe ten metres. But I do enjoy some serious cycling. Hard, hard, hard training rides of anywhere from 30 - 60 minutes or more, aiming for several times each week [as well as few other pursuits such as swim training and the gym, not to mention some serious dog walking], and I usually return in a very sweaty state.

But cycling can be and should be fun, with a bit of camaraderie thrown in for good measure.

Even the environmentalists think it is fun, while being good for the environment.

Read more here - . It is a good read.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Tolerance and Caring - Is It Over?

Trevor - the rubbish king - is regularly seen around Darwin, doing what he sees as his God given work - keeping the place clean. He picks up the rubbish the paid rubbish people leave behind!

His work appears on my blog here -

Darwin has a tolerant attitude to the odd bod........and has had for a long time. The motto, well known elsewhere of "do no harm" applies. If a bit odd, but doing no harm, well....., tolerate!

Trevor is a bit more than a the op ed piece, which he wrote - below. Sort of says it all. It is a motto, a call to arms for the world of being a bit more caring and tolerant. While not being religious or evoking religion, it does have a ring similar to a few of the great people leaders around the world - from Christ, to Martin Luther King and Gandhi in recent times. Tolerance and care for the fellow man.

Read it yourself......

Towards a world embracing us all

Trevor Jenkins - is well known in Darwin for his work cleaning up rubbish. Ahead of Anti-Poverty Week, the man also known as the Rubbish Warrior, who was homeless for several years, argues that many may choose to ignore poverty and misunderstand those who are in that situation, but the poor and the homeless have their own strengths that enrich us all.

PAIN and human suffering is an im­portant resource. It can be as rich as minerals, as powerful as diamonds. It is more prolific than sex.

It's more than a base from which to write welfare programs. It's an en­try point into people's lives that is a gift to us all and enriches our lives.

Poverty allows us to once again see the distance we have placed be­tween ourselves and others.
Human pain and human suffering on the street is paradoxically what makes some human beings rich in survival skills: resilience, humanity, accept­ance, humour, resourcefulness, mateship, friendship and loyalty.

People are living with pain, living with disability, and living with abu­se and terror. Courage in adversity is an Australian gift we value ­think of the Anzacs.

Today these gifts, very visible in people suffering on the streets, have been overlooked and pushed away in our headlong pursuit of success, comfort, grandeur, programs, plans, ideologies, and careers. When real­life human suffering is right outside our doors it is all too much.

People say success breeds success and like-minded people should con­gregate together. If you don't suc­ceed you are judged as having a loser mentality and told it's "your own fault for thinking that way".

People say: "Don't blame me for not wasting my time with negative ­thinking people like you."

Social and community thinking about poverty does not accept fail­ures, reality, trying hard, earning respect, acceptance of suffering or humility. Instead, it's about appear­ances, about looking good, feeling great and hiding the truth.

When somebody doesn't hide their true suffering and their true, lived self, better watch out because they might spread their pain and de­stroy themselves, us and society.

I see all this on the street, and I look on in dismay at a society in love with its own image, its own self and its own plans. A society in which an honest, hardworking, single, poor man with good morals and values is somehow mentally ill. Where it's crazy to love, crazy to think and dream, crazy to be free and alive.

It upsets and saddens me, but it inspires me, too, to overcome my own ill ridden fears and challenge the status quo. And I love people all the same.

I intend to fight for myself and others in similar positions, hope­fully helping to teach a society to truly love again.

Anti-Poverty Week events in the NT will run from Monday October 17 to Thursday October 20.
[Article by T Jenkins sourced from NT News October 15 - but too good to not disseminate further!]

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Hot Nights and Hotter Days

A cool day today, as temperature only reached 32C, and a cooler night now, although still 28C as I write this.

With most nights now around 27C as a minimum, the airconditioner is getting a good work out, in the office during the day and in the house at night.

Most days in the past week have been around 34C, and inland even a few kilometres that max is often 37 -39C. And it is humid, so humid you sweat [ note NOT perspire] even standing still! And it will get warmer.....and warmer......for a while yet.

Ah the joys of living in the monsoon tropics!! At least the green tree frogs are beginning to utter mating calls, even though we have really not had a good, decent shower of rain here [ been a little around, but none over our way].

There are plenty of trees flowering in anticipation of rain, with most weeping rosewoods in full flower as are the yellow Tabebuia argentea [ ], and the frangipanni are magnificent, with lots of flowers.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Hows Your Spam Level?

Some interesting statistics below. Where do you fit in this pattern?

You may say, my spam level is much lower....... so maybe your ISP has a good spam filter, so you never actually see all of the debris, with only a few getting through.

I ocassionally need to check material prior to any filtering for spam.......and I would think the results are reasonably true. There is an awful lot there that never even seems to reach the inbox, so thank your ISP!!!

On an average day, only about 23% of received email is legitimate, 75% tends to be spam and the remaining 2% leads to malware.

The spam portion is pretty predictable.

The top 3 most common types of spam are online pharmaceuticals (29%), counterfeit luxury goods (17%), and online romance scams (16%). This breakdown has been the same for several years, indicating the spammers are meeting with success. Over 60% in these three alone!

Overall, successful spam seems to feed on people's feelings of inadequacy and need to compensate.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

How Do You Communicate?

Phone calls are so yesterday! Today's GoFigure infographic shows that young adults are more likely to text.

One could assume that Australian communications methods are fairly similar to the US data.