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Apr 2010

Work on the reorganisation of the house goes on

We expect that work on the new deck at the back of the house will start some time soon. Meanwhile I am working on clearing out the dining room so that we can move the bed room into the dining room and the dining room into the bed room. This will give us some isolation from the work on the new deck and will improve the arrangements in the house.

The Library is close to being complete. The sewing equipment still has to be moved in. When all that is done I will still have to sort and catalogue all the books and sort all the papers

Posted: 30/4/10 11:06 PM

Another Confirmation of my 21st Century World View

Comp.risks reports a story about Penguin Books destroying 7000 new books called Pasta Bible because one of the recipes included the words "salt and freshly ground black people". The head of publishing "defended proofreaders for letting through a misprint that he suggested came from a spell-check program."

My theory that many, perhaps most, businesses and other organisations have opted out of any proper quality assurance process has a strong example (if the quote is true). If a publisher considers that a spell-checker is better that a human proof reader when we know that spell-checkers do frequently allow errors through and the history of human proof reading shows that it was much less unreliable.

I believe that a publisher as big as Penguin Books has an obligation to maintain correct language in their publications because their books have a very significant effect on the education of their readers.

This example also shows that Penguin do have a policy of not publishing such racist content but their lack of a proper process to avoid such content indicates that they have no real quality assurance policies and only respond to incidents such as this which are presumably reported by readers because of the risk of litigation.

My 21st Century World View includes a feeling that quality assurance has been dropped which has led to lots of unnecessary problems including several deaths of installers and a significant number of house fires after the government subsidised house insulation scheme in Australia. Peter Garrett, the minister responsible for the scheme has been accused of being responsible when the evidence seems to suggest that he did require proper occupational health and safety measures be included in the contracts with the installers. Clearly the installers did not have proper quality assurance processes in place.

Posted: 27/4/10 8:02 AM

We were visited by a small flock of beautiful Mulga Parrots.

This morning Jean saw a group of green parrots with red caps and blue wingtips visiting our bird bath. She tried to call me to see them but I was immersed in something else.

A little later, I was in the kitchen and saw the birds revisiting the bird bath. I tried to identify them but didn't get all the details in my head. When I looked in the field guide I found that they were like Red Rumped Parrots but further checking showed that they were probably another species of Psephotus Parrots called Mulga Parrots.

It is so pleasing to be able to observe so many beautiful birds using our bird bath. We are so lucky to live in a place with the bird varieties that Barraba has and to have a garden which attracts birds.

Posted: 22/4/10 12:03 PM

Goodish News Today

I had a bad night a while back with a very bad back pain which kept me awake all night. I also developed a numbness in my right thigh which wasn't too uncomfortable and which changed location and depth from time to time.

I went to Doctor Sanji and she did a blood test to check my kidney function. It came up good and showed that it wasn't a kidney problem.

She asked me to get a CT scan to check if it was a spinal problem. The scan results came in today. The diagnosis is arthritis in the spine which can cause excess pressure on the nerves which come out between the vertebrae if the spine is strained in an unusual fashion.

Because the symptoms have eased a fair bit since the bad night, we agreed to wait and see if the problems recur before we consider physiotherapy or surgery.

Posted: 16/4/10 3:36 PM

Are today's newspapers telling us the truth?

I recently bought Al Gore's latest book "Our Choice; A Plan to solve the Climate Crisis".

I was taken by a piece in the introduction about " the conversion of all questions of truth into questions of power".

While trying to reveal the untruths that are being peddled about Climate Change, he mentions the controversy about President Obama's birthplace.

He goes on "Disturbingly, some established news organisations - perhaps because they were confused about the distinction between reporting the news and providing fictional entertainment by fanning the flames of a counterfeit controversy - pretend to a mass audience that the facts were still in dispute and warranted further fevered investigation".

This of course is the view of a single individual and deserves a skeptical approach "Seek the Evidence" so I read the newspaper with an eye out for such stuff.

This morning I came across a piece about the decline in the volume of small mail in Australia resulting from increases in the cost of postage stamps. The graph accompanying the piece showed a dramatic decline in the last two years but when I corrected the axes of the graph the decline was obviously pretty small. This is a single minor example but I come across many examples of what he calls fictional entertainment.

Posted: 15/4/10 8:41 AM

The smart puppy beat us

Despite our best efforts to secure the back yard at the Marrett's house, the puppy still managed to get out several times in the evening.

We will need to observe where she is finding a place to escape but that will be so hard that it will take an awfully long time to find the place and fix it.

Fortunately she settled down in her kennel on the back deck for the night.

They are now pretty happy that the puppy will not get loose when she is put out at night.

Posted: 5/4/10 2:40 PM

We learn from experience

I have been able to apply the lessons I have learned from trying to stop the sheep escaping form our back paddock to working on the fence at the Marrett's house to try to stop Kelly's little puppy from escaping from the back yard.

Because she was able to get out of the yard into the open, they have had to keep her indoors every night to ensure that she could not get lost or attacked by any of the dogs that are able to roam in the street.

Last night she managed to create a bad mess in Kelly's bedroom so we needed to secure the back yard fence so she can be locked out of the house at night and sleep in her kennel on the back deck and go onto the lawn to do her business.

We had done a fair bit of patching up holes in the fence previously but she was still able to escape. The project of securing the fence properly was quite an difficult one.

Today the kids surveyed the whole fence both from the inside and the outside and found some places where she could still escape. The kids had secured some of the holes. I worked on the rest and a few others I found and tonight, when she is locked out of the house, we will test our efforts by seeing if she is unable to escape and demand to be let in the front door as is her habit.

Posted: 4/4/10 4:41 PM

More Impressive Good News

Tonight's 7.30 Report included an item about the distribution of about 400,000 XO computers to aboriginal children in Arnhem Land.

Manduwuy Yunupingu visited the school he was Principal of some years ago, Yirrkala, to celebrate the One Laptop per Child scheme being established in Australia with funding by three major Australian companies.

We recognized the XO computer because our grand-daughter, Claire, brought her XO computer to Australia in early 2008.

It is so heartening to hear that the scheme is growing around the world.

Posted: 1/4/10 8:02 PM

More Escapes

The sheep have shown that they are smarter than me by escaping again.

I had tacked the wire netting of the side fence to the ground with a lot of tent pegs. The sheep found a gap in that arrangement and escaped into the horse paddock again.

I will have to extend my scheme again. I have started using the bars from the old hills hoist to improve the defences but I have a lot more work t do to make the whole fence secure.

Posted: 1/4/10 7:18 AM


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Created: 1/04/10 and last revised 30/03/2014
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