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Oct 2010

A Submarine Defect

A British submarine, HMS Astute, ran aground off the isle of Skye recently.

The Daily Mail report says that the problem was caused by the use of out of date charts in the auto-pilot system.

I read that some people are proposing that cars should be driven by auto-pilots to avoid accidents caused by driver error. Forgive me for thinking that the driverless cars will suffer accidents like that experienced by HMS Astute. The important question is who will be held responsible for the accident, the owner of the car, the manufacturer of the driverless system, or the people who provided the software or the basic data on which the software depends?

Posted: 30/10/10 8:39 AM

Another visit to Tamworth for medical treatment

This morning we had to set off to Tamworth at a few minutes after sunrise as I had an appointment at the hospital to have the haemorrhoids found at my recent colonoscopy banded.

I was worried that there would be lots of live kangaroos on the road but we saw none at all. We did see a dead animal on the bitumen at the same place that I had removed a little wombat from the bitumen on our last trip to Tamworth.

The operation went very well and I was released just after morning tea. We did a little shopping, had lunch and set off back to Barraba.

On the way back to Barraba, I stopped to check what the dead animal was and I found that it was the same little wombat I had moved off the bitumen on the last trip.

I don't know whether it was a predator or carrion eater that had moved it back on the road or if it was a human being.

Posted: 28/10/10 4:57 PM

Another Grey Nomad Session

This morning we had a visit to Barraba of some very old motorhoming friends from Darwin who were travelling to Tasmania down the Fossickers Way.

The stopped at the Recreation Ground for morning tea and invited us to their motorhome to have coffee.

The coffee was wonderful and the conversation was most satisfying. We did a lot of catching up and a lot of reflection on the progress of our lives.

We did invite them to visit us next time they travelled the Fossickers Way.

We were both so pleased to spend time with these friends and to renew our contact with the grey nomads.

Posted: 27/10/10 4:30 PM

Happy Hour

Yesterday we had a Happy Hour on our new deck to celebrate the return to Barraba after a winter away in their motorhome, of our friends, Vicki and John Samin.

Some of those we invited could't come but those who did come had a really good time.

We got through a lot of wonderful wine and lots of great nibblies and goodies

John, who is a very experienced builder himself, congratulated us on having the deck built by such a highly skilled tradesman.

We will now have regular happy hours as we have a wonderful venue and because we really enjoy the company of our fellow grey nomads and those who would like to become grey nomads.

Recently we saw a caravan visiting Barraba with a name "Advent before Dementia" so I put up a new moto "Adventure before Dementia".

Posted: 24/10/10 12:17 PM
Revised: 24/10/10 8:08 PM

Barraba Weather

Yesterday it was sunny in the morning so Jean did all the laundry before she went to the Craft Guild.

I hung the washing out in the sun but later, as I was sitting in the living room, it started to thunder and heavy rain started to fall.

I had to go out in the rain to retrieve the clothes and I got quite wet as did the clothes.

I then had to devise ways of drying all the clothes. Some on the clothes rack over the electric heater in the laundry and the rest on the mobile clothes rack in front of the gas fire in the living room. We got quite warm until I was able to turn the gas fire off. At least all the clothes were dry and could be put away ready to wear.

Posted: 23/10/10 9:49 AM

Another roadkill ranger task

The other day we drove to Tamworth and on the way saw a dead wombat on the bitumen. Unfortunately I didn't have time to stop so we had to stop on the way back to Barraba.

Sadly the animal was a very small, brown, wombat.

As always, I stopped to move the body off the bitumen so that any carrion eaters would not be at risk of becoming roadkill themselves.

I am happy to report that we don't often have to stop when we are driving because the frequency of roadkill is quite low nowadays.

Posted: 22/10/10 8:47 AM

One of my Heroes

Tim Flannery, who is presently the Professor of Environmental Science at Macquarie University, was on the radio this morning talking with Margaret Throsby because he has recently published a book called "Here on Earth"

He is my hero because he wrote a book called "The Future Eaters" in 1994. A book which really caught my imagination and made me have tremendous respect for Tim.

During the conversation, Margaret addressed the issue of population which was the subject of one of the chapters in the book. Tim said that he was very optimistic now because the latest UN report on population reported that the previous unsupportable increases in world population had ended and the population was now stable.

I remember that in "The Future Eaters" Tim had recommended that all governments should have scientifically supported population policies. This resonated with my world view at the time and I am impressed that he has found evidence that what he was seeking has apparently happened.

There was lots of other interesting stuff in the conversation. I am always joyful when I hear good news like this.

Posted: 21/10/10 3:17 PM

Beautiful Barraba

I have been badly sick for a couple of weeks with an infection in the sinuses and the lungs. Happily the doctor has found the right medication to cure it. I am nearly well again.

The weather has been a bit up and down. Some days we have had good spring weather but on other days the Antarctic air has been trapped in the nations weather systems and we have fallen back into winterish weather.

This morning I went into town to do a bit of grocery shopping. As I was heading down Savoy St I was presented with a wonderful view of the spring sun shining on the beautiful green hills behind the Barraba Station. The sight really put good thoughts and feelings into my head.

Posted: 17/10/10 10:39 AM

More Skepticism

A quote from Snopes.com - Urban Legends - www.snopes.com/photos/animals/seaturtles.asp

"Aha, maybe we have just discovered why the sea turtle is going extinct & it is not global warming. !!!!!!!...."

Antarctic The photographs in the quotation show "poachers" collecting sea turtle eggs in Costa Rica.

The Snopes research demonstrates that the photographs were of a group of people engaged in a government sponsored conservation project, collecting a small portion of the eggs which biologists believed would otherwise have been destroyed. The project has been shown to have helped stabilise the population of Olive Ridley sea turtles.

This is a classic demonstration of the lack of credibility of much of the information on the internet and of the extraordinary attempts by contrarians (in this case climate change deniers) to quote unsubstantiated statements to support their erroneous beliefs.

I believe that there is a massive avoidance of the truth in modern day communications,

I am always impressed when a writer adds references to their text so that you can check the accuracy of what they are saying. Sadly only a few do this.

Posted: 13/10/10 8:54 AM

More evidence of the broken intellects of some of our leaders.

Tony Abbot, the Leader of the Federal Opposition in Australia, claimed that he couldn't interrupt his journey to England because it would cause jet lag.

Those of us who are experienced travellers know that jet lag is caused by significant time zone changes during a single journey. My experience travelling to Europe includes journeys with interruptions which always reduced the jet lag. I would expect someone with Tony Abbot's experience not to make such a stupid excuse for his decision not to interrupt his journey.

He has also accused our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, of "bastardry" because she criticised him for not joining him on her interrupted journey. His explanation of the problem with what she said was that he didn't want anyone to comment on his decision.

His proposition that he could deny others the right to comment on his statements is a demonstration that he sees that he believes that he has total despotic power over other people.

Why he would choose to use the word "bastardry" presumably is because such words stimulate peoples emotions rather than their intellects.

Posted: 12/10/10 6:36 PM

A Demonstration that "they" do not consider the total effects of new policies.

The Murray Darling Basin Commission released its plan to save the most important rivers in Australia.

It is reported that the plan includes a significant (27% to 37%) reduction in the allocation of water to the licenced users to make available significant amounts of water to save the rivers from environmental collapse.

The opposition politicians and the farmers representatives are loudly criticising the plan saying that it will result in unacceptable economic effects, reduction in agricultural output and dramatic reduction in employment in the affected rural areas.

Of course these effects will occur but the alternative of maintaining the great over-allocation of water will presumably have economic and employment effects of the same or probably greater magnitude in the future.

Clearly most of the people whose opinions are broadcast Australia-wide have a very short term view and are only interested in making more money. They do not consider the effects of the alternatives and the public is largely influenced by this kind of propaganda.

I believe that this attempt to affect policies by getting significant public support uses emotional arguments rather than credible intellectual ones.

As I have often said before, this bad stuff will go away because homo sapiens has always solved problems such as this in the past. My worry is that the number of generations which will suffer from this bad stuff before it is resolved may be an awful number.

Posted: 8/10/10 4:48 PM

Some more evidence for "The Trouble with Physics"

Today I read two articles in New Scientist which stimulated my thoughts that 21st century is badly broken.

One was an article about a theory that time will end in 5 billion years fro now. It seems to me that the theory is just a wild thought by a physicist based on his interpretation of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. My worry was that the article in a supposedly reputable science journal for us lay people was written as though the theory was sound.

The other piece was headed "Sound can leap across a vacuum after all". The physics reported was that two piezo electric crystals separated by vacuum could receive sound at one of the crystals and the electric field generated by the crystal could be received by the other crystal and converted back to sound. Forgive an old engineer for thinking that we always new we could broadcast sound by radio through a vacuum and receive it in another atmospheric space. It is not the sound that is leaping across the vacuum but the radio representation of the sound.

I am inclined to think that while science needs people to dream up new theories all the time they should not be reported as true until the full scientific process has taken place and the truth has been proved by lots of experiments.

I am also worried that some science journalist seem inclined to report new theories as though they are true. It is absolutely vital that the lay public are educated in the full science process.

Posted: 6/10/10 2:27 PM


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Created: 6/10/10 and last revised 30/03/2014
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