Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bellinger River during Global

Bellinger River during Global
Originally uploaded by Pip_Wilson.
The Bellingen Global Carnival is on, and the weather has been perfect for all three days. Lots of people have been swimming, near the bridge behind the Post Office in Bellingen.

Feast day of Meditrinalia, Roman Empire

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Today was the Meditrinalia (from Latin mederi, 'to heal'). Varro derives the name of the festival from the healing power of the new wine, but Festus says there was a goddess named Meditrina ('healer'), goddess of health, longevity and wine. It was the day on which people sampled old and new wine. It is, in fact, a harvest festival.

Meditrina roughly equated with the Greek goddess Jaso, but differed from Medetrina's sister Hygieia (they, and Panacea, were daughters of Asclepius and Salus) in that while the Greek goddess preserved good health, Meditrina's role was to restore it ...

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Satellites confirm reports of Myanmar violence

"Satellite images confirm reports earlier this year of burned villages, forced relocations and other human rights abuses in Myanmar, scientists said on Friday.

"The American Association for the Advancement of Science said the high-resolution photographs taken by commercial satellites document a growing military presence at 25 sites across eastern Myanmar, matching eyewitness reports."
Yahoo! News

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation

"The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation was created in 1982 by a small group that originally came together as a an informal support group for problems that were the result of traumatic experiences at petting zoos as children. This group realized that there were many others out there who were afraid to come forward with their horrific stories and wanted to find some way to help as many people as they could. The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation is the result of their dream."
The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation (thanx, Lumpy Karma).

Blog Action Day on the Environment

Click for more global actions one person can take

From Extra! Extra! "On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind -- the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future."

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Feast of Gwynn ap Nudd

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Leading a pack of phantom hunters in chase after a sacred white stag is Gwynn ap Nudd, the Welsh Celtic god of the underworld and the faerie kingdom, ruler of Annwn, a place of departed souls. Today is the feast day of the god, who dwells on Glastonbury Tor, the sacred mountain also known as the resting place of King Arthur. He is like the British legendary character, Herne the Hunter.

Gwynn ap Nudd’s name means 'white'. He is the son of Nudd, chief of the Welsh Children of Don. Gwynn is famed as a hunter – like Odin/Woden, the leader of the Wild Hunt, or Wild Horde – accompanied by his Faery Host and his Cŵn Annwn, white, red-eared ghostly hounds of Annwn. In the Wild Hunt, the quarry is not terrestrial, but the souls of the living. Gwynn's presence is required wherever battles are fought and warriors slain. Gwynn ap Nudd conducts the slain to the land of the dead, where he is their lord.

After Christianity came to Britain, Gwynn came to be regarded as the King of the Tylwyth Teg, the fairy folk of Wales. By the time the stories of King Arthur appear in the Mabinogion, Gwynn is a subject of Arthur, but well respected; indeed, Arthur on more than one occasion turned to the son of Nudd for advice. In the hunt of the boar Twrch Trwyth, Gwynn’s involvement was required for its success.

In the early Arthurian story, Culhwch and Olwen, Gwynn ap Nudd abducted a maiden called Creiddylad after she eloped with Gwythr ap Greidawl, Gwyn's long-time rival. Gwyn and Gwythr's fight, which began on May Day, represented the contest between Summer and Winter. Gwynn also did spiritual battle with St Collen.

Gwynn ap Nudd is one of the three great astronomers of the Island of Britain, who by their knowledge of the heavens, could predict whatever was wished to be known to the end of the world. On November 8, he opens the door of the Underworld ...

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Friday, September 28, 2007

St Michael's Eve, or Michaelmas Eve

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
In Celtic cultures such as that of Scotland, bonfires were burned tonight, and the traditional meal was roast lamb, the eating of which was followed by singing and dancing.

A special cake (bannock) was baked, called Struan Micheil (St Michael Bannock; St Michael Cake; Struan Michael; St Michael Bread; Struan Michel; St Michael's Bannock; St Michael's Cake; St Michael's Bread) made of oats, barley and rye (the fruits of the harvest), for eating tomorrow on St Michael's Day. Here's one bannock recipe, and lots more ...

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Yoko Ono to celebrate Make Some Noise/Instant Karma with Amnesty International

"Yoko Ono will visit Amnesty International’s London headquarters on 24 September to celebrate the success of Make Some Noise/Instant Karma, which has helped focus global attention on the human rights crisis in Darfur. The Make Some Noise/Instant Karma album, released by Warner Bros. Records in June this year, is part of Amnesty International’s Make Some Noise campaign, a mix of music, celebration and activism in support of human rights.

"The Make Some Noise/Instant Karma album of John Lennon cover songs was made possible due to the generosity of Yoko Ono who granted Amnesty International the rights to all of Lennon’s post-Beatles songs and donated all music-publishing royalties to the project.

"Some of the biggest international names in music‹including U2, Green Day, R.E.M., Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, The Cure, Snow Patrol and Youssou N’Dour came together for the album, which will culminate in the release of a digital box set on October 9, John Lennon’s birthday. More than 50 artists from every continent have recorded songs and in many cases video pieces for the project ..."
Amnesty News via Nora at Extra! Extra!

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Mizzima News for breaking news on Burma/Myanmar

Mizzima News, run by expatriate Burmese dissidents, is the best site I've found for breaking news and commentary on the protests and massacres in Burma (Myanmar).

It's reported that despite many people already having been shot dead, and many injured, protesters are expected to hit the streets again today.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

TimesSelect is dead

In case you, like I, missed it last week, the New York Times has killed off its subscriber service and will stop charging for access to parts of its website.

"In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free," the Times announced.

Blogger Jeff Jarvis writes: "It was a cynical act doomed from the start. With it goes any hope of charging for content online. Content is now and forever free ... TimesSelect represented the last gasp of the circulation mentality of news media, the belief that surely consumers would continue to pay for content even as the internet commodified news and — more important — even as the internet revealed that the real value in media is not owning and controlling content or distribution but enabling conversation."

Jay Rosen has more on this topic. He writes: "There are still executives at the Times company holding out against the logic of the open web. For these people it’s truly midnight in the cathedral of news. The Times has decided it’s better off in the bazaar."

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Put GetUp climate ad on at the AFL grand final

"More Australians will be watching Saturday's AFL Grand Final than any other TV show this year. With your help, we will air this ad during it – reminding literally millions of Australians not to swallow Government spin on climate change!

"Help make our ambitious plan a reality, and donate now to neutralise harmful Government advertising emissions!"

Free Burma online resources

Click for more global actions one person can take

There seem to be remarkably few pictures about the Burma protests under the
flickr keyword burma, but there are some. This blog currently has photos. The one above comes from a large gallery (some disturbing pix).

There are some good websites (including fundraisers) under the Google keywords free burma.

There is a ton of news about the Burmese repression under the Google News keyword burma.

You can get these Burma news reports on RSS or by email.

There are videos under the Google Video/YouTube keyword burma.

There is an article called 2007 Burmese anti-government protests at Wikipedia, with more links to articles and films.

There are articles and photos under the Indymedia UK keyword burma.

Burma: Inside the saffron revolution

Burma: The world watches

More articles :: And more

Mizzima News is run by Burma dissidents.

Currently there is plenty of breaking news from Burma (aka 'Myanmar') at Daily Planet News.

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Wilson the ass

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1631 England: William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream was performed on a Sunday; the Puritans were outraged and made a certain Mr Wilson, who played Bottom in the play (and thus wore a donkey’s head), spend twelve hours in the stocks wearing an ass’s head, with a sign around his neck saying "Good people, I have played the beast/ And brought ill things to pass;/I was a man, but thus have made/Myself a silly ass" ...

Taxpayers prop up hugely profitable booze and gambling biz

Keeping an eye on competition's inferiority to human cooperation. Click for the concept of win-win games.
I just looked at the annual report of an Australian rugby club, known as Panthers. Here it is, in PDF form.

They made a profit of $24 million (largely from booze and addictive gambling machines), $10 million of which came from a grant from the government. I don't accuse anyone of being corrupt, but we can at least say with confidence that the sporting system is corrupt.

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Shock at archbishop condom claim

"The head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique has told the BBC he believes some European-made condoms are infected with HIV deliberately.

"Maputo Archbishop Francisco Chimoio claimed some anti-retroviral drugs were also infected 'in order to finish quickly the African people'."

Get the latest news on HIV/AIDS in Africa at Daily Planet News

Support the African AIDS Foundation

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Desiderata author

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1872 Max Ehrmann (d. September 9, 1945), an attorney from Indiana, USA, best known for writing the ‘Desiderata’ (Latin: 'something desired as essential') in 1927. Unfortunately, he died some two decades before that poem became popular, and protected by copyright law.

In about 1965, copies of the poem were published in hundreds, or more likely, thousands, of publications with the fraudulent (or perhaps simply mistaken) attribution 'Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore; Dated 1692', and it was widely reprinted on the assumption that it was in the public domain, but it is still under copyright. Although it would seem quite apparent that the poem’s concepts and wording belong to the 20th Century rather than the 17th, even today the hoax has wide currency ...

In the Scriptorium: Hoaxes and frauds through history

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Last blackberry-picking day, Britain

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
Today is the last day to pick and eat blackberries because the Devil poisons them (by urinating and/or spitting on them) on September 26, Old Holy Rood Day (rood = cross), especially in Scotland.

However, in most parts of England the equivalent day was Michaelmas (now September 29) ...

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Swiss stocks guru warns of US recession

Swiss stocks guru warns of US recession is just one article -- the news is full of rumours of recession waiting in the wings.

An ancient eclipse decoded

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1912 BCE According to Kevin Pang, a Pasadena, California, USA, geology consultant, when 4th-Century BCE Chinese philosopher Motze wrote, in his account of a battle some 1,500 years earlier, “The sun rose at night”, he was referring to a total solar eclipse that took place on this day. The sun’s re-emergence from behind the moon was thus recorded as a nocturnal sunrise.

Because Pang knew precisely where the battle took place, by astronomical calculations done with the help of a computer program by Kevin Yau of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it was possible to discover the eclipse of September 24, 1912 BCE and thus understand what event Motze was referring to.

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Historic Hobart department store to be demolished

Hobartians have been shopping at one particular site in Liverpool St for 171 years -- almost as long as Australia has existed -- so it's a shame that fire has destroyed the Myers building.

Evidence of first Australian printery

On July 30, 1796, in Sydneytown in the colony of New South Wales, Jane Shore and other plays were performed as the main attraction at Australia's first purpose-built theatre, just eight years after the colony was founded.

A playbill – a theatrical advertisement – for this event, discovered recently in Canada's National Library and Archives inside a 150-year-old scrapbook of a scrapbook that was acquired by the archives in 1973, is considered a national treasure as it is the earliest surviving document printed in Australia.

The playbill was presented to Prime Minister John Howard on September 11 this year as a gift to the nation from Canada. The playbill, which was presented by Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, advertises the plays Jane Shore, The Wapping Landlady and The Miraculous Cure, so it would have been a big night out.

It is likely that the advertisement was printed by convict George Hughes, who ran Australia's first printing press, which came out on the First Fleet.

Mystery surrounds how the playbill ended up in Canada.

"I am not allowed to touch it or to lift it, so what I am going to do is present you with a certificate of authenticity," Harper said as he presented the gift to John Howard at Parliament House in Canberra.

"A 200-year-old playbill is quite a find in its own right but what makes this one even more exceptional is that it is also the sole surviving copy of the earliest known document printed in Australia," Harper added.

Henry Lawson and lost emails

A note to the correspondent who emailed me recently about Henry Lawson and associated matters. In a mail-box cleanup I accidentally deleted your emails and I would like to resume our correspondence. I hope you will acccept my apology and resend the unanswered emails. (This is the correspondent who has not received a reply from me for a number of emails, not any Lawsonian whose emails have been answered.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bellingen Global Carnival has a big lineup

Here's the lineup at the Bellingen Global Music Carnival, September 28 - 30. Sounds like fun and I'm putting aside my pennies to go on Sunday. It's 200 metres from my place, and I'd hate to miss a big day out.

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In a Noel Coward Mad Dogs mood

Victoria Claflin Woodhull

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1838 Victoria Claflin Woodhull (d. June 9, 1927), American feminist reformer, snake-oil saleswoman, entertainer, reformer, clairvoyant, orator, sex symbol, stock broker, publisher and free love advocate.

Victoria Woodhull and her sister, Tennessee Claflin (1846 - 1923), invaded male territory as Wall Street brokers and publishers of Woodhull & Claflin's Weekly. Woodhull and Clafin spoke for free love, abortion, divorce, legalized prostitution and women's voting rights.

Woodhull ran for President of the USA with African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass as running mate – surely the most unusual and doomed campaign ever ...

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Rex Humbard dead

I was going to send him a Hallmark 'Kick Off Quick' card, but Humbard has gone to meet his Stockbroker before I got the chance.

The Mark Steel Lectures

Mark Steel is brilliant and funny.

Comedic but insightful and informative lectures on historical topics.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bush wants permanent warrantless wiretap law and immunity from torture prosecution

Bush wants permanent warrantless wiretap law

YouTube video: Bush wants retrospective immunity from prosecution over torture of detainees

Meanwhile, the USA director of national security is trying to scare Americans into accepting increased surveillance:

"The nation's top spy told Congress on Thursday that the public debate over the Bush administration's controversial warrantless wiretapping program would lead to American deaths by revealing sensitive surveillance methods to potential terrorists."
LA Times

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Forger and conman tricked Sydney radical publishers

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1890 Sydney, Australia: The first edition of the Australian Workman, official organ of the Trades and Labour Council (TLC) in Sydney (a founding organisation of the Australian Labor Party), following the demise of the Australian Radical almost exactly a year earlier.

The first editor was Rev. Dr (Theodore) Oswald Keating, MA, DD, LLD, who had just stepped off a clipper ship from Britain in July and had some writings published in Truth's earliest numbers. The proprietors of the Australian Workman were impressed with him and under the circumstances of the Maritime Strike of 1890, pleased to have a clergyman's name on the masthead. By the end of October, the 'clergyman' was suing the newspaper for 5 pounds for wrongful dismissal.

Dr Keating was in fact Joseph James Crouch, a forger and conman who had impersonated clergy of various denominations for thirty years, been imprisoned a number of times, and robbed and abandoned a widow he had married for money in England. In the USA, in 1881, he had conned many, including the prominent American clergyman, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, who lent him money as well as his pulpit. He could speak fluently in several languages, including Hebrew. He also plied his craft in Canada, and in Dublin, Ireland, he had been known as a brilliant Protestant preacher. In Kilmainham Gaol, he was the 'guest' of the Governor, who had had him for dinner as a guest of honour just a fortnight before.

After having been found out, Crouch, still calling himself Rev. Dr Keating, went back to the owners of Truth, the politicians William Nicholas Willis and Adolphus George Taylor, and demanded monies (the residue of 50 pounds) they had promised him for a novel and some articles they had published. They refused, and the parties disputed for several weeks. One day in November, Crouch went to Taylor's Woollahra home to carry on the battle, but Taylor was not in, so Crouch was invited in by the servant, 12-year-old Mary Ann Brown, whom Crouch seduced on Taylor's drawing-room sofa. The matter ended up in court with that incorrigible reprobate John Norton giving information but not sworn evidence against Crouch, who defended himself and got five years, but did not live to serve out his sentence. He was found dead the next day in his Darlinghurst Gaol cell, possibly by a poisoned pill brought in at his request by his wife Polly ...

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Who cares about 1.2 million dead Iraqis?

I've noticed this week that people I've spoken to are either ignorant of or unconcerned by the new report that 1.2 million Iraqis have died since the illegal invasion.

AlterNet has found a similar phenomenon:

"For example, this Monday, AlterNet ran [an] article about the recent report that 1.2 million civilians have died violent deaths since the U.S. invasion. It was our top story, and the number of people who read it (24,000) was far lower than we expected."

The effort to tear people of goodwill away from their TV sets and into committed action for peace grows apace, but the yards are hard.

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Bellingen Backpackers peace drumming 1

Tonight at the Bello Backpackers. A drumming for peace -- a very nice vibe and a good night.

The Hindu milk miracle

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1995 The milk miracle of New Delhi, India. It spread worldwide and finished in 24 hours as suddenly as it had started. It has been called "the best-documented paranormal phenomenon of modern times".

In this alleged miracle, statues of the Hindu elephant god, Ganesh, accepted offerings of milk from tens of millions of worshippers in thousands of temples ...

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A linguistics professor was lecturing to his class one day. "In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative.

"However," he pointed out, "there is no language in which a double positive can form a negative." A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

NZ to bring in carbon trading, but still lags Kyoto

Discover the Permaculture solutions
"New Zealand said on Thursday it would bring in carbon trading over the next six years as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, though admitted even these measures will not meet its Kyoto Protocol target.

"A mandatory cap-and-trade emissions scheme and incentives for tree planting to reduce emissions, blamed for global warming, will progressively be introduced from next year, if the government can get the measures through a parliament that rejected a carbon tax two years ago ..."

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

In a fleeting slinky vagabond and Afro sheilas mood

Have you have been with the young Americans?
Just you and your idol singing falsetto 'bout
Leather, leather everywhere, and
Not a myth left from the ghetto
Well, well, well, would you carry a razor
Just in case, in case of depression?
Sit on your hands in a bus of survivors
Blushing at all the Afro sheilas
Ain't that close to love?
Well, ain't that close to love?
Well, it ain't no Barbie doll
Her heart's been broken just like you

(I like this version, apart from the drummer and the missing piano trills.)

In an earnest Rosalita mood

Alexander the Great

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
356 BCE Alexander the Great (d. June 11, 323 BCE), King of Macedon and conqueror of most of the world known then to Europeans, was born to Philip and Olympias amidst great omens.

Alexander the Great was a real historical figure, a general and emperor, whose life was imbued with overtones of deification from Europe to parts of Western India ...

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Iraq archeological sites destroyed under occupation

"2,000-year-old Sumerian cities torn apart and plundered by robbers. The very walls of the mighty Ur of the Chaldees cracking under the strain of massive troop movements, the privatisation of looting as landlords buy up the remaining sites of ancient Mesopotamia to strip them of their artefacts and wealth. The near total destruction of Iraq's historic past – the very cradle of human civilisation – has emerged as one of the most shameful symbols of our disastrous occupation.

"Evidence amassed by archaeologists shows that even those Iraqis who trained as archaeological workers in Saddam Hussein's regime are now using their knowledge to join the looters in digging through the ancient cities, destroying thousands of priceless jars, bottles and other artefacts in their search for gold and other treasures.

"In the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, armies of looters moved in on the desert cities of southern Iraq and at least 13 Iraqi museums were plundered. Today, almost every archaeological site in southern Iraq is under the control of looters.

"In a long and devastating appraisal to be published in December, Lebanese archaeologist Joanne Farchakh says that armies of looters have not spared 'one metre of these Sumerian capitals that have been buried under the sand for thousands of years.

"'They systematically destroyed the remains of this civilisation in their tireless search for sellable artefacts: ancient cities, covering an estimated surface area of 20 square kilometres, which – if properly excavated – could have provided extensive new information concerning the development of the human race ...'"
The Insider

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Evil at play

This page in the NY Times has a fascinating slideshow of some photos recently donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The pictures show the leisure time of male and female Nazi officers around the same time they were involved in the extermination of Jews. Chilling, smiling happy snaps. They also reveal, to ma at any rate, that even people doing evil things can look nice, happy, friendly and fun-loving. From these I am reminded of two things: that, given the right circumstances, probably any human being can be capable of great wickedness, and that just because someone has a lovely smile is no reason to assume the person is OK.

Ghost Dance report by its convenor

Click for more global actions one person can take

Peace Bus captain, Graeme Dunstan, presents his own very interesting inside report of the Sydney APEC demonstrations and his own role in it as coordinator of the Ghost Dance on September 7.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
International Talk Like A Pirate Day, me hearties, be a parodic holiday invented in 1995 by two swashbuckling Yanks, John Baur ('Ol' Chum Bucket') and Mark Summers ('Cap'n Slappy'), who proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when every bilge rat in the world should be talkin' like a pirate. For example, instead of "hello", an observer of this holiday would greet his mates with "Ahoy, me hearty!" each September 19.

Dave Barry, who writes a nationally-syndicated humour column, picked up the idea in 2002 and promoted the day. The day became "international" that same year when people in Australia learned of the holiday from Barry's column ...


Australians should now register to vote

If you are eligible but unregistered to vote in the forthcoming Australian federal election, or if you are uncertain whether you remembered to change your address when you moved house, do as I did and simply phone 13 23 26. The Australian Electoral Commission will quickly fix you up.

Remember, the government has sneakily brought in a law that says no one can register after the day that John Howard calls an election. It's a tactic designed to keep young and disadvantaged people away from the polling booths. So, register now and please spread the word to fellow Aussies.

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Wikipedia passes two million articles in English language

I belatedly note that Wikipedia's English-language articles very recently passed the two million mark -- quite a milestone.

Congratulations to the thousands of Wikipedians who have made this feat possible. For all its many faults, it's still one of the Net's great sucess stories, a wonder of our age, and an inspiration in the field of not-for-profit human cooperation. As for me, I'm proud to have been tinkering with Wikipedia edits since it had about 30,000 articles. Long live Wikipedia.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Solar technology and alternatives ready to replace fossil fuels

Discover the Permaculture solutions
"Jeremy Leggett is CEO of the company Solarcentury in London and author of the book Half Gone, about peak oil. In this forum Dr Leggett shows how we may just survive global warming and the end of fossils fuels by embracing solar technology and other alternatives. He also talks of SolarAid, a venture in Africa and South America aimed at bringing affordable and clean technology to the poor. SolarAid, based on solar lanterns costing a mere $6 each, is led by Leggett with Cate Blanchett as patron."
Audio and transcript at ABC Science Show

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Constructing Fear

"I ain't no slave!"

"The film you must see before the next election!

"A documentary exposing the activity of an industrial inquisition targeting building workers across Australia. 'Constructing Fear' shows how these workers are the front line in an attack on civil liberties that has implications for every Australian."

Constructing Fear is a documentary film about the Australian government's attacks on the workforce. A 6-minute trailer is here and the whole film can be downloaded for free.

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Bush's fake sheikh whacked

A special investigative report from inside Iraq by Greg Palast

"Did you see George all choked up? In his surreal TV talk on Thursday, he got all emotional over the killing by Al Qaeda of Sheik Abu Risha, the leader of the new Sunni alliance with the US against the insurgents in Anbar Province, Iraq.

"Bush shook Abu Risha’s hand two weeks ago for the cameras. Bush can shake his hand again, but not the rest of him: Abu Risha was blown away just hours before Bush was to go on the air to praise his new friend.

"Here’s what you need to know that NPR won’t tell you.

"1. Sheik Abu Risha wasn’t a sheik.
"2. He wasn’t killed by Al Qaeda.
"3. The new alliance with former insurgents in Anbar is as fake as the sheik - and a murderous deceit.

"How do I know this? You can see the film - of 'Sheik' Abu Risha, of the guys who likely whacked him and of their other victims ..."
Greg Palast (with lid dip to cabinnnnnn at pagans4peace)

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The phantom island of Buss

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

1578 Sir Martin Frobisher’s men, including Thomas Wiars who wrote an account, discovered the mysterious 'Publish Postphantom island', Buss Island, in the North Atlantic at 57.5 degrees latitude.

The discovery of this island was published in a compilation by Richard Hakluyt about Frobisher’s third voyage. Frobisher had been attempting to find the 'Northwest Passage', the legendary shortcut to Kathay (Cathay, or China), with a fleet of 15 vessels. His main purpose was to find gold and other minerals, and ended up mining fools' gold at Frobisher Bay, the ore of which was used to pave streets in London ...

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This is your (father’s) brain on drugs

"A spate of news reports have breathlessly announced that science can explain why adults have such trouble dealing with teenagers: adolescents possess 'immature,' 'undeveloped' brains that drive them to risky, obnoxious, parent-vexing behaviors. The latest example is a study out of Temple University that found that the 'temporal gap between puberty, which impels adolescents toward thrill seeking, and the slow maturation of the cognitive-control system, which regulates these impulses, makes adolescence a time of heightened vulnerability for risky behavior.'

"We know the rest of the script: Commentators brand teenagers as stupid, crazy, reckless, immature, irrational and even alien, then advocate tough curbs on youthful freedoms. Jay Giedd, who heads the brain imaging project at the National Institutes of Health, argues that the voting and drinking ages should be raised to 25. Deborah Yurgelun-Todd, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, asks whether we should allow teenagers to be lifeguards or to enlist in the military. And state legislators around the country have proposed raising driving ages.

"But the handful of experts and officials making these claims are themselves guilty of reckless overstatement ...

"Our most reliable measures show Americans ages 35 to 54 are suffering ballooning crises:

"18,249 deaths from overdoses of illicit drugs in 2004, up 550 percent per capita since 1975, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

"46,925 fatal accidents and suicides in 2004, leaving today’s middle-agers 30 percent more at risk for such deaths than people aged 15 to 19, according to the national center.

"More than four million arrests in 2005, including one million for violent crimes, 500,000 for drugs and 650,000 for drinking-related offenses, according to the F.B.I. All told, this represented a 200 percent leap per capita in major index felonies since 1975.

"630,000 middle-agers in prison in 2005, up 600 percent since 1977, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

"21 million binge drinkers (those downing five or more drinks on one occasion in the previous month), double the number among teenagers and college students combined, according to the government’s National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health.

"370,000 people treated in hospital emergency rooms for abusing illegal drugs in 2005, with overdose rates for heroin, cocaine, pharmaceuticals and drugs mixed with alcohol far higher than among teenagers.

"More than half of all new H.I.V./AIDS diagnoses in 2005 were given to middle-aged Americans, up from less than one-third a decade ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"What experts label 'adolescent risk taking' is really baby boomer risk taking ..."
NY Times

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Alan Greenspan claims Iraq war was really for oil

Read about the lies and myths of the War on Terror
"America's elder statesman of finance, Alan Greenspan, has shaken the White House by declaring that the prime motive for the war in Iraq was oil.

"In his long-awaited memoir, to be published tomorrow, Greenspan, a Republican whose 18-year tenure as head of the US Federal Reserve was widely admired, will also deliver a stinging critique of President George W Bush’s economic policies ..."
Times Online

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A vote for Hillary is a vote for ...

"If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. He has also given aid and comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members. So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation."
Hillary Clinton, 2002

Sanitized Australiana brought to you by the Federal Government

As mentioned in a previous post, my Louisa and Henry Lawson Chronology (the world's largest website on the lives and times of Australia's most famous writer and his suffragette mother) was banned by the conservative Australian Government for listing on its 'Australian Culture and Recreation Portal'. Apparently for political reasons.

I note today that the Henry Lawson page has a mention of Henry Lawson's mother, Louisa Lawson, but incorrectly calls her 'Louise'.

I venture to propose that if the Pod People -- sorry, that should read 'Portal People' -- were to avail themselves of the Louisa and Henry Lawson Chronology they would be able to name correctly the woman who was called by fellow suffragettes 'The Mother of Womanhood Suffrage', in the country where the rights for women to vote and stand for election were first enshrined in law.

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The Shock Doctrine

"When I finished The Shock Doctrine, I sent it to Alfonso Cuarón because I adore his films and felt that the future he created for Children of Men was very close to the present I was seeing in disaster zones. I was hoping he would send me a quote for the book jacket and instead he pulled together this amazing team of artists -- including Jonás Cuarón who directed and edited -- to make The Shock Doctrine short film. It was one of those blessed projects where everything felt fated."
Naomi Klein

Monday, September 17, 2007

Iraq death toll rivals Rwanda Genocide, Cambodian Killing Fields

Click for myths


"According to a new study, 1.2 million Iraqis have met violent deaths since the 2003 invasion, the highest estimate of war-related fatalities yet ...

"Here's the troubling thing, and one reason why opposition to the war isn't even more intense than it is: Americans were asked in an AP poll conducted earlier this year how many Iraqi civilians they thought had been killed as a result of the invasion and occupation, and the median answer they gave was 9,890 ..."

So ... wake up someone you know today!

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It is the death of history

"2,000-year-old Sumerian cities torn apart and plundered by robbers. The very walls of the mighty Ur of the Chaldees cracking under the strain of massive troop movements, the privatisation of looting as landlords buy up the remaining sites of ancient Mesopotamia to strip them of their artefacts and wealth. The near total destruction of Iraq's historic past – the very cradle of human civilisation – has emerged as one of the most shameful symbols of our disastrous occupation."

Thanks, Bush and Blair.

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Saving Zimbabwe is not colonialism, it's Britain's duty

Wilson's Almanac news and current affairs blog
Saving Zimbabwe is not colonialism, it's Britain's duty

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Eccentric Bee Miles

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1902 Bee (or Bea) Miles (d. December 3, 1973), was a famous eccentric in Sydney, Australia, a town known for its eccentrics – individualists such as Webster (the immensely popular soap-box orator, a genius about whom, sadly, nothing appears to have been published); the Flying Pieman; Rosaleen Norton, the Witch of Kings Cross; the Bengal Tiger (also apparently unsung); William Chidley the natural health fanatic; Dulcie Deamer, the Queen of Bohemia; and of course, Sydneytown’s favourite, Mister Eternity.

Then there was Bee Miles, who must surely be an immortal Sydneysider. According to contemporary newspaper reports, in pre-World War II Sydney Bee was more widely known than the Prime Minister. From a wealthy North Shore family, at only 12 years of age young Beatrice wore a 'No Conscription' badge to school during the contentious conscription referendum in World War I. Later, she was severely marked down for an essay about Gallipoli, which she described as a 'strategical blunder' rather than a 'wonderful war effort'. In this, as in many aspects in her later life, she went quite against the norms of her day ...

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Israeli military intelligence chief muzzled on Syria air raid

"The veil of secrecy Israel has thrown around an alleged air raid on Syria earlier this month was drawn even tighter Sunday when the chief of military intelligence was ordered to keep mum on the issue in his appearance before a powerful parliamentary panel."
Canadian Press

Israelis 'blew apart Syrian nuclear cache'
Speculation heats up over what Israel hit in Syria

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