There is a fascinating article on the Radio National website by John Gardiner of the University of Sydney about the role of plants in science, culture and medicine. A brief look at a big subject, but it elegantly describes the reasons why we should be interested in plants, rather than having "plant blindness" and the myriad ways that they have shaped everything about us. You should read it here!
I was fascinated by the seeming simplicity of plants. I soon discovered that this was an illusion. Their complexity is mind-blowing.
There was an interesting article in the last issue of the Australian Sky and Telescope magazine on the high-resolution images that are available from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. There is a great online interface that lets you zoom in anywhere on the moon, overlay various bits of information and so on. The thing I really liked though was the 'Path Query', where you can draw a line anywhere you like and get the geographic profile. The moon looks fairly flat right? So this image is of Copernicus crater, not the largest, but one of the more interesting. It is nearly 4 km deep! Explore the moon yourself at: http://target.lroc.asu.edu/q3/
The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. They were only a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but a regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.
Marcel Proust: Swann's Way.
For those that are unaware, the 'Deadly' awards were set up almost 20 years ago to recognise achievement by indigenous people. It is clear that two of the many problems in respect to indigenous people in Australia are recognition of indigenous achievement by the white majority and self-worth of the indigenous minority in the face of constant belittling in much of the established media, not to mention politicians. See the comment by Abbott in the image attached. So, in this respect the generally positive (if muted) reporting on the 'Deadly' awards has been a significant benefit. One of Hockey's many cuts in the budget was to the organisation that ran the 'Deadlies' meaning that they are no more. I'm not sure if the money saved is being used to fund the new 'Knight' and 'Dame' awards that Abbott has brought back or not, but it sure isn't funding anything of benefit to the Aboriginal population has funding has been cut across the board, see a list here.
What we can do is campaign for the awards to be reinstated, sign the petition at Change.org here. Incidentally, shortly after the announcement of the funding cut, Gavin Jones, the founder of the Deadlies was found dead.
On the whole my favourite music by Bill Callahan is the later releases under his Smog moniker. However, "The Doctor Came at Dawn", from 1996 is an incredible record. Almost all the tracks are great, but one of my favourites is this one, "You Moved In". Hope you enjoy it too.
We're back from our big UK trip, where we visited North Wales, Sheffield, Glossop, London, Cornwall and Towcester, to see family and friends and have a little bit of extra holiday time with just us. I will eventually post a selection of the near 1200 photos I seem to have taken. This is view from our 'holiday house' at Llangollen in Wales. It was taken on our first morning in the UK from the public footpath at the entrance to the holiday cottages where we were staying. Incidentally, if you like panoramas I have this and a few old ones on line here.
I only recently came across Harry Leslie Smith, although he has been writing for the Guardian for over a year and writing books for a very long time. He is 91 and is a social progressive, who writes with great passion about what he has witnessed during his life. He has just published his latest book, Harry's Last Stand, about the edifaces for social good that his generation built, such as universal healthcare, the welfare state and so on are being taken apart, brick by brick. Last November he wrote a piece about the way the British Government is celebrating the start of the first world war. The government here is doing exactly the same thing, although perhaps with even more of the population in support, as for some reason the pointless deaths of Australian and other allied troops in Anzac Cove has become seen as defining the Australian character. In Harry's words:
I find that the government's intention to spend £50m to dress the slaughter of close to a million British soldiers in the 1914-18 conflict as a fight for freedom and democracy profane.
So. Rather than leave everything to Facebook and all the anoyances that entails I have ditched my account and turned my old site into a blog. There are some rather old overviews of my past work, a few random pages on my interests and, by default, whatever random stuff I've felt like posting.