Monday, February 05, 2007

The Best Comet McNaught Photo Taken in Australia

[Photo credit Antti Kemppainen]

If I was there I would have had tears in my eyes. Amazing.

There are no Terrorists in Australia

Oh dear. After giving Mamdouh Habib a vote of support yesterday (see here) Habib has given us his opening salvo in this article:
"...there are no terrorists in Australia, I believe."
Hmm... not to doubt his intimate knowledge of all twenty million people in Australia, I have to say it's an interesting belief he holds. I believe I sound better when singing in the shower.

It also raises the question - is a terrorist someone with the intent or someone who has actually commited an act of terrorism? Is Habib claiming he knows every Australian's intent? How would he know anyway - it's a topic he doesn't have any association with right?

Well now. What evidence do we have that there are or are not any terrorists in Australia. The Immigration Department holds a list of everyone in Australia. They should be able to tell if there are any acknowledged terrorists here.

What about terror attacks here in Australia? There has only been one - The Hilton Hotel bombing in 78. No one has been satisfactorily proven to have commited that attack. The one guy arrested twice for the crime (and acquitted both times) now lectures political science at Sydney Uni. Hmm... weird. I guess he's not a terrorist. Doubly so.

What about people who are planning the next attack here in Australia? Ah... here we run into trouble. Are they here? The Attourney-General will say yes. He has a very expensive security campaign to manage. What is its purpose if the terrorists aren't here?

In the end all we have here is some guy saying what he believes. Unfortunately he wants to be a pollie. Thanks for the opinion.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

On Australia's terrorism watch list - and running for State Parliament

[Photo: Peter Rae]


I read in SMH today (see here) that Mamdouh Habib, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, is running for NSW Parliament in the upcoming March 2007 elections.

If Habib makes a serious run at it, I think this is an excellent way to move forward on issues such as the new terror laws, watch lists etc. Win or lose, this is the best way he can put himself under the public eye and let the people of NSW see him in as much detail as the ASIO monitoring squad that has invariably been following his every move since his return to Australia in January 2005.

Putting himself in the public eye as a political figure will do much to wash away a lot of the lingering 'smell' of terrorism that hangs over him in the eyes of much of the Australian public. He can speak out on the issues that affect him and be heard as a potential insider and change-maker, rather than a lone voice in the dark.

Habib will be running for the seat of Auburn as an independent. He will be challenging Labor MP Barbara Perry. Auburn is a relatively safe Labor seat but Habib's celebrity and local support may give him a fighting chance. This should make for a very interesting campaign.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Excellent Still Life Photos

These are some of the best still life photos I have seen. Check them out!

Friday, January 26, 2007

More Controversy at Australian Open

The off-court controversy keeps coming at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

After the Serb vs. Croat punchup on the first day (come on, as if that's ever going to stop!) and the Sharapov hand signals what could possibly cause the next hubbub?

Well, take this guy...

This young man is accused of using his watch to dazzle Nicole Vaidisova during her semi-final match against Serena Williams yesterday. You can see in the photo he is sitting right in front of Serena's mum.

No doubt he will be watched very closely at Serena's final against Maria Sharapova tomorrow!

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

High tech cheating at Australian Open

I'm sitting at home watching the Australian Open right now. I'm only half listening to the commentators droning away (still recovering from last night's Muse concert!) and something caught my ear.

They were discussing the spate of courtside coaching and the players who have been fined for it over the course of the competition - most recently Sharapova. The cameras have been trying to catch the coaches in the act, zooming in on their finger jestures. What caught my ear was the commentators realisation that whatever they zoom in on is shown on the big screen - right in front of the players! Any player could simply look up and see their coach jesturing away.

This is the most blatant misuse of technology in tennis since the hawkeye!

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Australian Open website hates Firefox


If you use Firefox browser, don't go to http://www.australianopen.com! I have tried it on two different computers with Firefox installed and both times it freezes the program! The site works fine in IE. I've never seen any other website do that to Firefox before. What's the deal?

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's Google!!




well, yes. It is a plane. A Google plane. Wave to the plane!

Why would a Google plane be flying low (600m) over Sydney on Australia Day? Hmm... here's a clue.




Yes, that's right. Google will be taking new photos for it's google maps service (http://maps.google.com.au) over Sydney CBD on January 26. These will be the highest resolution photos ever taken for Google Maps worldwide and Google is asking everyone to look out for the plane and do something distinctive to be recognisable later. The photos should be detailed enough to make out hair colour, clothing and jestures. Get out there and wave; hold up a sign; urinate on an electric fence! Anything to attract attention from the heavens!




The astute among you may have also noticed something strange about the website above. That's right. It's a '.au' domain. Google has set up Google Maps Australia with a local .au server.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Comet McNaught


I saw comet McNaught with my own eyes a couple of evenings ago - it was soooooooo cool. The photo above is not my own unfortunately. These are. [photo credit Kevin Crause]

See more cool McNaught pics here.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Amazing electronic waterfall

This waterfall is amazing!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Great Aussie online street directory

zoom In is a nifty little google maps copy for australia with excellent street coverage and search capability. Pretty swish for 4 guys to whip up!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Time management - Goldfish style

How Japanese Learn English... and More!



Err... tell me this is NOT a Japanese learning guide. Then again, maybe I'll just look at that photo of his sister one more time...

Porn for your Car

If cars had porn. This would be it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Icon of Deep Space Destroyed


You may recognise the picture above as the Pillars of Creation - a Hubble Space Telescope image from 1995. The bigger picture is the Eagle Nebula and the inset shows the fantastic Pillars - which became an instant icon of humans' vision for space exploration, the success of Hubble and the beauty of deep space.

This New Scientist article has a tragic story to tell - the Pillars are gone; destroyed in a supernova explosion! We won't see the destruction for another 1000 years, but that's really soon in astronomical terms.

Goodbye Pillars! Hopefully we'll be out there soon to pay homage at your grave site!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Face transplant followup

As a follwup to my February 2006 post, here, this is the latest photo of Isabelle Dinoire, recipient of the world's first face transplant.

She received a face transplant consisting of the nose, lips and chin from a brain-dead donor in November 2005. She will be taking imunosuppresant drugs for the rest of her life, but she's apparently doing well and plans to return to work next year. Amazing stuff!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Byron trip - freaks of the animal kingdom

A lot of people have displayed some increadulousness at some of the animal freaks I have described on my trip. Here they are for your viewing pleasure:

Pelican on pole - Tuncurry

Magpie on Crescent Head

Seven-legged horse


Two-headed cow

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Byron Trip - Day 5

I said goodbye to my cousin and headed off to explore the great north-west New England. I headed for Nimbin via the back roads. The back roads run around the old caldera mountains of the volcano (what do you mean, "which volcano"?) and the views were absolutely awe inspiring. I stopped at one vantage point taking in the amazing spectacle before me and after a few moments I became aware of a strange repetitive springy noise. I looked over the nearby fence and there was a young girl bouncing on her trampoline. i watched her for a few moments and then let my gaze drift back to the awe-inspiring view. This is hew backyard. This is what she sees while she jumps on her trampoline. Lucky.

I hit Nimbin at about 11am and shot in to the Rainbow Cafe for breakfast of a falafel wrap and a coffee. I was only accosted by three residents selling weed between the carpark and the cafe so I think I did well. Oh, did I mention I parked right outside the cafe? Nimbin. Meh. I overheard two people, both dressed in what I assumed were rainbow pyjamas, discussing the cool pictures of men and women on the toilet doors. Nimbin. Meh. I left Nimbin heading north, then south east along the main roads to Kyogle, then south onto route 91 again abck to Casino. Casino looked a lot like it did on Thursday. I guess not much changes.

I headed west on the Bruxner Highway until I hit Tenterfield. Tenterfield has an identity crisis. It is home to both Peter Allen, of Boy From Oz fame, and the home of Federation, where Henry Parkes gave his "let's federate" speech. I don't think Parkes used maracas.


I grabbed a sandwich in Glen Innes and was on my way out of town when a sign caught my eye. 'Celtic Standing Stone Monument' doesn't often pop up in conversation in rural NSW, but it doe3s in Glen Innes! What a monument! A full on stone circle. Very cool. I have photos. On the way out of town I passed Stonehenge Creek, Stonehenge Way and Stonehenge Farm. Are you seeing a pattern?

By this time, as usual, I was getting tired so i shot down the New England Highway at very illegal speeds. I didn't stop in Armidale but pushed on to my final destination - Tamworth. Home of country music. Hmm. At first Tamworth pissed me off royally. No motels near town (!!!!) and the beggars were out in force. I even saw one hand me off to another after I refused to give him whatever handout it was he was asking for. After dinner, however, things turned good. I watched the Tri-nations rugby leage final on a big screen - what a fucking great match! Then listened to some young guy strum out some classic Aussie hits, and a few American guitar songs as well, including my favourite - Lightning Crashes by Live.

I decided to call it a night, but on the way back to my motel I passed the Imperial Hotel going off it's head with swarms of drunk schoolie kids. Hmm, OK. I popped in for a drink and watched the Generation Y creatures do their amazing social interaction. Theirs is truly a foreign world. No one talked to me. Poor me. So much cleavage, so few conversations.

Anyway, it's off to bed for me now and straight down the highway tomorrow, home to Sydney. Stay tuned!

Byron Trip - Day 4

Today was a relaxing day. I woke up late and cruised into Byron for a coffee. I love beach towns. I can go to a cafe wearing noting but a pair of (really cool) shorts and no one complains about my big gut! I love it.

I spent the afternoon sitting around with my little cousin Lily playing with dolls. It's just like playing with dolls at home except there are other people around who don't look at you funny. The dog was a problem. In between trying to eat us, he ate a small green plastic pony and a pink baseball cap that read "Roxy". Lily was a bit upset about the cap. She asked me what Roxy meant, and I couldn't really tell her. She wasn't quite so upset after that!

We took the dog for a walk - I think he needed it. On the beach the dog played in the surf while Lily dived off three-metre cliffs into the sand. Lucky sand is so soft! I took the oportunity to let my gut out to play again and jogged the beach. Jogging sucks.

In the evening me, and two of Byron's finest young women went out for a night on the town. The Beach Hotel was pumping. It took us two goes to get in because the girls didn't bring ID and the first set of bouncers didn't know them by sight - a strange occurrence in Byron! We knocked back a few bevvies and let the music and salty air wash over us. I slept well that night!

Oh, by the way, Caroline, your belt is in my car. I'll keep it as a souvenir.