Daily Archives: August 26, 2008

Photo fun

M and I have been going through some of M’s photos from his various overseas trips between 1999 and the present. He is entering 12 in an international photo competition. More details after they are submitted and judged. We have brought it down to 21.

To give you an idea, here is one that didn’t make the cut…


He’s good, you know….

1 Comment

Posted by on August 26, 2008 in inspiration, M, M's trip


The Daily Telegraph | Breaking News from Sydney, NSW and Australia | The Daily Telegraph

As a pensioner I buy the papers sometimes, not every day. There is always the online version, though I am still old-fashioned that way. Then of course there is the option of reading the Juice & Java’s copies while having my daily coffee, though that can be a bit competitive. This morning I was stuck with The Daily Telegraph, Sydney’s Murdoch tabloid.

First thing I notice is that the online version gives prominence to Gay sex scandal teacher quits.

A SENIOR teacher at an exclusive $15,000-a-year Sydney private school has resigned after students viewed naked pictures of him on a gay dating website…

The link beside the story to Sex case teachers gallery doesn’t give you what you may have expected…

In the print version the prominent story — Olympics aside (“Rice says Phelps has a great body” — agreed!) — is more significant, and did give me pause for thought: NSW children reveal Home Alone fears of kidnaps, attacks.

CHILDREN left to fend for themselves after school because their parents are forced to work have told of their stress, with some fearing being kidnapped or attacked.

Surveyed for a NSW parliamentary committee, the children aged 14 and under said they did not feel safe caring for themselves in the community and told how they wanted to be able to hang out with their peers in areas supervised by adults.

Submissions showed both parents and children are concerned there is no after-school or holiday care for high school children who are forced to stay home alone after school.

Many are using local libraries as de facto childcare centres…

There are genuine social concerns here.

Then there’s Tim Blair: Mother of all hotties goes cold on lovers. It is a witty piece about climate change, and we all know where Tim Blair stands on that — not that he is well-known in scientific circles for his expertise in the meteorological sciences, but then I would be the first to admit that Tim and I are equally incompetent in the field so we both offer second-hand views. Tim knows, of course, that it is all a load of old cobblers, and that Tim Flannery, and worse still, Al Gore, have no idea… He does have an eye for irony, does Tim:

The latest case of Mother meanness is so beautiful its almost transcendent. Earlier this year a film company shot a global warming-themed telemovie in Sydney. Scorched – starring Georgie Parker, Cameron Daddo and Vince Colosimo – is meant to depict events in 2012, when there has been no rain for 240 days and the whole place is toast.

So the production crew went out looking for hot, horrible locations. Cue Mother Earth and that playful sense of humour. “It began raining in Sydney and didn’t stop,” reports online movie mag Urban Cinefile.

Scorched director Tony Tilse couldn’t believe it.

“Unfortunately, it was like Ireland,” he said. “Everything became green, the trees were blossoming.” How dreadful.

Which is funny, I admit. But it also means bugger-all.

Perhaps Tim did read 16 August 2008 – New Scientist last week. If so he would have read:

…Crudely, short-term weather is determined by the chaotic dynamics of shifting weather systems, while long-term climate is increasingly ruled by the accumulation of human-made greenhouse gases. The medium term, it now appears, is dictated mainly by ocean cycles, and there is growing confidence that these cycles can be predicted years ahead. If so, there could be big benefits…

Yet there is a political sting in the tail of this good news story. Some medium-term forecasters are predicting that natural oceanic oscillations will push the world towards modest cooling, or at least a cessation of global warming, in the next five years or so. There is a danger that this could take the pressure off politicians to tackle greenhouse gas omissions, and make it harder to convince people of the urgent need for action…

…Even the prospect of a cool 2008 has prompted a spate of claims that the whole global warming story is a hoax.

We can expect more of the same. It’s all nonsense, of course. Even a decade of planetary cooling would not change the long-term prospect of a warmer world. The decade-long oceanic oscillations will come and go, but the carbon dioxide we are putting into the air will stay there for centuries.

It is essential to get this message across. Fluctuations in temperature will be just that — ripples on a swelling tide of warming. On the timescale of an electoral cycle the world may not be getting hotter, but politicians have a responsibility to take the long view.

So, I would argue, do newspaper opiniocrats.

See the appropriate box in the side bar if you wish to follow these issues further; there you will find people much better qualified than Tim or I.


Compare Former head of CSIRO’s division of space science says global cooling may be on the way. Read it very carefully — it is interesting. Read it in the light of the New Scientist quote above. Read some of the comments and see how some folks have unjustifiably seen the article as proving that climate change is not a problem…


Top 100 Language Blogs – Lexiophiles

I can’t say I was displeased when I received an email pointing to Top 100 Language Blogs – Lexiophiles because English/ESL has been listed there — at #75. I strongly recommend your browsing the list as some very interesting blogs may be found there.

Now that we have our very own Top 100 Blog List there are bound to be questions and opinions streaming in from all corners of the Internet. This article is a preemptive post to answer what we feel are the two biggest questions. Why we made the list, and how we made the list.

Why did we feel we needed to make a blog list?
The short answer is that we couldn’t find one. We were looking at different language blogs and talking about which our favorites were and why. To make our discussion more colorful we wanted to compare our favorites with a toplist. When we couldn’t find one, at least one that covered our category we decided to make one!

How did we make the list?
We sifted through some 300 blogs relating to language and learning. Each blog was looked over and ranked with a number of points. No system is perfect, but we based our ranking on objective values, which were assigned according to the blog’s content and features.

We identified three main categories: content, consistency and interactivity. We know that no ranking is 100% accurate and always somewhat subjective. Still, we feel that these three categories give a good overall view of how good a blog really is.

Content: No need to explain that the reader appreciates good content. This category took into account what type of content the blog featured. We looked for authored and original content, depth of postings, incorporation of multimedia (such as videos, pictures etc.) and reviews of online tools and websites.

Consistency: A blog is about sharing information in a fast and uncomplicated way. The articles are not like research papers you work months on. People want to read something new every time they visit a blog. Therefore, we looked at if the blog was active, and if so, how active. Frequent postings gave a higher score as well as the regularity of postings.

Interactivity: In our opinion a good blog is not a one-way street but involves the readers as well. The most observable feature is comments, but it doesn’t stop there: Can the user contact the blogger via a contact page, Facebook or similar? Can the user follow the blogger via Twitter or RSS-Feed or share the blog with others via a bookmark button? There are many neat functions that make a blog more interactive.

Thanks, people!