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Yes, yesterday was amazing if not entirely unique

You have to go back to 1942 to find similar visibility issues at Sydney Airport.

Annex Across the Pacific (link on pic) was apparently a hit at the time. It was the year before I was born.

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald has some facts and figures.

EIGHT years of drought, and record temperatures that have baked outback soils dry, were blamed for yesterday’ s dust storm that turned Sydney’s sky red, and the sun blue.

Scientists estimated 75,000 tonnes of dust were being blown across NSW every hour in what may have been the most severe dust storm Sydney has seen since the droughts of the 1940s.

NSW, said John Leys, a scientist with the Department of Environment and Climate Change, was now experiencing ”something like 10 times more dust storms than normal”.

”In the last two months we have been getting a major dust storm once a week,” said the scientist who helps manage DustWatch, which has a network of 32 monitoring stations across the state. ”We have been getting more and more of them [dust storms] over the last seven years.”

Dr Leys was reluctant to say it was the result of climate change. But he noted, ”we are getting the hottest summers we have ever had. We have had droughts for eight years.” …

The Other Andrew has some great shots. Here’s one.

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Can you see the Opera House?

See also: Sally: here and here; Julie.

Update

In a comment on yesterday’s post Kevin from Louisiana congratulates me on not attributing the dust storm to climate change. There is a good reason not to: no individual event can be attributed to or not attributed to climate change with any confidence. It is only as a pattern of unusual events emerges that one might start extrapolating. That is pretty much what Dr Leys says above.

However, Herald cartoonist Alan Moir did make the leap today, and fair enough to make a point about possibility – it is possible, after all, that yesterday’s event is of the order that we might anticipate if the majority of scientists who accept the idea of anthropogenic climate change are right – and as you would know from my side bar note I am inclined to go with that majority.

moirillo600x400-600x400One stat that appeals to me is that what passed over Sydney yesterday was the equivalent of 25% of Uluru (Ayers Rock) ground up into powder!

It goes from what I said that it is also rather presumptuous to be sure that yesterday had no relation at all to climate change. Piers Akerman, as is no surprise, is of course convinced on no scientific grounds whatsoever that it is not and proceeds to make the usual arguments against doing anything, though there is room for discussion – though possibly it is a luxury we will live to regret – about whether what the government has proposed is well considered or not. Trouble is though that climate change as such really is not a matter of politics; if indeed it is a natural process in train as we dither, and if indeed the hypothesis so widely accepted that this time round our impact has been both considerable and measurable is proven, it won’t really matter what political position we adhere to. We will end up resembling old King Canute giving orders to the tide.

 

Speaking of John Howard

It should be clear from the replay for today that I was not a fan in 2004. I have softened just a little since then – just a little. 😉 And Mr Latham was a bit of a disaster, wasn’t he?

However, checking my fellow photo-bloggers on City Daily Photo I saw this from Nottingham Daily Photo in the UK.

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Surely that ogre is just a coincidence?

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2009 in blogging, British, John Howard, other blogs, photography

 

More on Indonesian terrorist bombing

See also Not again!

1. From Tikno in Kalimantan: Fatwa against terrorist

Dear readers, I create this post because I heard many terrorism issues that tend to be associated with Islam as religion. But through this post I want to say that it is NOT TRUE. If you say that it is personal responsibility, then I’ll say yes. I know some of you may be asking within the heart "Why you say that?"

Well, here is my explanation:

1) I’m strongly believe that there are still a lot of good Muslim, even far more than you imagine. I live in Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, and I have many Muslim friends here. They (my Muslim friends) are also condemns terrorism action…

2. From Rob Bainton in Sydney: Noordin M Top claims recent Jakarta bombings

Rob was a long-term Indonesian resident until just a few months ago.

… The sooner anti-terrorism forces catch this man the better. Otherwise, Indonesians can be assured of one thing; he will continue to build bombs designed to kill as many people as he can for as long as he can. He, and his group, might be targeting foreigners, but history shows he is not adverse to killing Indonesians as acceptable collateral damage in the pursuit of his goals.

Violence is not the answer. It will never resolve our differences and it will never allow us to move forward to a place where we all live in peace and harmony with one another. People of all faiths must denounce violence as a legitimate means to an end; violence is not legitimate and it never ends.

What distinguishes these two posts from anything I might say is that they are based on deep experience of the context and people concerned. What distinguishes the hope and counsel they offer from the usual punditry or over-generalisation is that same authority and authenticity.

 

Kevin has a blog – and other thoughts on blogs

You can check the Prime Ministerial blog here. I haven’t joined yet.

kevinblog

I wonder if it will get through the Great Firewall of China. Perhaps too Kevin from Louisiana might subscribe so that he can make his comments directly. 😉

See today’s Sydney Morning Herald: Blog standard approach brings PM to the people.

NINE months after taking the Twitterverse by storm, the Prime Minister has turned his hand to blogging. But Kevin Rudd’s cautious approach to accepting comments from readers has led to a cool response from some of Australia’s leading bloggers…

The blog won qualified support from one of Australia’s most prominent bloggers, the "Girl With a Satchel", Erica Bartel, who argued it was a way for Mr Rudd to bypass traditional media and talk directly to his constituents.

"A Prime Minister interacting with his public can only be a good thing," she said.

"If the blog is to resonate, and not be written off as a gimmick, it will have to be authentic and genuine, by no means an obvious ploy to pimp party politics."

Other bloggers were sceptical of Mr Rudd’s commitment to the medium, pointing to the strict limitations he was imposing on comments left by users, usually the lifeblood of blogs.

In addition to the common prohibitions on defamatory and abusive content, the rules for Mr Rudd’s blog say that comments will be accepted for only "five business days" from the time the post is published, be moderated by his staff strictly during business hours, cannot include links to other websites, and are limited to 300 words…

I suppose the limitations are unsurprising; one can imagine there might otherwise be more comments than anyone could reasonably handle.

My own comment policy

I don’t over-encourage comments here either, closing posts (when I remember to) after around two weeks. This is partly to limit all the spam I have to check, because while Akismet catches 99.9% of the spam you still have to read them all in case some are mistakes. The About page and the What’s New? sticky post are always open, however, and I have a Contact page, so I don’t think I am being too mean. I do reserve the right to edit or delete – the first sometimes for the sake of the commenter, the second for legal and/or ethical reasons.

Learning from other blogs

One of the benefits of surfing lots of blogs on BlogExplosion is seeing what works and what doesn’t work.

Now I know my photoblogs take a while to download because I display decent size photos rather than thumbnails – but I like the look better that way and apologise to any for whom the download time is a problem. Same applies sometimes to this blog, but there is a graphics-free version as well. On the other hand I have noticed some blogs that have lots of third-party widgets and ads, not to mention flash and so on, which simply don’t download in the 30 seconds given by BlogExplosion. This seems to me rather self-defeating. What do you think?

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2009 in Australia, blogging, Kevin Rudd, other blogs, web stuff

 

Meet some blogs

These three come from the BlogExplosion widget on NEIL’S SYDNEY ON BLOGSPOT. They have attracted me by their content and/or design. The images are linked to the blogs.

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The author describes himself and his pseudonym thus: “Wilmaryad Ben O’Scallas is the love child of Irish author, Oscar Wilde, and Greek-American opera genius, Maria Callas. Wilmaryad comes from a faraway land. A land of sea, rain, sun, snow and sand. Where he has to swim against the tide. And where gay love has to hide.” A very human document.

A9

“…the portfolio, journal, and personal blog of filmmaker/editor, Luke Fandrich. Check out my original shorts, edits, and festival work from past and present, read up on my observations as a former film student, share in my general production woes and successes – then COMMENT and REVIEW to share the view from your side!”

Future in Our Hands by Aussiegall

“Today is the six-month anniversary of Gaiatribe: Ideas for a Thinking Planet.  This blog was launched on January 14, 2009.  So far, it has established favored subject areas and attracted a following of regular readers.  I would enjoy further input from you regarding this blog’s progress and possibilities.” – 14 July 2009.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2009 in blogging, other blogs

 

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Some things that tickle me

My other favourites

If you go to the renamed Neil’s Sydney on Blogspot you will find in the sidebar a widget called BlogExplosion – my blogmarks. While surfing via BlogExplosion I sometimes bookmark blogs that attract my attention because of their design or something about the content. Go to that widget and see what I have found.

On Neil’s Sydney photo blog is another set of favourites, this time from City Daily Photo. Here they are

These will give you much pleasure!

And I am sure you are aware of my Google Reader which I update at least once a day.

My daily dose of mindless TV

Yes, when I can, I watch Deal or No Deal at 5.30 on Channel Seven: “The show that pits ordinary Australians against an insidious banker intent on thwarting their chances at walking away with $200000.”

I admire the quiet assumptions the show makes about what an “ordinary Australian” is – no fanfare, no drum roll – and this is a power for good. Last night for example:

deal

And what a character she was! She walked away $100,000 richer. She had hoped for a few thousand to set up an ice-cream van!

 

Welcoming Russell Darnley OAM

My former colleague at SBHS Russell Darnley has entered the blogosphere. I mentioned Russell a while ago in Islam has about 1.3 billion followers worldwide. He was in Bali at the time of the bombing and wrote about it; the full text is in that post.

“I want to write about the overwhelming manifestation of selfless human love and care I have experienced.”

It’s obvious that the tragedy in Bali has brought great grief to the lives of many Australian families. For those of us that have been intimately involved in the tasks of ministering to the needs of the injured, attempting a body count and counselling the grieved friends and families of the missing it has been a demanding task.

This has been a task made more bearable by the massive upsurge of goodwill and the magnificent cooperation that has emerged in the face of this tragedy.

There has been little time to reflect on the intentions of the perpetrators. Our energy has been elsewhere. With the evacuations complete and the forensic process now underway there is time to write.

My first task was to survey a network of private hospitals surrounding the Sanglah public hospital for walking wounded. There were none. What first confronted me was the youth of the patients. Sure there were people of my own age but many were Rugby and AFL players from Australia. As a Rugby coach I found an immediate affinity with lots of the young guys that were lying, not always gravely injured, but bewildered about the whereabouts of missing teammates. I could only ask them to have hope and if the inclination took them, to pray for their friends…

Many thousands of people have assisted in the relief effort. Their care of the sick and dying and the respect they have shown for the dead have filled me with great hope.

The overwhelming majority of Indonesia’s 230 million people I am sure are deeply appalled by the wanton violence. Bali in particular is now confronting the prospect of a significant economic downturn if tourism is no longer seen as safe and viable.

I can only conclude with the words of the Denpasar (Badung) Fire Brigade Crew that I happened to talk with yesterday as a walked back to Sanglah Hospital from the Garuda office.

“Tell the Australians that Bali is safe. We can guarantee this. We will protect them. Tell them that we want them to come.”

Now he is out there for you all to read. I commend his blog to you.

russell 

Speaking of blogging friends, thanks Jim Belshaw for your kind words today.

 

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