30 December 2005

Watch over Manly

Manly CBD has now 21 new closed-circuit television cameras in strategic positions. This additional surveillance has the stated aim to prevent personal violence. Mnly is concerned that the sparsity of the technological eyes might not guarantee safety and the enforcement of the existing law. An area-wide coverage, at least 1 per 50 people (as in London) could ensure a civil society. Only ubiquitous coverage would have a chance of executing the law in 2006. There would be no more:

Reckless speeding, illegal parking or emptying stinking bombs out
Petrol spewing auto-mobiles on car-free zones
Smoking on beaches and smoke-free zones
Emptying of dogs on the beaches, promenade and national parks
Mauling of protected wildlife (penguins, bandicoots, possums etc)
Illegal (spear) fishing in the marine reserve
Butchering of nice old trees
Dumping of (fast-food) garbage all over the beach
Jet-skies and other motorised petrol crafts endangering swimmers and divers
Open fires at Shelley Beach and the National Park
Hummers with protruding metal spikes
Chucking toxic substances down the common drains
Wasting water (illegally) washing cars, cement etc.
All you residents and visitors can participate in the emergent participatory panopticum. Grab the tools of transparency: cameraphone, wearable digital video recorder etc and take part in the 'sousveillance' from below. Moblog or vlog it. Become a witness and ensure that local government does enforce the law and guarantee the absence of violence. Send your witness accounts to Manly council to keep it a 'clean, safe and unique natural environment'.

29 December 2005

Eels - Managing land or poisoning it

A "gigantic aquaculture system" farming eels was managed by the Guditjmara community at Lake Condah for a long time. "In south-west Victoria people built intricate systems of stone canals and weirs, each covering several kilometres, to farm eels…" Wetlands were transformed into an eel-friendly landscape with weirs and channels. "… They modified more than 100 square kilometres of the landscape to breed eels. They constructed artificial ponds across the grassy wetlands and dug channels to connect them. And the whole scheme was systematically punctuated with eel traps." European farming destroyed this old aqua-culture and then the land. Eel husbandry and eel-trap-weaving skills have been passed on in the indigenous communities.

In the Sydney region today eels are urbanised out of existence, via the destruction of wetlands and a generous application of toxins. Just recently eels were killed in the waterways of Dee Why. A neurotoxin, banned in many other countries, but commonly used in Australia to spray food!crops was used by 'person/s unknown'. The insecticide Endosulfan it was suggested, could be "horded" by any resident. Who knows if these rusty old bottles of POP are in your neighbour's garage/shed. Who cares when they apply illegal organochlorines, or just ordinary pesticides to the environment. Who knows, except when the immediate 'kill' surfaces before the public eye. Anyone can freely buy any quantity of pesticides and apply them as an untrained person. The synergetic effects are unknown in the neighbourhood, the food chain and our environment.
Lawns and pestides
Testing pesticides on human beings

26 December 2005

Sydney riots III, beaches & exclusionism

Ubiquitous Exclusionism in Australia
The recent violent riots in Sydney attracted international attention. Often the incident was treated as a racist aberration of one section of the Australian population against another. The fact that the progrom was just a spike in a continuous theatre of operation was understated.
Only in 1992 did Australia come around recognising that the land grab of the Southern Land was not an 'empty land', but actually inhabited by indigenous Australians. Once settled, the White Australia policy sought "The total exclusion of undesirable alien races". The official policy, backed by all mainstream parties and the unions aimed at excluding non-white people from taking part.

While once the slogan was for an 'inclusive' "Australia for the Australians", the reality today is that more and more are excluded from the 'pie'. Radical redistribution and the trend to hog resources are ubiquitous in Australian society. Violence can be committed with a beer bottle, a pen, a keystroke or simply with a decision. Systemic violence does not have the 'sex-appeal' of a 'mob on rampage'. All participate in the system, but especially the 'haves' decide who is "one of us".

Recent research found that the Anglo-Saxon population in Sydney, living in the "wealthy areas in city's east and north, such as Woollahra and Mosman" are the most 'intolerant', holding 'extreme attitudes' about 'race'.

Sydney is held to be synonymous with an "…epidemic of consumerism, money-hunger and affluenza… In Sydney, more than any other part of Australia, a person's worth is measured by money. Money and what it can buy have become the great dividers, the symbols that mark out the winners from the losers." The 'invisible hand' excludes the losers and puts them 'in their place.'

The affluent act metropolitan in their exclusive Australian 'village atmosphere', wishing they could be in Tuscany, N.Y. or Zurich engaging in some more compulsive acquisitive behaviour.

Another report about Melbourne also states that the gap between the haves and have-nots has grown. "Financial comfort" is clinging to the metropolis and poverty is "increasingly suburbanised". "Howard's Battlers" dwell in low income sub-urbia and the suburbs are full of "mortgage stressors". The poorest struggle to survive in the "rust belt regions" with the "worst levels of youth unemployment."

The 'lock it up for the locals' is by no way confined to the well to do. Parochialism runs through most of the social strata and demography. Keeping out international tourism from 'our NSW beaches' so that a man can still drive his 4WD on it, kill a few sharks and empty the dogs. Friendly, myopic bullies abusing public national parks for racing, killing, etc.

On the well-to-do side there are numerous examples of excluding others from their beaches. ( For non-Australians it might be mentioned, that the beaches are the only true public spaces: 'Life's a beach' around here.)In 1998 Baywatch intended to film a few episodes at Avalon beach. The response was: "…It's our beach and how dare anyone who doesn't live around here get any benefit from it or interfere in any way with our enjoyment of it". The well to do WASPS stated a clear: NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). Other Australians are excluded with 'building standards' and market prices, as the "boat is full".

Bondi beach managed to keep "Westies" (the non-affluent,from the hot inland suburbs) out by preventing public transport to the place being built. "The locals love living by an international icon. They just don't seem to like outsiders actually visiting the place."

With time and different constellations, 'the other' who is to be excluded, shifts. Tags like: 'dark', 'coloured', 'foreigners', other 'races', other religion, other cultures or other ethnicities change. The key is that a certain group holds and enlarges power and wealth, implicitly denying access to privatised resources for the 'others'. Once all owners, foreigners, tourists and willing business people are excluded, the fight starts inside the group to gain 'lion shares' and power. In the end they can just turn against each other on a 'dog eat dog' island.

The effects of such ubiquitous exclusionism are damaging to the whole country. The illusion of locking oneself up on a 'self-sufficient' island from the world is delusionary. The managed absence of a civil society encourages progroms to spike in greater quality and quantity and finally even towards the 'top'. The international reputation for a 'tourist country' should not be underestimated. The high economic and political costs of reserving it all for a few to use up quickly are enormous.
Riots I
Riots II
2005 Cronulla riots, Wikipedia

Update 0714
"This Sunday, every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support Leb and Wog bashing day” SBS Documentary

ABC Four Corners - Riot and Revenge video

Combating Racism, Reclaiming Patriotism, Dr Tim Soutphommasane speech, Race Discrimination Commissioner, 29.07.2015


16 December 2005

Extinction and a world full of poodles

"Nearly three times as many endangered species are on the brink of extinction than have died out in the past 500 years…" (The Guardian) At the moment 800 species are 'on the edge' (map) if no action is taken.

No problem, we are content with a mono-culture of poodles. X-mas is the time to support the pet industry, which has doubled in the last decade. Buy that new puppy, chuck that white fluffy thing (see local papers) or the pit bull and get an 'allergy-free' puggle. The latest 'must-have accessory', a designer dog, sure to fit into that cute hand bag. "It's like mixing a Versace bag and a Coach bag together" Further accessories for Barbie-doggie could be a mobile, his/her own radio programme, Satellite tracking, jewellery (Manly market), designer clothing or a doggie magazine. Designer x-mas presents for the dog/s. If there is uncertainty about a future, consult the dog horoscope.
There should be no more worries about getting your face chewed off or kiddies mauled. Yes it still will take petrol to empty the dog in the local park or at the beach.

15 December 2005

Automobile apartheid & sacrifice

In a world resembling a giant car-park with a mash-up of roads, personal freedom to mobility, especially of the young, the not so young, specific groups and any non automobile users is severely limited.
As David Roberts from Grist puts it:

"Automobile apartheid means anyone who wants mobility through walking, cycling, or public transportation suffers discrimination in a built environment designed for automobiles."
"First-class citizens drive motor vehicles, second-class Americans walk, cycle, or ride public transit."
The human sacrifices of ancient civilisations are condemned, the human sacrifices to the auto-mobile 'god' becomes a mere risk calculation individually and systemically.The 'road toll' and 'road kill' fill the 2cm margins of the tabloids.
"In the past 25 years some 175,000 pedestrians have been killed on America's roadways." (grist)
Children and over 70's suffer the highest fatalities. Specific ethnic groups are also over represented in these stats.
Trees are pet-hates of road authorities: Make a 'clear zone' to improve 'roadsafety' and fell 20 km of them.

Compulsive passive driving for all who need to breathe further reduces life quality and life expectancy for all.
Motorised transport and its regulation
4 WDs

13 December 2005

Sydney riots II

An update to 'Sydney riots':

Update: 14.12.05:There are also the Technorati tags: 'Kristallnacht Australia' and 'ethnic cleansing Australia'.

2005 Cronulla riots, Wikipedia

Fishy stuff

An 11-year study found that prohibiting fishing in the World Heritage Area of the Great Barrier Reef helped fish stocks to recover. (ABC news)

Populating the coast without adequate infrastructure leads to a cocktail of sewerage & salty lagoon. Dead fish and birds in Broadwater National Park are the result. (ABC news)

Dolphins used as bait. Wish these Aboriginal sea rangers would guard Sydney's marine environment too as all sorts of stuff goes as bait here: penguins…(ABC news)

"California banned commercial fishing of abalone in 1997 because of over-fishing and the molluscs are now imported from Australia and New Zealand." A meal costs around US $ 50 - 70 in the US. (ABC science news)

"Chemicals from products that we use in our homes every day are…" turning the Arctic into a 'chemical sink'. Whales are full of PCBs and pesticides.(ABC news)

Lawn obsession II

Mnly reported on the lawn obsession in Australia. An article by Sarah Rich in World Changing recaps the situation for Los Angeles. Two references mentioned there, Archinects and CCA especially provides a very elaborate cultural history of the lawn in sub-urbia. A must-read! Also no shortages of good ideas how to turn these lawns into fruit.

"North America now has more than 32 million acres of lawn under cultivation, occupying more land than any single crop, including wheat, corn, or tobacco. Americans spend $750 million a year on grass seed alone and more than $25 billion on do-it-yourself lawn and garden care, making the lawn and landscape industry a booming sector of the economy." (CCA)

Image:'toxic uniformity'

12 December 2005

Sydney riots - defending the turf

"No man's land", Terra nullius was taken over by the British in a colonisation which included attempted genocide of the indigenous population and brutal massacres. In 1860 the turf had to be defended against Chinese miners by Caucasian miners, known as the 'Lambing Flat massacre'.
In boom times the turf wars just retreated to desirable spots such as beaches. (60's battles between surfies and westies.)

These days, civil unrest by youths has erupted in Sydney's southwest (Macquarie Fields) and Sydney's southern beach Cronulla. Not an isolated occurence as just this year the streets of Europe (France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland) went up in flames. Just the 'Paris riots' are said to run up to €200 Million.

Various social policies, but foremost youth unemployment, lack of perspective and integration have been made responsible for these phenomena. An ILO study claims that "Half the world's unemployed are under 24". Australia has had persistently high youth unemployment.

In the very recent riots, were 5000 Australians of 'Anglo-Saxon' appearance engaged in racist violence against Australians that had an 'Middle Eastern' appearance, '25 people had been injured and 16 arrested, about 40 cars were vandalised'. The case of 'yob vs yob' made the news internationally, tourist operators and residents are anxious.

A specific social milieu just 'liberates the party animal'. Scarcity of resources makes it appear that 'the other' is one too many in the queue. The next step is:

"Ethnic cleansing
the practice of forcibly removing (or even killing) a group of people from an area so that the people who remain all belong to the same group - so that, the area is 'ethnically pure'."

Quotes form the mainstream media:

"It was like Australia Day gone crazy…"
"Were all looking for a party."
"Never in my working life did I ever imagine a mob, a drunken mob, turning on a woman"
"…Tensions had been simmering within the primarily Anglo-Saxon community against people of Middle Eastern descent for some time."
"Defending the Aussie way of life"
A Kristallnacht?
Pride, party, celebrate
Chants used:
"string him up"
"Aussie, Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi"
"Kill Lebs"

>>Riots 2009
Cronulla riots 2005, Wikipedea

11 December 2005

Manly Beach culture

At the beach parade hotted up cars and motorbikes revving up and down stinking the place out. The sound-scape they produce makes one wonder how people can sit along it in restaurants and cafes. But as long as they do, the business community will not pressure to regulate this motorised parade.

On the beach, beach volleyball in its commercialised form takes up considerable 'real estate', each net a mega stereo to blast on top of the surf.

On the sand one layer further down, more and more gear 'monetarising' the beach. Billboards increase, blocking the view.

At the water line the smell of petrol from 'life saver' vehicles and most of all their motor boats. Swimmers not only have to suck up all the petrol fumes but the behaviour of the boat makes it a matter of time before bodies get minced. Senseless racing up and down the surf with petrol powered motor boats means that one can not escape motor noises even IN the water.The boat was used to provide some beach beauty with a fast water skiing sensation, always close to swimmers.The sound of the surf is now a sensation of the past. There is truly no more 'getting away from it all'.

On the Corso, smoking in defiance everywhere, butts all over, just like on the beach. Forests of signs but no enforcement.

On the roads in between 'traffic' and oodles of billboards going around and around on cars and scooters. The latest cheap advertising is to squat (rows) of car parks, leave the vehicle with billboard there, or even cars for sale. A form of outsourcing business space onto free public space?

At dusk on the waters edge the fishing rods go up, knives, guts and hooks all over the sand. Digging for the last worms to save on bait. For walkers and joggers the 3-4 high tec rods per person are often a challenge.

Then the regulars at 6 pm walking their large dogs on the beach, looking the other way when the dogs empty themselves. But when there is no enforcement...

At night the fishing boats go about their business in the marine reserve with big spotlights. Who cares?

As the mantra goes: intensify, use it up quickly and move on...

Fairy Bower food quality

Tempted to try the Fairy Bower restaurant again - regrets. One fish was black, the other uncooked, all stacked on some generous slop. Quantity yeah, but what a love-less heap!

09 December 2005

Testing pesticides on human beings

Just another word about pesticides - it is known that such nerve poisons are tested on rats, but it is not so widely known that testing pesticides on humans is growing.

Human medical experimentation was attempted using children to measure the effect of pesticides. (WIRED)

According to a German TV station report (German), Bayer had a pesticide tested on over 18 year olds via a private clinic in Scotland.

Experimentation on human beings is cost effective for corporations and allows them to raise the threshold of their substances.

Under Bush, pressure exists to 'liberate' the 'protection for subjects in human research'. The 'protection' suggests "to ban intentional dosing human testing for pesticides when the subjects are pregnant women or children…" (EPA)

This study is telling about newborns and pesticides in a non experimental environment, called reality. (A benchmark investigation of industrial chemicals, pollutants and pesticides in umbilical cord blood, 2005)

Lawns and pesticides

Most sub-urban homes and public green spaces in Sydney consist of lawns. Petrol-powered equipment creates a noise nuisance (long abolished elsewhere) for most of the day. But apart from the internal combustion engines, the whippersnippers and leaf blowers it is the toxic lawn chemicals that are of serious concern.

Stan Cox reports about the situation in the U.S., but the scene in Australia is probably not much different:

"Profits from agricultural pesticides have been low for years," sending agrochemical manufacturers in search of new markets. Today, "their most reliable customers" are the makers of lawn-care products, who, in turn, are working to "increase the ranks of chemical-using lawn managers."

"…50 percent of households treat their lawns or gardens with pesticides, applying active ingredients at average annual rates of 2 pounds per acre for herbicides and 0.4 pounds for insecticides. Professional applicators apply an average 193 pounds of fertilizer per acre per year, while do-it-yourself homeowners use 139 pounds."

Beyond Pesticide quantifies the problem in the following way:

"Annually, over 100 million pounds of pesticides are used in and around homes and gardens. Alarmingly, suburban lawns and gardens receive far heavier pesticide applications per acre than most other land areas in the U.S., including agricultural areas."

The health effects of these cocktails on humans:
"Such widespread use and exposure is alarming considering that of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 13 are probable or possible carcinogens, 14 are linked with birth defects, 18 with reproductive effects, 20 with liver or kidney damage, 18 with neurotoxicity, and 28 are sensitizers and/or irritants." (See also their pdf for more details)

Why have a monoculture of lawns?
Cox cites a study that suggests that "property values are clearly associated with high-input green-lawn maintenance and use," and that "moreover, lawn-chemical users typically associated moral character and social responsibility with the condition of the lawn."
Apart form the 'tidy town' symptom it is also a stated part of Oz DIY culture and of course a good way to 'kill time.' The lawn care industry has an interest to substitute labour with petrol and chemicals to roll out that 'instant turf'.

What are the alternatives?
Cox cites that "Any truly sustainable alternative is, put simply, bad for business." For gardeners conversion to organic lawn management is desirable. No noise, petrol fumes & artificial toxic sustance dependence and dangers to health.

Better still would be to rip out the lawn and create a low water, low maintenance native garden. It will take some time, but you will be able to spend your time productively, lessen the environmental burden and encourage wildlife to your dwelling.
DB of common names of pesticides
NSW EPA, compulsory training info for people who work with pesticides.
Pesticide gardening info,UK, esp. the stuff most gardeners use.
Signs and Symptoms of pesticide poisoning
Effects of organophosphate poisoning
Using native grasses in your sustainable garden
Make an 'edible estate'
Picture: Defend your Turf!
Beyond Pesticide resources
Previous article in Mnly on the topic:
On petrol gardening

08 December 2005

Melting ice and climate change

In the North Atlantic, the melting of the Arctic ice cap will result in a general cooling in Western Europe. The melting ice inhibits the ocean current - the Gulf Stream - which takes warm water into the area. The lighter, cold, fresh water from Greenland forces the warmer, heavier salt water to sink and cools the surrounding land.
In Eastern Australia global warming will bring climate change related to the melting of Antarctic ice. The melted ice will impact on the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. This current is responsible for the "redistribution of heat", the absorption of greenhouse gases and oxygen, as well as the renewal of the ocean including life-supporting oxygen.
Research is being carried out at CSIRO into the implications of climate change for those bordering on the Southern Ocean. An impact analogous to that happening at the North Pole can be expected as cold, light-weight fresh water replaces the surface salt-water being moved by the Antarctic currents.
"Understanding global circulation and the conditions under which surface waters sink into the deep ocean is critical for scientists estimating the timing and magnitude of climate change."

Kyoto - or the big Australian party

Australian greenhouse gases output is rising. Both the US and Australia are the two post-industrialised nations that are too poor and also unwilling to contribute to the Kyoto Protocol and reduce carbon-based gases. The effects on the Earth and human health are available via WHO. Will it get hot!
Over the last few days in Sydney everyone could feel how these gases "…act like an invisible blanket, trapping the Sun's heat and driving up the planet's surface temperature." The reaction of Australia's 'booming population' is to rev up the air-conditioners in mostly un-insulated houses. This jolly use of electricity has been discussed before here and here. It is also a cultural convention for car/hummer drivers to mount their vehicle, switch it on and then go about arranging things, before after 20 minutes or so revving off. Long conversations with someone outside the car can only be had with the motor running. Go check in your hood & workplace for this odd behaviour. Lets not talk about the state of these automobiles or transport here.
Seems politicians here do not have a mandate to change anything in regard to greenhouse gases. What the heck!, let's sacrifice the future (generations)!
ABC News Online
more ABC news
The Australian

07 December 2005

Australian bloggers muzzled

Without a Bill of Rights Australian bloggers are muzzled. (SMH)

06 December 2005

Participating in maintaining Manly's landscape - ideas

The land-scape of Manly is undergoing radical and fast changes brought about by the human species, specifically in the last 200 years. For many the rate of progress/ion goes unnoticed or they are yearning for acceleration. The expansion of mono-culture over all other species and their habitat can be examined, recorded and action for a sustainable landscape (ecology) can be realised.
At the University of Vermont geologists explore this link between human action and landscape change in an interdisciplinary Landscape Change Program. Photos of the landscape are collected from regional web-based archives and individuals. The free online digital archive of the historic and current photos serves for research and educational purposes. The interactive nature allows all participants to submit images, group them into "before and after" sequences. Additionally 'smart maps' (GIS) tag the exact locations of the images. Open access to the resource makes it dynamic and sustainable.
For Manly (Sydney) this form of free access to the creation and distribution of cultural and natural heritage could be utilised by various interest groups such as environmental action groups, historical societies, ecological surveys and education.
Maybe soon...some organisation...
The Landscape Change Program
Landscape Ecology
Manly images

05 December 2005

Ocean Care

Went to Ocean Care a "family fun" event to "celebrate Manly's unique marine environment." Many participants sought to inform, entertain and sell that unique habitat. Never have I seen so many Ocean Cars. Packed 2 kms of family hummers parked from one end of the beach to the other.
Came away with an arm-full of pulped trees. Interaction confirmed, that aquatic or terrestial enforcement of law protecting native flora and fauna ends at 4pm. Cats & dogs enjoy full, enforced rights 24/7 with the backing of a huge industry.
Pity, the many groups are not aggregating as an interactive online network providing the possibility for virtual participation all year round.
The discovery was Martin Cullen's art works highlighting Manly's current developments, but at the same time, being timeless and standing for 'progress' as such. Nice pics! Mnly blog shares this sentiment.

01 December 2005

Illuminating x-mas lighting

At the moment Sydney is falling into the pre x-mas electric lighting hysteria. Individual households are illuminating the outside of their properties in a competitive arms race blowing (wattage) energy 24/7. Public organisations join the frenzy, despite their commitment to 'green obligations'. A drop-dead (bird) lighting of trees heats up the event-hype.The occasion is apparently for 'the little ones' to demonstrate to them how to go about energy efficiency and sustainable (New) Years. All effects on the climate (and their future) are forgotten in the glowing frenzy of Las Vegas flickr. If the subs have to be electrically illuminated, then at least it could glow efficiently using LED. But for a true 'silent night' the dark sky with its mega-show could be an efficient attention-zapper that is sustainable.

A 'must-have' killer x-mas light display
Extreme lighting video and pictures
On LED xmas lights
Update: 06.12.05 X-mas DIY with LEDs
19.12.05 Ugly christmas lights collection

A commerce- friendly Corso for Manly?

The Corso, Manly’s gateway from the ferry to the beach is to be radically altered by The Manly Chamber of Commerce and Manly Council. The other stakeholders were asked to comment on the changes by 24th November 2005. Details here.

  • Privatising and commercialising public space has negative impacts on residents, tourists and consumers.
  • The reduction/elimination of native flora or old trees would be a loss of value to all species, but particular to the image (branding) of Manly.
  • The facilitation of motorised traffic is a health hazard.
Update: Just last week, without consultation a row of Glossy Laurels (Cryptocarya laevigata) already disappeared. This undergrowth rainforest shrub of NSW has a shiny foliage and bright jewel like fruit. For its beauty it was grown in the 19th century glasshouses of England. Now - it is gone!, chopped! Instead there are at ankle level, small vigorous pink weeds planted, in neat rows of course that require watering via the human hand and petrol motors. Insane, ugly and unsustainable.

Oil, war, death & cars

Oil, war & profitability: 10 % of the proven oil reserves are owned by Iraq. After the Iraq War mainly Anglo TNCs are seeking to get 'agreements' to appropriate the 115 billion barrels of oil to return a profit margin of 160 %. Detail in this (pdf) report.

Cars are 400 x more lethal than terrorism: "Deaths from car crashes in developed countries are nearly 400 times greater than those resulting from international terrorism…"
"As many people die every 26 days on U.S. roads as were killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks, and politicians should bear this in mind when allocating resources to combat two "avoidable" causes of death, researchers said." (Reuters)

Anti-product cars: Observe these nice images of how (US) consumer society dumps their cars into the landscape. Nice pics here too of unwanted hummers.

29 November 2005

No Web 2.0 for learners

On limiting learning opportunities:
In Australia Leigh Blackall mentioned how the use of firewalls and network security in educational organisations prevents learners from taking part in the global architectures of participation. See also his Flickr collection.
James Farmer also mentions that 'edublogs are being blocked' and that it is happening 'all over the place.'
Stephen Downes from Canada suggests why this could be so.
D'Arcy Norman finds censorship evil:

"In the absolute best case scenario, this is simply a side effect of a lazy, outdated, authoritarian system trying to maintain the status quo. Instead of trying to educate people about information literacy, they decide it's easier to just block access to information Just In Case™."

"But, in a worst case scenario, open communication is essentially being outlawed in favour of a government-mandated censorship and filtering system. That has no place in modern society, especially in institutions of learning."
In the US David Weinberger points out an article how schools there crack down on learning bloggers.

Vauhini Vara writes that The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a Bloggers' FAQ on Student Blogging which addresses legal issues (in the U.S.) arising from student blogging.

A Manifesto has been started by Leigh re '
effective change in Australian education' and 'affairs in Australia with regard to ICTs in education.'

Will these learners be able to acquire the digital network literacy and blog along in future workplaces?

28 November 2005

Resources boom, jet skies, bikes & animals

Bingo the Arctic is melting! The resources rush is in full swing and the spoils are already being divided. Read the extensive and interesting article in Common Dreams.

Some action re bicycle lockers and cages at public transport nodes is happening. More news from the Australian Bicycle Council website.

Jet ski kill. What is Manly doing to enforce jet ski safety regulations?

The charges against John Coady of Addison Rd., Manly of cementing out the burrow of the protected little penguin were dismissed by the court.(Manly Daily)

Hunks of meat push: "It's a hard sell, eating the national emblem (kangaroo) ... so using a euphemism will help."

How could sharks dissapear out of an aquarium? Watch for yourself.

25 November 2005

Populating the coasts

All of the coast - one mega-town: A trip along the coast after years revealed the continuous coastal megacity from Cairns to Eden. The ever-sameness stretching, clinging to the ocean and smashing huge arteries though forests. In the absence of images, here is a great panorama (to scroll through) and some excellent images of suburbian sprawl in California. Future visions of building mega-temples & golf courses are also being realised in a National Park on the east coast of Spain. The Greenpeace pdf is in Spanish but the images are self-explanatory.
(Image:'Costa Iberica' by MVRDV)

24 November 2005

How to play MNLY-ball

The aim of MNLY-ball is to keep the ball in the air. There is no opponent to beat. It is cooperative and experience-oriented. No sponsors with bulldozers are needed to flatten the beach and no buildings or structures on the beach. MNLY-ball can be played on any type of sand surfaces. It has a minimal footprint.

  • Use a partly inflated ball so it is soft and can't hurt anyone. It is easy to catch.
  • Throw the ball to your partner in a way that is easy to catch. Aim for the hands.
  • Make it interesting by throwing high and then low.
  • Feel your concentration growing. It is not easy to make it easy.
  • Choose the right ambience. Experience the lorikeets or the sound of the surf consciously while playing.
  • MNLY-ball enhances your consciousness - keep your eye on the ball and your ears on the ambient soundscape.
Unlike beach volleyball, MNLY-ball is not commercial and all participants are winners because of the experience, not the outcome. Unlike rugby, you can play MNLY-ball in crowded places without being able to hurt anyone.
Promote cooperative sport for a cooperative life.

23 November 2005

Tasmania - Australia

News from the frontier:
Tasmania is losing its forests. "8,000 hectares of Tasmanian native forest were lost last year." "…The low rate of prosecutions and the imposition of very small fines for offenders who breach forest practices standards...is distressing"." Only 1 per cent of the complaints investigated resulted in legal action."(ABC News Online)
Check out the deforestation map for Australia and read more at Global Forest Watch.

On the roads in between "…there is one dead animal every three kilometres." (ABC NewsOnline)
4WDs are flattening the coastline. (ABC News Online)

The unique Tasmanian Devil is suffering from fatal facial cancer. The pesticides (Phosdrin: organophosphate) used by Tasmanian 'agriculture' (your food!) is causing this disease. (ABC News Online)

All that is being done in this microcosm happens on a larger scale in the macrocosm.

22 November 2005

Motorised transport and its regulation

On unsustainable modes of 'transport':

Roll-over 4WDs kill: one gets awarded $ 83 million,the other gets a two-year suspended jail sentence.

The US army is using Humvees to recruit youth for the war effort:
"The Pentagon spends $2.7 billion for recruiting young teenagers and adults for war.."

At the end of the motoring era the 'most powerful car on the road' (250 mph) has no space for luggage.
Good transport design/actions:
The concept of 'Passive Driving' is elaborated by Monbiot. A must read!

European "second generation" traffic calming:" "...It's about dismantling barriers: between the road and the sidewalk, between cars, pedestrians and cyclists and, most controversially, between moving vehicles and children at play." (Kottke)

Paris is closing roads to cars and building extra wide lanes for buses and bicycles." (EcoCity Cleveland)

20 November 2005

National Parks going to the dogs.

A walk in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park:

Road kill: The road into the Lambert Peninsula had a dead Euro, Lizard and Possum along the curb. The meaning of the unique roo-bar was apparent. Once fee collection knocks off, the road becomes a racing track in earnest.

Dogs in NP
Then there are the dogs, with or without owner/s. Hunting native wildlife and polluting the habitat. NP are aware, but their action is confined to only 'urge' local residents. Personally I find it unpleasant having to confront /follow up dog-owners in NPs.
Their line of 'arguments' always follow the same pattern:
"He's no dog/ he's a dingo"
"I live here/this is my place"
"I am a rate payer/Are you?"
'my back-yard' annexation
Then there are the physical threats. Bringing it to the notice of NPs seems a waste of live-time and ineffective.

Horses in NP: As if slaughtered wildlife by cars and dogs is not enough, horse owners demand to trample all over the delicate soil of the NP.

"Harvesting": Families with arms full of flannel flowers.

Annexation, privatisation & commercialisation: The mental and political annexation of habitat set aside for the conservation of Australian flora and fauna pushes to "properly handle" public assets, e.g. privatise and commercialise them.

Still, the Hyacinth Orchids (Dipodium Punctatum) looked stunning...

(Image: Petroglyph by the Eora people depicting an Euro?)

Kite surfing

Kitesurfing is inreasingly popular on Manly beach. This sport looks impressive when practised by a skilled surfer but it is frightening to be sharing the beach with a beginner.
There have been fatalities while kitesurfing and it is recognised as a dangerous sport. Although it is recommended that it be learnt at a school, this is not required by law.
It is recommended not to kitesurf in crowded places so it is surprising that Sydney's most popular beach allows it at all.
The safety guidelines ("The Art of Staying Alive") for kitesurfing are compared with driving a car. They include:

  • wear a helmet
  • Go slow and be careful in a crowded place (near shore, people and hard objects, etc.)
  • Never launch, ride or jump upwind of people
  • Never let yourself or others even have a chance of getting tangled up with the flying lines (e.g. do not fly your kite over other people)
  • Do not kitesurf in very strong wind if you are a beginner
In Manly these rules are not applied or enforced.
It may be necessary to wait for more fatal accidents here before any regulation is introduced.

05 November 2005


Leaving Manly for some time.
Check out Social Bookmarks Australia

02 November 2005

Butterflies swarm over Manly

A lot of Caper White Butterflies (Belenois java) swarms are about. Large numbers migrate and rest in Manly's green space. The black and white butterflies seem to flap in an eratic way and it seems unlikely that they travel interstate. But once a 'partner' is spotted, the flight-path becomes straight-lined and determined.

Humans perceive them as a danger: they 'can clog car radiators, causing overheating.' (Austr. Museum) or are a threat to all the industrial petrol 'gardens'.(Manly Daily)

As most of their food & host-plants have been eradicated, they have a long and hungry journey ahead of them. To conserve their habitat or produce a butterfly-friendly garden, this site offers a lot inspiration.

4WD Health Warnings

In England it has been proposed that 4-wheel drive vehicles be required to have a health warning on the side: "This Vehicle Damages The Environment" (The Independent).
This could be extended to warn of the danger to the lives of toddlers, pedestrians and cyclists. It may also be necessary to run survival reading classes for toddlers as soon as they can toddle.
More on death machines

01 November 2005

'Amazon' down under

'Virgin' country illegally cleared, penalty slashed.(ABC News Online)

Stop killing Lorikeets

Rainbow Lorikeets are brightly coloured parrots that travel in flocks emitting piercing calls in mid-air. Travelling from one pollen source (native trees & shrubs) to another in swift motions. Because of their beauty people are seeking to get close to this protected species. As mentioned before here and here, this form of luring them with inappropriate sugar-based substances cripples them, breeds diseases and shortens their life-span.

Large numbers die from poor hygiene + artificial diets:

necrotizing enteritis
(Artificial unsanitary conditions of containers where many birds aggregate, like in a poultry factory, food and faecies of many are mixed, immunity is lowered)

Psittacine beak and feather disease is an AIDS-like condition, beaks and feathers are deformed, a long agony to death.
If you would like to admire these fantastic birds, leave them some habitat,
or even better make some:
Plant flowering banksias, bottlebrushes, grevillias etc. in your garden or on your balcony.
STOP killing these birds!!

Unfortunately the responsible authorities are not able to effectively protect the native flora and fauna. Mere recommendations and appeals from tooth-less tigers and ignorant 'kindness' could see this species disappear.

29 October 2005

Houses for speculation or life quality?

As the whole of Manly is one big building site, some ideas from Robert Leeson how to have dwellings for living and not mere speculation. The ideas are economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, they also could provide a chance for life-quality.

28 October 2005

Art Gallery of NSW

First floor :
gold framed erosion & quarries, or 'uncivilised' lands: swamps, beaches etc. Grim-looking owners, idle ladies with lap dogs and heroes. 'The creek' by Arthur Streeton summed up land management.

Tucked away:
the 'Contemporary Projects Space' with Train No 1 by Daniel Crook. A relief from old media!

At 'lower level':
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander exhibits. Wonderful works, but they seem muted in this cellar, out of place!

On location & placing:
Signs about artists:

'Australia born'
'S. Nolan, Melb., England, London'
'J. Smart, Adelaide born, settled Italy, lives Tuscany'
Does one have to emigrate to be creative?

Art Gallery of NSW

Motorised killing

4WDs used to kill great white sharks. (Yahoo news)

Colour-coded 'welfare'

'New White Welfare Rules'
'New Yellow Welfare Rules'
'New Pink Welfare Rules'
Sounds offensive? Well
'New Black Welfare Rules'
(The Australian)

on Newsagency placards today!

27 October 2005

Land, hate & garbage

'Sit-down cash stops flowing' as a means to 'forcing indigenous people off their land'. (The Australian)
Very un-cool 'cartoon'!

20 old native trees have been attacked by axe wielding person/s in Perth. (ABC)

Yesterday in Mnly, today in the SMH. Flies are now due to 'compost heaps, dog droppings and lawn clippings' not the giant anti-products of city dwellers.

(Image of edibles in fly-less intact biotope)

'Ocean toll' - 130 whales

'Navy used sonar near whale beaching' in Tasmania. The 130 killed long-finned pilot whales had been near the Navy using active sonar. This military technology is using 'sound burst to "floodlight" undersea areas.' (SMH) The search was for a 'historical anchor'. Seismic testing by the oil industry, also in the area is also a known cause for whale stranding. (SMH, ABC News Online)
'Both species are killed in their hundreds or perhaps thousands in longline and gillnets each year.' (Wikipedia)

26 October 2005

Consuming Manly beach

Beach full of take-away garbage today. Beachbuggy racing up and down for no good reason, filling the beach with petrol fumes. Lately they even 'exercise' their motor-boat on prime beach days, generously socialising the petrol pollution with all the sun-seekers stretched out on ground level. Additionally, thick clouds of garbage and sewage in the form of flies, drill aggressively into all orifices.
Commercial installations spreading all over the beach 'real estate', institutions and operators spilling their 'customers' on the in-between spaces. Balmoral has a 'no commercial activities' beach!
The red tide hovers at a distance, ready to nourish the unthinkable.

'Pet love'

Various businesses in Manly keep tropical fish in their shops. One hairdresser had a goldfish bowl with dead fish floating upside down in the window for a long time. Suffocation or hairspray? In Rome it is now illegal to keep fish in 'bowls'. A major clothing outlet on the Corso vibrates their aquarium full of tropical fish with high-powered stereo for the duration of the business hours.

In Rome pet-owners can get a jail sentence for abandoning their unwanted pets. In Turin they can be fined for not walking their dogs three times a day. This would alleviate a lot howling, barking and yapping in Manly.

Via ABC News Online
also 'Fish in Tanks: No, Thanks!'

Logging Manly

On average a large tree is disappearing per week in the streets of 'progress'. 'The million-dollar view', 'the messy leaves in the pool' are all declarations of good intentions. And then, there are always some left 'over there' as a scenic filler. Initially of course 'the green' sub-urbs were 'attractive'. Was it the price-tag or the ambience? Once arrived the value-conversion machinery is at work 24/7. Chainsaws and mulcher-machinery are part of the daily noise pollution, industrialising sub-urban environments.

The official, that is out-sourced, logging operations on 'nature strips' and other common land appears to be deregulated.

Residents seem indifferent to their environment disappearing. People that enquire with authorities about 'missing trees' are made to feel a 'real hassle'. Whitewashes and Greenwashes ensure business as usual.

25 October 2005

Lost in Manly's night-life - as a tiny penguin

Saw a juvenile Little Penguin in one of Manly's busy human infrastructural sites. People, dogs and bright lights dazzled the smallest penguin in the world, which also looked out of place and without a burrow or colony. At another more secluded spot an adult rushed to hide in a cave. Both places are very popular for dogs brought there by their owners. A sad sight, creatures with formal protection, but no real habitat.
See also previous post

24 October 2005

4WD - not safe, not clean, not cool!

The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s offers a lot of "constructive, creative and peaceful ways to deal with your frustration at the increasing numbers of big 4x4 vehicles on urban streets." The UK-based action group has many practical community-based ideas on how to take action. Their 'news' section is a well of resources on the topic.

In Paris, anti-4x4 activists are making their point. The Deflated (Les Dégonflés) leave a few flat tires and muddy city cars behind. Here they are at work.

In Sydney...

Humpback whales, Manly

Spotted humpback whales today from the Bower part of Manly, they were blowing and flipping their pectoral fins. The crowds of walkers saw 'nothing'. From North Head 3 to 4 individuals went south. One repeatedly hit its tail fluke with a bright white undersite.

Sightings also in July and October 2005

23 October 2005

Australian/Pacific 'Toucan' back in town

The giant (58 - 65 cm ! ) Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae) has arrived after a long journey from PNG. The 4 am arrival made the Magpies and Currawongs vocal. It is here to breed and enjoy the native figs and native fruit. Lets hope the figs in the area do not get chopped any more than they do or have woodchips put on their roots which has as a consequence the dropping of leaves.
Most people here are familiar with the American Toucan, but not the local 'equivalent'.

More on recent arrivals

22 October 2005

Can Manly afford an aquatic reserve?

Just found out about this local 'finning' in the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve in April 2004. Five juvenile dusky whaler sharks (Carcharhinus obscurus, 3.65m) were mutiated and no one was prosecuted. 4 had their filets removed and the animals left to rot, the fifth had their fin and jaw missing. This group made Shelley Beach/Fairy Bower their seasonal home and many divers enjoyed their peaceful company. Here are images (& rich media) of some of them in June 2003. This statement (PDF) seems to suggest, that despite signing up to international conventions, authorities do not have sufficient funds to enforce the $11,000 to $220,000 fines or the law. In short, the place is too poor to maintain its biodiversity.

More on plundering aquatic reserves & getting away with it.