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.

21 October 2005

Ice-cream at Bacino Bar @ Manly

Bacino Bar @ Manly has good ice-cream, especially the fig ice-cream. The café has a contemporary Italian touch, set on a plaza-like (public) space. In the absence of any town-design the public refuge in a fossil-fuel based, automobile-centred place turns out to be a traffic island, one is encircled by noisy, stinking traffic. Only the large weeping fig filters out some of the noise pollution. When they block off the road, put bike racks in and plant more trees, all the eateries could spill from the wharf to the beach. But till then, it's worth a try!

Of growth, rainforests, climate & greed

"The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed twice as quickly as previously estimated, according to a sattelite survey of the region." (The Independent) Satellite image.

PNG is losing its ancient forests fast. Read more in this interesting Greenpeace report (pdf) on government inaction and industrial greed. 'UK timber trade, Chinese sweatshops, Malaysian robber barons in PNG'. Very telling pictures!

Growth in China and the ecological consequences:

On current trends, China will by 2031 be consuming 99 million barrels of oil per day. Total world production today is only 84 million bpd
China is already the biggest driver of rainforest destruction, says Greenpeace. Half of all rainforest logs head for China
Motor cars
By 2031, China would have 1.1 billion cars if it matches current US trends - bigger than the current world fleet of 800 million
Global warming
By 2025, China will overtake the US as the top emitter of the greenhouse gases causing global warming
A must read article by (The Independent)

The importation of 102 racing pigeons to Australia is odd in times of the poultry flu."... Three were found to have avian influenza antibodies, but did not test positive for the H5N1 strain or any other avian influenza virus." When will they ever learn from history? (Reuters AlertNet)

(Image is the 'Amazon-down under': Bellingen region, March 2005, endless clearfelling and logging highways)

20 October 2005

Wild West desperate for oil

Oil and gas extraction will take place in the US on public land without environmental reviews or public consultation. The Bush administration makes environmental regulation disappear at hurricane-speed.
Guardian Unlimited

Manly beach mix

Draining sub-urbs:
pesticides, faeces, oils & chemicals, plastic bags
effluent, sewer, discharge
stormwater pollution, marine pollution
cost-effective waste disposal, but unsustainable.


Hit by the following searches:

"repelling lizards"
"are there leashes for long tailed grass lizards"
What's the need for exotic pets? Why 'repell' these reptiles?

There are some beautiful (protected) Australian lizards about. The 15 million year old goanna, or the blue tongue lizard still surviving in some of Sydney's green pockets. There are many more, all just wanting to be in their habitat.
(Petrography by the Eora people of Sydney)

Update: 221005,
Eastern Water Dragons crawling out of their caves in all sizes.

19 October 2005

Spam & splog pandemic in the blogosphere

Blogger has been in the news again of being 'like a magnet on steroids for toxic spammers'. Just cleaned up a lot of spams, very labour intensive! Maybe I should take Nielsen's word (on usability) and be more in charge of the (micro-) publishing process...
Updates: 20.10.05 More via Yahoo and Micro Persuasion

Sharks - of waste & mutilation

Four large (4 m) tiger sharks have been found mutilated in Queensland. They "have had their fins, jaws and tails removed and are badly decomposed. " It seems a cruel and ineffiecient way of extracting food. But then I often found dead sharks as 'by catch' from 'recreational fishing' people rotting on the beaches of the north coast.
Via ABC Online
See also previous post

18 October 2005

Whales, land use, public transport & lighting

17 October 2005

Sharks, beach highways and uranium

via ABC News Online

16 October 2005

Reducing Light Pollution

In various cities of the world unnescessary lights are switched off now. New York, Toronto, Chicago, Zürich and many more cities have decided to not waste energy and disrupt the ecosystem. Light pollution does not only obscure the night sky, but it creates health problems for humans and disrupts the life of a lot of other animals, especially birds. As a result many cities turn off their lights during bird migration, but plan to leave them off for the entire year. Skybeamers are prohibited in Switzerland so far.

In Manly businesses are arming themselves with glaring lights, making any vision for pedestrians and beach-goers impossible. Sporting venues billow dollars into the night sky. Council regulators seem to have no 'light awareness'. On the sub-urban front, domestic lighting beams up into the sky from underneath. Unsecured beams at the front and rear of houses simulate bright daylight. Also handy in case of a bit of night mowing and considerate as it saves the neighbours lighting while reading.

At event-hypes the public laserbeamer aims for Mars and the trees light up with bulbs permanently, so that no bird shall rest in them ever again. Meanwhile in the subs x-mas lighting orgies are displayed to small humans. Kilometers of light bulbs reading: "What energy crisis?".

As there is always that 5 year time-lag in Australia, one might hope the CBD could join in the dark sky movement and reduce the 'sky glow', then maybe councils and residents might also 'see the light' and turn them off. For the sake of

  • their own health
  • their energy bills
  • their birds and other animals
  • their beautiful southern sky
  • their delicate ecosystem

15 October 2005

Fauna at night

A new voice in the night pulled me out of the dream-world and alerted all the mammalian nerve cells. Frogmouths (Podargus) are often sounding in the night, if the rodent toxins did not get them. This was the Powerful Owl, (Ninox strenua) the largest owl in Australia, with an appetite for a Ringtail possum a day. Here is a sound-sample. There is also more info here on this useful owl site.The sound-gallery is worth a listen.
Meanwhile it is good to know that the native Water-rat is doing well at Manly's foreshore. This handy 'poo-guide' might help in identifying other creatures. But if it is on Manly walkway, then it is most likely from the animals most favoured by the local residents.

Proud to defy rules, o.g.

Cattlemen defying ban on grazing in the National Park.
Fishermen defying ban on extracting seafood from Aboriginal-owned land.
Tourists defying ban on feeding protected wild-life (dolphins).
4 WDrivers defying ban to drive in Hat Head National Park, vandalise gate.
Dog walkers defying ban to jogg dog on Manly beach (17.10.05, 7pm)
NSW farmers defying ban on 'broadscale land clearing' of native vegetation.
Recreational fisherman defying ban on marine park.

12 October 2005

Biodiversity exploding out of sand

As previously mentioned the Black Cockatoos at Dobroyd did sing the rain. At Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park the sandstone glowed in bright colours, flowers everywhere. But the most stunning were the Lomandra species. Yes, that 'mat rush' thingy they square on roads and shopping centres. But these were the tiny grass-trees (Xanthorrhoeaceae) variety, pushing out of the moist white sand. This is one of the creatures that depends on these little grasses. If one bends to toe-level, you can get their nice perfume. These tufted perennial herbs are almost never seen in the subs.
The water basin was sculptured by the Guringai people.

10 October 2005

The big quarry

Quarry jobs on the rise in Australia.

Genghis Khan in Manly

Baghdad was invaded in 1258 by the Mongolian army under Hulegu, a grandson of Genghis Khan. They plundered the “mother of all cities” for its accumulated wealth above the ground and took it back to Mongolia. (They didn't know about the oil.)
To break down the walls of Baghdad they needed large objects to throw against them. The centuries-old date palms, which produced abundant fruit, were all cut down and catapulted into the city. Soon it was occupied and plundered of its wealth. Much of it was burnt down. (source: Jack Weatherford)
The Mongols were nomadic plunderers. They did not respect the ancient fruit trees. Nor did they understand plant cultivation. The intention was to take the goods and move on, not to stay in their conquered lands.
The mentality of Genghis Khan is becoming dominant around here. Land is cleared of its plant wealth for short term gain. Buildings are bulldozed to make way for quickly-erected bunkers. Gardens are disappearing under concrete. National parks are burnt to ensure profits. Views are cut through bushland to increase property values.
When the job is done and the profits have been taken, it's time to leave the scorched earth and head up the coast for a “sea change”. The process starts again in new-found land.

09 October 2005

Dobroyd Head

Dobroyd Head today, past the McMansions (smashed into the bush, Olympic pools, then sold on completion). The fire (as reported before) was there primarily to secure the real estate. The official rhetoric argues, that it is for flora regeneration. Mysterious are the very large clearings and very wide trail-blazed paths running to (new?) lookouts. Previously the 'bush' had been 'impenetrable' at these sites. I remember times when the queer community was driven out of the area on the grounds that 'they make paths in the bushes everywhere and take their clothes off..' Now that the area is securely annexed by families, the access trails get larger and more plentiful, the bush has to be burnt down more often and in the end it ends up as just another dog loo.

Despite it all:
Black Cockatoos circling the blackened areas, calling the rain!
Melaleuca nodosa (Ball Honeymyrtle) in full 'ball', small communities, dense.
Actinotus helianthi (Flannel Flowers) smelling nicely out of their wooly cushions.
Olearia Tomentosa (Heath Daisy?) changing from blue to white.
Eriostemon Australasius (Pink Wax Flower)

Four-lane thoroughfare shopping vs trees

Shop-owners protested against humanising the Fairlight drive-through shopping area. A park and corridor of trees, planned by Manly Council would enhance shopping in this cement-burnt bit of an intersection. The four-lane thoroughfare could get 'tree-lined footpaths'. Our household will never shop there again, if usability and sustainability is resisted by a few stakeholders. Friends and community in the area can be convinced too.

Sounds of the ocean and 'the bush' composed by you

Compose your own beach & bush sounds. Enter via 'coastal spaces', then mouse over the ocean window and design your own authentic Australian/Pacific sound-scapes. There are more in 'insect spaces' or 'European city spaces' too to play around with.

08 October 2005

Manly Mayor's Messy Message

The weekly message from the Manly Major, Peter MacDonald, has been unreadable for the last few months, when opened with a Mozilla or Firefox browser. It probably has never been readable. The lines of text sit on top of one another. It is however readable with Internet Explorer. The Mayor goes to the trouble of writing a weekly report, but is let down by those who provide IT services.
Sydney Water is similarly poorly served. Their
reporting form for illegal water use is completely jumbled when viewed with these other commonly used browsers.
Where is the professional web development?

Death machines o.g.

Ploughed through the pulp news of the old media (SMH). Nearly every second whole page car ads and then a 2 x 2 cm article: a 3 year-old-boy was killed by a 4WD. Elsewhere the modified 'monster truck' was described by a road safety officer as a 'death machine'. Now they quibble how much 'modification' is ok, not whether all 4 WDs are much higher than normal cars, blocking the view of all pedestrians, cyclists and other car drivers.
Meanwhile, the 2x2cm notices will continue, the poles along the roads are getting denser and denser floral arrangements. (This needs a Google map hack!)

So in the future if I come across these road kills, I'll remember the killed and maimed here:

  • 3 year old human being died from actions of a 4 WD driver, Oct. 2005
  • 20-month-old girl is in a critical condition after being run over by the 4WD driven by her father, Oct. 2005 (ABC News Online)

07 October 2005


When seeing beautiful beaches turned into highways in Australia one could wish for dry quicksand. All the smelly, dangerous vehicles (4WDs) are just swallowed up and disappear.There is more on this possibility here and here.

In the absence of motor vehicles the dry sand dunes can be heard 'barking' or 'singing'.

Bag snatching with sub-urban combat vehicle

Bag snatching gets a new meaning. A 4WD rammed the door of an inner city shop and grabbed handbags. The ram raid car is infamous as a 'getaway car'. (SMH)

While the US military is working on the 'killer car'. Australians are pondering if it is worth getting fuel efficient vehicles. (SMH)

More on 'sub-urban combat vehicles'
Update 081005: re fuel efficient vehicles. Just back from the beach and realised, why small fuel efficient cars are not on here:
where will the

  • hunting dogs & poodles sit?
  • the golf clubs?
  • the surfboards?
  • the double/triple decker prams?
  • the many bulging plastic bags?
  • the throw-away tricycles?
  • the get-fit beach-parade alu-bike?
  • etc.

Whitewater feeds

Whitewater restaurant has the best quality food and atmosphere in Manly at the moment. The concept is right and there is even a web-presence. Rare in Manly! Petit serves, but fresh and high quality. Our favourite (at the moment)
One day local government will remove the road seperating the eateries and the beach, plant perfumed shrubs and let people sit BY the beach.
22102010 Update
Change of mind as the quality of food and service has changed. We and our friends have been taking our local $$ elsewhere.

04 October 2005

Inefficient plunder of the oceans

Fish caught with 'hi-tech' methods has a wastage rate of 80 %. This 'by-catch' of marine wildlife, including dolphins and sea turtles is 'dumped'. The 'solution' of fish farming has other down-sides: "In addition to problems with pollution and disease, for every kilogram of fishmeal fed to farmed fish, only half a kilogram of fish is produced."
via Guardian Unlimited

Who believes in water restrictions?

On the Labour Day public holiday I saw 2 people in a nearby street washing their cars with hoses. One was washing the inside of the motor. The hose was left running in the gutter while the engine was being lovingly caressed by hand. When there is no water left for drinking, will these people remember the joy of washing their car with the last supplies? The illegal use of water for this purpose catches on. Some do it in the dark. Each neighbour follows the example of the next, seeing that the law is rarely enforced. The fine is only $220 anyway. Still it doesn't rain. Bush fires have started. Where will the water come from to fight the fires when summer starts? Yet in a pamphlet from Sydney Water called “Go slow on H2O” which I picked up in front of Manly Library it is still recommended to use a trigger nozzle when washing a car, despite that any use of hoses is illegal for this purpose. Illegal use of water can be reported using this form.

03 October 2005

Manly Jazz Festival

The last day of the Manly Jazz Festival today.The music was a bit biased to the 30s to 50s genre. Free jazz or fusion were out. Some bands performed between pneumatic drills and their own genny (billowing fumes and acoustic pollution). One of the 'roving bands', named 'Viva' had a lot of vital force.
Garbage everywhere, mostly 'fast' food & drinks stuff. Yob-mobiles circling the event like 'Mad Max' in search of that cost-free space. A packed beach with a summer temperature.