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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bad Santas rampage in Auckland

"A group of 40 drunken people dressed in Santa Claus outfits went on a rampage through New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, robbing stores, assaulting security guards and urinating from highway overpasses.

The rampage, dubbed "Santarchy" by newspapers, began early yesterday afternoon when the men, wearing ill-fitting Santa costumes, threw beer bottles and urinated on cars from an overpass, said Auckland Central Police's Noreen Hegarty.

She said the men then rushed through a central city park, overturning garbage bins, throwing bottles at passing cars and spraying graffiti on office buildings.

One man climbed the mooring line of a cruise ship before being ordered down by the captain. Other Santas, objecting when the man was arrested, attacked security staff who were later treated by paramedics, Hegarty said.

The remaining Santas entered a convenience store and carried off beer and soft drinks.

"They came in, said 'Merry Christmas' and then helped themselves," store owner Changa Manakynda said.

Two security guards were treated for cuts after being struck by beer bottles, Hegarty said. Three people, including the man who climbed on the cruise ship, were arrested and charged with drunkenness and disorderly behaviour.

Alex Dyer, a spokesman for the group, said Santarchy was a worldwide movement designed to protest the commercialisation of Christmas."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Datacom Xmas party

What a great night. It's awesome to see everyone from all areas of the company dancing around and having a great time. I finally arrived home at about 6am after going to my current favourite haunt, the underground bar, managed to get 3 hrs sleep before heading off back into Sydney to meet up with miss Junko and go to the Glebe markets.

Here are her feet:

Today is a beautiful, relaxing Sunday. I've just posted off my Xmas cards (the first time I've sent any in years) and I think I'll head out and play some guitar in a few minutes. I've watched the first season of 'Invasion', and have really enjoyed it so far. The acting is a bit wooden sometimes, but hey, i'm a sucker for scifi.

Nothing much else new to report...
till next time, take care.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Grooved Spheres
Over the last few decades, miners in South Africa have been digging up mysterious metal spheres. Origin unknown, these spheres measure approximately an inch or so in diameter, and some are etched with three parallel grooves running around the equator. Two types of spheres have been found: one is composed of a solid bluish metal with flecks of white; the other is hollowed out and filled with a spongy white substance. The kicker is that the rock in which they where found is Precambrian - and dated to 2.8 billion years old! Who made them and for what purpose is unknown.

The Dropa Stones
In 1938, an archeological expedition led by Dr. Chi Pu Tei into the Baian-Kara-Ula mountains of China made an astonishing discovery in some caves that had apparently been occupied by some ancient culture. Buried in the dust of ages on the cave floor were hundreds of stone disks. Measuring about nine inches in diameter, each had a circle cut into the center and was etched with a spiral groove, making it look for all the world like some ancient phonograph record some 10,000 to 12,000 years old. The spiral groove, it turns out, is actually composed of tiny hieroglyphics that tell the incredible story of spaceships from some distant world that crash-landed in the mountains. The ships were piloted by people who called themselves the Dropa, and the remains of whose descendents, possibly, were found in the cave.

click for enlargement

The Ica Stones
Beginning in the 1930s, the father of Dr. Javier Cabrera, Cultural Anthropologist for Ica, Peru, discovered many hundreds of ceremonial burial stones in the tombs of the ancient Incas. Dr. Cabrera, carrying on his father's work, has collected more than 1,100 of these andesite stones, which are estimated to be between 500 and 1,500 years old and have become known collectively as the Ica Stones. The stones bear etchings, many of which are sexually graphic (which was common to the culture), some picture idols and others depict such practices as open-heart surgery and brain transplants. The most astonishing etchings, however, clearly represent dinosaurs - brontosaurs, triceratops (see photo), stegosaurus and pterosaurs. While skeptics consider the Ica Stones a hoax, their authenticity has neither been proved or disproved.

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The Antikythera Mechanism
A perplexing artifact was recovered by sponge-divers from a shipwreck in 1900 off the coast of Antikythera, a small island that lies northwest of Crete. The divers brought up from the wreck a great many marble and and bronze statues that had apparently been the ship's cargo. Among the findings was a hunk of corroded bronze that contained some kind of mechanism composed of many gears and wheels. Writing on the case indicated that it was made in 80 B.C., and many experts at first thought it was an astrolabe, an astronomer's tool. An x-ray of the mechanism, however, revealed it to be far more complex, containing a sophisticated system of differential gears. Gearing of this complexity was not known to exist until 1575! It is still unknown who constructed this amazing instrument 2,000 years ago or how the technology was lost.

click for

The Baghdad Battery
Today batteries can be found in any grocery, drug, convenience and department store you come across. Well, here's a battery that's 2,000 years old! Known as the Baghdad Battery, this curiosity was found in the ruins of a Parthian village believed to date back to between 248 B.C. and 226 A.D. The device consists of a 5-1/2-inch high clay vessel inside of which was a copper cylinder held in place by asphalt, and inside of that was an oxidized iron rod. Experts who examined it concluded that the device needed only to be filled with an acid or alkaline liquid to produce an electric charge. It is believed that this ancient battery might have been used for electroplating objects with gold. If so, how was this technology lost... and the battery not rediscovered for another 1,800 years?

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The Coso Artifact
While mineral hunting in the mountains of California near Olancha during the winter of 1961, Wallace Lane, Virginia Maxey and Mike Mikesell found a rock, among many others, that they thought was a geode - a good addition for their gem shop. Upon cutting it open, however, Mikesell found an object inside that seemed to be made of white porcelain. In the center was a shaft of shiny metal. Experts estimated that it should have taken about 500,000 years for this fossil-encrusted nodule to form, yet the object inside was obviously of sophisticated human manufacture. Further investigation revealed that the porcelain was surround by a hexagonal casing, and an x-ray revealed a tiny spring at one end. Some who have examined the evidence say it looks very much like a modern-day spark plug. How did it get inside a 500,000-year-old rock?

Ancient Model Aircraft
There are artifacts belonging to ancient Egyptian and Central American cultures that look amazingly like modern-day aircraft. The Egyptian artifact, found in a tomb at Saqquara, Egypt in 1898, is a six-inch wooden object that strongly resembles a model airplane, with fuselage, wings and tail. Experts believe the object is so aerodynamic that it is actually able to glide. The small object discovered in Central America (shown at right), and estimated to be 1,000 years old, is made of gold and could easily be mistaken for a model of a delta-wing aircraft - or even the Space Shuttle. It even features what looks like a pilot's seat.

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Giant Stone Balls of Costa Rica
Workmen hacking and burning their way through the dense jungle of Costa Rica to clear an area for banana plantations in the 1930s stumbled upon some incredible objects: dozens of stone balls, many of which were perfectly spherical. They varied in size from as small as a tennis ball to an astonishing 8 feet in diameter and weighing 16 tons! Although the great stone balls are clearly man-made, it is unknown who made them, for what purpose and, most puzzling, how they achieved such spherical precision.

Impossible Fossils
Fossils, as we learned in grade school, appear in rocks that were formed many thousands of years ago. Yet there are a number of fossils that just don't make geological or historical sense. A fossil of a human handprint, for example, was found in limestone estimated to be 110 million years old. What appears to be a fossilized human finger found in the Canadian Arctic also dates back 100 to 110 million years ago. And what appears to be the fossil of a human footprint, possibly wearing a sandal, was found near Delta, Utah in a shale deposit estimated to be 300 million to 600 million years old.

Out-of-Place Metal Objects
Humans were not even around 65 million years ago, never mind people who could work metal. So then how does science explain semi-ovoid metallic tubes dug out of 65-million-year-old Cretaceous chalk in France? In 1885, a block of coal was broken open to find a metal cube obviously worked by intelligent hands. In 1912, employees at an electric plant broke apart a large chunk of coal out of which fell an iron pot! A nail was found embedded in a sandstone block from the Mesozoic Era. And there are many, many more such anomalies.

What are we to make of these finds? There are several possibilities:

  • Intelligent humans date back much, much further than we realize.
  • Other intelligent beings and civilizations existed on earth far beyond our recorded history.
  • Our dating methods are completely inaccurate, and that stone, coal and fossils form much more rapidly than we now estimate.

reproduced from About.com

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The 2nd day of summer

beach scene

Mick and I went to the beach today up near Mona Vale. It was pretty windy but just beautiful to sit there in the sun and watch the surfers. They're like a flock of strange animals, calling to each other, ebbing and flowing and forming small pods (what's the collective noun for surfers?). I found it easy to imagine them as a species of aquatic primate.

My girlfriend Lisa and I broke up a couple of months ago, and I'm only just now feeling like I'm getting back on my feet a little. It'd be fair to say that it's been a fairly miserable time up until now, but I'm naturally a positive person and I'm thinking that these things happen, the best thing to do is to learn from it and just be happy within yourself. It's always hard being single and around Xmas, especially since my family lives so far away. Oh well. If that's the worst thing I have to complain about, I think I'm doing pretty well overall. ;)

Work is going well... I've been teaching myself some basic Ajax stuff using Ajax.net. Very fashionable I know... but it certainly has its value.

Not much else to report I'm afraid...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I think this is my new fav pic.
found here
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 06, 2005

poker at Simons

Went over to Simon and Adsy's place last night with Joei, Krystal and Mickey. Luke S showed up a bit later. Folks I haven't seen in a while... 2 years perhaps? Yeh perhaps. We ended up playing Texas Holdem Poker for most of the night. Good fun. I haven't played poker in years, for no good reason.

Gradually getting my mojo back...
It's hard, but it's also a time to get back to basics and see what really is important.
I'm getting my finances in order, that's an important first step for me as I'm often feeling like I've got this debt hanging over my head. I feel like it's always limiting me and I'm sick of feeling like that. I've almost got rid of it now, and although I understand that debt is considered a pretty normal part of modern life, I'm trying to get some assets happening too. Nothing major, but I've recently started an Australian Shares managed fund that I'm regularly contributing to, and working hard to pay off my creditcard. It'll be another 6 months before it's all gone, but that day is going to be a great one. My first step after that will most likely be to get overseas, probably south east asia, perhaps Thailand? Sounds great.

Not much else is really happening. I'm taking a few months out from life to get my head in order so I'll be all juiced up to jump back in. There's nothing really pleasant about it, but it's going to make it all sweeter in just a few short months.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Last night went out for dinner at Grotta Capri with Cobb, Lena, Bryan, Mick and Lena's sister Leny. Beautiful food. Went back to Epping afterwards for a few drinks at the Epping hotel.

It's been raining all day today... a good excuse to sit inside and watch TV shows. Today I've been watching 'Coupling', a quirky british comedy I've only just found. I've also just installed empire earth, grim fandango and hedz. The only reason I note it at all is that I haven't played games in ages. I guess i figure i spend enough time on the computer and want to get out and about a bit more. I guess I wish there were more games out there where the main objective is something other than competitively setting out to crush your opponents. Y'know?

Sure, you know...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Terrorist bombs strike Bali's tourist areas again, so far killing 32 people

Just when people were hoping (perhaps wishfully) that this was all over, and tourism to Bali had started to pick up again. Australian tourism to Bali (not to mention the rest of the world) is worth millions of dollars to their economy. They give lenient sentences to those masterminding these atrocities (often severely punishing those who actually carry it out) and the cycle continues. Innocent people lose their lives and their families. Such a terrible pity for a place that is so strikingly beautiful.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Giant Squid caught on camera

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Going to Perth 2moro (back Saturday evening) for a IT rollout for work. I think this is going to be great. Really looking fwd to it. We're staying at the Sheraton and I note from the website that they have a sauna and a heated pool. Just packed my Swimmers. Hehe.

I spoke to miss Lisa last night, it's her birthday 2moro and she bought herself a puppy (named Harry). Wow. That's so excellent. She'd be a very doting mum to him.

Just got back from playing an excellent game of squash with Mickey Ford. Boy has he improved. I'm absolutely exhausted.

No other news really...

..Stay cool kids.

...keep it surreal.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

THE GOOD LIFE: Penny Pyett, top left, with her permaculture students at Curl Curl.

Culture club

With drought, rising oil prices and global warming dominating headlines, people are turning to permaculture for answers, Simon Webster writes.

PENNY Pyett is at her Marsfield home assembling showbags for this weekend's Gardening Australia festival. "There are organic seeds," she says, "vetch and millet, green cleaning products ... Hang on a minute, a crow's trying to attack my duck."

Pyett's modest weatherboard is dwarfed by neighbouring "mcmansions". She has two ducks in her backyard, six chickens, six quails and three guinea pigs.

There's not much lawn to mow. Instead there's a jungle of bananas, oranges, peaches and passionfruit. Sweet potatoes ramble. Ponds overflow with water chestnuts and glossy taro leaves.

The garden looks random but has been carefully planned: chickens run in the food forest, fertilising trees, keeping down pests such as fruit fly, and getting fed by the forest in return. In summer grapes clamber under eaves, shielding the deck from the sun; in winter they lose their leaves and let the sun through.

Pyett, 45, is a teacher and practitioner of permaculture, a design system for sustainable living. Devised in Australia, it has been advocating backyard organic food, energy-efficient homes and less harmful agricultural methods since the 1970s. And an increasing number of people are starting to listen.

Plenty of permaculture methods have already been adopted by the mainstream. Gardeners mulch their gardens to save water and improve their soil; they fight pests with companion planting rather than chemicals that obliterate everything in their path; business is booming in the supply of water tanks and grey water systems.

As awareness of environmental issues grows, so do the ranks of permaculturists. Rising oil prices, water shortages and food safety are in the newspapers almost every day. Crucially, permaculture doesn't just diagnose what's wrong with the world - it suggests how to fix it.

Pyett's introductory courses at Ryde TAFE and the Sustainable Design Company in Curl Curl teach students how to establish productive ecosystems on their acreages, backyards or balconies. She also helps run Permaculture North, a group of "permies" based north of the Harbour Bridge.

The group had been plugging away for more than 10 years with little increase in numbers. Then, in the past year, membership more than doubled. Now more than 100 people cram into a hall in Lindfield each month to hear talks, plan projects and coordinate campaigns for changes in government policy.

Pyett says permaculture's growing profile in the media has helped; since 2003 it has had a regular spot on ABC TV's Gardening Australia.

"People are essentially good and want to do the right thing by the planet," Pyett says. "When they hear about permaculture they think, this is it. It makes perfect common sense."

Perth-based Josh Byrne is Gardening Australia's permaculture expert. "There's a huge amount of interest in what I'm doing," Byrne says. "People have become aware of shortages of water, chemical use, passive solar design - these are coming into the mainstream."

The type of person doing Pyett's courses is changing. "I've seen more professional people coming through wanting a new direction in their life," she says.

Brett Hart is one of those people. A 61-year-old office administrator from Castle Cove, Hart completed Pyett's course this year, about 20 years after first seeing permaculture's co-founder, Bill Mollison, talk about the subject on television. "It takes me a long time to get round to things," Hart says. "I'm not a rabid greenie. In fact I'm an enemy of the greenies in some ways. I'm just an ordinary suburban dad. But, I've got a deep inner feeling about permaculture. I wonder what's going to happen to us on this little planet and permaculture could be an answer."

Gardening Australia editor Brodee Myers-Cooke has seen her readership change in recent years. "These new readers are health-conscious and environmentally aware," she says. "They are young families who want to grow food as a money saver but they also want to know it's healthy.

"A few years ago most laypeople wouldn't have heard of permaculture. Now you'd be hard pressed to find a person who hasn't heard of it, even if they're not sure what it is.

"People are trying it. They're excited about growing their own crops in the suburbs. People are realising their backyard is a resource."

Growing veggies is one thing, but some permaculture philosophies are more confronting: convert your car to run on vegetable oil; set up community credit unions to bypass the banks; consume less. Are people ready to accept them?

"With global warming, climate change, global dimming and the peak oil crisis we will have to make fundamental changes to the way we live," Pyett says.

"They can be forced on us or we can take them on voluntarily. People need to start practising permaculture wherever they live. It will save the planet."


Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki has said: "What permaculturists are doing is the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet."

Bill Mollison describes permaculture as the world's biggest aid agency. Permaculturists travel the globe, teaching in some of the world's poorest and most inhospitable places.

Geoff Lawton, 51, of The Channon in northern NSW, is the managing director of the Permaculture Research Institute, a registered charity. He has taught in about 20 countries and is currently visiting former students in Jordan, where he has helped farmers near the Dead Sea turn their land in one of the saltiest and driest regions on earth into oases of productivity.

He says 750,000 students worldwide have taken the two-week permaculture design certificate course and permaculture is used in more than 400,000 projects in 120 countries. "It's all working as a decentralised, wild system breeding its own teachers," he says.

"We're mimicking the function of global weeds and germinating wherever there is damaged ground - and there is more all the time. In Third World countries permaculture is tried and tested fast by local people on the ground with real-time needs - which is understandable if your kids are dying."

...from smh

Friday, August 26, 2005

Motorists face weeks of chaos

Sydney faces the worst traffic congestion ever in coming months, with the State Government warning that chaos caused by the opening of the Cross City Tunnel will affect most of the city.

The chaos expected in the CBD after the tunnel opens on Sunday could last as long as six months, the Roads and Traffic Authority says. The evening peak is likely to be so bad, it says, that commuters should expect hours of delays.

The western side of the CBD near the ramp to the Anzac Bridge will be choked, especially on Market Street because it will funnel most of the city's westbound traffic onto the bridge.

A section of Druitt Street between Clarence and Kent streets will be devoted to buses after the tunnel opens, forcing all traffic onto narrow Clarence Street and then onto Market Street. Market Street is expected to be so clogged in the evenings that traffic will be virtually at a standstill from the Anzac Bridge ramp back to David Jones on Elizabeth Street.

The Government has acknowledged that the road changes are likely to cause a traffic nightmare for many weeks, particularly because as few as 30,000 cars a day will use the tunnel initially.

The tunnel was designed to ease congestion in the CBD by taking 90,000 cars a day off the streets but it would be months before that figure was reached, said Paul Willoughby, a spokesman for the roads authority.

The traffic situation would get worse before it improved, he said. "We're bracing ourselves for the worst traffic problems we've ever had in the CBD."

The RTA is so worried about the traffic problems that from Monday, its most experienced traffic managers will operate an emergency response team modelled on the one used by the authority during the 2000 Olympics. The team will monitor special traffic cameras installed throughout the CBD and will be able to change the timing of traffic lights and to direct crews to areas when traffic banks up.

Mr Willoughby conceded that the team would not save motorists from long delays, especially in the next couple of weeks.

from smh

Friday, August 12, 2005

interesting article in todays smh...

Companies use tech analysis on themselves

The automated analysis of "unstructured" data is becoming remarkably agile at giving companies detailed answers to the age-old business question of "How are we doing?"

The tiniest of flaws in a massive forklift truck is crucial information for Ryan McLawhorn, quality improvement manager at NACCO Industries. If his cargo-vehicle division can detect common problems and fix them in the manufacturing process, it can save millions on warranty claims.

That's not easy with 80,000 claims rolling in every year. So McLawhorn turned to data-mining software that examines service reports for precise trends. For years he had software that could alert him, say, to a batch of wiring problems. But now he can be told if a certain wire often comes loose, and under what circumstances.

"It's really almost unlimited," he said.

The technology can be made to work not only on service records and other internal data, but also on the hue and cry of the internet, where products and corporate reputations are obsessively discussed in blogs, message boards and e-commerce sites.

Eastman Kodak uses unstructured-data analysis to spot connections in its own and its competitors' patent filings. Government agents use it to hunt for insider trading or linkages between terrorist groups. Mayo Clinic researchers use it to scan physicians' notes for evidence about the efficacy of treatments.

The breakthrough has been in getting computers to understand the content of the documents they scan.

Often by diagramming sentences as a grammar school student would, text-analysis programs can tell the difference between a blog that says a motorcycle is so fast "it smokes" and one that says the engine emits smoke.

Picking up on such details quickly is vital in an age when fountains of data gush every minute.

"Our technology, on a simple laptop, can read through Moby-Dick and analyse it in nine seconds," said Craig Norris, head of Attensity, the company that supplied NACCO's software.

In hopes of broadening the potential of this kind of software, several companies have agreed on a technological standard that will let multiple computing engines for sorting unstructured data work together.

The programming codes that govern the framework, spearheaded by IBM in conjunction with academic researchers and the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, will be open source and freely available.

The cooperation is required because so many different kinds of unstructured-data engines have sprung up in recent years, driven in large part by the US government's demand for intelligence analysis. The CIA has funded several unstructured-data management companies, including Attensity.

Another CIA-backed company, Intelliseek, recently partnered with the Factiva information service to offer "reputation insight."

Intelliseek scans 4 million web logs and email list servers, and Factiva - a joint venture between Dow Jones and Reuters Group - combs news stories, radio transcripts and other media. Together they produce for companies a detailed analysis of how the public thinks about them at any given point.

For example, the most popular phrases relating to a company can be determined, and whether those terms are waxing or waning in significance.

Comparisons with competitors can be generated - as well as to a company's own business results. Who knows? Perhaps a seemingly unrelated bit of geopolitical news tends to boost sales. Or maybe early word can be gleaned about problems with a product that might lead to an expensive recall.

"The world has become more democratic. In the old days the company would issue a message, and the only alternative to that was, people could meet on the street and talk about it," said Randy Clark, marketing director of ClearForest, a data-analysis company whose customers include Kodak and government agencies. "Now those communications are pretty visible."

link to source doc

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The days are just starting to get longer and warmer. Just this last week, 10 days or so. With it comes a sense of vibrancy as nature slowly whirs into motion for the business season.

I've been busy sculpting tiki heads in my backyard. Stealing hours whenever I can because the sun is rising at 7am and setting around 5:30 this time of year, so I get to see very little of it during the work week. I've got 4 heads completed, I'm keeping 3 and the 4th is for my gf. I've already got another hebol block to make 2 more smaller ones, these I intend to sell.

It was Stu meeks' farewell last night before he and his gf head off to the Canadian snowfields for a while. Sounds like a terrible, terrible life eh. ;) All the best guys.

In other news, miss Lisa has finally scored a job in her chosen field of script writing. Go gettem gal. It's been loads of hard work, but she's finally got her foot in the door.

...and they are such nice feet.

I've got a really great feeling about this summer....

wow, this caught me by surprise... the worm turns eh?

Rock gigs to top the play list at Home

Home, Sydney's dance music super club, will be converted to a rock'n'roll venue in a bid to tap into the city's booming live music market.

Although Home was launched as an exclusive super club in the late 1990s for Sydney's dance and rave scene, its conversion to a live music venue reflects the diminishing clubbing scene in Sydney.

Simon Page, who co-owns the club with British businessman Ron McCulloch, has declared the Cockle Bay venue will "become a fully-fledged rock venue".

To be rebranded as Home: Sydney's House Of Music, it is expected to compete against live venues including the Enmore Theatre in Newtown and The Metro on George Street, which already cater for well-known international and local acts ranging from Foo Fighters to Missy Higgins.

"I think there's a real gap in that market," said Mr Page.

"Being a custom-built venue, which had a lot of dollars put into it in 1998, Home is relatively new. So it will give quite a different experience. I love going to old theatres like the Enmore, don't get me wrong, but I think with the modernity of Home, it being a live music venue could be striking."

Mr Page said the main auditorium inside the club had already been reconfigured and the DJ booth shifted to cater for a large live music stage.

"There's quite a difference between a live music sound system and a dance music system," Mr Page said.

"The sound system which went into Home was modelled on the Ministry of Sound's and was for dance music. So I've done some research on what's required for live music.

"We've got a sound system the size of the one inside the Hordern Pavilion going into Home. They're starting to install it on Monday and it will be fully up and running in two to three weeks."

The dance club's management will also refit various areas of the club to attract the world's biggest names in rock, for gigs scheduled on Saturday nights and weeknights. The traditional dance music night, Sublime, will continue on Friday nights.

"You really have to look after the live music properly," Mr Page said. "So we're building a suite of dressing rooms and ... a tour manager's office which has direct access to the stage."

As part of Home's complete overhaul, staff have been poached from major rock promoters, including Michael Coppel, to book some of the world's biggest bands. Mr Page said big-name acts were already being considered for October, November and December.

The shift towards live music at Sydney's biggest dance club reflects a trend in Britain, where the clubbing scene has been slowly losing its appeal over the past few years. While it was a hot, underground movement in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, clubbing went entirely mainstream with super clubs such as the Ministry of Sound in London and Home in Sydney. Now it appears to have given way to old-fashioned live bands.

"All around the world big nightclubs, pure dance clubs, have difficulty getting more than one night happening [each week]," Mr Page said. That's why he's now considering every possible genre of live music to revitalise the venue.

"I'm happy to have country and western on the floor one night and trance the next," he said.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Treedweller ! .. an early birthday present from my gf. Thanks babe. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 24, 2005

Visit Lisa's Blog! (she's finally jumped on the bandwagon...)

This idea caught my imagination on boingboing today...

"Vertical Farming: High-rise urban mass agriculture

This well-developed project from Columbia University walks through the realities, possibilities and constraints of multi-storey, urban, high-rise farming: What is proposed here that differs radically from what now exists is to scale up the concept of indoor farming, in which a wide variety of produce is harvested in quantity enough to sustain even the largest of cities without significantly relying on resources beyond the city limits. Cattle, horses, sheep, goats, and other large farm animals seem to fall well outside the paradigm of urban farming. However, raising a wide variety of fowl and pigs are well within the capabilities of indoor farming. It has been estimated that it will require approximately 300 square feet of intensively farmed indoor space to produce enough food to support a single individual living in an extraterrestrial environment (e.g., on a space station or a colony on the moon or Mars)."

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Programmable matter

Tiny robots that can turn into any shape - from a replica human to a banana to a mobile phone - are being developed by scientists in the United States.

The science of claytronics, which will use nanotechnology to create robots called catoms, should enable 3D copies of people to be "faxed" for virtual meetings. A doctor could also consult with a patient over the phone, even taking their pulse by holding the wrist of the claytronic replica.


The nano "clay" could be carried around, shape-shifting into anything when required. Your claytronic mobile phone could turn into a hammer and then a pair of running shoes. Todd Mowry, at Intel's research labs in Pittsburgh said: "You could have a little lump of this stuff you carry around and it could be a million different things. It's like the world's ultimate Swiss army knife." His partner, Seth Goldstein, of Carnegie Mellon University, said: "It's absolutely going to work."

Not a single such robot yet exists; building these one-millimeter diameter robots is beyond current technology. And it could be decades before a synthetic doctor is possible, much less affordable. So far, the group has been able to get four catoms to act together, but at more than 4cm in diameter, they are considerably larger than the nano-sized robots required to make the clay.

Carr announces $8bn railway project

"The NSW Government will spend $8 billion on a rail line under Sydney Harbour and links to new suburbs in the north-west and south-west of the city in the biggest expansion of the network since the 1930s.

As revealed in the Herald today, the new line will run from Rouse Hill to Leppington and will include new stations under Pitt Street, Castlereagh Street, at The Rocks, North Sydney and Crows Nest.

The Premier, Bob Carr, today said the Government had been working on the rail expansion for the past year.

"The Government will invest $8 billion over the next 15 years for the biggest expansion we've seen of the rail network since the 1930s," Mr Carr said.

"Fundamentally, [this is] a new rail service to the growth areas of the north-west and to the south-west, and an extra capacity for the CityRail network."

The new line will be funded through a mix of borrowings, budget funding and private-sector finance."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

...my latest tiki head. Posted by Hello

...made from hebol, an autoclave airated concrete

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Things you would like to have if shipwrecked on an island...

  • knife
  • magnifying glass
  • machete
  • my girlfriend ;)
  • sleeping bag
  • boat
  • container
  • hat
  • sunnies
  • rope
  • a big sheet of flexible perspex
  • mosquito netting
  • wind-up or solar powered radio
  • compound bow and arrows
  • cloth
  • brush
  • soap
  • toothbrush
  • mirror
  • fishing rod
  • toilet paper
  • shovel
  • vegetable seeds - potato's. tomatoes. broccoli. coffee. grains. bamboo. herbs.
  • cutlery
  • scissors
  • how-to manual
  • plates + bowls
  • cups
  • sunscreen
  • pushbike
  • aeroguard
  • assorted clothes + shoes
  • tent
  • towel
  • dog
  • dogfood
  • paper + pencils
  • billy
  • pot stoves

Floating lab to monitor oceans

The planned SeaOrbiter is intended to be a research lab that will observe ocean life and the interaction between ocean and atmosphere. It will be driven by currents and have a life expectancy of 15 years, according to its backers.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Praying monkey in India

A monkey reportedly participated in a Hindu ritual at a temple in the Balasore district of Orissa, India. The monkey allegedly folded its hands, took prasad (sanctified food), and marked its forehead with vermillion. After the villagers adorned it with a garland, the monkey took off into the forest. From the Indo-Asian News Service:
"When we saw the monkey joining us we were surprised. We did not try to drive it out and it continued praying for nearly an hour amid hundreds of devotees," (Junia village resident Aniruddha) Behera told IANS... "We have not seen any monkey around for the last two years. This is a miracle for us," Behera said.
...via boingboing

Friday, May 20, 2005

News :
Google releases personalisable homepage
Google released www.google.com/ig.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

They're all god movies, in mysterious ways

The internet has become almost like a 21st-century church or temple, says a Sydney academic.

Disenchantment with organised religion has given rise to spiritual movements inspired by cinema and books and promulgated on the World Wide Web, says Adam Possamai, president of the Australian Association for the Study of Religions and a sociologist at the University of Western Sydney.

The futuristic Matrix trilogy and the Star Wars franchise - of which the final chapter, Revenge of the Sith, was released at midnight - are part of a phenomenon of "hyper-real" religions that draw on old religious symbolism and works of popular culture.

The internet is like a place for worship, but instead of pews, followers, mainly teenagers, congregate in chat rooms.

Star Trek, the Matrix trilogy and Star Wars, even the Harry Potter films, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are more than pieces of cinematic or television escapism, Dr Possamai says.

Their stories of spiritual drama, littered with a religious subtext of good versus evil, "chosen ones", prophets of doom and a benevolent universal power, mean they are a source of inspiration for "seekers".

Dr Possamai said the Matrix trilogy had spawned "Matrixism", a so-called movie-based religion that claims 300 adherents and has as one of its tenets a belief in the prophecy of "the One".

The Jedi Knight movement, which has a quasi-spirituality of the Force and an ethical code, promotes ancient techniques for developing the self such as meditation, yoga and shamanism.

The neo-pagan network of the Church of Old Worlds claimed to be inspired by Star Trek and the science fiction writer Robert Heinlein , he said. The Passion of the Christ had been used as a rallying cry by organised religion and many Christian groups had embraced popular culture by creating comic book heroes and virtual bibles.

"Hyper-real religions are a simulacrum of a religion partly created out of popular culture. They have been underground since the 1960s but are becoming more mainstream, due to the advent of the internet," said Dr Possamai, whose book on the subject has just been released.

"We live in a consumer society where popular culture is becoming more commercialised. As society becomes more consumerist I expect the hyper-real religious phenomenon to grow, but to what extent I've got no idea."

source : smh

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

How to live with curves

"Curved walls enable you to place windows and doors where they are best adapted for the use of a room, or to make the best of the view and the light. In a curved room, the usual references to space have gone. From each location in the house you have a different view or perspective onto the rest of the house, therefore more variety. Lighting is softer and less uniform and aggressive than with flat walls. The illusion of space is greater as there are no set lines for the eye to follow."

from an article about Lovag Bubble houses..

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Researchers revive plan to clone the Tassie tiger

The last living Tasmanian tiger is seen in this picture, dated 1936.

The last living Tasmanian tiger is seen in this picture, dated 1936.

The audacious plan to bring the Tasmanian tiger back from the dead through cloning is to be revived by a coalition of academics.

Three months after the Australian Museum said it was shelving plans to clone the tiger - or thylacine - the University of NSW's Dean of Science Mike Archer said the work was being picked up by a group of interested universities and a research institute.

Professor Archer, a former director of the museum, said researchers from NSW and Victoria were likely to take part in the program, which involves recovering DNA from preserved tiger tissue to breed a living specimen.

The University of NSW was likely to take part and the museum would be asked to co-operate.

Professor Archer declined to publicly name the other bodies involved before they were formally committed.

"A group of institutions is involved in moving ahead with creating new ways of getting the thylacine project back on track," Professor Archer said.

"I would see this institution [UNSW] being involved.

"We're beginning to think how we would progress this program."

The Australian Museum captured worldwide headlines in 1999 when under Professor Archer's directorship it announced plans to take the DNA from a thylacine pup that was preserved in ethanol in 1866 and reconstruct it.

The museum planned to clone the thylacine using the egg of another carnivorous marsupial, the Tasmanian devil.

The plan attracted more than $300,000 in sponsorship from the private sector.

However, Professor Archer left the museum in 2004 and in February the institution said it was abandoning the work due to poor DNA samples and a lack of adequate technology.

The decision won praise from some conservationists who said the money spent on cloning research would have been better spent on preserving existing endangered species.

Greens Senator Bob Brown said he believed the idea of bringing the dead back to life was "dysfunctional" because the habitats occupied by the thylacine are themselves being destroyed.

The last known tiger died in Hobart Zoo on September 7, 1936.

In February this year, two German tourists caused a flurry of excitement when they produced two digital images they claimed showed a living tiger they had encountered in the wild.

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery director Bill Bleathman, who viewed the photographs, said they showed the back of a thylacine but its head, hindquarters and tail were not clearly visible.

The pictures are considered inconclusive.

In March Kerry Packer's magazine The Bulletin announced it would pay $1.25 million for the capture of "a live, uninjured animal" as part of its 125th anniversary celebrations.

Tasmanian tour operator Stewart Malcolm subsequently upped the offer to $1.75 million, saying that he had been planning for months to offer a bounty.


 Like the Tasmanian devil, the thylacine is a carnivorous marsupial.

 It was hunted into extinction because it was regarded as a threat to livestock.

 The last known specimen died in Hobart Zoo in 1936.

 In March, The Bulletin announced it would pay $1.25 million for the capture of "a live, uninjured animal".

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Machines lay hands on building blocks of artificial life

New cubes on the block ... Hod Lipson holds parts of the robot he has designed to self-replicate. The robot starts as a stack of blocks, which builds a new stack in 2 minutes.

New cubes on the block ... Hod Lipson holds parts of the robot he has designed to self-replicate. The robot starts as a stack of blocks, which builds a new stack in 2 minutes.
Photo: Kevin Stearns

A dream of robotics and a nightmare of science fiction has been achieved with the development of complex, self-reproducing machines.

American researchers have built a family of robots that can make working copies of themselves within minutes.

Hod Lipson, of Cornell University, said his team's creations demonstrated that self-reproduction "is not unique to biology". The ability to reproduce would be useful for robots that needed repairing in hazardous environments or on distant planets. "Self-replication is an extreme version of self-repair," Professor Lipson told the Herald.

Science fiction thrillers, including Michael Crichton's novel Prey, have painted doomsday scenarios of tiny robots running amok.

Prince Charles has also expressed concern at the prospect of the planet being turned into a "grey goo" by self-replicating machines.

Professor Lipson said self-replicating machines needed sources of energy and materials to build copies of themselves. "So they are easy to control. It would not be high on my priorities to worry about," he said.

The team's robots, described today in the journal Nature, are made of independently operating cubes about 10 centimetres wide, which are split into halves that can swivel.

Each cube contains computer instructions and is fitted with electromagnets so it can attach or detach from a neighbouring cube.

A flexible stack of four cubes can bend over, move blocks and build an identical stack within 2 minutes, as long as it has a supply of new cubes.

Professor Lipson said two other devices that could make copies of themselves had been developed, including a system of Lego blocks on tracks, but they were extremely simple and worked only in two dimensions.

His team's cube design allowed for a complex "family of robots" in different shapes and sizes to be built and reproduce in three dimensions.

Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney, said the new robots were an interesting development in a rapidly advancing field.

Other teams have developed robots that can change shape or split in two and recombine, he said. The biggest practical problem would be how to supply the robots with power in remote locations.

from smh

Monday, May 09, 2005

In between, I made this.... Posted by Hello

Sunday, beers with Matty! Posted by Hello

The Epping Hotel... Posted by Hello

Beers with Migel on Thursday night! Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

According to research by the Australia Institute, about one in three Sydney fathers in full-time work with children under 15 years spend an average eight hours and 17 minutes a week travelling to work but three hours and 44 minutes with their children.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The importance of Sci-fi
(disclaimer : this is a thought in progress, I intend to expand on it when I can.)

I watched the new 'Dalek' episode of Doctor Who last night and it got me a-thinking...

The importance of Sci-fi to people in technical jobs is, for me, high, as I find that it allows me to side-step whatever current technical problems I may be encountering and escape to a time where those problems no longer exist. It occurs to me that Sci-fi shows oftens show situations that transcend what is currently possible / acceptable in many arena, not just the obvious technical considerations, and that it is this element of
transcendence that really contains the power. It's quite normal to experience doubt and stress when facing technical issues, and it could be considered that it's part of the human condition to push ourselves on to overcome increasing odds.

Sci-f, for me allows a vision of that goal state ahead of it's deserved time, the so-called carrot dangling before the donkey.

It could be said that Sci-fi shows people (and other creatures!) transcending many issues, not just technical, and so do many other genres. A show set in the 1920's showing people overcoming technical issues, while still interesting to me, is not as interesting as something future-based, and I wonder why...

I like seeing visions of the future, regardless of the bad props (although this can detract from it dramatically), and I work for an IT company and I see many people around me, both male and female being interested in sci-fi. Is it perhaps an interest in technology that drew us to our chosen field of employment?

I'm not a pimply geek type, I enjoy many other things than sitting in front of a computer, but I do experience a sort of buzz after watching a good piece of sci-fi. I've had a brief trawl around the net looking for other commentry of a similar tone, but can't find anything of note.

Any thoughts?

...I'd be really interested in hearing other peoples opinions of this.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

...up... Posted by Hello

the face at the Luna Park entrance... Posted by Hello

new bedside table lamp... Posted by Hello

cafe sign at Luna park, Sydney Posted by Hello

Another weekend closes...

Yesterday we went to Bunnings Warehouse and bought, amongst other things... a couple of blocks of Hebel (a light aerated concrete block) and some chisels and coarse sandpaper with the intention of starting some tiki head sculptures. Lisa bought a stack of plants and some trellis for her little backyard. We watched 'Without a Paddle', a hilarious little comedy/adventure.

What else did we do this weekend? It was one of those... I think a percentage of it involved Lisa and I recovering from our respective colds.

Exciting huh.

oh yeh, we went for a nice walk through Luna Park and took some photos on Saturday night, there's something quite disturbing about the art and design around theme parks isn't there. I've included a couple of the pics here (and on my Flickr site) so you can check them out.

My Good friend Mick was a recipient of one of my free Flickr pro accounts. He's been busy putting up some photos from about 5 years ago that I haven't seen in such a long time. These photos are from our first house in Sydney and also from our old workplace. It's quite humbling looking at these photos and thinking of all the things that have happened since then, and simultaneously, how much has not changed. So go on, check out his Flickr site and say hi. He's a nice guy, he'd appreciate it.

Odd Search