Monday, July 09, 2007

Wondrous...

After a vote, the New 7 Wonders of the World has been announced. As expected, the event didn't pass without some complaining (but that is just Sydney people for you).


The new list is:


  • Colosseum, Italy

Colosseum


  • Taj Mahal, India

taj-mahal


  • Great Wall of China

Beijing (185)


  • Petra, Jordan

Treasury


  • Christ the Redeemer, Brasil

Christ redeemer


  • Machu Picchu, Peru

"Downtown"


  • Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichen-Izta

For the most part, I agree with the list. But there is one glaring 'Wonder' that is the odd one out. The only 'Wonder' in the list that is less than 100 years old.


I really think that the City of Angkor in Cambodia should have been on the list. Built between 900 and 1200 AD, the city ruins contain over a thousand temples. The most impressive of these being Angkor Wat, which holds the distinction of being the world's largest single religious monument.


CIMG2019.JPGCIMG1905.JPGAngkor Wat at sunset.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

3. Profit!!!

As with any winter, there are always a few good influenza viruses that get passed around and we all get sick at least once. Some of these viruses give you a headache and make you feel crap for a few days, while others that hit you and you are confined to bed with fevers for days on end.

Last weekend Calvin (3 and half now) came down with a massive fever and slept for nearly all of Sunday. His fever was quite severe but we did what you should do and gave Nurofen or Panadol to bring the fever down and if necessary put him in a tepid shower to help bring the temp down.

By Wednesday he was back to normal, although he has had a nose like a dripping tap for the last few days.

Then on Thursday the news came out that 3 children under 5 died in Perth due to the flu and issued a warning through the media that medical help should be sought if a child started showing signs of respiratory illness. The full announcement by the health department gave details on how to spot the symptoms. Now the fun starts...

The news, at their sensationalist best, reported the 3 deaths and that parents should be on the lookout for a high fever and a cough. Pretty much standard fare for any good flu.

Here is the result:

Hospitals packed in flu scare

HUNDREDS of concerned parents have packed hospital emergency departments across Perth following an influenza warning from health authorities after the deaths of three young children.

Their action was prompted by a call from Western Australia's Department of Health urging parents to seek early medical attention for young children showing signs of respiratory illness.

What a wonderful way of making sure you have something to report over the weekend.

Now multiple news outlets are reporting that hospitals have been inundated and have started turning the reports into attacks on the government for not funding the hospitals properly. Of course, the media don't accept any fault in the panic they caused.

The 3-step program for mainstream media:
  1. Half-report and sensationalise a potentially serious issue
  2. Sit back and watch the panic
  3. Profit!!!

I hate mainstream media...

Monday, July 02, 2007

Stop ya whinging...

From News.com.au:

Farmers miss out on rain

FARMERS in WA's drought-stricken wheatbelt region have received only scattered rain from powerful storms which lashed parts of the state.

 

Several frontal systems passed through WA's south-west at the weekend and today brought more than 60 millimetres of rain to parts of Perth.

 

But struggling farmers in the central and northern wheatbelt, including three communities receiving exceptional circumstances funding after six years of drought, have largely missed out.

 

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Steve West said those areas received little rain.

 

"It's been patchy, the falls in general have been between 5mm and 10mm. There are showers off the coast there now so there are a few more millimetres for them," Mr West said this afternoon.

 

WA Farmers Federation president Trevor De Landgrafft said it was not enough.

 

"It's unfortunate, they were quite small showers," Mr De Landgrafft said.

 

"They keep things going, keep the dream alive."

 

"But most people haven't had any good falls at all to have made an impact on being able to seed some land or getting a germination of land that was seeded."

 

"The central and northern Wheatbelt are really looking quite dire."

I've had enough, when will these farmers stop bleating about a lack of rain and doing something to try and fix their problems?

The farmers are a victim of their own profession, the very process of creating their farmland is reducing the rainfall they get. In recent years, lots of study has gone into the effects of deforestation. It has been found that deforestation is linked very closely with reduced rainfall [1, 2, 3]. With reduced vegetation less moisture is transpired back to the atmosphere, and with the accompanying increased ground exposure, base cloud levels are driven upward (warmer air) and are less likely to produce rain when they reach areas of increased altitude.

If you go for a drive through the wheatbelt of Western Australia, you can drive tens of kilometres in between seeing sections of native bush. The wheatbelt was once covered with bush that was cleared to make way for the crops. Removal of this much vegetation has got to have an affect on the environment, in particular, the hydrological cycle.

As with rising salt and erosion, I would be pretty confident that (re)planting more trees would help rectify these situations. It won't have an immediate effect, just like clearing the land in the first place didn't have an immediate effect on the climate but it is a start. It may mean the loss of some farmland but isn't that a bit better than losing your whole farmland and livelihood through lack of rain?

Farmers aren't the only ones to blame for this, but they are the ones whinging loudest. Stop your bleating and do something about it...