shapeofthings: (Hobart)
Urk, busy Toni is busy.

Workin' overtime to meet a deadline, sorting out the old house, settling into the new, drumming, living & loving.

Managed to get out bushwalking on the weekend: headed up to Mt. Field with the awesome Hobart Kat. Good times were had and the dodgy hip held out. This weekend is finishing the repair-work & gardening at the old digs and hopefully finishing assembling furniture here at the new. Took a raincheck on an invitation to a sailing trip that was as much about networking as leisure. Thankfully the weather's forecast to be grim anyway so we're rescheduling.


Hike3
On the trail to Twilight Tarn, Mt Field National Park


Have dispatched 2 poor little meeces thus far, and am not finding evidence of any more whiskered squeakers. Will leave the traps set for a few more days just in case.

Speaking of, here's a mini-rant about modern rodent control: my local supermarket only sold one type of mousetrap - a re-usable plastic spine-snapping design that does the job quickly and cleanly - but several types of rodent poison and sticky traps. This horrifies me! I dislike killing anything but recognise that mice in the house need to meet their demise (catch & release will only result in their inevitable return). So if I'm in the business of death I want to make it as quick and humane as possible for the poor little critter.

Back-breaking traps do this. A quick snap and it's all over bar the involuntary twitches. It's not nice, but as far as deaths go it's a pretty neat one. Poisons, on the other hand, are a horrible way to go: the animal suffers painfully, potentially for hours. Sticky-deaths aren't all that much better, causing significant distress to the whiskery one.

So why only one form of quick death but so many options for cruelty and suffering? Because we don't want to confront that we're killing another creature. Snap it's back in a trap and you have to despatch the fuzzy corpse the next morning, getting close and personal with the consequences of your actions. Poison the nibbler and you hope you'll never have to see the body, living in sweet denial of your death-dealing ways.

You know what? Harden the fuck up Australia. Either way you're taking a tiny life; make the right choice and do it quickly and less cruelly and deal with the viscerality of your actions. That or leave the rodents in peace and take up veganism. At least then you'll have an ethical leg to stand on.

***


Meanwhile, have an opinionated post about capitalistic democracy, toxic culture and change over at the Shape of Things to Come. No guarantee of factuality or logical consistency is made.

(it's late, I'm tired and ran out of arsedness)

g'night!
shapeofthings: (bloop!)
In a stroke of PR genius, that hive mind of veganism, PETA, has launched a campaign they believe will finally convince us to not eat fish. Previously slithery, slimy fishes have had a PETA make-over, and are now to be known as Sea Kittens. After all "...who could possibly want to put a hook through a sea kitten?"

Sea Kittens


A look through the campaign website sheds new light on the behaviour of fish Sea Kittens. Who knew that tuna like to cuddle, trout can be litter trained, and all Sea Kittens like chasing yarn? I am utterly outraged this content was not included in my Fish & Fisheries Sea Kittens & Sea Kitten Hunting course at uni. How tertiary education has failed me!

By all means, don't eat fish if you find it ethically inexcusable, but if you start confusing fish with cats, please seek professional help.

Now please excuse me, I'm off to go Sea Kitten hunting. And remember, "Sea kittens are smart, interesting animals with their own unique personalities just like the dogs and cats that we share our homes with".

Sea Kitten Hunting
shapeofthings: (Australian Idiot)
Now ads are appearing with posts from the Dilbert feed on my Friends Page?

Dear LJ,

I have a paid account, selected purely to avoid advertising content on LiveJournal. Now I'm seeing ads. There have been no announcements regarding this in [livejournal.com profile] lj_2008, [livejournal.com profile] paid_members or in [livejournal.com profile] news.

That's one step closer to goodbye, fvckers.

Good news

Dec. 19th, 2007 08:00 pm
shapeofthings: (BlueFish)
Thank you to everyone who made some noise about the unacceptibility of the iPond speaker/fish torture box.

The chain selling this piece of crap (Pets Paradise/Pet Goods Direct) is withdrawing the iPond from sale, effective immediately.

Further, the Pet Industry Association of Australia is calling for the iPond to be banned outright.

It's good to see common decency prevail. Unfortunately these hideous things are still being sold in the US and Canada. If you can spare the time, there is a petition here collecting international signiatories. I don't know if it'll do much (since it started as Australia-specific), but at the very least it's awareness-raising, and may inspire action to be taken wherever the iPond is sold.

Thank you.

Correct care of the Siamese Fighting Fish )


Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] gleep for the linkage.
shapeofthings: (Default)
The following article was published today in major newspapers.

I am saddened and disgusted and call upon anyone with a sense of ethics and decency to boycott any stores selling this product.
 
iPond . . . The gift they are trying to ban.

iPond . . . The gift they are trying to ban.
Photo: Rebecca Hallas

Reid Sexton and Daniel Dasey
December 16, 2007

A TINY fish tank that doubles as a music speaker has sparked outrage among animal activists and aquarists.

The iPond - up to 15 times smaller than the recommended tank size for the fish it contains - is proving a hit with Christmas shoppers.

One Sydney store has sold out of the $70 device and other outlets are reporting brisk sales.

But the RSPCA has called on the device to be banned because it is too small to provide fish with adequate oxygen supplies and a clean environment.

The iPond is sold nationally by the Pets Paradise and Pet Goods Direct chains. Users can play their iPods through a speaker built into the bottom of the brick-shaped tank.

The tank's water capacity is about 650millilitres once rocks are placed in it.

Pets Paradise is selling Siamese fighting fish with the iPond.

The fighting fish are native to South-East Asia and have a "labyrinth lung" that allows them to take in oxygen from air. Typically they live in puddles and rice paddies.

A Melbourne Aquarium spokesman said Siamese fighting fish required a minimum tank size of 10 litres - dramatically more than the iPond provides.

Animal Liberation Victoria's Noah Mark said he was disgusted by the invention.

Studies proved fish had memories well beyond a few seconds and were social creatures that experienced pain and boredom, he said.

"The fish in this thing does not look like it has very long to live and it can barely move," he said.

"Even if it does live it's not [a] life worth living ... it's really just a torture box."

Acoustics expert Jason Gedamke said there was no doubt noise from the speaker would escape into the water.

"The speaker is directly coupled to the outside of the tank ... [so] you are going to have a small level of sound introduced," Mr Gedamke said.

"It's the same as putting a fish tank on a speaker."

RSPCA spokesman Hugh Wirth said despite the fighting fish's ability to breathe air from the surface, the tank was far too small for it to receive adequate oxygen. The small volume of water would lead to rapid temperature change and this meant the tropical fish would not live long, he said. The iPond should be banned, Dr Wirth said.

Marketing manager for the Pets Paradise and Pet Goods Direct chains, Alyse-Grace Robertson, said the tanks had gone on sale in September and were selling briskly.

The group that manages the stores had received one formal complaint about the product.

Customers sometimes asked questions about the welfare of fish in iPonds.

"A few people ask, 'is the fish OK?"' Ms Robertson said. The chains were satisfied that fish in iPonds did not suffer.

She said before selling the tanks the chains had consulted the Pet Industry Association of Australia.

Output from the speakers was small and fish in iPonds seemed to flourish, she said.

A spokesperson for Apple said the company was willing to comment on its own products, but not on accessories made by third parties.

Source: The Sun-Herald, The Age.
shapeofthings: (geek)
Hello World.

I'm pretending today is Thursday, so I'm not in work (though I will be tomorrow). I got up at 7:30 this morning and was a bit wobbly so I went back to bed. Dozed of again and next thing it was 9:30! Eeep! So I've had a lazy morning and 2 cups of coffee while I caught up on LJ and read the paper. Some interesting stuff in the pages today (to steal Alex's dad's expression).

First off the rank we have a headline story about the federal government dedicating a shite-load more funding to mental health services, making it easier for people to get mental health referals from their GPs and some assistance with costs. While on the surface this is excellent news (A friend of mine is a psychologist in a regional area. They have 1 computer between 6 staff and no internet access.), attention needs to be paid to the causes of the recent increase in mental health disorders (interesting that mental health problems are increasing along with the economy strengthening and us Aussies apparently being wealthier than ever, eh?). Treating the symptoms is all well and good, but the costs will continue to sprial unless the causes are addressed. And no, I'm not talking about tougher anti-drug enforcement.

Mental health disorder figures are a pretty good measure of social failure. Look at the corresponding changes to society: increasingly mobile work-force as jobs become temporary and contract-based, lack of financial security that comes with contract work, the increasing costs of tertiary education, increasing working hours (without commensurate pay), increasing social dislocation, yadda, yadda, yadda. So I guess it's a step in the right direction, but I don't think our current 'regime' will ever start to tackle to sources. In fact, with the ironically names "work choices" bill, I predict rates of mental illness to keep increasing.

From there I'll skip to an opinion peice by Janet Albrechtsen. Janet is someone I love to hate: a neo-conservative with the gall to try to force independent media to sing her song. Thus it pains me that recently I've found myself agreeing with her. This unlikely situation occured again today, with her interesting peice on the need for moderate muslims to speak out. What is the world coming to? Anyway, here she is.

Now, I'm throwing something up for curiosity's sake. Have any of you non-aussies heard a word about the Australian Wheat Board scandal? Didn't thing so... To sum it up, Australia's sole what exporter (Whatever happened to competition?) got busted for paying Saddam Hussein kick-backs to the tune of millions to get him to buy our wheat under the UN Oil-For-Food programme. That's right, us, an unwilling member of the Coalition of the Willing, propping up Saddam out of the pockets of our farmers. The Federal department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been implicated as complicent in these dealings, meaning the Prime Minister probably knew all about it, but interestingly, no-one actually seems to give a damn. Australia, where we expect our politicians to be lying bastards and are alarmed at the possibility of pollies telling the truth.

Which nicely brings me to the last item: Cyclone Larry. Out of revenge for being given such a ridiculous name, Larry turned out to be anything other than funny, hitting North Queensland as a category 5 storm (that's the biggest they get, by the way), old mate Larry was bigger than previous record-holder Tracy and went about causing quite a lot of damage. In fact, he pretty much wiped Innisfail off the map, and had a fair go at Cairns, Tully, Atherton, Eacham, mission Beach, Mossman and anywhere in-between too. To note, no-one died, but we're all mourning the loss of this year's banana crop.


That's Larry crossing the coast on Monday morning. Note the other swirlig mass of clour to the east: say hello to Cyclone Wati.


Perhaps Dubya should study the Larry response, as he might just learn something. Within 48 hours we had the army, the SES, the police force, the Red Cross and the press all up to the remote north. Food, water and generators have been delivered, and most of all, there's been no looting. A couple of lads thought they'd give it a try, but were defeated by an irate local standing up for his land-lord's property. It's times like these I feel blush of nationalistic pride, as well as the irony of massive flooding up north while South-East Queensland languishes in drought and is likely to max-out it's water restrictions this year.

So I'll see you later world, I'm off to defuse the natural disaster of my kitchen.
shapeofthings: (grumpyfish)
"THE campaign for a national identity card gathered momentum yesterday when the Nationals joined calls for a serious debate.

Nationals Senate leader Ron Boswell, a fierce opponent of the Australia Card proposal 20 years ago, said yesterday that times had changed and an ID card should be reconsidered. Senator Boswell said that although his party had campaigned against the Hawke government's 1987 proposal, the London and Bali bombings last year were reason enough for the issue to be looked at again."


Dear Mr. Boswell, congratuations of being a Liberal pawn. Not only have you let much malicious legislation pass since your appointment, you are also showing clear evidence of mental deficiencies. How on earth can you suggest the Bali and London bombings are good reason to introduce national ID? In all cases, the bomings were conducted by citcens. That's right, people living legally within the country, possessing all the relevant documentation. Just in case you don't get it, this means any sort of ID card program in those coutries would not have stopped the bombings. In all 3 cases the offenders were not previously known to police and had no criminal records. How on earth would an ID card help? You can't even use them for corpse identification as the dead could be holding wallets other than their own. Moron.

And what about in Australia? Well, you need a passposrt and a visa to get in, so we already know who you are then. As for home-grown terror? Just like London, how will a piece of paper help? Will holding this precious card instantly stop a potential terroritst out of respect of residency? In your f*cking dreams.

Every Australian adult who wishes to buy alcohol, enter licenced premises or command a vehicle must possess ID. There are very few people who wouldn't have any sort of identification, be it a passport, drivers license or 18+ card. Should holding an additional/alternative piece of ID be compulsory? What purposes might this serve? Should possessing ID confirmong your ID be mandatory? I think not. I can't think of any good reasons for any Australian citizen/resident to be immediately identifiable. I'm open to argument, so cash in your 2 cents here.

Read all about it!
shapeofthings: (grumpyfish)
"it is difficult to form any conclusion other than that the culture of [the immigration department] was so motivated by imperatives associated with the removal of unlawful non-citizens that officers failed to take into account the
basic human rights obligations that characterise a democratic society".


Our sociopathic Prime Minister has gone and made bloody Phil Ruddock the attorney-general and put him in charge of Australia's anti (ha!) terrorism laws. Mr. ruddock, the man who believes mandatory detention for imigration seekers, including children, is a'ok. The man who had consistently implemented policies that break the UN's Human Right's Act. Fantastic.

If you don't know anything about this legislation, I suggest you find out about it fast. A pdf version can be downloaded here, many thanks to the Chief Minister from the ACT, Mr. Jon Stanhope. Only through his leaking of this document has news of the proposed changes got out. Hooray for a politician having a concience when the Government holds the balance of power in the senate (i.e. there's no one to block is passing).

The new "anti-terror" laws will, in my opinion, actually incite attacks, they are that awful! You can be held without charge for 2 weeks, held under house arrest for 12 months, including restricting all forms of communication, and arrested for "inciting violence against the government". Worse than that, if you're held in custody for any of these offences, even uncharged, you cannot talk about it. It cannot be brought to public attention, thus gross mis-carriages of justice are free to occur. And if you thought that was bad enough, "shoot to kill" provisions are being brought in that allow unarmed suspects to be shot if they attempt to flee. And a suspect, in this case, is anyone they think *might* be a terrorist suspect, as the requirement for evidence of intent to committ a crime has been waived.

This is insanity. If you thought the government's Industrial Relations legislation was scary (which is really is, don't get me wrong), this anti-terror stuff is downright terrifying.

Go back to sleep Australia, your government has everything under control...
shapeofthings: (grumpyfish)
Honestly, how did so many people vote for him? It sickens me that the majority of our population placed it's own hip pockets above decency, sustainability and ethical behaviour. Seriously, shame on you for being suck selfish fucks.

Canberra in denial over greenhouse
Amanda Hodge
August 11, 2005


THE Howard Government has denied global warming exists, or that burning coal releases greenhouse gases that lead to climate change, in court documents defending its approval of two Queensland coalmines. The denial comes a fortnight after Environment Minister Ian Campbell released a report warning that climate change is inevitable as a result of rising greenhouse emissions and that the impacts must be considered in all future government decisions.

Senator Campbell signed off on the Isaac Plains and Sonoma Coal projects in May, determining that neither needed assessment under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The two mines will produce a combined 48 million tonnes of coal over their lifetime.

But last month, Queensland's Wildlife Preservation Society launched a Federal Court challenge against that decision. It claimed the Government had failed to consider the effects of climate change that the extraction and burning of coal from the proposed central Queensland coalmines would have on sensitive areas, as the legislation required.

The Government has responded by disputing a statement of facts asserting the existence of global warming, that burning coal leads to global-warming greenhouse gases, and that climate change can have a severe impact on areas such as the Great Barrier Reef.

Greenhouse gas emissions are not a trigger for assessment under the act, but World Heritage Areas such as the Great Barrier Reef are.

Environmental Defenders Office solicitor Kirsty Ruddock, acting for the Wildlife Preservation Society, said yesterday that she was surprised by the Government's response, given its rhetoric on climate change in recent weeks. "We thought that with some of these issues there was no scientific debate these days," Ms Ruddock said. "But effectively, the Government is saying, 'we dispute these matters and we're going to put you to proof on them'."

Last month, the Government's Climate Change, Risk and Vulnerability study found Australia could expect more frequent and extreme droughts, floods and storms, but less rainfall, because of previous greenhouse gas accumulation. Just days later, it signed an Asia-Pacific climate pact to fast-track technologies that reduce greenhouse emissions from coal. The commonwealth's chief scientist, Robin Batterham, has also warned that Australia faces "deep trouble" if it does not reduce greenhouse emissions by 50per cent by 2050.

Senator Campbell, as the respondent in the Federal Court case, refused to comment on the about-face yesterday. However, a ministerial spokeswoman said the Government was taking a strong international lead on the impacts of climate change. She added: "The minister would prefer that taxpayers' resources were used to reduce the impact of climate change, rather than on lawyers' fees."

The society's case, as the country's first litigation against greenhouse gas emissions under commonwealth environment legislation, relies on a precedent set last year by the full bench of the Federal Court over Queensland's proposed new Nathan Dam.

That decision broadened the commonwealth's assessment obligations under the act by finding that the indirect impacts a new dam would have on the Great Barrier Reef, such as increased chemical application and farm run-off, must be considered.


And now for some levity... )
shapeofthings: (Default)
Ahahahahaha, Echinacea doesn't work. (well, ok, they could not detect effects in one study, that's not conclusive proof that it doesn't work. I know this, but I'm going to crow anyway)

Of all the herbal remedies and naturapathic tonics my parents shoved down my throat when I was younger, the only one that seems to do anything is garlic and horseradish tablets, which seem to speed recovery of sinus infections. Still waiting for a study though... But as for all their daily tonics (honey and cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, meal replacement shakes for breakfast, shark oil tablets), they seemed like crap at the time and they still do now, with tertiary biochem and physiology behind me. Snake oil men, comment and I'll send you their address ;-0

They've bought in to

  • HerbalLife diet

  • The grape diet

  • Hydrogen peroxide in water drink

  • Vitamin E capsules

  • Echinacea tablets

  • Squaaline (shark oil extract) tablets - ever stop to wonder where that might come from?

  • Meal replacement shakes

  • Herbal tonic - to cure teenage lethargy, gads it was vile!

  • the AbRoller...


No change in diet or lifestyle = still overweight and unhappy

I wonder how much money it's cost over the years? =(


But now, onto more serious news, yet another good article by Michael Costello.
shapeofthings: (grumpyfish)
Oh my god, natural disater, compo!

Sometimes the state of humanity makes me sick, it really does! Yes, we're all realy sorry you lost your home in a bush fire. It's tragic and the Australian community empathised with you and reached out their hands in assisstance. Hundreds and thousands of dollars were raised and donated to the victims to help you find your feet and the entirety of Canberra pulled together to help. So now you want to sue the Government for compensation because of a freak firestom, because you " had to move from a country, rural lifestyle into a city dwelling which is not really my cup of tea". What about all the other people not living how they want to live? What about the families that lost their homes and loved ones in other fires and quietly picked themselves up and got on with their lives? What makes you so damn special that natural disaster is the government's fault?

Arseholes

Hey guess what everybody - I get narky when I'm sick!
shapeofthings: (grumpyfish)
The London attacks were a tragedy. The identity of the bombers as British born makes it even worse and I understand that the Western World is rightly shocked and shaken, but that is no reason to abandon common sense! Left, right and centre I'm hearing Australians tremble in paranoia that "we're going to be next". In an absolute failure of logic, one person presented the argument that after New York and London, that just left Aus to attack... hello? Madrid.

Then there are those that try to simplify the whole global situation into an argument either supporting war and attacks on the entire Muslim populace or calling for complete inaction and a withrawal of all Western invovement in the Middle East. Of course, neither of these strategies provide a solution and are just knee-jerk responses based on incomplete perspectives on the situation. WIthdrawing all western involvement, especially economic, from the East has enormous economic repercussions and would seriously harm the economy of several Middle East countries, and if you're arguing that poverty and economic inequality are the causes then you'd just make the situation worse. If only terrorism was purely economically motivated. While there's some truth to the argument, it's only a small part. Likewise to those that embrace xenophobia and the Dubya approach. The War on Terror is unwinnable - like the War on Drugs it just serves to control the American population and waste large amounts of money. We all know Iraq was a mistake (well, more of a blantant lie that should see Dubya impeached, but that's another rant), but withdrawing now would just land the country in more trouble and more innocent civilians would be killed - kind of like the mess we all left in Afganistan where the tribal leaders and war lords are still scrabbling for power. Not to say no action should be taken against terrorists or that we should aquiesce to their wants - it's well proven that submitting to terrorist demands just leads to more terrorism as you prove the technique works (people who can't see this obviously have never dealt with a tantruming 2yr old).

*sigh* it's a complicated mess, and my heart goes out to those who lost loved ones in the London bombings, including the parents, wives and children of the bombers who never saw it coming =( My heart also goes out to the thousands of Iraquis killed as a result of US and insurgent violence. Thinking of the 26 children killed by a car bomb the other day just makes me want to cry at the pointlessness of it all. The important thing though, is to keep a level head and not give in to knee-jerk reactions or hysteria, and what is troubling me most is that so many of my country people seem to have lost their heads. The last thing this country needs is more uninformed emotionalism. It just leads to bullshit like this.

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