Saturday 19 February 2011

A True Aussie Love Story! (A great bird story kids will love as well!)

About eight years ago a wild Australian Sulphur Crested Cockatoo flew into a car and broke its wing. The motorist took it to the Vet in Nerang, Queensland, who had to amputate the wing.  We adopted her - for which we needed a National Parks and Wildlife permit - and kept her in a cage outside where she was often visited by wild Cockatoos.  One of the things that impressed us was how she would push lettuce leaves through the bars of the cage, offering food to visitors.  Last Sunday she again had a visitor.

For the rest of the story go here.

(Just keep hitting "Next Page" at the very bottom each time - this story unfolds over many pages!)

Indiana Immigration: Hoosier Neighbor?

I identify strongly with the sentiments of this Indiana writer. Read the whole article here... and don't miss some very thoughtful comments below the article!  -Clair
"I love Indiana. I love driving through cornfields, playing Euchre, and getting swept up in basketball-mania. I come from a proud line of Hoosiers who faithfully watch the Indianapolis 500 and can sing all the verses to “Back Home Again in Indiana.” I’ve even gotten misty-eyed at the end of the movie Hoosiers.
But I don’t love the bill approved last week by Indiana’s Senate committee. Modeled after Arizona’s SB 1070 law, this legislation would require Indiana state police to ask anyone who arouses “reasonable suspicion” of being in the United States illegally for proof that he or she is a legal resident of the U.S. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? In addition, the legislation would enforce an English-only policy on government documents, hearings, and websites. It would also punish businesses employing non-sanctioned workers and would prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state tuition to attend Indiana universities."
Read the rest of this article here.

Saturday 5 February 2011

How Australia is Potentially Contributing to Nuclear Arms Proliferation

This is a very BIG problem in Australia.  How is that, you ask....

Read this report from ICAN. 

However, there is a practical, workable solution to the problem of proliferating nuclear weaponry around the world.  Read this.

Please get on board, friends, and support this strategy.  Our lives - and the lives of our descendants - depend on it!


Thursday 3 February 2011

Cyclone Yasi - Category 5 - the most powerful cyclone in Australian recorded history

People hearing about the massive cyclone Yasi hitting Australia have been wondering if we are OK.  Well, Carole Anne and I are quite safe here in the largest inland city - in fact the only major inland city in this whole country.

[Note: I added that descriptor in italics after a local friend corrected me when I somewhat carelessly noted in the first version of this column that we live in "the only inland city."  She said "Canberra is not the only inland city in Australia. I think the people of Dubbo, Orange, Goulburn, Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie, Toowoomba, Mildura, Ballarat, Broken Hill, Shepparton and Mount Isa (to name a few) would be upset to think they've been ignored!!"   

Well, yes, I do acknowledge this, but it really depends on one's definition of a city vs. town I suppose.  One could take a look at the map and population chart of AUS here as illustration of what I'm talking about.  Canberra has 350,000 people and the others are, comparatively speaking, much smaller cities or towns, mostly in the eastern inland areas.  I have really enjoyed visiting some of those smaller places mentioned above, including the one in the "red centre" - Alice Springs - which is like driving from the east coast of the United States to somewhere in the middle of Nebraska to finally arrive at this town - but with not much in between!]

The eye of this Category 5 Cyclone Yasi is 1500 miles (2440 kilometers) away from where we live in Canberra - a 36 hour drive if going there, straight north, by car.  We live eight hours drive from the very south part of AUS and where the cyclone's eye is hitting now is about eight hours drive from the very northern part.  Many people don't realize how huge this country really is.

Yet the total effects of THIS cyclone are almost as big as that massive "Snowpocalypse" simultaneously hitting most of my friends and family members scattered all over parts of America.  Watch this time lapse!

But, this is the THIRD cyclone to hit Australia in 5 DAYS time! (The first one hit over near Perth in Western Australia, and the second one hit Queensland further south and can be seen in that time lapse just ahead of Yasi.)

Though cyclones are par for the course in Australia, Yasi is the strongest cyclone in the recorded weather history of this country - MUCH more powerful than Hurricane Katrina ever was.  Wind speeds upon landfall of the cyclone are expected to reach nearly 300 k/hr (about two hours away from now) and it is expected to smash storm surge waves 20 to 25 feet high directly into houses perhaps dragging the waves even a kilometer or so inland in low lying areas.  Some houses will be tossed like cardboard boxes.  All the power lines in the most strongly affected areas are expected to come down.

Anyone not in an emergency shelter is quite likely to lose their life - and in spite of extensive warnings over a couple of days to prepare for the "worst case scenario", as I type this now at 11:50 pm it was reported on television by the Premier of Queensland that six elderly people, widely regarded as fools who stayed behind to "protect their apartment house" though repeatedly warned are now calling for help but it is TOO LATE!  Even the emergency workers have been commanded by the authorities to "bunker down."  As I close this out, it has been reported that huge shopping malls utilized as emergency shelters to house thousands of people each are already reporting being cast into darkness - even though "full force" is still two hours out and the strong winds will be felt for about TEN HOURS!

This is all part of the effects of La Nina off the coast of Australia where the waters are now much warmer than usual.  It's gonna be a loooooong hard night in Northern Queensland while the southern part of that State has already got a long recovery ahead of it from massive flooding from torrential rains over the past month.  Water water everywhere...our dams are all full, even here in Canberra.