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Showing posts from October, 2015

Going off-road

Mountain biking is the recreation side of cycling, not the grudge ride to work in traffic and car fumes.
Here's a link to the ultimate in mountain bike riding ...
YouTube video

Male vs. Female brain

In The Advertiser today there was an article on how to tell if you have a male brain or a female brain. It said ...

You have a male brain if you: Like to make to do listsAnswer honestly when asked 'does my bum look big in this?'Prefer to read non-fictionNotice grammatical errorsFind maps easy to read
You have a female brain if you:K Find it easy to chat to someone you have just metCan sense when you are intrudingLack interest in the technical details of a new computer, camera or other gadgetFocus on the beauty of a painting rather than the artist's techniqueHave little interest in the dates of historical events
Interesting, but not surprising. By the above criteria I definitely have a male brain with bit of a female brain as a bonus. BTW I did notice and fixed a grammatical error in the newspaper's article.

Use sub-titles

What annoys me, really annoys me is the discriminate use of sub-titles on TV when people are being interviewed.
There should be a clear rule, a mandatory rule of when someone can not be clearly understood, then use sub-titles. If they are Aboriginal, Pacific Islander, PNG, Middle East then sub-titles seem to always be used even if there is reasonable clarity. However they don't seem to get used when people are from Britain (inc. Wales, Scotland), SE Asia, China, India ... when often there is no clarity. There should be no offence to the person being interviewed. If the interview is in English then the communication (to us) should be in English. If sub-titles will help, then use them.

3 free software

Getting software for free is a bonus. Here are a few that I recommend. XMind. Is a free, open source, mind mapping and brainstorming tool. This comprehensive mind mapping tool helps you to express, structure and organise your ideas, then present them in attractive, professional diagrams. http://www.xmind.net/ Wunderlist is the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist is here to help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos. https://www.wunderlist.com/ GanttProject:  This software allows you to easily organise tasks and time frames. GanttProject is an industrial-strength cross-platform (Windows, OS X, Linux) project manager that provides everything you need to stay in control. Create and organise tasks, add milestones, set priorities and costs, allocate resources, monitor your colleague's workload: it's all here.  http://www.ganttproject.biz/

Only buy Aussie

I’ve just read an article by Jason Murphy @ the newdaily.com.au about the probable growth of cars imported from China. Past attempts have been dismal and there have been serious concern and reservations about the lower quality of these imports. I think it will take many years for China to seriously penetrate the Aussie market. It needs to address the high rate of product recalls. Jason Murphy explained that China is famous for product quality scandals. In 2008 there was the milk quality scandal that sickened thousands of Chinese children and killed at least six is only the most famous. The history of poor product quality can be seen in The Diplomat. It says:  “There are insecticides in dumplings, eggs repeatedly tainted with melamine, urea in bean sprouts, 40-year-old meats, hepatitis A in frozen berries, plastic rice, formaldehyde in beer, sewage used as cooking oil and tofu marinated in human feces. This brief list hardly runs the gamut, because for every scandal that breaks there are …

Mutton Biryani

Biryani is an easy to make rice dish. It is light and spicy. Usually the meat used is mutton; but you can use whatever eg. beef, chicken, fish and prawns; whatever.
Typically the spices are star anise, cinnamon, cardamon and cloves. The rice is initially cooked separately.
Here is my mutton (or chicken) biryani recipe for 4 people.
Ingredients: 300g basmati rice (1.5 cups)25g butter, prefer ghee (2tbsp)a large onion, slice finelya bay leaf3 cardamom podsa teaspoon of turmericsome cinnamon and star anise if you wish½ cup of raisins (prefer sultanas)750ml of chicken stock4 generous tbsp curry paste0.5kg mutton, lamb or chicken thighs; dice coarselyChopped coriander and toasted almond slices when serving
Soak the rice in warm (not hot) water for 5 minutes. Rinse, drain and repeat ie. rinse and drain twice. Heat butter in large saucepan, gently cook onions and the spices for 7 minutes Add the turmeric, meat and curry paste. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the rice and raisins, stir in, add stock and bring…

Bad dog

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Dogs are so good about conning their human companions (aka. owners).
They make maximum use of sad and guilty faces when the human gets upset by some dastardly doggy behaviour. The human is convinced that the dog is genuinely remorseful.
However, Dr Ljerka Ostojic, a psychologist (for dogs or humans?) at the University of Cambridge, has studied the matter and he suggests that ‘the downcast face is just a human-pleasing facade’. He did a study as follows: He asked volunteer humans to train their dogs to not eat a biscuitA biscuit was placed within reach of the dogAfter the human left the room the biscuit was either fed to the dog or removedWhen the owner returned, he/she could not discern from the dog’s face if the dog had eaten it
The psychologist believes that the guilty look on dogs stems from distress and not conscience. In the case of multiple dogs in a household, often it was the most timid dog that looked guilty; it simply got more frightened. Interesting.

SMS only 160 characters

Why is the limit of an SMS 160 characters?
It’s not a decimal number ie. not a multiple of 10 and has nothing to do with dozens (12), not even a butcher's dozen. So why is there a limit of 160? BTW if you often push the limit of 160 characters, then you really need to get a life. But, back to basics … why the limit of 160?
There are 2 stories and reasons suggested.
A man called Friedhelm Hillebrand, Chairman of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), had the task of setting the limit on the amount of characters a text message could contain. This would become the international standard. He did this by analysing typical sentences viz. questions and answers. He also reviewed messages written on postcards and received by Telex transmissions. (Telex was not so long ago the state of the art message transmission technology.)
Friedhelm Hillebrand arrived at the answer of 160 characters. His recommendation became the standard.
The second story and a more technical consideration relate…

Scratch me

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All I want for Christmas … is a croc claw back-scratcher. Its just $45 !! a Bargain, and made (and produced) in Australia.
I spotted an advertisement for a back-scratcher made from the claw of a deceased crocodile. It sounds like the perfect scratcher. I just love a good back-scratcher and the dog ate the last one. These are made in Darwin by CrocStockandBarra company who do most of their trading at the local markets in Darwin.
According to the advertisement 'it’s made from a real crocodile claw and taxidermied to keep the scales on and preserve the natural colour of the crocodile, This back-scratcher is not just a novelty but really gets at those hard to reach itches.'
for more information ... http://crocstockandbarra.com/


Slow SA growth

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A snapshot of South Australia's population: According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of South Australia at 31 March 2015 was 1,696,200 people. This is an increase of 13,900 people since 31 March 2014 and an annual growth rate of 0.8%. Australia’s growth rate over the same period was 1.4%. Population growth is driven by natural increase (births minus deaths) and net migration (overseas and interstate).  Net migration contributed 52% of South Australia’s population growth in the 12 months to March 2015.  Positive net overseas migration helped to counter South Australia’s net interstate population losses. This is more easily understood pictorially. Here’s a diagram showing the components of South Australia's growth, 2014-15
For more information from the ABS ... click here.

I'm not in a hurry to see higher figures of growth. SA is somewhat unique due to its smallness compared with the other States.

Slowing down

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Thinking about retirement or just slowing down by shedding some work commitments? What does it mean? How will you be impacted? Do you need hobbies or need to get involved in the community? It must be slightly daunting for those approaching retirement. I’ve heard people say to those about to retire … ‘well what are you going to do?’
Unley Council has heard of these concerns and the Council Library is hosting a retirement discussion panel. Here are the details:
Prime Time: Retirement Discussion Panel
Unley Councillor Michael Rabbitt, Former MP John Hill, Probus President Pauline Rattley and Probus member John Schwerdt will share their experience and knowledge of the transition to retirement and the challenges of post-career life. Join the conversation and pick up some tips as you enter the prime of your life.
It’s a free session! Get along to the Unley Town Hall in Oxford Terrace, Unley on Saturday 07 November, 3-4pm. To register, click here or phone 8372 5100
ps an interesting topic ... I suspect that …

Cairns & Port Douglas

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A work colleague told me that she and her partner were taking a cruise (on a ship) along the east coast and will be visiting Cairns and Port Douglas. I told her I would send an email with suggestions of places to visit. The reality is that ship to shore visits are a waste of time. You don’t get to see and experience the real thing in the town. Not like when you live there for a decent period. On a ship visit, you just get to do a few mainies (ie. a walk down the main street), have a coffee, maybe a meal and buy a souvenir. Anyway, in case you are passing by or decide to take the Love Boat, then the following email may be of interest. Here’s my email to her.
Hi Jessica
Here are some tips on what to see and do in Cairns and Port Douglas.
In Cairns: Visit St. Monica’s Catholic Cathedral, 181 Abbott Street (15 minutes walk from CBD); rather ordinary from the outside, but inside - you must see the 24 huge lead-light windows that depict creation (or evolution) with an Australian tropical theme…