After days of rain came ten minutes of sunshine at 6 p.m. so I shot it, and I'm a pacifist.
SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is overwhelming us all in Mackay. We vaguely remember what sunshine is. But the gardens are very happy. And so are the frogs.
The big brown blobs are jackfruit. The tree is covered in them.
I've had a coffee bean tree/bush in my garden for some years. When the beans appear they turn bright red. All those little seedlings above have the ability to become new coffee bean trees. I haven't yet tried roasting the beans, maybe I will put that on my list of things to do.
Another tree in my garden is also fruiting madly. It is covered in round green things, the name of which I have totally forgotten, but they taste delightful if I get to them before the green tree ants.
Thanks Monty Python. The photograph above has absolutely nothing to do with that television series, instead it was taken of Bonnie (partner of Clyde) just after she was killed by many bullets. She died with Camel in her hands.
What indeed is a flocculent plume? This is a description of whale poo which, rather than sink to the bottom, floats to the top and enriches the ocean.
University of Vermont whale biologist, Joe Roman, quoted in Science Daily, says the waste is rich in nutrients and hugely improves the productivity of ocean fisheries. As the faeces float to the surface they carry nitrogen from the depths to - the heights.
This study suggests relaxation of international whaling restrictions would decrease productivity of the ocean through reduction of nitrogen.
No, I wouldn't dream of running something about xmas, particularly not in mid November, so the items above are not blue xmas trees. They are tentacles which belong to the same Christmas tree worm which lives near Lizard Island. Each spiral is used for breathing and for passive feeding on small items of food as they pass by. Touch one of these tentacles and they vanish instantly. The worm lives in a tunnel which it carves into live coral. This photograph was taken during the Census of Marine Life expedition.
The photograph of the gentleman at the forefront of the photo above was taken by my brother Dale Mann and was the first one to be seen at the recent Murrundishire exhibition in Victoria.
The Mackay link nurses, who represent all of the nursing homes in Mackay, Mirani, Sarina and Proserpine, came together recently to discuss their work. They have been attending education events at the Mackay Division for the past two years.
Melbourne Cup is always celebrated at the Division and this year Vicki, who runs the Drought program, had a visit from her daughter, Kathy, and grandson, Libaan.Below are staff members who arrived at work in finery appropriate to the day.
The beautiful photograph above is of the delightful sea slug which was discovered during the recent Census of Marine Life. Very pretty. Could have doubled as a silly hat during the recent silly celebrations on Tuesday.
Unfortunately the slug, known as Phyllidia ocellata, is poisonous, the bright colours being the warning to other sea creatures. It lives on coral reefs.
The weather in Mackay at the moment is not acceptable. One does not approve of freezing cold temperatures in what is supposed to be the end of spring. And I don't approve either.
This delightful thing above, a physonect siphonophore, which was discovered five years ago, is made up of a series of swimming bells. Like Mr Blobby, who is seen below, the specimen was discovered during the Census of Marine Life expedition. It is found in the depths, from between 980 feet to 4900 feet deep.
The chair above is certainly fascinating but it is something to look at, not to use.
I had an alien in my study some weeks ago, but that was a fleeting visit and it turned out it was actually my grand daughter, Alishia. Now I have a new alien who is a permanent fixture, and very pretty it is too.
This particular alien is a clever computer, the red in the front lights up, the side is glass so I can see the inner workings, and a fan lights up in blue! And I have Andrew to thank for this, and he also fixed it so when it turns on there are large and happy frogs to be seen. Many thanks indeed.
But this one isn't in my study. It is one of a number of sea creatures which have been lurking in the depths for aeons but have only recently been discovered. He looks as if he would have a sweet nature.
A Census of Marine Life discovered Mr Blobby who is actually a fathead sculpin fish whose habitat is in waters of depths of between 330 feet and 9200 feet. They live in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans but our Mr Blobby above is now in the Australian Museum in Sydney and his habitat is not seawater, but ethyl alcohol.
Plastiki has taken recycling to the limits as it is made from 12, 500 recycled plastic PET bottles, has solar panels, wind turbines, trailing sea turbines, bicycle generators, a vacuum water evaporator for desalination, a urine-to-water recovery system and rain water catchment, a separating toilet and waste storage with evaporative technology for weight reduction, hydroponic vertical garden and an electrical system based around a bank of six 12 volt batteries. (Now breathe).
The Plastiki recently spent 130 days sailing from San Francisco to Sydney to raise awareness about the amount of plastic which floats on the world's oceans.
My cousin Ellen is clearly mad - she really enjoyed her holiday in the snow! Mackay has had freezing winds these past two days and I am right back into wearing a tracksuit and ugg boots and am very grumpy because I truly believed spring was here and it would be warm. Victoria is frozen, but then one expects that of that state. My sister-in-law sent me a photograph yesterday of herself at her back door in Hampton (Melbourne) looking out at piles of hail.
And now for something completely different. I discovered a few days ago that horses cannot vomit. I never knew this before and I keep picturing poor horses feeling nauseaus and not being able to do anything about it. There are so many things to worry about in this world.
Like humans, horses have a band of muscle around the oesophagus. In humans this muscle can open out to allow vomiting to occur but in horses the muscle is very strong and acts as a one way valve. In addition the oesophagus in a horse connects to the stomach at an angle, and when the horse is bloated this causes the stomach wall to push against the valve, making the closure even more definite.
Surely an auspicious date on which to have a birthday, 10/10/10 - and that is an okay date for people in the United States too. Hope you have a wonderful birthday and a wonderful birthday year.
Queenie is fascinated by the solar frog. I put him (the frog) on the top step in the sunshine and when it becomes dark the frog lights up and I take him inside where I can admire him. The other night I forgot him and Queenie just sat, mesmerised by him, for ages.
This is one of those Diana-going-mad weeks with enormous amounts of furniture moving, carting stuff up and down stairs, sorting out cupboards and doing stuff in the garden. I am now officially exhausted but very happy.
Why am I like a banana? Because 50 percent of human and banana DNA is the same. New Scientist says the 50 per cent figure really means that half of our genes have counterparts in bananas. For example, both of us have some kind of gene that codes for cell growth, though these aren't necessarily made up of the same DNA sequences.
Genetics is fascinating. In one study it has been shown that 50 per cent of the genes of all the people in Europe, on average, are specific types that have come directly from Middle Eastern populations.
Years ago, as a teenager, I read about James Watson and Francis Crick and their discovery of the double helix and following on from that, the word, deoxyribonucleanic acid became one of my favourites. Discombobulate and sarsaprididious are also favourites of mine. Feel free to borrow them at any time.
Tony James, pictured above talking with Ros of MDGP, gave an interesting talk to the Mackay link nurses recently about the Niki syringe driver. The link nurses, who all work for residential aged care facilities in Mackay, Proserpine, Sarina and Mirani will be using the Niki within the next year or so. Tony, who is based in Brisbane, travels all over Queensland to provide information about Rem Systems products, of which the Niki is one.
REM Systems was begun by Leon and Shirley Schollum in the basement of their home in New Zealand. The name REM is an abbreviation of the surname Remiger which belonged to Leon's grandmother Christina, who was of Czechoslovakian descent.
The company has a range of 8500 products, imported from all over the world which include implantable heart valves and custom-designed intravenous administration sets and accessories. I understand the Niki, which is manufactured in Israel, was named after the dog who belonged to the person who designed the syringe driver. If I had designed a syringe driver the name would be Willow.
During the past few years I have occasionally written about our green envelope which moves with residents from aged care homes to hospital and back again. The envelope holds all necessary papers and has information about the resident from the home on one side, and from the hospital on the return journey to the RACF. Linda, above, is now delighted the green envelope is working in Proserpine. The bright green colour was chosen to enable the envelope to stand out from the local hospital internal envelopes which are gold.
Ros from Queensland Aged and Disability Advocacy Inc colour co-odinated with the show bags she gave away at Pavillion 500 in the Mackay Showgrounds today. Her group provides advocacy services for carers and can also advocate for clients with impaired capacity. Ros was one of the speakers at the full day seminar run by Alzheimer's Australia Mackay Region Inc. Numerous agencies were represented as well as local GP Fiona Millard who has made dementia her special research interest. Below is Judy (left) from Alzheimers Australia Mackay Region and Fiona Millard.
The local alzheimers group does not receive any funding support yet the number of people suffering from alzheimers and dementia is expected to escalate as baby boomers hit their senior years. Projected figures for dementia sufferers have jumped alarmingly. The original figure of 750,000 by the year 2050 has now been increased to 1.1 million. In Queensland in 2009 we had 46,000 people who had such problems which corresponds to a nation-wide figure of 245,000.
Dementia is now the third leading cause of death in Australia for people over the age of 65. Fiona Millard said by using our brains when we are young, this sits in reserve for when we are older, and therefore our young people need to be strongly encouraged to continue with their schooling. Older people need to maintain their health, eat a good diet, get exercise, have a social life and be careful of their heads.
Dementia is more likely to take over people who have never drunk alcohol, or who drink to excess so the message is moderation.Once you have dementia alcohol is not recommended. Vitamin D is known to protect the brain but with the present emphasis on slip slop slap and hats and long sleeves, many people do not receive sufficient sunshine for vitamin d to occur in the body. People who have blood pressure or cholesterol problems should ensure they take their medication as this will help protect their brains to an extent. Green vegetables are excellent and it is also suggested we take folate tablets. Dementia is more likely in those who do not mix with other people and therefore a social life is also recommended.
It was not the best experience to wake around 3 a.m. to thunder, lightning and a heavy rain that presaged doom. Sure enough within a relatively short period my area of Mackay was covered in a mini flood. Above and below are photographs of Paradise Street. Cars had to drive in the middle of the road and as each one passed my house, a tidal wave rushed into my front yard, crashed under the roller door, and flooded under the house.
Below is the weather map, our area is looking rather wet.
Happy birthday to my grand daughter, Alishia, who is nine today.
Together with three friends, I spent last night at the Mackay Entertainment Centre where we saw the Kucom Youth Theatre 2010 production of Death in the Limelight. Kathryn Ward, who has been involved with Kucom since 1999, directed the talented group of young people aged from 9 years to 18 years who represented many of the schools in Mackay.
The play had everything including megastars, melodrama, murder and mayhem. Nothing like a bit of alliteration to whet the tastebuds.
Kucom's next production will be It's My Party (and I'll Die if I Want To), written by Australian playwright Elizabeth Coleman.
People probably think my house is just full of frogs and cats and books, but recently I discovered an alien in my study.
I have a major problem with inanimate objects. I am a great believer in justice and fairplay and there I rotate everything to give it a fair go. That includes towels, plates, knickers etc. When I was presented with the above packet of toilet rolls, each of which was imprinted with frogs, I was both delighted and rather worried. How could I subject such beautiful items to being used in the way toilet rolls were meant to be used? Yet going by my history I was also unable just to leave them sit in the packet or they would not be able to play the part in my life for which they were designed. Ethics!
I have taken more photographs of frogs in my house, now I have completed those in my little passage but as the page took far too long to load, I have made new pages for the frogs. Note written on August 16, 2012: these frog pages have been removed in my new website.
Every country has their own way of doing things. In Australia we refer to the date by the day, then the month and finally the year, so the date today is 11/9/2010. In the United States they refer to the date by month, then day and year so today's date is 9/11/2010.
However the tragic event which occurred in the United States, and which is referred to as 9/11, does not translate for Australians. To us the date is 11/9. Why then does the Australian media, and people, continue to refer to 9/11 which makes me wonder what indeed happened on November 9?
I feel much better now.
And to make me feel even happier, here is a chair which goes so well with the staircase below.
At the University of Washington poor little fruit flies, which had been genetically engineered so that their dopamine cells died off as they aged (like people with Parkinson's disease), were fed tobacco and coffee extracts. Abuse!! (Calm down Diana). Anyway the scientists discovered that when this happened the dopamine cells did not die and the life span of the fruit flies was extended. These researchers insisted caffeine and nicotine were not protective but there were other compounds in coffee and tobacco which were thought to be responsible for the improved circumstances.
There has been further research from Duke University Medical Center, which was based on the histories of 356 Parkinson's disease patients and a further 317 disease-free relations of those patients.
This new evidence shows there is a substance in tobacco which appears to protect the brain against Parkinson's disease. Evidence that smokers are less likely to develop Parkinson's has been found by scientists for some decades. It appears that amongst siblings in families where this is a risk of Parkinson's, those that do not smoke and don't drink coffee, are the ones more likely to come down with the disease.
Researchers are quick to point out that general negative health effects of smoking outweigh any protective effects against this one disease.
You'd probably need long legs to walk up this staircase which is also a bookcase, but at least you would have plenty of choice in reading material when you had to rest.
I spent an enjoyable day recently at Souths League Club when the Mackay Community Visitors Association ran the Making a Difference Information Day. The well attended event offered a number of speakers from local HACC groups and approximately twenty agencies had stalls with additional information for those attending the event. The MCVA provides volunteers to visit clients who are lonely and socially isolated not only in Mackay but also in Sarina, Pioneer Valley, Proserpine, Moranbah and Clermont.
I was particularly interested in the stall run by the Alzheimer's Australia Mackay Region group which covers a huge area, north to Bowen, south to St Lawrence and west to Clermont. The group provides information, counselling, carer education and support groups, books and videos, and education and training programs.
Just what every child needs, a lead pencil, coated in 24 carat gold with a matching pencil case which could be taken for a gold bar.
If I hadn't donated my body I would have liked a grave just like the one above.
If I lived in Johannesburg, South Africa I would only ever fly by Kulula Air. How could I possibly bypass an airline with a sense of humour? The plane, above, is not the only aircraft on their fleet which is very different to the usual passenger plane. And the frontpage of their website even has a section called fun stuff. I enjoyed the two videos where a hostess, clearly a transexual, gives a very interesting twist to the usual talk on safety features. Above is their newest plane, a Boeing 737-800 which represents the sticker which is placed on boxes which have fragile contents, the inference being that their passengers are fragile and need to be protected.
The Flying 101, above, was designed by the Kulula graphic design team as part of the strategy to demystify airtravel. Below is the Camo plane, so beautifully camouflaged that 'no one saw us coming'. Kulula has been operating for nine years.
The airline doesn't only paint its planes green, it espouses greening in all forms and to this end is has supported Food and Trees for Africa to help reduce the atmospheric carbon loads and greenhouse gases released by their aircraft and has planted indigenous trees and grass at schools in rural communities throughout South Africa.
More than a dozen vertical gardens, sheathing the towers above, will be a feature of One Central Park being built in the heart of Sydney. The $600 million project, designed by Jean Nouvel, has two towers, six retail levels and will retain and reuse 32 heritage items which exist on the site. The architect collaborated with French artist and botanist, Patrick Blanc, to provide a green facade including garden boxes and vertical wires which will hold more greenery.
The cantilevered heliostat has a system of mirrored panels which capture sunlight and direct it into the retail atrium and onto the landscaped terraces. Lighting artist, Yann Kersale, is responsible for the integrated lighting on the heliostat which will illuminate the towers at night. Construction of the park and roads began in March this year. Construction of the One Central building is planned to begin in December.
I have begun a new page on this website called Diana's Health Matters. When recoding my new site in August 2012 this page was deleted.
The US site, DrugWatch, has warned that pregnant women should never take Accutane, a medication that is prescribed to treat severe acne when other treatments have proved to be ineffective.
American statistics show approximately one in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect and a large number of these are caused by the use of dangerous medications during pregnancy. DrugWatch says it is very important for pregnant women to understand which medications should not be taken during pregnancy in order to avoid harm to themselves or the baby.
Accutane is linked to the onset of severe adverse reactions, including ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease, prompting many patients to file Accutane lawsuits against the manufacturer of the medication.
There needs to be an equivalent of the RSPA for vegetables. Now potatoes are the next in line for brutal treatment. I would assume they were prepared to be viciously uprooted (please note emotional language) however they are now to be shocked, either with ultrasound or with electricity, in order to boost their antioxidant content.
Dr Kazunori Hironaka of Japan's Obihiro University,found that shocking the innocent vegetables for between five and 30 minutes boosted the amount of antioxidants by as much as 50 percent. He presented these research findings to the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Almost 8000 reports are to be presented at this meeting. One hopes there will not be any more papers which involve torture of vegetables.
Past research has shown that when potatoes are under stress from drought, physical trauma, or other climate changes, they produce more antioxidant phenols and chlorogenic acid to ward off the damage these natural assaults cause to the tissues.
I am in a quandary, as a pacifist I am opposed to guns, however as someone who is fascinated by the human body and enjoys many forms of art, I am attracted to the above reproduction of a gun made from human bones. I shall have to bone up on the subject.
To balance up the gun above is a photo which is doing the rounds on e-mail. It is heartwarming, I hope Photoshop was not involved to produce it.
What do I dream about? Jewellery, clothes, restaurant meals, expensive wines, holidays? No. I dream about the book sales held by the CQU.Each time one is held I become very excited, my heart rate increases, my breathing speeds up.
This year the sale was held for the first time in the marvellous new library and it was also held on a Saturday which coincided with the CQU Open Day, not to mention a tiny election or two. Weird new electoral boundaries meant I put in an absentee vote although the polling booth was only a few kilometres from my home. Below,left, Pam mans a stand for CQU and below, right, Ros helps with the MDGP display.
Dear Miss Joy Sly
She never ever does cry
She's my very best friend
And I'll be sure to send
Her a piece of my first apple pie.
Many decades ago, when I was about eight, I wrote the ditty (above) for one of my best friends at the time, Joy Sly, who lived over the back fence in South Caulfield, together with her parents and siblings, Rodney, Louise, Helen and Norma. We lost touch in our late teens and I never sent her any apple pie mainly because I have never made one. I am clearly not a true Australian because I have never made lamingtons either. My mother, however, made the most marvellous range of apple pies, eclairs and sponges. Clearly not a genetic trait.
I need a pair of these shoes, I might be able to reach stuff on the high shelves in the supermarket if I owned them. It wasn't until I was playing with the photograph in Photoshop that I realised not only was there a frog in the background, but it is an exact match for the one I have in my garden which was bought for me by my daughter Amanda who lugged it up the back stairs. The frog is large, and it is solid concrete. Needless to say it has its home in the garden and I don't move it very often.
I took the photograph (above) of English friend, Jonathan Tolhurst, at an event on titration which we jointly ran in Mackay for doctors, nurses, and pharmacists some years ago. Jonathan has now completed his amazing six week marathon of kayaking from Land's End to just 150 km short of John O'Groats. Foul weather prevented Jonathan from reaching his goal however he still managed to kayak for 1200 kilometres and reached Inverness. When he lived in Mackay Jonathan undertook a kayak trip from Mackay to Townsville.
A French visitor to our area, when asked about his favourite tourist location, named the Blue River Lagoon. It is a very well thought out area however I think the man may have been a tiny bit off his trolley as he said the reason he liked it was because it kept him cool. In Mackay those of us who are not mad, consider the weather to be freezing. There is absolutely no way we need to be kept cool.
Pictured above is my son-in-law, Michael, with his children, Tahlia and Isabella, during a recent visit to Townsville. I felt so sorry for them as, together with my daughter, Suzanne, they went all the way to Townsville but instead of going to the chamber concerts they were forced to go to a footballing thing.
I enjoyed finding the above diagram which was a general cartoon on universities. Whomever designs university websites has absolutely no idea about what students want. I know I ground my teeth countless times while a recent student of Central Queensland University when I tried to find a variety of things. None of them were on the front page of the site and the search engine laboured and had great difficulty finding any answers for me.
As a Bachelor of Multimedia Studies student, I was taught, during web design subjects, to find out the identity of my target audience before I designed any sites. Clearly the designer/s of the CQU site did not speak to any students.
What a difference a day makes. Sorry, I have that song stuck in my head. I meant what a difference a comma makes.
Five architects have come up with six very different rooms for a new tree hotel in Harads, Sweden, which is 60 kilometres south of the Artic Circle. Four rooms are open which include a mirrorcube, nest, blue cone and a cabin. The mirrorcube (below) is a box four metres by four metres which is clad entirely in mirrored glass. The idea is that it should be nearly invisible as it will reflect everything around it. An initial problem, that birds would crash into the walls has been solved with the addition of a lamination of a transparent ultraviolet colour which is only visible to birds.
The intention is that the area, which is untouched forest, should retain its virginity. The rooms include an evironment friendly incineration toilet and a water efficient handbasin. All the rooms are made from wood and glass and include an electric floor heating system which would be vital due to the area being so close to the Arctic.
The plan is that within five years the tree hotel will have 24 rooms, each one designed by a different architect.
My father was born at Lexton, which is near Ballarat in Victoria, so I am always interested in happenings in that township. A house has been built there which is considered, by the Alternative Technology Association, to be the most energy efficient home in Australia. It has a nine star rating, is 80 square metres in size, and was built for less than $150,000. New houses in Victoria have six stars as the benchmark.
Owner John Morgan has been interested in renewable energy since reading about solar hot water half a century ago. His new home has 12 solar panels and the inner walls are made from 90 mm concrete blocks to aid with thermal efficiency. Obviously the house works as when the temperature outside was 45.4 degrees celsius, Mr Morgan's house was 33.9 degrees celsius. During the past two years the internal daily temperature has averaged about 16 degrees in winter and 25 degrees in summer.
The building has a northeast orientation to capture maximum winter sun and to avoid summer rays, with extensive glazing along the face to heat the living area.
A new 359 bed children's hospital, which is due to open at parklands at Southbank in Melbourne in 2014, has been designed with trees in mind.
The project is designed around the idea of a 'living tree' - a network of 'trunks and branches' which punctuate the building and connect inside and outside.
Above is the architect's view of the new $1.28 billion hospital which includes specialist acute and sub acute services as well as facilities for research and teaching. It has been designed by Lyons and Conrad Gargett Architecture.9th archive 7th archive