30 May 2006

What to do with $75 in Sydney

  • Go to see Belle and Sebastian at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney on June 13
  • Get an hour of massage at Go Vita Leichhardt (inlcuding Reiki) and have $15 dollars change thrown in for pasta and a coffee over the road at Grind.
  • Make a dontation to Practical Action that could buy jute panel walls for 8 flood resistant houses in Bangladesh
  • Buy 30 250ml bottles of regular water at $2.50 each.
  • Buy two C class tickets to the new piece "Directors Cut" by Sydney Dance Company at the opera house. (One for me
  • Take yourself and four friends to see X-men 3 which has nice spacey title graphics with a 3d animation of mutant cells and lots of spiralling DNA. Also very pretty.
  • Buy 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide offsets through climate friendly, and Australian company that invests in renewble energy and energy efficiency.
  • Get entry to the Korean Baths including a skin scrub and facial, with $3 change for a coffee on Darlo Rd.

Water feels emotion too, man

I was going to give some free advice from your Aunty Bee, for anyone planning to see Dr. Masaru Emoto talk about "messages in Water" in Sydney. However, the latest news just in - after researching this post - its been cancelled due to lack of bookings. Shame. (The advice was: just don't.) Above are some suggestions for non-material ways ways to spend that $75.

I have to get it off my chest: this guys stuff is the most ridiculous piece of twaddle, blatant manipulation and fuzzy headed thinking I have come across in years. There's science, there's wonder and magic, and then there's this crap. So a few quick points for the non-initiated.
  • Water is intrinsically fascinating stuff. Its is less dense when in a solid state than liquid, which is why ice floats on water. This is a feature unique among any known substance. Water droplets suspended in air can refract light forming rainbows. Everybody loves a rainbow. Water cycles through the environment and is found in solid, liquid and gaseous forms naturally. Water is an important feature of thousands of years of spiritual practice and agriculture - often intertwined.
  • Ice that forms in a hexagonal crystalline structure is called snow. Snow is also awe-inspiring. No one is actually sure how symmetrical snowflakes are created. The two major suppositions are summarised here on Wikipedia.
  • A double blind test is one where both the subject and the experimenters do not know which group of subjects have been exposed to the treatment being tested. It is a methodology important for drug testing to try to eliminate the known placebo effect and discover whether a compound does have a statistically significant effect on the test subject, greater than just random chance. That is, the person allocating drug A and inert substance B does not know which one is actually the compound being tested.
  • What our man Masuru appears to do is this (c/o Wikipedia):
  1. Place water in glass
  2. Expose to words, pictures, or music for a while
  3. Divide water into numerous petri dishes, 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter
  4. Freeze at around −25 °C
  5. Leave for 3 hours, then allow dishes to warm
  6. Examine ice grains through microscope. Crystals may form in some dishes as temperature rises. Photograph. Optional: analyze the aesthetics and quantity of crystals.
  • According to snowcrystal.com and suite 101 crystals of frozen water can be from 140 microns across (0.14 mm) up to 5 mm and are plethora of different shapes. The first also has some gorgeous photos of water crystals under light microscopes.
  • According to the good doctor, bad things make ugly patterns and good things make beautiful, symmetrical crystals. Like the words "Hitler" or "Mother Theresa" taped to jar.
  • On hearing about this snippet of a movie I assumed that punters just enjoyed the beauty and poetry of the shapes for themselves, without attaching any meaning to the messages part.. but no, apparently not. Bring it up in a beachside share house lounge room, and apparently, yes, emotional intent effects water's "molecular structure". Shrug. Of course.
  • One: they're not molecules, they're a cluster of molecules behaving in a natural way. Two: this is not a repeatable phenomenon under testable conditions.
  • So a Petri dish is 5 cm across. That leaves room for up to 333 individual crystals of 150 microns wide just across its width.
  • The researcher is free to have a good look around every sample before taking his snaps. Reckon you could find an ugly bit in a "heavy metal" sample and a pretty bit in a "blessed" sample out of more than 300? I'd be happy to give it a shot. And for AUS$75 a per head, per seminar there's a bit of motivation to do just that. Oh and US$25 per book and US$35 per one ounce bottle of "highly charged hexagonal structured" Indigo Water.
  • The emotions and water thing has only ever been published as a photo essay. It is not in a journal anywhere that is peer reviewed by qualified chemists (or qualified anyone).
  • To test that any treatment causes significant and repeatable changes to the crystalline shapes in water you need to provide the samples to the photographers without meaningful labels and then give them a standard methodology for scanning and photographing each sample (eg. randomly generated grid coordinates).
So, in summary. "Messages from Water" Pretty: Definitely. Revelatory: Maybe, if you are awed by the beautiful complexity of the earth. Mystical, healing, worth any money: No.

27 May 2006

Being kept in the dark

The house we are currently laying our weary heads in has a strange mode of energy saving through timer lights. However, this system seems to have absolutely no rhyme, reason or pattern. There are no motion sensors, so lights go on and off at random and you seem to have a wait an arbitrary amount of time before they go on again automatically, or find the remote to turn them on manually. In this "down time" the switch doesn't work.

So a couple of nights ago I'm sitting quietly as the sun goes down, with only the bedroom light on to accompany my aimless web-surfing. Suddenly the light goes out and the whole house is in pitch darkness. I've only been staying here three days and don't know where any switches are. I feel my way out into the black space of the living room arms out front like a B-grade sleepwalker. Light doesn't work. Stumble and trip into the kitchen, find working switch. Jump out of my skin when the kitchen light illuminates the approximately life-size blurry face of the Hawaian girl on the wooden-bead curtain against the backdoor window, who is suddenly an inch from my face. Recover. Still can't see into the hallway, no idea where remote is kept. Feel like I'm in one of those old fashioned text-only computer games. Manage to light the gas heater, and sit in semi-illumated gloom of the lounge room watching SBS world news. (Note: not enought light in the rest of the house to read a book, and the kitchen was too cold) Eventually the bedroom light does come back on and I can find my way to the remote, restoring absolute control over the lighting equipment. The story doesn't really go anywhere you know. Sorry. You can take it as a metaphor for our antipodean position crouched in the south-east corner of the globe, with a dimly illuminated view of world events, if you like. Waiting for some force beyond our control to turn the fucking light on.

24 May 2006


Crumbs! Having just been referred to as a "political blogger" - admittedly by someone with a finely developed sense of irony - the buzz front page is mostly about shagging fictional characters and not really much to do with politics at all.

Having been one of the ubernerds to have run a blog, for, cripes, more than two-and-a-half years, there are some political bits, in there. Really. Okay so its really more like finding the dried banana bits in a bowl of Uncle Toby's muesli. (Slightly squishy and not really rewarding). Here's some quick links, if you like that kind of thing. Why Miranda Divine should have paid more attention to her Nanna before bagging the Kyoto protocol. How come people are chucking stuff at the coppers in Macquarie Fields? Does Amanda Vanstone have spin doctors with veins of ice? Why Louise Barry is my hero. And also the first entry if you type "biggest cojones" into google. A couple of posts on workchoices and some aussie paranoia, which isn't very funny. And something way back on depleted Uranium which is decidedly un-funny.

For any new readers out there, skip the boring ol' political stuff and go straight to Aunty B tackles the fleas, which is a bit funny. And has handy parasite facts. Or how Germaine Greer sullied my good name infront of a new flatmate.

23 May 2006

Emerald City

Cab to Adelaide Airport: $20
Cab to Sydney beachside suburb: $27
Return bus to the city: $5.60
Interesting Author fireside chat: $15
Noodles for dinner: $10
Seeing old friends, then sleeping in boyfriend's arms: priceless

21 May 2006

Peace in Europe

Its the Eurovision Song Contest tonight! And when all those generals and suchlike were signing the Geneva Conventions.. I bet they never counted on the form of the actual peaceful union on Europe. Oh yes, there's the politics, there's war crimes trials, and important public monuments to atrocities. Those venerable peace brokers could never in a million years picture how much silver lame would actually be involved. Eurovision. Such a grand, futuristic name. And they are far ahead the formation of the EU - Turkey's been in it for years.. I think much of the former Yugoslavia gives it a go at belting out cheezy pop numbers.

If you are tuning in tonight, the best part is the voting. You see its a system of phone votes, just like Big Brother, but you are barred from voting form your own country. Brilliant! So all these ancient politcal relationships come out in the voting, which has absolutely nothing to do with the song quality. England always gives the most votes to Ireland (to make up for the potato famine) and Ireland gives them a token amount of votes in deference to being neighbours but never as many (they haven't forgiven the generations of oppression). Greece votes for Cyprus (asserting sovreignty). Sweden and Denmark have some kind of contra deal going (so long as its Nordic, I guess). Germany votes for Poland and France (yeh, we're sorry about that whole invasion thing), and I don't think Germany is ever allowed to win. During the Balkans war everyone voted for Bosnia&Hertzogovina (you poor shelled bastards, maybe winning Eurovision will cheer you all up).

So here at the house of fun, we shall be attempting a web-cam telecast. Don't hold your breath for it to work, mind you. We shall be scoffing Euro snacks and Euro beer, and trying to quell the self-hatred of the antipodean, temporarily transformed into citizens of a continent with many nations, many languages, many cultures. Wishing we'd realised that's precisely what the indigenous people had going here before those anglo-saxons barged on in with their starchy food, monoculture and crap telly. For 3 hours we will dream of one world, many people, united in a love of glitter, bad frocks and incomprehensible lyrics. Viva la difference!

So old-skool internet users you can look me up on MSN messenger.. bsharp A.T. scientist D.o.t com. Or skype-y types, try my real name (gasp) in Sydney, Australia. See ya later heavily pixcellated, maybe.

14 May 2006

I think

..Neil Gaiman is a bit of a hottie. Of a certain age and in a certain light, perhaps. And the good news is he's doing several talks at the Sydney Writers Festival, including one with Wil Anderson. I think I shall attend. Anyone? Only 15 bucks.

And while on the topic..is it wrong to think a fictional depiction of a Centaur in Chronicles of Narnia is also a bit of hottie? Only for a brief moment, when a nice healthy-looking one blows some kind medieval trumpet thing on a hilltop, before you realise its only the top half is a be-dredlocked hottie, and the lower half is, er, a horse. I mean I'm not a size queen, or anything creepy like that and I'm definitely not into this whole furry business, and I don't really even like the fantasy genre that much. But boyfriend person is not comfortable with it at all. You know, I'd be completely relaxed if he, fancied, er, Galadriel from Lord of the Rings, or perhaps the green fairy in Moulin Rouge, even though she's just a teeny tiny person who you could actually hold in your hand. I might even invest in an subtly elfy outfit for special occasions. So, what the problem with just a passing comment, like oh, he's cute.? Really. And what about Wolverine? Is that ok? He's really mostly human, just with a metal skeleton. I guess that would be like making love to a twobyfour though. Oh no, this isn't that kind of journal. Honest.

12 May 2006

The Scooby Gang

I finally fixed the link to Dave's real website. For months and months I thought he'd stuffed up the code and simply given up on the bloggy-sphere. But no! He's been writing extra gags (For free) and posting on his lovely site. Go. Laugh. And, dave, .. I'm sorry I missed the show @newtown, it was a just-back-from-South -America fuzzy headed week. Looked forward to catching up when I manange to escape the gravitational pull of the city of churches.

And while I'm on saying hello to real actual people and not just crapping on about Daryl Sommers... big ups to Miss D... yep, still here, will be back in the big smoke.. sometime.. I hope. And in response to my matey mistress J.. hows this for, like, virtual dialogue. I just went and did me some learnin' about your friend and mine, Mr Leonard Cohen. Check this. (from Wikipedia)
His father's will provided Leonard with a modest trust income, sufficient to allow him to freely pursue his literary ambitions for some time without risking economic ruin. Cohen idealized his father and his death threw him into a deep depression. As he grew older he began taking the then legal drug LSD as a treatment. Cohen has said that he believes the drug opened his awareness to the "hypocrisy" and "self-delusion" that are "common traits of humanity," ideas which are prominent themes in his songs.
In 2001, following five years' seclusion as a zen Buddhist monk at the Mount Baldy Zen Center, Cohen returned to music with Ten New Songs, ...
Great post there on Wiki, and shows awesome things can come from people who debated in high school.

10 May 2006

Hey Flipper

Latest news from the world of science - dolphins appear to have signature whistles, giving them specific identities within the group. Scientists from St Andrews Univeristy, Scotland, appear to have been mukcing around with recordings, identifying repeated patterns and playing them to dolphins caught in nets. Dr Janik, leading the research team, says:

”As infants, bottlenose dolphins develop their own signature whistles to use throughout their lifetimes. Group members repeat these whistles back during vocal interactions, and we believe that the whistles form a system similar to that of human names.”

The researchers played synthetic whistles to dolphins through an underwater speaker. In 9 out of 14 cases, the dolphin would turn more often toward the speaker if it heard a whistle resembling that of a close relative, demonstrating that the synthetic signature whistle contains information that is used by the listeners to identify the caller.

Cool, huh? And in other news I read that Big Ted from PlaySchool recently texted some friends (on a cardboard mobile phone) to invite them over for a tea party. I think they still sang I'm a little teapot in analogue rather than downloading an mp3.

8 May 2006


I would like to rename the Australian logie awards as above, because they are such a giant mob of bogans. But they're kind of like the country cousins - you may not like their politics but geez they know how to throw a good bash. I can't really bring myself to watch the whole car crash.. but the joy of the remote means I could sneak over to look during the crap bits of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Of which there are many. So over in Logieland there were plenty of hilarious pissed up moments for everyone in tv circles to laugh about for the next year. There was the blonde sidekick to Daryl Sommers who caught her drag queen shoe on the hem of her emrald frock with sparkly bits, and crashed straight onto her knees on route to the stage. You could almost hear the mental cry of Taxi! from all the soapie celebs. Then there was the sing along to the theme of playschool. Just like when someone starts up with Piano Man or Blister in the Sun at your 18th birthday. And Leyton Hewitt's wifey brought her one-year-old daugter up on stage in a matching frock! Bewdifull! I could just imagine them all rolling out of the place at midnight, arm in arm, Kerry O'Brien leaning heavily on Ray Martin. "You know .. I love yooou mate.. no, really, I really Love. You. The way you're so friendly with all those celebrities. they're just sooo glamorous.. no, really... all I get to look at is John Bloody Howard, and that Beasley twat, Night after night, after night.. I just wish I could have got the Current Affair gig, really. Yeh I love you."

4 May 2006

Having the painters in

Inspired by Ms B. Sue, I've given the page another coat of duco. It was intended to be a sophisticated colour scheme reminiscent of the steel grey and lurid purple that senior executive women sometimes pull off and look incredibly glamorous and effective. However, I ended up more with a nanna's last christmas gift of a lavender sachet for your undie drawer that has gone all limp and now smells faintly of toilets. Back to the drawing board.

2 May 2006

RIP John Kenneth Galbraith

In fact, I know very little about this man, except some killer quotes that I desperately tried to weave into a couple of pollies speeches (to no avail). But he was the first to say things like - companies used advertising to induce consumers to buy things they had never dreamed they needed. According to New York times his book "American Capitalism,"
"..set out to debunk myths about the free market economy and explore concentrations of economic power. He described the pressures that corporations and unions exerted on each other for increased profits and increased wages, and said these countervailing forces kept those giant groups in equilibrium and the nation's economy prosperous and stable."

It was published in 1952. In short: an economist, with the gift of communication, publicly against the vietnam war, and not afraid to wade into public debate to talk about power, wealth and manipulation of the "market". Buzz salutes you.