2021 replay — 9 — August

Look, all I am going to do today is pick my own favourite… But, to start I see that at the end of the month I had summarised thus:

Last of August 2021 — and a sad note

Posted on  by Neil

Usually I post some kind of statistical summary of the month around the last day. Yesterday I did one on Facebook.

And yes, the blog has already hit most views for 2021 — 1,585 this month so far, compared with 1,558 in March, the previous best of 2021. May 2020 still beats both at 1,945. Back in 2014 three months were 2k or better — September, October and December. On averages per day September 2014 is best. This month will definitely go past 1,600.

I am of course writing this the day before it appears in public, giving me the opportunity to update before then — and find typos! The other thing as I write is that in less than an hour the NSW Premier is to give her COVID update. When I posted Sunday’s shocker my cousin Julie, who happens to be a PhD and a health physician in Queensland commented: “Brace yourself for the next few announcements.” And indeed we are!

UPDATE: So yesterday there were 1,290 new cases in NSW. Sunday was 1,218 — and that was a record.

dec23 015
The photos on this post are of a part of East Redfern where I used to spend much time.

OK — so there were 31 posts in August, and the final score was 1,631 views from 513 visits with 141 likes. The sad events I refer to have since resolved!

Various lockdown hacks and escapes — 40 — our town and some brilliant finds

Posted on  by Neil

Yes, the 40th in the series! OMG! Longer actually, as our lockdown began 26 June. So Day 61 in fact.

In accordance with NSW Health advice Saturday 26th June Collegians will be closing its venues from 4pm today. This includes:

Collegians Wollongong, Collegians Balgownie, Collegians Illawarra Leagues, Collegians Figtree & Collegians Port Kembla

At this stage we hope to re-open our doors on Saturday 10th July in accordance with the end of the lock down Midnight Friday 9th July. Pending further advice from NSW Health.

Thank you for your understanding. Stay safe and take care. Collegians Management

Well here we still are… As I have said City Diggers is taking advantage of the lockdown to do major renovations.

The coffee shop bar yesterday!

Talked to a club friend from early on in my return to The Gong, Steve Hitchens, about this yesterday on the phone. BIG changes. But as I said to him, I hope the Bistro menu is better than it was in the lead-up to lockdown — the reason I and Maurice and many others migrated to Illawarra Leagues. Be interested to see the changes though.

Speaking of The Gong, on Thursday I went to town to the chemist as I had to renew some medication. Waiting for the bus at this bus stop I had a conversation which I later reported on Facebook:

At the bus stop in The Gong this morning — a woman around my age was consulting the bus timetable as I scanned the intersection of Crown and Keira for a bus…

“Are they after you?” she suddenly said.

Apparently some kind of police or public order officers had just gone past. I hadn’t noticed…

She laughed and said, “You never know these days, do you?”

We chatted about how things were going. “It’s bad,” she said.

“Yes, but our parents lived through the War,” I replied. “This is not as bad.”

She agreed. “Yes, I was born just after and I remember…”

And told stories of shortages and rations.

“I was born during,” I replied. “And I think now we should be tapping into the spirit our parents had back then.”

“True,” she replied. And went on her way.My bus arrived. A 39. Good, Mount Keira Road service. And I was the only passenger.

Meanwhile the internet continues to deliver, especially through Facebook, some amazing things.

First a family history treasure from the Wollondilly Historical Page on Facebook. I have colourised the image.

John (Jack) Whitfield (1864-1956) joined the Police Force as a Probationary Constable on 28th October 1889. Previous to this he worked as a sawyer with his father W.J.J. Whitfield at his Bluegum Creek Sawmill near the Thirlmere Lakes.John Whitfield was the last constable with the Police Force at Appin. The Court House/Police Station was closed in 1933. Photograph from Whitfield family collection.

Uncle John deserves colour! I met him when I was a kid, but I hardly remember him I’m afraid. I better remember his brother Bill and indeed his other brother, my grandfather Tom. And his sister Annie, who attended the reception in Shellharbour in 1972 for my gold medal Olympian cousin Beverley.

Then on a completely different tack is this brilliant video from journalist George Monbiot on climate change.

So very true! I am ashamed to see that Aussie motormouths like Alan Jones PhD (not) are a significant part of the picture! Game, set and match George! He uses plain and sometimes Anglo-Saxon words at times — perfectly justified, in my view! But if you are a bit precious about such things. be warned if the letter F frightens you….

Yes, I know absolutely dreadful things have been happening in Afghanistan. On Facebook first thing yesterday I wrote:

I will not spend too much time on this but like everyone I will be following these events closely. Nothing but absolute revulsion can be our attitude, There is nothing good about ISIS, nothing worthy in their cause or their tactics. They appear to hate everyone except themselves.

Any here or in the USA who turns this into partisan politics of any kind is simply contemptible.

But soon after I did share an item from blogging and FB friend in California, Kanani Fong with this note:

Kanani Fong shared this saying “I thought of this photo this morning, when I heard the news about the Kabul airport. It was the last image I saw last night before tucking in. The Marines have always brought a dose of safety and clarity wherever they go. Much love to their family, friends, and fellow Marines.”

Her husband worked as a surgeon with the US military in Afghanistan. She was involved in that excellent documentary Restrepo.

NOTE: 30th December — Facebook has delivered in the past few days some even more amazing family history — but I will save that for New Year! This post ends the month-by-month replays. Tomorrow I aim to summarise how the blog has gone all year.

Stark warning to Sydney on Facebook

I have never done this before — interpolated an extra post as a matter of importance that I want to go beyond the deliberately closed circles I have on Facebook, I thank a former student and now FB friend Dan Conway for bringing this to my attention.

First, who is the message to Sydney from? Dr Daniel Suan MBBS FRACP FRCPA PhD Clinical Immunologist and Immunopathologist at the Garvan Institute in Sydney. The Garvan Institute is world-famous.

I introduced his latest Facebook video thus:

This is REALLY important. Here is someone who knows a hell of a lot more about this than I do, or dare I say any of you — except maybe cousin Julie Christison. He certainly knows a hell of a lot more than the current Premier of NSW it appears, who in turn seems to know or appreciate far less than his unfortunate predecessor, for all her faults.

This really is a MUST. It is knowledge and experience-based and totally reasonable, and not at all alarmist in my view. Rather it is a sober assessment of where we really stand — without spin, without axes to grind.

Dr Suan’s introduction follows:

Hi Sydney,

I am sorry, but we have a problem.

We are sleepwalking into an Omicron disaster in January if we do not take immediate and effective action to limit the spread of Omicron before Christmas.

It’s too much to type, so I made a video explaining the problem. I’m sorry the quality is so bad. I need to ask you to make time to watch this, and if you understand and agree with me and my colleagues, then I need you to make sure everyone you know in NSW also understands the problem.

The hour is very late and the opportunity to intervene grows shorter by the minute. Thousands of lives are at risk again.We must deal with the facts as they are, not as we want them.

Only together can we crush Omicron transmission and prevent a catastrophe in January.

Best wishes to you and your families for the holiday season.

Clinical Immunologist and Immunopathologist

Now it is up to us all to weigh what he says with great care.

Two speeches — cool and heated — and I love them both…

First cool, and only just noted thanks to YouTube, on a subject where there has been a lot of heat in quite a few senses: COP26. Simon Clark. “Simon finished his PhD in theoretical atmospheric physics at the University of Exeter, researching dynamical stratosphere-troposphere coupling over the Arctic with Professor Mark Baldwin. Prior to this, he studied physics at St Peter’s College, University of Oxford, obtaining his masters degree and specializing in theoretical and atmospheric physics.”

The other speech occurred yesterday in the Australian Senate. As summarised by Australian political site Crikey.com (which I do find a touch overheated at times!) this is what happened:

Queensland MP George Christensen is the latest to abscond to a rebellious cohort opposing the state vaccine mandates, The Australian ($) reports. Plus, the paper claims crossbenchers Craig Kelly and Bob Katter told it they were considering holding their votes hostage too. Coalition seats make up 76 of 151 MPs — that means, without Christensen’s vote, the government needs a crossbencher or Labor MP to side with them to pass anything.

Five senators crossed the floor yesterday voting for One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s anti-vaccine mandate bill, but it was defeated 44-5 anyway (they were Gerard Rennick, Alex Antic, Matt Canavan, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, and Sam McMahon, as Guardian Australia lists). So what do they want? The fivesome are demanding the Commonwealth override state laws requiring workers to be vaccinated, and they strike at a critical time as the federal election countdown ticks on, as ABC says.

In a fiery rebuke, outspoken senator Jacqui Lambie went for Hanson’s proverbial jugular over proposed state sanctions, saying the bill was not about discrimination, but rather cash, power, and One Nation seats, SBS reports. “Being held accountable for your own actions isn’t called discrimination — it is called being a bloody adult,” Lambie fired to a smirking Hanson, watching on via video link.

And here is Jacqui Lambie’s speech in full, passionate and some might think a bit “unparliamentary” at times — but that’s Jacqui!

My comment on Facebook yesterday:

There are matters where I quite strongly disagree with her, but I grant she is what she appears to be –and that is a rare quality in a politician perhaps! And she is far from stupid. I can even forgive her for getting into Canberra in the first place thanks to Clive Palmer- – but she has long since become her own person.I saw a bit of her speech today. Excellent work. Shame about our local Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells.

You may also like to see something about one of the other “rebel” government Senators, Gerard Rennick: Liberal MP Gerard Rennick floods Facebook with vaccine posts he admits may not be ‘100% accurate’.

Jacqui Lambie has had a checkered political career, and life. I find Wikipedia covers the various sides of her quite well. I find her painful on the subject of China, for example. But I like the feature you see on her website — and she uses that advice too!

Finally, relating to both items so far one way or another, is this splendid graphic that also popped up on Facebook today.

Update — a sequel to the Jacqui Lambie story

On SBS News

Senator Jacqui Lambie has accused One Nation of endangering her and her family, after a candidate for the far-right party’s Tasmanian campaign leaked her phone number in a Facebook post. 

It comes just a day after the independent senator excoriated One Nation for their proposed bill against vaccine mandates. 

Lambie said the breach by candidate Steve Mav was particularly egregious given the febrile political environment.

“I have received many nasty, abusive and threatening phone calls and messages,” she told parliament.

“You have the (federal police) briefing politicians about our safety, you have gallows on the steps of Victoria’s parliament and senators in this very chamber should not be facilitating any abuse.

“One Nation have crossed a line here that should never be crossed.”

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts told the chamber that Mav posted the number after being sent it by a voter who got it from a Facebook post from Senator Lambie urging veterans in need of help to contact her.

Appearing via videolink, Senator Roberts accused Senator Lambie of playing the victim and misrepresenting the circumstances – which was met by her shaking her head in the chamber.

Not entirely random passing thoughts, serious and silly

This post really is just what passed by me from around 7am this morning — or some of it. Also maybe some of these videos will disappear in due course, a problem when you post with embedded vids. But for now…



Lest we forget

Blithering idiot — not just “another opinion” but a public menace

Just one of a million possible refutations of that idiot — from a scientist who also happens to be an evangelical Christian!

And another…

And the point….

And finally…

Sorry but when I hear an idiot I have to respond…

Look, there cannot be any nice way of saying this. Alan Jones is a bore and a fool. Anyone who gives him the time of day when it comes to climate science has rocks in their head. I do not propose “cancelling” him — he is entitled to parade his folly in public. But that people believe him is a real worry.

Here he is just yesterday ranting about COP26 and Joe Biden. When I shared his wisdom on Facebook I said: Parading your stupidity in public like this is frightfully embarrassing, eh! You will rarely see so many furphies, straw men, and almost drunken confusions trotted out in such a short time without even drawing breath! I guess that is a skill in itself. That a mature supposedly educated BA like Jones still cannot grasp the difference between weather and climate is just the start — that is in his “I stuck my head out the window” opening ploy. Only a dickhead would say that…

Judge for youself.

Now you might want something rather better than that silly old fart Jones ranting same as same as…

And again…

And finally, next time Alan sticks his head out the window and comes to conclusions about global warming as a result, he may perhaps consider what weather and weather forecasting actually entail — if that is he can bring himself to believe meteorologists might generally be more worth listening to than he is on the subject.

Predicting future weather is, by its nature, an inexact science, Ms Eadie said.

“The models that we use have an inherent uncertainty — generally the shorter the time frame the less errors,” she said.

The bureau’s forecasters rely on Australia’s ACCESS weather model, but they also look at the weather models from Japan, Europe and America.

If all the models are in agreement, then the bureau has more confidence in its forecast, than if the models are all saying different things.

The types of weather systems in the area can also change how confident the bureau is in the forecast.

Ms Eadie said low pressure systems and cold fronts (which can lead to sudden weather changes and storm activity) are harder to predict than high pressure systems (which tend to lead to calmer weather).

During the coronavirus lockdowns and border closures, there has been some speculation that having fewer planes in the sky has impacted the accuracy of weather forecasts. 

Ms Eadie said that had not been the case in Australia because weather observations from planes were not a primary source of data for the bureau.

“From our perspective, it hasn’t changed how we forecast, or [created] a change in the quality of the data we receive,” she said.

Australia — Forecast rainfall over the next seven days!

And Jones, this may help you. It is an entry-level video for kiddies…

Breaking news!

How extraordinary! Nothing to do with my post I am sure.

Controversial radio broadcaster Alan Jones has abruptly announced his departure from Sky News Australia, claiming the network would not renew his contract.

Jones said on a statement on Facebook that in a meeting last week with his employer he received an offer to move his regular 8pm program on Sky across to parent company News Corp’s new streaming service Flash, but it was one he did not wish to pursue.

“I write in my regular Thursday column to advise you that the management at Sky News have indicated to me that they will not renew my contract, which ends on November 30” he said in the Facebook post