Saturday, 25 August 2012

Natural gas fuel cells – the natural green solution

I have been pondering the use of solar cells, wind generators and tidal generators for some time; each renewable energy source usually fails to produce sufficient energy when and where it’s needed. How can we store the energy produced when it’s in plentiful supply and use it later in peak demand time. The often rolled out solution is to pump water into a dam and use the stored water to generate electricity, this is known as pumped-storage electricity and accounts for 99% of bulk storage at the time of writing. This method assumes a lot of water is available which may not be true in Australia’s arid and semi-arid environment. Small renewable energy generators use batteries for base-line storage, but this is expensive and high maintenance.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Manus Islanders want a cut of the action

The about face by the Gillard Government over the so called Pacific Solution for processing alleged refugees, AKA boat people, has seen the expectations of Manus Island and Nauru residents rise. Manus Island has demanded that their businesses, fishermen, farmers and labour be used instead of the imports that were used last time. This is not an unreasonable request and is probably a cheaper solution if done competently. Of course we have not taken into consideration the complete ineptitude of the Gillard Government who have proved over and over again that they can’t even organise a piss-up in a brewery.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Is ‘playing the stock market’ gambling?

“Successful investing is anticipating the anticipations of others.”
John Maynard Keynes
The people that buy stock as a long term investment expect to receive a reasonable dividend every year and for the value of their investment to increase over the years. The investor will also realise when a company is in decline and divest themselves of the shares before the company share price drops.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Low-carb Beer

One of the popular beers at the moment, especially among women, is the low-carb beer which is widely believed to be a healthier beer than normal beers. These beers often command a premium price and are widely advertised by brewers. Is low-carb beer really better for you or is it just an urban myth?

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Free Range Eggs

There is some contention in Australia over what is exactly a ‘free range’ chicken. The US has decided to avoid the issue by ignoring labelling standards altogether. The EU (European Union) with all of its bureaucracy has defined four labels: 0-organic, 1-free range, 2-barn and 3-caged.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


Is coffee bad for you or is coffee good for you?
There are many conflicting studies that suggest both, but most agree that a daily dose of 1 to 3 cups of coffee filtered with filter paper are least likely to affect the drinker. The filter paper removes the toxins that increase your cholesterol level according to one study. It will take from 200 to 300 cups of coffee drunk continuously to kill you, but you will get caffeine intoxication before you manage to drink that amount.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Orange juice and citrus fruit

“Try not thinking of peeling an orange. Try not imagining the juice running down your fingers, the soft inner part of the peel. The smell. Try and you can't. The brain doesn't process negatives.”
Doug Coupland

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Red wine

“It is better to hide ignorance, but it is hard to do this when we relax with wine.”
Heraclitus, 540-480 B.C.
Red wine has been an essential part of our culture for thousands of years. The Roman military decided that it was so essential that they were motivated to plant vineyards in Scotland during the ‘Roman warm period’.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Body types – ‘use by date’, ‘best before date’ and ‘morbidly indulgent’

I am including this blog as a reference to my simplistic body type terms of ‘use by date’, ‘best before date’ and ‘morbidly indulgent’.

Saturday, 14 July 2012


"Make a list of important things to do today. At the top of your list, put ‘eat chocolate.’ Now, you'll get at least one thing done today."
Gina Hayes

Friday, 13 July 2012

Is Friday the 13th really unlucky?

For some people the fear of Friday the 13th (friggatriskaidekaphobia) is a day to panic, a day to cancel appointments, a day to stay in bed. The superstition is widespread and actually consists of two superstitions, a fear of the number 13 (triskaidekaphobia) and a fear of Friday (friggaphobia). Both of these fears have their real origins lost in the folk-lore of Northern Europe.

Monday, 9 July 2012


Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.

Traditional first published 1639

Associate Professor Russell Keast, a Lecturer in the area of Sensory Science in the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Deakin University has identified a sixth basic taste responsive to fat and the role it may play in the development of obesity.

Friday, 6 July 2012


The human body in its simplest form consists of groups of cooperating cells related by common descent, pre-programmed to reproduce its own DNA. A short discussion of the evolution of single cell entities to multi-cellar entities can be found as a PDF here.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Is organised religion the playground of the devil?

“16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
Proverbs 6

Monday, 2 July 2012

Carbon [dioxide] Tax - useful or useless?

The Australian Greens/Labor Coalition carbon [dioxide] tax came into operation in Australia on 1st July 2012 and the Labor Prime Minister and her Treasurer have told me I should rejoice because not only have I been compensated for the tax, but I will also be $10 a week better off.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Sweeter than sugar

“Honesty coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar.”
William Shakespeare – As you like it

We are constantly being warned by dieticians that too much sugar is bad for your health and we now have labels on food and drink warning how much sugar and salt is in each product. Australian manufacturers are guilty of putting too much sugar in just about everything, making even dark chocolate and tonic water unpalatably sweet.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Julian Assange - saint or sinner

Analysing what makes Julian Assange do what he does would possibly make an interesting PhD paper for some aspiring student of human nature. When you read Assange’s biography in Wikipedia his life seems to follow the philosophy of Don Chip who said ‘the Democrat Party’s purpose in Parliament was to keep the bastards honest’. It’s a pity that Don Chip isn’t around today to keep Julia Gillard and the rest of the Gang of Four honest.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Boat People AKA Asylum Seekers

The recent sinking of an asylum seekers boat with a loss of more than ninety lives has reopened the festering wound of border security in Australia. The number of asylum seekers now averages 850 a month and the costs have blown the budget more than tenfold.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Is sliced white bread and good taste an oxymoron?

The challenge

Bread doesn’t taste as good as it used to! There are so many bread varieties that we will assume that the challenge is about production line sliced white wheat bread produced in Australia.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Fish fingers AKA fish sticks

Fish fingers, otherwise known as fish sticks, have been popular for over half a century. It is thought that they were invented in the US in the 1920’s to use up an oversupply of cod. Birdseye in the UK tried the same tactic in the 1950’s to take advantage of an oversupply of herring. The herring product was test marketed with the much blander cod product as a control, but to Birdseye’s surprise the cod product was much more popular than the savoury herring product. The cod product and its variations have been in production since 1955. The fish finger is now produced by numerous manufacturers including large supermarket brands.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Eight glasses of water

For many years I have thought that drinking eight glasses of water on top of your normal diet of food and beverages is illogical. I was a lone voice in the wilderness, but now I have an ally in La Trobe University lecturer Spero Tsindos (PhD, Dietetics and Public Health). Drinking eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy is a myth says Mr Tsindos, people can get their daily fluid intake from fruit, vegetables, juices and even tea and coffee.“We should be telling people that beverages like tea and coffee contribute to a person's fluid needs and despite their caffeine content, do not lead to dehydration."

Monday, 28 May 2012

Australian meat pies are full of meat?

The Australian meat pie has long been the required food to eat at the footy (any code) and at the races (horse that is). Back in the 70’s the pie was served with a complimentary squirt of tomato sauce, now you have to pay extra for a single serve squeezy packet sauce that doesn’t really insert the sauce into the pie. In those days I had a pie in one hand and a beer in the other with attention on the game/race and can’t really remember too much about the pie. I do know that it didn’t disintegrate and gravy did not run down my arm, and so the pastry must have been good and the filling not watery. My trouble and strife (wife) swears that the pies sold at the games, same name, same make, are different to those sold in the supermarket or corner store.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Getting a bang for our buck - the BIG radio telescope

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) the world’s largest and most sensitive radio telescope array will be split between Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The original plan was to use either South Africa or Australasia but now it has been decided to use both sites and divide the radio frequencies scanned between the two sites. South Africa will have the high frequencies and Australasia will have the low frequencies. You may ask why it of interest to you is. The answer is because you will pay for its manufacture, installation and ongoing running, and that’s billions of bucks. I sometimes wonder how academics can convince governments to spend so much money on research that has no visible return on investment.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Offal is not so awful!

One of the things about offal is that people either love it or hate it. Although offal is traditionally a peasant dish, people that lived through the last world war (1939-45) and the food shortages afterwards are probably more receptive to offal than perhaps others who never managed to acquire a taste for it. I confess that there is some offal I really like and some that makes me feel very uneasy in the stomach.

The strange affair of the beleaguered Member for Dobell

Craig Thomson, ex union leader, ex member of the Australian Labor Party, who was elected to the Federal House of Representatives as member for the Division of Dobell, New South Wales for the Australian Labor Party at the 2007 federal election, has managed to avoid being charged for union fund misappropriation for so long that he really justifies the title 'Teflon' Thomson.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Chicken nuggets


My first experience of a chicken nugget was that it tasted like wet cardboard. Don’t ask me how I know what wet cardboard tastes like! The mistake I made was not to use the dipping sauce provided, which I admit did hide the wet cardboard taste. I try to avoid all chicken nuggets now and only eat one when obliged to by a charming granddaughter.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Milk - not what it was

Would you believe that I can remember when there used to be a layer of cream on the top of a bottle of milk, and in winter the birds use to peck holes in the foil bottle top to get at the cream? The foil was either a silver top or gold top depending on the cream content, many bottlers unashamedly skimmed cream from the top to make more profit.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Farewell Fossil Fuels

Despite the frantic and sometimes violent attempts by activists to curtail or even stop the use of fossil fuels, that is, coal, oil and natural gas, the fond farewell seems to be far in the future. The activists efforts have not been in vain though as there have been enormous advances in cleaning up and reducing harmful emissions from coal fired furnaces, vehicles and so on.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Australian Budget 2012/2013

In 1986 Paul Keating, a former Australian Labor politician who served as the 24th Prime Minister of Australia from 1991 to 1996, said the following on a radio interview.
“If this Government cannot get the adjustment, get manufacturing going again, and keep moderate wage outcomes and a sensible economic policy, then Australia is basically done for. We will end up being a third rate economy... a banana republic.”
In 2012 as Wayne Swann presents his fifth budget for the Labor Government the above words must be ringing in his ears to haunt him. Perhaps he takes comfort from being voted as being the World’s best treasurer.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Here comes the carbon tax.

On Feb. 5, 1976, in a TV interview for ‘Thames TV This Week’ British Prime Minister Thatcher said,
"...and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them."
What was true in 1976 is certainly true now and is borne out by the economical difficulties in Europe and elsewhere. If Australia’s Wayne Swan can be voted the world’s best treasurer you can imagine just how badly the economies of the rest of the world are run.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

My new improved Australian voting system

People seem to be always complaining about the Australian voting system for one reason or another, here are a few changes to stop the whingers complaining. To misquote Lincoln, it gives us Government of Australia by Australians for Australians.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Same sex marriage.

Australia has ‘enjoyed’ a minority government with the balance of power being held by self styled independent members and the Australian Greens party. This has allowed legislation to be suggested that would not normally make it to the floor of the chamber. Legislation to allow homosexual marriages is being promoted very loudly. This is popular with the Labor and Green parties as some prominent male and female members have homosexual relationships.

Sunday, 29 April 2012


Why is it when one is looking for a suitable pen-name or pseudonym for signing blog posts that all the names one really wants are taken by others? I have an interest in ancient Britain and all things archaeological and so I decided to use King Bladud, to my surprise, he was available.