Thursday, December 25, 2008

I'm Sticking with "Merry Christmas"

Saw this in comments over at a SayUncle post:


Please accept without obligation, express or implied, these best wishes for an environmentally safe, socially responsible, low stress, non addictive, and gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice (but with respect for the religious or secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or for their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all) and further for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated onset of the generally accepted calendar year (including, but not limited to, the Christian calendar, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures). The preceding wishes are extended without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee(s).
Or,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everybody!"


Not sure the first part will fit neatly on a card either.

Regardless - "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" sums up my opinion on the matter!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Discussion at the Coffee Truck this Morning

Scene: Workplace carpark with coffee truck. Two (young) salesgirls, a random guy from the factory and me.

Salesgirl#1 to me: "Sorry, but I completely forgot about shooting on Saturday."

Me: "Not to worry, we'll schedule another shoot soon. I went up there anyway, but didn't shoot. I did however shoot on the Sunday."

Random unknown factory guy: "Umm, excuse me, what gun club?"

Me: "OGSA, do you know it?"

Random unknown factory guy: "Heard of it, I shoot service matches at Rockingham and I am a member of three clubs. I also hold a dealer's licence."

--- brief interlude of random gun discussion ....

Salesgirl#2: "I'm planning to join OGSA. I'm looking forward to starting the training course in Feb."

Random unknown factory guy: "Wow. Umm, it's great that you want to get into shooting. It's a great hobby."

Coffee was ready, all went our separate ways.

Now that's what I call a good discussion!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just in time for Christmas

Want something for that "hard to buy for" man (or woman) in your life? Got a spare $4,900,000.00? (It's Australia dollars, so an absolute bargain for you Americans :) ).

How about a Ex-Australian Navy submarine? ... That's right, available on Ebay.



The sales pitch is as follows:

Proceeds from the purchase of merchandise goes directly to the maintainence and administration of the submarine and project overall.

Any items purchased will be received with a certificate of appreciation for your support.

For more information click here to visit web site at www.otama.com.au

"It's not every day you can bid for a 2,000 tonne submarine online, but that's what it's come down to. The HMAS Otama, the last Oberon submarine built for the Australian Navy has been sitting, rusting in Western Port Bay for six years. There were celebrations in 2002 when a small group of volunteers won the sought after tender with the help of a $500,000 grant from the Federal Government's Federation Fund. But the money is running out and the foreshore they have tried to put it on has become or is environmentally protected."

The Western Port Oberon Association Incorporated are group of community minded volunteers, committed to the betterment of the Western Port area. We have been trying to bring this project forward for many years. Unfortunately many obsticles have been put before us.

We are looking for partners, sponsors, members or any one willing to help.

The project has Approved Deductible Gift Recipient status.

Any donation over $2.00 is Fully Tax Deductable.

Western Port Oberon Association. ABN:21798098471.
PO Box 503
Hastings Victoria 3915


Mmm, fitting it in the stocking could be an issue!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Only Five Left

A couple of days ago wandering around the internet I came across the article, "6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can't Explain".

The six things were (numbered as per the original article):
6) The Voynich Manuscript
5) The Antikythera Mechanism
4) The Baigong Pipes
3) The Giant Stone Balls of Costa Rica
2) The Baghdad Batteries
1) The Bloop

Today a friend brought the following to my attention:
World's First Computer Rebuilt, Rebooted After 2,000 Years


A British museum curator has built a working replica of a 2,000-year-old Greek machine that has been called the world's first computer.

A dictionary-size assemblage of 37 interlocking dials crafted with the precision and complexity of a 19th-century Swiss clock, the Antikythera mechanism was used for modeling and predicting the movements of the heavenly bodies as well as the dates and locations of upcoming Olympic games.

The original 81 shards of the Antikythera were recovered from under the sea (near the Greek island of Antikythera) in 1902, rusted and clumped together in a nearly indecipherable mass. Scientists dated it to 150 B.C. Such craftsmanship wouldn't be seen for another 1,000 years — but its purpose was a mystery for decades.

Many scientists have worked since the 1950s to piece together the story, with the help of some very sophisticated imaging technology in recent years, including X-ray and gamma-ray imaging and 3-D computer modeling.

Now, though, it has been rebuilt. As is almost always the way with these things, it was an amateur who cracked it. Michael Wright, a former curator at the Science Museum in London, has built a replica of the Antikythera, which works perfectly.

In the video from New Scientist below, Wright shows how the machine works.

In short, Antikythera's user interface is deceptively simple, operated by a simple knob on the side. This conceals the intricacy within, amounting to a complex mathematical model, tracking the movements of planetary bodies and incorporating a series of submechanisms to account for the eccentricities of their rotation.

A dial on the faceplace featured the Greek zodiac and an Egyptian calendar; pointers showed the location of the moon and the five planets known at the time. On the machine's back, an upper dial shows a 19-year calendar (matching the solunar cycle) and the timing of upcoming Olympic games. A lower dial shows a 76-year cycle (when the Olympic and solunar cycles coincide) and indicates the months in which lunar and solar eclipses can be expected.

According to New Scientist, this is the first working model of the Antikythera computer to include all of the device's known features. And, like the original machine, it has been built of recycled metal plates. That's right: The Antikythera mechanism is not only the world's oldest computer, it's also the world's first green computer.


The video clip is on the site referenced above, or can be viewed directly at youtube.

From an Email: Guns and Doctors

Received this in an email this morning (thanks Aileen) ...


Doctors:
(a) The number of doctors in the US is 700,000
(b) Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000
(c) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.17

Guns:
(a) The number of gun owners in the US is 80,000,000
(b) Accidental gun deaths per year is 1,500
(c) Accidental deaths per gun owner is 0.000019

So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

Remember: Guns don't kill people; doctors do.

Not everyone has a gun, but almost everyone has a doctor.

Please alert your friends to this alarming threat. Doctors should be banned, or at least more strictly controlled, before this gets more out of hand.

Out of concern for general public safety, there should be no statistics published about lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek a doctor's assistance.


Note: Numbers not checked for validity!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Could I Have Missed This Two Years Running?

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Global Orgasm for Peace

Yep, the 3rd Annual Global Orgasm for peace is to be held on December 21st at 12.04pm GMT (although, apparently there's a two hour window that you can utilise ... or maybe it's supposed to last 2 hours, or maybe you need to have as many as possible in the 2 hours ... mmm ... i probably need to check out the FAQ).

The "reason" for this activity is:
To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible instantaneous surge of human biological, mental and spiritual energy.

There's more "whys" under the 3 Reasons section.

Things like Peace ... Orgasm and the sense of well-being it brings - how would the planet be if it felt that good? Could that be one definition of Peace? Practice visualizing the planet experiencing the afterglow of your Big Oh and ignoring the Govern-Men as they try to drum up support for their next invasion.

and

Gender & Social Justice .... We are all worthy of justice. To combine the energy of orgasm with a conscious empathy for all beings, human and otherwise, would be a powerful boost to the well-being of our planet and species.

and

Global Warming ooops, should we tell them that it has been rebadged as "climate change"? ... The planet needs a rest from all our other desires, so what better way to get us to take a rest from over-consumption than an orgasm? And if we can combine that energy with a resolution to be satisfied with less of everything (except orgasms, of course), perhaps the collective mindset will change.

read that again "be satisfied with less of everything (except orgasms, of course)" ... right!

Anyone planning an "orgasm" party? ... (i guess you could call it an "Orgy for Change"). Sounds like a workable excuse to me.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) I'm otherwise occupied at that time on Sunday night, so I'll be missing out (literally, apparently) ... maybe next year?

h/t Bayou Renaissance Man

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gun Legislation News

Just seen this article reporting how gun ownership has increased in NSW (New South Wales) and how some of the laws introduced after the Port Arthur massacre are being relaxed.


GUN ownership is booming again in NSW, with 40,000 new firearms registered in the past four years.

The rise coincides with a deal cut by the State Government and the Shooters Party to water down tough gun laws introduced in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre.

Figures from the NSW Firearm Registry obtained by the National Coalition of Gun Control show gun ownership has risen at the rate of 10,000 a year since 2004 to 687,138 in October this year.

Multiple gun ownership has also soared. The number of people receiving permits to obtain a second or subsequent firearm in 2006 was 32,616.

In the first 10 months of this year, 43,095 such permits were issued.

The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics has also revealed that guns are being stolen at a rate of more than two a day. The majority are taken from homes.

Despite the worrying figures, the Government and the Shooters Party have quietly agreed to a number of changes to gun laws introduced by former premier Bob Carr after the Port Arthur killings.

Shooting clubs will no longer have their licences automatically revoked for not disqualifying members who have been convicted of firearms offences.

Previously, the police commissioner could immediately revoke a club's licence for not taking action against a convicted member.

In another change, the mandatory 28-day waiting period before a second or third gun can be acquired has also been scrapped.

The Government has also made it easier for men who have previously been the subject of apprehended violence orders to regain a gun licence.


Here is Western Australia, we have only ever had the 28-day waiting period for the first firearm, never on subsequent ones, so I see these changes as just coming into line with other states' legislation.

Interested to read about the ABS figures on the rate of stolen guns - would actually like newspaper articles to actually link to where they get these figures from and the full details rather than "the majority are taken from homes".

Fun on the Range

Went to the range yesterday to do an "Introduction to Firearms" show and tell session with a group of people. Unfortunately a whole bunch of them dropped out at the last minute and it ended up being a group of two. One was the girl who came to the range on Nov 29th and the other was a girl from work, who was extremely nervous about the whole thing.

My friend (Steve) who has been a member up at the range for about 20 years brought some of his arsenal along (Mauser, Lee Enfield, Mosin Nagant, Pump Action Shotgun, Single Barrel Shotgun, Double Barrel Shotgun, his .38 standard gun and his .38 race gun). I had my .22 ruger 22/45, my 9mm Springfield and a .22 Winchester Lever Action rifle. Another club member (Bill) was up there with his revolver and he joined in on the fun.

During the course of the next couple of hours we all shot pretty much all of the guns. The girl from work took a bit of persuading when it came to each gun, but she did like the .22 Winchester Lever Action.

Both of the visitors have decided that they would like to sign up for the IPSC training course next year.

Here's a couple of photos:

Michelle practicing her pistol holding technique with a tube of sun screen


Michelle with the pump action shotgun


Oh, did I mention that I LOVE the Mauser (Yugoslav M48A).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Guns Shouldn't Be Recreational ?????

Here's an article on this premise with a commentary by someone who disagrees ....

here's probably my favourite extract ... but do read the whole thing ...

(original article) Many people exercise this right and believe that because of it, they are able to do whatever they want, even if it means storing deadly weapons in a house of curious, naïve children.

(commentary) My kids are rather intelligent, and I’ve taught them to use guns safely. If your kids are naïve, you might want to take a real hard look at who’s teaching them about life.


h/t Sharp as Marble

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm now "Graded"

Just checked out the November Auto Trophy Shoot Match Scores from my gun club and I'm now "D" grade (up until now I was "ungraded").

I hadn't realised that I made the list for October - 25th out of 31 shooters with 125.66 points.

November showed an improvement - 21st out of 24 shooters with 132.73 points.

Can only get better from here on in, one hopes!

Painted Cats

I've just received some really stunning pictures of painted cats in an email, for example:



and



unfortunately Snopes says that they're not real ...

Still they look pretty ...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wonder if we'll ever hear the full story ....

From: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,24739912-29277,00.html

Man 'accidentally' shot twice

December 02, 2008 02:29pm

A SYDNEY man is in a stable condition in hospital after being "accidentally'' shot twice, a New South Wales Ambulance Service spokeswoman says.

The man, aged about 30, was shot in the arm and chest at an address in Denver Road at St Clair in Sydney's west shortly after 1.30pm (AEDT) today, she said.

He was taken by ambulance to Nepean Hospital in a stable condition.

Police have been called to the scene of the shooting and are investigating the incident.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let's review the rules:

1. A gun is ALWAYS LOADED. Always.

2. Do not point the muzzle at anything you're not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you have your target sighted in.

4. Be sure of your target and what's behind it, before you pull the trigger.

If you stick to these four rules it's pretty hard to "accidentally" shoot someone (or yourself) TWICE.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And I Didn't Think I Was One .....

Over at Roberta X's site I found a link to a Nerd Test ... here's my results:


NerdTests.com says I'm an Uber Cool High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!


Not sure how I can be a nerd when I don't like comics ... or have I got it wrong?

New Shooter Report - Another Twofer

Well, sort of ... had a friend come up to the range with me yesterday. She had never shot before but had a go with my 9mm Springfield and a friend's ("hi" Bill), revolver. She enjoyed it so much she's coming again in two weeks and bringing her husband with her!!!

I've not got a photo (left my camera behind). I did take one of her on her phone - I'll see if she will send me a copy and I'll post it.

UPDATE: Here's the photo:


The second "newbie" was my mum! She has never had anything to do with shooting, but after watching the girls and hubby helping me reload the other night she decided to take up my offer to come to the range today.

I started her off on the .22 Ruger (after my 7y.o. shot off a magazine). She survived that, so I thought I would try her on the 9mm. I only loaded one mag (10 rounder) as I was sure she would shoot of 3 or 4 rounds and decide that was enough - boy, was I wrong ... I think she ended up shooting about 40 rounds! Just goes to show you can never tell.

Here's the photo.

Today's Range Report #7

Well, I actually missed a range report from Nov 16th. That was a six stage medal shoot. The stages where quite challenging - one had two disappearing targets off one poper - not something I am good at (yet!).

Gun jammed a lot - I think I was pretty tired when I started the shoot. I had spent the morning chasing shot put balls at Little Athletics (which is worse than it sounds because there were 13 joeys - under 6's - who get to use a tennis ball and they don't 'put' it, they THROW them ... and they get 3 shots each). So I am thinking I wasn't actually holding the gun firmly enough.

The good things about the shoot was that I was in a squad with 4 other people - two of which were females! So for once, the girls out numbered the guys (we don't have many girls in the club). One of the guys had recently returned from the World Shoot in Bali and gave me lots of tips (thanks, Vaughan). The other good thing was my accuracy - on three of the six stages I got all "A's" (one was a 26 round course), on another stage I got all A's except for 1 C (let's not talk about the other two stages).

HOWEVER, I was SLOW. Due to the tiredness, jams and just general slowness :)

On the shoot yesterday (last organised shoot for the year), my accuracy was down a bit, BUT the gun behaved perfectly and my times were a bit better - well I tried anyway. The guys I was shooting with were giving me a hard time about taking so long - after one round the RO said to me that he was really close to yelling out "Stop looking at the target - pull the #$#@$# trigger!" on pretty much every target. The last stage was a "El President" (?) shoot. I tried to go faster - but it still took me over 14 seconds. I guess I'll get there eventually.

All good fun though!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Things I've Done - Meme

From over at Bayou Renaissance Man comes this meme of 100 things. You're supposed to make the things you've done bold.

THINGS I'VE DONE:

1. Started your own blog. You're reading it.
2. Slept under the stars. Lots of times.
3. Played in a band. School band only.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower. Only seen a small one though.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. (and you wouldn't want me to!)
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child. Does sponsoring a child via World Vision count?
16. Had food poisoning. only once thankfully
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. Yes, worst experience, sleeping on the floor outside the loos on an overnight train in Romania.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked. All over Scotland - great fun.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. I'm an Aussie, it's a mandatory requirement here!
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping. But you're not getting details.
27. Run a Marathon.
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. Love them!!!!!!
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise. If short (day) cruises count.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke. see "sung a solo" above
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa. Technically, yes. I was born there but left when i was just a bub.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. Lots of times - love doing this.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. Some snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater. Saw Wall-E at one recently.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching. Does seeing whales from the beach count?
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp. Awful, awful, awful experience.
67. Bounced a check. Not intentionally though.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar. Took some with me on a hike into the Pyrenees ... sat at the top of this hill after a lovely walk eating it ... great memories.
72. Pieced a quilt. Small one, i don't have that much patience and i don't like sewing.
73. Stood in Times Square. Before going to a Moonie campsite!
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. Sat and watched a lightening storm over the canyon!
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper. Mistakenly captioned as my sister's mum!!!
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House. Well looked at it from the gates - i'm not sure i'll ever get an invitation to enter it.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating. If a fish counts?
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby. Two.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone. Unfortunately
99. Been stung by a bee. Only once.
100. Read an entire book in one day. Many, many, many times - once I start a book I don't like to put it down until it's finished.


That's 52 for me ... and you?????

Friday, November 28, 2008

Citizenship Tests

Lots of blogs I've read lately have links to the American Citizenship test ... I guess that this email I've just received is sent with the same intention, no?



Click to embiggen

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New Shooter - Twofer

Took my girls shooting a couple of weeks ago - it was their first time holding a gun. Here they are with my Ruger 22/45. They also tried the Springfild 9mm but it was a bit heavy for them. I held the gun while they shot and they both asked when we could go again.

Here's one of my 5y.o.:


Here's one of my 7y.o.:


I'ld like to try them with an air rifle next.

Sydney Trip

The purpose of my Sydney trip was to meet up with a bunch of "on-line" friends for a weekend (with a cursory visit to my head office and a few other places thrown in).

In all nine of us turned up (some with partners & families in tow). Two from Western Ausralia, one from Queensland, one from the Australian Capital Territory, two from Victoria and the other three from various parts of New South Wales.

It was a fantastic time of laughter, talking, chocolate, ice-cream, walking, climbing stairs (Sydney has lots of stairs) and generally hanging out.

Three of us decided to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb on the Saturday morning, while the rest lounged around drinking lattes ... well except the three mad things who went off to the local gym to do a cycle class!

Here's a picture of us three at the top of the bridge:



It was a VERY windy day ... but definitely well worth the money. Loved the climb (and I'm not one for heights) and the view was spectacular.

The only problem with the weekend was that it was over way too soon :( ...

Oh, here's a picture from my shopping trip - unfortunately I didn't buy anything (they didn't have the Mauser I wanted). In fact, they didn't have very much in the way of firearms at all. The US State Department is playing games with orders they placed in March and August.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I am a women - honest ....

by way of Sharp as Marble ...

"We think http://jigsawsthoughts.blogspot.com/ is written by a man (82%)."

from: http://genderanalyzer.com/

Does this mean I need to discuss nail polish & makeup more often?

SCHOOL -- 1958 vs. 2008

Scenario:
Jack goes quail hunting before school,
pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1958- Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2008 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counsellors called in for traumatized students and teachers

Scenario:
Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1958 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up mates.
2008 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Scenario:
Jeffrey won't be still in class, disrupts other students.

1958 - Jeffrey sent to office and given a good paddling by the Principal. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.
2008 - Jeffrey given huge doses of Ritalin. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra money from state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario:
Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1958 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.
2008 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy removed to foster care and joins a gang. State psychologist tells Billy's sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has affair with psychologist.

Scenario:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1958 - Mark shares aspirin with Principal.
2008 - Police called, Mark expelled from school for drug violations. Car searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario:
Pedro fails high school English.

1958 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.
2008 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that knowing English as a requirement for graduation is racist. Class action lawsuit against state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English banned from core curriculum. Pedro given diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario:
Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from 26th January, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1958 - Ants die.
2008- BATF, Homeland Security, Police called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, Police investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Scenario:
Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee.
He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him.

1958 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.
2008 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

***************************

While this is written from an American perspective - it's a valid comparison here in Australia also, unfortunately!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Away

Well I fly out to Sydney tomorrow, not back until Sunday - so no blogging from me for a couple of days.

Behave while I'm gone, won't you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Another Meme

By way of oldnfo

5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago

- working from home
- living a kid-free life
- playing HAM radio
- doing lots of camping
- sleeping in on weekends (see "living a kid-free life" above)

5 Things on My To-Do List Today

- Organise my stuff for my trip to Sydney on Wed
- Organise the stuff for the gunsmith so that he can do the sear / hammer / ambi safety & mag well while i'm away
- Pay bills
- Put some invoices in
- Ensure adequate space on credit card (for trip to Sydney)

5 Snacks I Like

- Apples
- Water crackers & cheese

5 Things I Would Do If I Was A Millionaire

- Random acts of kindness to family/friends
- Go on a world-the-world trip with family
- Buy the houses on each side of my house and turn into a large park area
- Purchase 5 - 10 acres of bushland near a good water supply (for the future)
- Donate to worthy organisations

5 Places I Have Lived (for various lengths of time)

- Kalgoorlie (Western Australia)
- Perth (Western Australia)
- London (England)
- Dusseldorf (Germany)
- Jerusalem (Israel)

5 Jobs I Have Had

- computer trainer (my favourite)
- Personal Assistant to Financial Controller
- assistant worker in Drug Rehab
- database administrator
- whatever my title is now

5 People I Tag to Answer

- anyone who is interested :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

You Know You're an Australian If

by way of Artful Articulations

You know you're Australian if...

1. You know the meaning of the word "girt".

2. You believe that stubbies can be either drunk or worn.

3. You think it's normal to have a leader called Kevin.

4. You waddle when you walk due to the 53 expired petrol discount vouchers stuffed in your wallet or purse.

5. You've made a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering the garden.

6. You believe it is appropriate to put a rubber in your son's pencil case when he first attends school.

7. When you hear that an American "roots for his team" you wonder how often and with whom.

8. You understand that the phrase "a group of women wearing black thongs" refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds.

9. You pronounce Melbourne as "Mel-bin".

10. You pronounce Penrith as "Pen-riff".

11. You believe the "l" in the word "Australia" is optional.

12. You can translate: "Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas."

13. You believe it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep.

14. You call your best friend "a total bastard" but someone you really, truly despise is just "a bit of a bastard".

15. You think "Woolloomooloo" is a perfectly reasonable name for a place.

16. You're secretly proud of our killer wildlife.

17. You believe it makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that's twice as big as its $2 coin.

18. You understand that "Wagga Wagga" can be abbreviated to "Wagga" but "Woy Woy" can't be called "Woy".

19. You believe that cooked-down axlegrease makes a good breakfast spread.

20. You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up, at which point they again become Kiwis.

21. Hamburger. Beetroot. Of course.

22. You know that certain words must, by law, be shouted out during any rendition of the Angels' song Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.

23. You believe, as an article of faith, that the confectionary known as the Wagon Wheel has become smaller with every passing year.

24. You still don't get why the "Labor" in "Australian Labor Party" is not spelt with a "u".

25. You wear ugh boots outside the house.

26. You believe, as an article of faith, that every important discovery in the world was made by an Australian but then sold off to the Yanks for a pittance.

27. You believe that the more you shorten someone's name the more you like them.

28. Whatever your linguistic skills, you find yourself able to order takeaway fluently in every Asian language.

29. You understand that "excuse me" can sound rude, while "scuse me" is always polite.

30. You know what it's like to swallow a fly, on occasion via your nose.

31. You understand that "you" has a plural and that it's "youse".

32. You know it's not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle.

33. Your biggest family argument over the summer concerned the rules for beach cricket.

34. You shake your head in horror when companies try to market what they call "Anzac cookies".

35. You still think of Kylie as "that girl off Neighbours".

36. When returning home from overseas, you expect to be brutally strip-searched by Customs - just in case you're trying to sneak in fruit.

37. You believe the phrase "smart casual" refers to a pair of black tracky-daks, suitably laundered.

38. You understand that all train timetables are works of fiction.

39. When working on a bar, you understand male customers will feel the need to offer an excuse whenever they order low-alcohol beer.

40. You get choked up with emotion by the first verse of the national anthem and then have trouble remembering the second.

41. You find yourself ignorant of nearly all the facts deemed essential in the government's new test for migrants.

42. You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says "cobber".

43. And you will immediately forward this list to other Australians, here and overseas, realising that only they will understand.

**************
yep, yep, yep to all except #31 ... "ewes" are female sheep not the plural of "you" ... maybe that's my english heritage showing through.

Any other Aussie's out there?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

EOIs Called for in Internet Censorship Trial

from: http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,24645568-5014239,00.html


AUSTRALIA'S mandatory internet filter is being primed to block 10,000 websites as part of a blacklist of unspecified "unwanted content", Communications Minister Stephen Conroy revealed in Federal Parliament.

The 10,000 blocked websites would include 1300 websites already blacklisted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Senator Conroy revealed details of the Rudd Government's proposed web filter as he called for expressions of interest from internet service providers for a live trial of the technology.

As part of the trial, ISPs will test different methods of filtering the web with subscribers who volunteer. The trial is expected to last six weeks and will start before Christmas.


****
emphasis mine
read rest of article here.


Australians, please contact your ISPs and say that you don't want them to take part. We need to stop this going any further.

Gun Stuff Follow Up

Well I got the barrel drilled out yesterday. When I drop a reloaded round in there now it sits nicely flush and it's much easier to extract than before. I haven't taken it to the range to play with yet (Saturday, hopefully) but I think it should be fine.

Ended up not costing me anything - gunsmith guy did it as a favour for the projectile guy ... got to laugh :) ...

I think I'll take my gun into the gunsmith next week and leave it for him to do the hammer, sear, ambi-safety & mag well rather than waiting for my friend (mentor) to do it. He's got enough on his plate and as I'm away in Sydney for a couple of days it's a good opportunity.

Then, hopefully, that should be everything I need to do to the gun.

I'll post pictures when it's finished.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gun Stuff

The guy who I buy my projectiles off suggested two things:

* I need to flare the cartridges more as the projectiles are getting "shaved", my crimp however is fine.

* The inside of the barrel needs to be drilled out a bit. The bullets are catching on the edge of the rifling. This is happening partially because I'm reloading the bullets longer than factory (so that they work in the 38super mags), but even the factory rounds are catching and are difficult to extract from the barrel.

He spoke to a gunsmith on my behalf about this and he's expecting me tomorrow to do this.

I'm a bit nervous, the person who has been my mentor regarding gun stuff is currently in Bali (some people!) and I'm not sure I want to go ahead with this without discussing it with him first.

However, he only gets back on Monday and I fly out to Sydney on Wednesday (for a week) which means that if I wait it will be a couple of weeks. Additionally, there's a medal shoot this weekend and it would be nice to have the gun performing 100% for this.

The gun actually works pretty well, it's just that it is difficult to clear.

He has also given me a reloading formula that he thinks will work for me and he suggests using small rifle primers rather than small pistol ones. I think I will reload 10 using these primers and his formula and see how I go.

Still not sure about the gunsmith tomorrow.

Gun People Are Nice People

I'm amazed at how nice and helpful I've found everyone I've come into contact with the shooting is.

Some examples:

* went up to the gun club I'm a member of (not the IPSC one) which is attached to a gun shop, I was looking for some mag holders. The ones in the shop didn't hold my mags securely enough, the guy behind the counter asked me when I needed them for - that weekend - so he offered to go home and get his personal ones for me to borrow! I didn't take him up on the offer but it was really nice of him.

* got speaking to one of the guys at the IPSC club about reloading. He asked what type of press I had - Dillon Square Deal - the following week he turned up with a whole lot of spare parts for the Dillon Square Deal which he no longer needed. He wouldn't take any money.

* contacted a member of the IPSC club about the phone number for the guy to buy projectiles from (as it wasn't listed in the phone book). He gave me the phone number, the address and alternative suppliers and the offer of a 1000 bullets if I couldn't source the ones I wanted in the timeframe I needed.

* rang the guy about the projectiles and he asked me how I was finding my reloads. We would have spoken about different issues and stuff for at least 1/2hr (they're performing quite well but the gun is difficult to clear with a round in the chamber). He suggested I bring the gun and my reloaded rounds and mag into the shop, which I did and we spent another good hour discussing options. He ended up ringing a local gunsmith to chat to him about a possible solution.

these events are in addition to the help and advice I've received on the range from different people.

Gun owners are nice people :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Meme - 7 Random Things About Me

wandering around the blogosphere tonight saw me in "The Wrath of Dawn" blog, who had tagged "everyone" (!!!) with the 7 Random Things Meme.

SO here goes - 7 Random Things About Me:

1. I was born in Nigeria

2. I did volunteer work with drug addicts in Germany

3. My first marriage proposal was on my 16th birthday !!!!!! (No, I didn't say "yes").

4. My favourite painter is Monet.

5. I prefer photos to paintings.

6. I prefer photos without people in them to photos with. Unless they're portraits. All my travel photos have (as far as possible) no people in them. I waited for hours sometimes at places to take photos without people. I do have a photo album of "Photos of People I Met While Travelling" though, but these are specific photos of people not "a photo op with a person in it".

7. I collect wrapping paper. I do actually use it (when wrapping presents) but i have quite an extensive collection. It took me over 15 years to use up my original collection. My current collection isn't quite that bad - yet!

Goody, that's 7 ... and yep, you're tagged too .....

Today's Range Report #6

Fun, fun, fun, fun ... my gun behaved! I think I only had one jam in the whole shoot!!!

There were 5 stages. There were a couple of small stages: One with gun unloaded on table, start in a box a couple of metres behind. On signal, load gun and hit 5 targets at about 15metres all semi-obscured by no-shoots. Another with three paper targets, three poppers. Start loaded and holstered, on signal shoot the paper targets 2 rounds each, reload shoot paper (2 rounds) & steel. The third was three targets with three boxes. The first one (probably 25m from targets), shoot two rounds each target freestyle, move to the second box (20m) 2 rounds each target, strong hand and then from the final box (15m), 2 rounds each target, weak hand only. I'm pretty good with my weak hand so did well on that stage.

The other two stages were bigger (both 24 rounds each). Nothing stunning about the first one, but on the second one I got 21 of the 24 shots in the A zone (the other 3 in the C zone). So I was pleased with that.

Overall, I did have a few misses but no no-shoots and the majority (by far) of my shots are in the A zone - now I just have to work on getting faster!

The other good thing about today was my PTer came up with me to watch. She's not used a pistol before so I let her have a shot with my 22 first and then with the 9mm. After the shoot (she helped patch & pick up brass) she had more time with the 9mm and loved it :) She wants to come shooting with me again!

I got a couple of shots of her shooting, but i'll check with her first before uploading them, but in the meantime here's a couple of shots of the range itself.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

And if it had happened to anyone but cops????

by way of http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,24611137-29277,00.html

we have this story

Police leave guns scattered on road

UP to 15 guns confiscated in an amnesty were strewn over a busy Geelong road after falling out of a Victorian police vehicle while being transported for destruction.

Two police officer were taking between 10 and 15 guns to the state forensic science lab in Melbourne for destruction as part of a gun amnesty.

A police spokeswoman said the car was travelling on Bacchus Marsh Road in the Geelong suburb of Corio, south-west of Melbourne shortly after 9am (AEDT) today.

"They were being transported in the back of the (Ford) Territory. For some reason which is unknown the lock has popped and the firearms have fallen out, approximately 10 to 15 assorted different firearms,'' the spokeswoman said.

"The members (police) have realised immediately and recovered the weapons off the road.

"They did a stocktake and all the guns have been accounted for, and they continued on their way to the state forensic science lab where they've done a second stocktake and again all the weapons have been accounted for, obviously.''

She could not confirm what type of guns were in the vehicle, but insisted the weapons were disabled.

"The vehicle was transporting the guns and they'd been deemed safe because they'd been handed in as part of the amnesty, they certainly were not loaded with any ammunition whatsoever,'' the spokeswoman said.

There was "no danger to the public'', she said.


Firstly, if it had been anyone other than cops who let firearms fall out of a truck they would have been charged. As "when transporting a firearm of any type, the licence holder must ensure that the firearm is not loaded, that it is in an appropriate locked and secured case and that the firearm is not visible."

Secondly, they did two stocktakes and still don't know how many firearms were being transported??? Surely there can't be any rational reason why they say "between 10 and 15" rather than just giving the actual number, can there?

Thirdly, these guns obviously aren't the "dangerous" type, you know, the ones that jump up and kill people all by themselves (or at least take over the minds of the people and make them kill).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What would YOU do?

Recently there have been a couple of comments (on other blogs) regarding the censorship issue in Australia along the lines of "Well they let their guns be taken away ...".

This post isn't directed at anyone specifically but this comment has been rattling around in my brain for a couple of days now so I thought I might give it some air time.

The initial gun "buy-back" (read "confiscation") happened in 1997 after the 1996 Port Arthur tragedy (and other multi-victim gun murders that year).

At the time I had only recently been introduced to firearms (shooting shotgun and rifles with my husband) and although I was angry that the "we have to do something" mantra took precedence over any rational thought I didn't seriously consider not complying.

Sure, we attended the rallies, signed the petitions etc etc but when "push came to shove" we handed our guns in.

At the time of Port Arthur, gun legislation varied dramatically across Australia. Western Australia (where I live) had very strict legislation, Queensland (on the other side of the country) had (AFAIK) none. Therefore, pretty much anyone who owned a firearm in WA had it registered already. It is much easier to prosecute those you know about then those you don't, unfortunately.

The alternative to not handing the guns in would have been prison.

It is possible that we will (in the next couple of years or so) see even more stringent legislation passed (since the 1997 legislation there has been other legislation restricting barrel length & magazine capacity - which I wasn't affected by so I'm not too clear on the details).

I am now asking myself, if additional legislation was passed which meant that I could no longer keep any of my guns what would I do?

Given that I have two young daughters, would I be willing to risk going to jail over keeping my guns? If I did not hand them in willingly I would be arrested, jailed and have the guns confiscated anyway. Not sure I would be willing to do that to my girls.

However, the idea of not having any guns due to government legislation frightens me.

Would I participate in an armed uprising to protect these rights? At this stage, I'm not sure I can answer that question.

What about you? How much does owing a gun mean to you?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Today's Range Report #5

Good day shooting today ... was a bit unenthusiastic about actually going (have to be there before 9am and I didn't get home from a quiz night until mid-night last night!). Anyway, I went ...

There were 5 stages today, 2 squads shooting - about 8 or 9 people in each squad. It was an ICOR (Revolver) shoot rather than courses designed for semi-autos but it was fun.

Unfortunatey I forgot to take my camera with me so sorry, no pics.

One of the stages had a disappearing target. To make it appear you had to shoot a popper (which I managed to miss :( .. not sure why, another stage had three poppers and a similar distance and I managed to get all of them on the first shot - which was good as that was a limited shot stage)... this stage was "unlimited" so I just shot the popper again (and got it).

The downside to this is that the stage was 11 shots - shooting twice at the popper meant I had to do a reload :( ... This is only the second time I have shot at a disappearing target - I managed to get three shots off at it - but only hit it once (and hit the "no shoot" which was in front of it (but lower) once too - not happy!

... In all the courses of fire I only dropped two shots - both hit the adjacent no shoots. The rest of my shots would have been "A's" (in most cases) with IPSC targets - but were A's & B's (and the odd C) with the Icor targets.

I still had problems with the gun jamming on most of the stages - not all though. Not sure why. Lost quite a bit of time trying to clear the jams.

I think some of the problem is due to me not pressing the mags in far enough ... bashing the end of the mag seems to solve the jamming problems in some cases. Other times I have to actually lock the slide open to be able to drop the mag - very time hungry.

Anyway, I had fun.

Next Saturday I have my PTer coming to watch. I'll try and remember to take my camera.

Mini Chicken Burgers

Just made some mini-chicken burgers with my girls for their lunches this week. I'm not sure they will actually last that long but it was a successful first attempt.

Recipe
Chopped chicken thighs
Grated carrot
1 Egg
Bread crumbs
Mixed salad herbs
Oil
Water

Sorry, can't give you measurements as it was done by eye (working around two kids).

Mince / process the chicken until fine - use some egg & water to help with this process. Mix through the grated carrot.

Take a small amount of the mixture and roll into a ball, roll in bread crumbs mixed with the salad herbs.

Fry with a touch of oil in a fry pan until golden brown.

Drain on a paper towel.

Here's some of the finished product:



The girls' verdict was "yummy" and "Can we make this all the time?"

Friday, October 31, 2008

Things to Remember Next Time I Need to "Bring a Plate"

"Bringing a Plate" means that you need to turn up at whatever function with some finger-food for others to eat ... these will certainly stand out:



instructions from http://evilmadscientist.com/article.php/edibleeyes
(i've copied and pasted it without photos as i don't really think they're necessary - refer to the original site if you want to see the piccies).

To begin with, we need a food-grade rigid transparent dome that will form the outer visual shell of the googly eyes. Empty gelatin capsules like these slide apart easily and come with one such dome on each end.

You can get capsules like these in bulk at all kinds of "natural" and "health food" stores-- or even at many grocery stores in the section where dietary supplements are sold. There is of course a huge selection online-- you can even get them in different colors and flavors. Capsules come in range of sizes; we suggest starting with size 00 or so to get a good dome.

While the gelatin capsules have a dome on each end, they have a lot of space in between that we really don't need. The photo above illustrates how much of each end we want to keep: the domed part plus a few millimeters. As it turns out, you cannot use the scissors to actually cut it there-- it will crack or suffer permanent creases, making it useless for our application.

Instead, using fine-point scissors, make one continuous cut from the opening to remove the excess capsule material. This actually works very well and does not cause undue stress to the dome that we want to keep.

Next, we're going to need rolling pupils for our eyes, and these fit the bill perfectly. These are Wilton Jumbo Rainbow Nonpareils, one brand of *giant* round sprinkles a couple of millimeters across. Our big surprise: these actually taste pretty good-- they're flavored candy. The downside is that we only really want dark pupils, so there's some fishing around to find them in the assortment..

Suggested substitutes: other brands of round sprinkles and cake decors, as well as Nerds candy (look for the occasional round pieces). While you might be tempted to try using flat "confetti" sprinkles or similar types, we actually found them to be quite unsuitable-- they get stuck in all kinds of unexpected ways instead of rolling freely.

Next we need a solid substrate that serves as the back surface of the googly eyes-- the whites of the eyes. The substrate needs to be sturdy, so that it can support the rest of the eyes, light in color, and completely dry and free of oil. At the same time, it needs to be soft enough that we can press the gelatin capsules into it.

Our substrate of choice is (are?) Whoppers, although some other things will work as well. To use the Whoppers, first cut them in half with a chef's knife. Then, using a (virginal) half-capsule as a tool, press an indentation into the semirigid center of the Whopper.

Place one of the round "pupil" sprinkles in the cut-off capsule dome, and press it into the indentation made in the Whopper hemisphere. Press it in deeply enough-- several millimeters-- that it will not fall out, but not so deeply that it restricts the motion of the sprinkle pupil. Some care is required-- the substrate can shatter if you push too hard. Special worry about using this particular substrate: the outer, chocolate-like coating will begin to melt if you handle it too long.

Once the capsule dome and pupil are in place, test your new googly eyes, and make sure that the ball rolls freely in the dome. That's it! You've made edible googly eyes!

Applications

As one example, we present a simple recipe:
Flying Spaghetti Monster Treats, featuring edible working googly eyes.

The basic idea is that we make rice krispy treats, omitting the rice crispies and instead using some tasty dried noodles. Now, rice krispy treats without the rice is actually just marshmallows and butter-- an effective and edible glue that can be used for all kinds of purposes.

You can crib the butter/marshmallow proportions from the original source or from whatever box is handy-- no two of these seem to be exactly the same. Anyway, melt a bunch of marshmallows with a little butter to make the glue. To that, add some small pieces of precooked dry noodles. Spoon the resulting mess out onto parchment paper, and decorate as needed.

The "classic" choice for this sort of thing is to use chow mein noodles-- already used to make a few different kinds of no-bake cookies. Of course, considering our theme, it makes sense to instead use ramen noodles. Ramen noodles have beens successfully employed with sweets lately, and it seems like a fine idea. (Remember to omit the flavor packet.) We used another type of dry asian noodle, beautifully labeled "Excellent Flour Stick," for ours.

Mounting the googly eyes to the eyestalks presents a bit of a challenge, since the "rice krispy" glue does not set immediately, and the eyes kept falling down. Instead, dip the eyestalks in the glue and place them flat on a piece of parchment paper. Then, set the eyes flat on the eyestocks to cool and bond. Later these eyestalk can be added easily to the top of the noodly blobs.

The crowning detail of course is to add the meatballs-- in this case Cocoa Puffs. And we're done-- one hundred percent edible Flying Spaghetti Monster treats with working googly eyes.

Right?!?

From a recent conversation in jigsaw's casa:

hubby: "Anything on TV tonight?"

me: "Something called 'How to Have Sex when you're Married'. Feel like watching it?"

hubby: "No, I think I'll go to bed instead."

RIGHT ?!?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Internet Censorship

THE Federal Government is planning to make internet censorship compulsory for all Australians.

When the idea was first mooted, there was the concept of an "opt out" option, where users could contact their ISP and say "no, thanks" to this filtering.

This option has now been REMOVED.

When the plan comes into effect sometime next year ALL internet access through Australian ISPs will be censored.

As far as I am concerned, this is a very dangerous path to start walking down.

The Senator in charge of this travesty is Stephen Conroy and, despite trials being planned for later this year, he doesn't know what content the mandatory filters will bar!!!

According to this article there will be two levels of filtering - one level of mandatory filtering for all Australians and an optional level that will provide a "clean feed", censoring adult material. So we're not just talking about porn here.

There was a comment against this article which listed email and contact addresses for Senator Conroy and various other people who support this initiative, however, I can not longer find that comment.

Here are contact details for Senator Conroy:

Senator Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Level 4, 4 Treasury Place
Melbourne Vic 3002

Phone:.....(03) 9650 1188
Fax: ......(03) 9650 3251
Email:.....minister@dbcde.gov.au

I urge you to contact him to express your opinion about this proposal. A proforma letter can be found at No Clean Feed.

Additional Links:
* Petition against internet censorship personal contact is best, but this is another option
* Somebody Think of the Children a blog about censorship and moral panic in Australia, with a particular focus on Internet censorship.
* No Clean Feed a website against internet censorship
* Letter from a mother definitely worth reading this view from a Christian mother

Monday, October 27, 2008

Travel Meme

from over Marko's way comes this "Travel" Meme

Five really interesting/beautiful foreign places I’ve visited:
i'm limiting it to cities

* Prague
* Jerusalem
* Budapest
* Munich
* Freiburg im Breisgau

Five countries that are high up on my List of Places I Want To See:

* New Zealand
* Brazil
* Morocco
* Peru
* Thailand

If I could speak one more language fluently, I’d like to be able to speak:

* German (as i already know some)

If I had to trade my citizenship for another one, I’d most likely move to:

* The USA (you guys get to play with more guns than we do :) )

What about you???

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fun with my Girls

My eldest (7) has a halloween party at Guides on Monday night, and they can bring "scary" food if they want.

So today the girls and I made some eyeballs in jelly for the occassion ....

Here they are putting some blood shot marks using food colouring on the eyes:



And here is the finished product ....



There's some snakes crawling around in there too ...

Not sure that the rainbow jelly makes it scary but it looks fun ....

I'll post a photo of the girls in their costumes after the party.

Weird & Wacky Research: Counting to four is as easy as a bee sees

i read this research which reportedly shows that bees can count to four.

RESEARCHERS have discovered that honey bees can count to four.

A researcher from the University of Queensland put five markers inside a tunnel and placed nectar in one of them, the ABC reports.

Honey bees placed in the tunnel flew to the marker with the food, and would still fly to the same marker stripe when the food was removed.

"We find that if you train them to the third stripe, they will look subsequently in the third stripe," researcher Mandyam Srinivasan said.

"If you train them to the fourth stripe, they will look in the fourth stripe and so on. But their ability to count seems to go only up to four. They can't count beyond four.

"The more we look at these creatures that have a brain the size of a sesame seed, the more astonished we are. They really have a lot of the capacities that we so-called higher human beings possess.

The research was carried out with Swedish researcher Marie Dacke.


And i don't get it ... on a number of different levels.

Firstly, what is the actual purpose of the research?

And, how does training them (using food, standard Pavlov approach) to fly to a certain number of strips show that they can count?

Maybe they decided that "four stripes" is far enough to fly to find food .. not that they can't count to five.

Friday, October 24, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY

By way of Marko - The Munchkin Wrangler ....

Parenting–it’s not just a job, it’s secure employment for the people at your local liquor store.

**hehehe**

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Range

Saw this idea over at “The Real Gun Guys” and thought you might like a look at where I shoot (Orange Grove Shooting Association, Western Australia).



As you can see we have two range areas – the upper one (right hand side of picture) is used mainly for rifles, shotguns, metallic silhouette. The lower one is where I shoot IPSC (ICOR and other pistol/revolver shoots take place there too).

The lower range area is divided into 8 ranges, of which we generally only use 5 or 6.

The club house is the greenish building between the two areas. The white building in the lower range area is just an open shed.

For those interested, the area used to be a quarry and therefore surrounded by VERY HIGH rock walls. I will take some pictures of this when I’m next up there.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Today's Range Report #4

Good day shooting today ... hot (around 30degC) and long - 6 stages around 120/130 rounds (didn't count) and I think our squad had 8 people in it. There were 4 squads today, so quite a lot of people shooting.

Again I experienced a few stovepipes - but I'm convinced these are caused by me not holding the gun firmly enough, because after I started to focus on holding the gun properly the stovepipes stopped. My friend was in the squad and he was really helpful in letting me know what I was doing right & wrong. He had a bit of a go at me for not actually grounding my feet properly when shooting, so I guess that's the next thing I need to work on.

I did okay - slow again, but pretty accurate. I was particularly pleased with one stage (16 targets, 32 rounds), of which 31 were in the "A" zone. The other was a "miss" and I did spot that I had missed it, but decided not to back it up (not sure WHY I made that decision).

There was a "freestyle", then "strong hand", then "weak hand" shoot again. I did really well with the "strong hand" section. Not so good with the "weak hand" bit (but did get the shots on the target) ... guess I need to practice that too.

So in summary, I didn't hit any no-shoots, I didn't get disqualified and I only had a couple of misses ... all in all a good day. All of the others in the squad were v.good shooters but they didn't seem to mind me slowing them down.

Things I Learnt Today:
1) Hold the gun FIRMLY
2) Ground my feet properly
3) When doing a "gun unloaded with mags on table" type shoot, focus on the gun rather than the targets to start with
4) Back up a missed shot unless it means that you need an extra reload
5) Take more water on hot days :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Why do I shoot?

Roberta X asked the following:

How about you? Why do you shoot? Why do you carry, if you carry at all?

Why do I shoot?

Living in Australia the official answer has to be because I enjoy competing in IPSC. And while that statement is totally true I also shoot for other reasons.

I took up pistol shooting when working in a very, very, very stressful job. Aiming the pistol at the target, thinking of the myriad of things you need to think about when you first start shooting I found for the first time during this particular employment period I forgot about work. It became truly an escape from the stress of the job.

Even now, I am still at the stage where I can’t think about anything else when I’m shooting. Nothing else matters only getting the bullet on the target as quick (and as safely) as possible.

I also shoot as, even though self-defence is not a valid reason for owning a firearm in Australia, I would like to have the necessary skills and ability to defend my family and myself.

I have never been hunting and I’m not sure I would enjoy it. Maybe .. maybe not. I have nothing against animals being killed for a) food or b) because they are causing damage to food crops. I’m not interested in just killing things for fun. And I guess that if I am willing to eat meat then I should be willing to kill it to eat. So yes, I guess I would go hunting if the opportunity came up.

Why do you carry, if you carry at all?

I don’t carry. It is illegal here.

Would I carry if it was legal? Yes, most definitely.

Why? Simple answer is “a cop is too heavy”. Seriously though, I would carry mainly because I do not want to be a victim. I believe that defence of self and family is my responsibility alongside my partner (of course, and yes, he shoots too).

I would carry hoping that I would never have to draw the gun on another human being, but I would be willing to draw the gun and shoot if it meant not being a victim to anyone's ill intent.

What about you?

Why do/don't you shoot? Why do you carry, if you carry at all?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aussie News ... Troublemakers will hear voice from above

from: http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,24502575-952,00.html

IPSWICH City Council will set up portable security cameras with built-in loudspeakers that can warn hoons to think twice before they cause trouble.
The cutting-edge cameras can be set up anywhere to keep an eye on hot spots.

Mayor Paul Pisasale said it was community policing at its best.

"This is about trying to take control of our city," he said.

"A small percentage of people are doing the wrong thing- but we are not going to let these morons get to us.

"If operators see some kids hanging around and think they might be up to no good, they can warn them off, saying: 'Son, I wouldn't do that'," he said.

The cameras will be set up in response to complaints from residents about problems including hoons, vandals, thieves and muggers.

Images are monitored round-the-clock and can be immediately sent to police computers, enabling them to respond to trouble in record time.

The technology has even impressed experts at Britain's Scotland Yard, who described it as "world class".

Three cameras, costing Ipswich $60,000 all up, were bought after a successful trial.

They are the latest addition to the city's army of 160 "Big Brother-style" security cameras, which have reduced crime in Ipswich by 80 per cent in the past five years.

The council runs its "Safe City" camera initiative in partnership with the police and the State Government, at a cost of $840,000 a year.

Cr Pisasale said the city was moving forward.

"This is not about Big Brother spying on law-abiding citizens," he said. "This is about telling the morons who cause civic damage and destruction that they are not welcome in our city."


Umm, okay, three mobile cameras that are going to be set up in trouble spots to WARN possible offenders not to offend.

Mmm, so what's to stop the potential offenders from moving to somewhere where the cameras aren't? ...

Potential offender: "Shall we spray paint this wall?"
VFTS (voice from the sky): "Son, I wouldn't do that!"
Potential offender to mates: "Okay so that's one camera let's go find the other two!"

OR what's to stop them ignoring the VFTS completely?

AND how do you know that someone is "preparing" to mug someone anyway?
VFTS: "Hey, pedestrian in the brown coat please keep your distance from the lady with the pram - we ARE watching you."

AND if the current 160 cameras have already reduced crime by 80% one wouldn't have thought there would be much more to worry about ....

One of the commentators on the original post suggested the following:

I have an alternative solution. Arm the cameras with rifles. If anyone is seen vandalising property, assaulting a person etc., open fire on them. No warning. No left-wing, do-gooder excuses. After a few examples, the crime rate would be close to zero.
Posted by: Naden S of Perth 10:48am today



Now if this was done I could see the benefit of the cameras :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That's One Way of Saying It ....

just read the following on Baldilocks and thought it illustrated beautifully the situation that many "realists" find themselves in today ...

The Twisting

Another One-Act Play

******

He: The sky is blue.
She: No it’s not, it’s plaid.

He: Why are you saying that?
She: Because that the way I see it.

He: But it is the color that has been historically called blue.
She: I don’t see it that way.

... read the whole thing ...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Today's Range Report #2

Reloaded 100 rounds last night with 4.0 grains - no problems at all with the primer feeding or seating so it went very smoothly.

Shot the stages at the range today. They had modified it from yesterday's shoot - so today ended up having 5 stages some were quite challenging.

I messed up the second stage majorily. It was start seated at a table, with loaded gun & all mags on the table. On signal, engage the 6 targets in any order with one shot, then reload and engage the targets again with another shot. I shot the first three targets two shots each before my brain kicked into gear ... ooops :) There goes three "procedurals" :)

One of the other stages had a "start facing up range, unloaded & holstered ... on signal engage all targets in any order 2 shots each". I've not done a "facing up range" one before ... so I was just hoping to get through the stage with out being disqualified .. which I managed (and I hit all the targets and missed the "no shoots" so was happy).

My times are awful but my accuracy isn't bad (no "no shoots" at all for the day and I think only 1 miss). The majority of my shots are hitting the "A" zone.

The gun performed well most of the time. Had a couple of "stovepipes" which the RO reckoned was due more to me not holding the gun firmly enough more than anything else and I think he was right. I also managed to get a case down my front ... ouch!

Definitely more practice needed.

Next week is a "trophy shoot" not sure if I will go up on the Saturday or Sunday yet.

Now off to the zoo with the family ...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today's Range Report #1

Very profitable time at the range today.

My friend fitted the new recoil spring for me (and firing pin spring) (yes, I can do it, but I was doing something else at the time). He didn't fit the mag well due to time constraints.

Anyway went up the range, I decided not to shoot with the regular squads but just give the gun a workout to see how it goes.

My friend fired first and the first round failed to eject. But from then on the gun worked perfectly. For both him and me. I used my reloaded rounds and the Chip McCormick mags and everything just came together.

He then mentioned that he thought I wasn't holding the gun firmly enough, so we worked on that for a bit and holding the gun firmer made a HUGE difference with the amount of recoil I was experiencing.



I also need to work on my draws to ensure that I get the gun correctly into my hand each and every time. I have a Blackhawk Serpa holster with a "release" lever which helps with the draw but sometimes I get the beaver tail just off centre.

We then shot a stage which wasn't being used by the other squads at the time, there were 4 boxes and 5 targets. From the first box - one shot to each target freestyle; second box - one shot to each target kneeling; third box - one shot to each target strong hand and fourth box - one shot to each target weak hand. (With a mandatory reload between each box). I had problems with the gun ejecting when I shot weak hand only - but I know that I wasn't holding it firmly enough. The first time I shot the stage my time from signal to first shot was about 3.5secs. We did a bit of practice on this and I managed to get the time down to around 2.5secs.

There is so much to remember and work on with IPSC style shooting - I'm hoping some of it becomes automatic soon :)

If all goes smoothly I will go back to the range tomorrow and actually shoot the stages - will have to do some reloading tonight.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Things I Didn't Know About a Glock

mmm ...
1) didn't know that Glocks come in 0.04 calibre and
2) where's the safety latch?

he was at least fined and a conviction was recorded.

from http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,24474536-2761,00.html

Policeman fined for pointing gun at colleagues

Todd Cardy, court reporter

October 10, 2008 11:57am


A POLICEMAN in Perth's rail unit has been fined $2000 for pointing his loaded police-issued pistol at colleagues on two occasions.

Sen-Constable Clifford Harold Warner, 37, faced three years’ jail and a maximum $12,000 fine after today pleading guilty to two counts of pointing a firearm at another person.

Police laid the charges against the now stood-down father-of-two under the Firearms Act following a complaint.

The Perth Magistrates Court today heard that on August 11 this year Sen-Constable Warner took out his holstered 0.04 calibre Glock pistol and aimed it a female constable while at the Rail Unit office at Perth Station.

Two days later, he again pointed his loaded weapon at a male officer for a few seconds in front of five or six others while having a meal at the end of a shift.

There were no threats of violence and his finger was not near the safety latch but he was stood down by the force on August 15.

The court heard that his actions were treated as a "joke", with the policeman who was aimed at giving Sen-Constable Warner an "expletive" then saying, "Geez, your barrel needs a bit of a clean."

Defence lawyer Michael Judd said his client was "greatly embarrassed" and remorseful at his actions but he did not have any recollection of the first incident with the female constable, which was only reported after the August 13 incident.

Mr Judd said the unit team were good friends and worked as a close-knit group.

"It is in this pressure cooker environment that this kind of tomfoolery can occur," he said.

Magistrate Wayne Tarr told Sen-Constable Warner that as a police officer he should have known better than to "skylark with a firearm".

"I just can’t understand what was going through your mind when you took your firearm out and pointed it at a colleague," Magistrate Tarr said.

"With the training that you are provided you must have known it was fraught with danger."

Magistrate Tarr fined him $1000 for each count and rejected a defence plea for a spent conviction, which would have removed the conviction from his criminal record.

A Meme

I just got tagged with a meme ....

What were you doing 2, 5, 10 and 15 years ago ....

Here's my answers:

2 years.......worked pretty much 7 days a week 15 hours a day - stoopid, stoopid, stoopid girl... something not to be repeated!

5 years.... had DD2, dealing with a new baby in the NICU unit and a 2y.o. toddler was challenging. Thankfully bub wasn't in there long, but then she spent around 10days under lights due to jaundice .. boy, don't they grow fast.

10 years ...working in a job with a boss who didn't pull his weight or support me and my colleague - we both ended up resigning on the same day - good decision!

15 years ... traveling & working in Europe .. i think in 1993 I was working in a drug rehab in Germany ... great experience ... so glad i did it ....

and now, you're tagged ... leave your answers in comments ....


Gun Stuff

I have a Springfield Armory 1911 9mm pistol which takes 9 round mags, this puts me at a slight disadvantage in IPSC, where everyone else is shooting 10 round mags. (Australia's firearms legislation limits mags to 10 rounds).

To get around this problem I purchased and use Chip McCormick 38super 10 round mags. These fit fine in my gun, but I did have some feed problems when I started using them. To solve this problem I have reloaded my rounds slightly longer (as per various articles on the web) and now they feed fine.

However, I am now having ejecting problems. Not sure if it is due to under-powered loads, too heavy recoil spring or bad technique on my part. The ejecting problems are reduced when I use 3.8 to 3.9 grains of AP70N powder (with a 125 lead projectile) but they still happen.

So today I purchased another recoil spring (Wolff 16.5lb) and will give that a go in the gun tomorrow. Unfortunately I do not know what the weight of the current recoil spring is (and I couldn't find the information when I did some searching earlier). I'm hoping this spring is lighter, or if not, I will get a friend to help me cut it down.

Will report after the range trip tomorrow. I'm not sure if I will shoot an IPSC match tomorrow or just monkey around with the gun. Hopefully my new mag well will also go on the gun tomorrow as I am interested to see how that will improve my mag changes.

Politics and Stuff

I read the following the other day:

carter69 #debate08- Drop Mccain in Iraq, Obama in Afgan both with guns. First to catch Bin Laden gets to be President. less than a minute ago

via way of "Girl on the Right"

and thought it was a novel approach to election campaigns.

Just wondering what we could do for Australian elections ... drop the contenders on Bondi Beach and award the election to those who rescue the most swimmers? Or maybe send them to the Northern Territory to catch crocodiles?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gun Stuff

I recently bought a Dillon Square Deal so I can reload my own 9mm rounds.

The press sort of worked but I have always had problems with primers feeding and seating, now I've only reloaded a couple of hundred rounds and this is my first experience with reloading so I assumed it was a problem with me rather than the press.

When my hubby and I sat down to do some reloading on Monday night we decided to take the primer feed assembly apart to check it and we discovered that the little plastic feed thingy (technical term) was split. Fortunately Dillion provide a replacement with the press so we put that it and it worked perfectly for the 150 rounds we did that night (phew!)

I contacted Dillon via email yesterday afternoon asking how I can source replacements in case it happens again. I recevied a reply this morning asking for my address as they're happy to send me some free of charge - which I think is pretty impressive!

Thanks Dillon!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

From the Weird & Wacky Internet

Hopefully this will be a regular segment where I can bring together funny, interesting and entertaining snippets from the weird and wacky internet world:

Today's offerings:
- Geek Wedding Rings .... check out Artful Articulations

Generation Debt

I don't normally watch "60 Minutes", but due to various circumstances I saw the episode last Sunday on "Generation Debt" ... (full transcript at http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=640543).

Basically it was a report on the Gen Yers (those aged between 18 & 28) who between them hold $60BILLION dollars worth of debt in AUSTRALIA ... now, i'm not sure how many Gen Yers there are, but we've only got a total population of 20mill or so, so i'm thinking there can't be THAT many of them.

I know some of the debt is HECS (higher education costs) and i am a bit annoyed that the program didn't differentiate between how much of the $60Billion is HECS and how much is "other" debt. Even so I was totally astounded at the "it's the price I pay for happiness" type attitude that came through the whole report.

Peter Overton was the reporter and I thought he did a pretty good job except I would have liked to punch him for two comments ... both were made in relation to a 21y.o. lass who has a personal debt of $70,000 ... he called her a "poor possum" in one comment - I would have thought "stupid idiot" would have been more applicable and then at the end he said "you can't help but admire her decision to pay back what she owes". Umm, hang on a second ... why should anyone ADMIRE someone for doing what they're responsible for???

One of the interviewees - who annoyed me the most with her attitude - played the "victim" card, e.g. "We're targets. We are targets of the bank because they know we're gullible. They know that anything they say we'll just follow. They're the leader and we're just the little people walking behind them, 'give me the money.'"

Her attitude doesn't come across in the transcript as much as it did in the video - where she says ... "it's my debt I'll deal with it and if I can't afford it then I will just... go bankrupt" .. the "go bankrupt" bit was said with a off-handed laugh ... as if it is a joke ...

All in all I thought the whole report highlighted a very scary situation and as a mum of two young girls I'm now asking myself how I can avoid my girls growing up with similar attitudes. I use my credit card a lot, and my girls know this, what they probably don't know is that I pay it off in full each month. For me, a credit card isn't "free, easy money" it's a convenient way of avoiding carrying cash.