Monday, November 30, 2009

500kg Cow Saved from the Sea

Yes ... in today's news we read

500kg cow rescued from sea

A SEA rescue operation was launched to save a 500kg cow after it was found floating about in Northern Territory waters yesterday.

The mystery marine bovine was spotted doggy-paddling around in Darwin Harbour during the morning hours.

Rescuers - armed with a life ring and a length of rope - found it in between South Shell Island and the gas plant.

It was reportedly not in a good mood.

Workboats Northern Australia (WBNA) operations manager Ben Wall and his crew had a bit of a struggle catching the surly steer.

"He was sort of heading further away from the safe side of things - heading for the mangroves near the gas plant," Mr Wall said. "He was a bit feisty - the first time the boys tried to lasso it, it got away.

"He would've been under a lot of stress with that ordeal ... treading water for a good few hours until we got to it."

But the farmyard animal eventually returned to the boat to have a life ring fitted over his head - "so it knew we were trying to help", Mr Wall said. They motored slowly back to shore, reaching dry land in about 45 minutes.

The WBNA crew got the distress call from port authorities about 10am, asking if they could organise a rescue effort for the errant hoofer.

By 11.30am the unlikely sea creature was back on terra firma.

Mr Wall said they're not sure where it came from. But it's now resting at Berrimah export yards after one of his mates - cattle exporter Linton Batt - sent out ringers to wrangle the steer when it docked. This is the second time Mr Wall has helped save a soggy cow from the harbour.

"I rescued one a couple of years ago, when they were loading cattle off Fort Hill," he said.

WBNA crews - who usually operate marine vessels for construction and maintenance industry projects - are used to handling some odd jobs.

They salvaged the plane that caused a sensation when it was forced to belly land on mud flats near Nightcliff earlier in the year.

And they've retrieved vehicles out of Darwin Harbour's waters.

Mr Wall likes to joke that it'd only take the train falling off Elizabeth River Bridge, and they could say they've "done planes, trainsand automobiles".

"(A cow is) nothing out of the ordinary," he said. "We'll have a crack at anything."

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving

This is to wish my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving and hoping that it is filled with friends, family and fun!

It's interesting that despite all the things that we've adopted from America (including Halloween) one thing we've not taken on board is "Thanksgiving". It would be really nice, I reckon anyway, to have a day where people think about what they've got to be thankful for, rather than the grumbling and complaining that they normally do!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

From an Email - Joke ....

YOU EVER BEEN GUILTY OF LOOKING AT OTHERS YOUR OWN AGE AND THINKING, SURELY I CAN'T LOOK THAT OLD? WELL.....YOU'LL LOVE THIS ONE!

MY NAME IS SANDEE, AND I WAS SITTING IN THE WAITING ROOM FOR MY FIRST APPOINTMENT WITH A NEW DENTIST. I NOTICED HIS DDS DIPLOMA, WHICH BORE HIS FULL NAME..

SUDDENLY, I REMEMBERED A TALL, HANDSOME, DARK HAIRED BOY WITH THE SAME NAME HAD BEEN IN MY HIGH SCHOOL CLASS SOME 30-ODD YEARS AGO
.
COULD HE BE THE SAME GUY THAT I HAD A SECRET CRUSH ON, WAY BACK THEN?

UPON SEEING HIM, HOWEVER, I QUICKLY DISCARDED ANY SUCH THOUGHT.

THIS BALDING, GRAY HAIRED MAN WITH THE DEEPLY LINED FACE WAS WAY TOO OLD TO HAVE BEEN MY CLASSMATE, AFTER HE EXAMINED MY TEETH, I ASKED HIM IF HE HAD ATTENDED MORGAN PARK HIGH SCHOOL .

'YES, YES I DID. I'M A MUSTANG! ' HE GLEAMED WITH PRIDE.

'WHEN DID YOU GRADUATE?' I ASKED

HE ANSWERED, IN 1975.. WHY DO YOU ASK?

'YOU WERE IN MY CLASS!' I EXCLAIMED.

HE LOOKED AT ME CLOSELY.

THEN THAT UGLY,

OLD,

BALD,

WRINKLED,

FAT arse,

GRAY HAIRED,

DECREPIT,

SON OF A BITCH ASKED....

'WHAT DID YOU TEACH?'

Maybe I'm Missing the Point ....

From the news today:

Rudd calls on Australian men to stop violence against women

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has asked a commitment of the nation's approximately 10 million men - to stop violence against women.

The Government had a zero tolerance approach when it came to violence against women, he said.

"Men (should) swear never to commit, excuse, or stay silent about violence against women."

His comments coincide with international White Ribbon Day, which recognises the importance of addressing violence against women.

Australians wanted to live in a community where all women could live free of violence, Mr Rudd said.

"But attitude change does not necessarily lead to behaviour change, the Government's challenge is to try to ensure that it does."

Social justice commissioner Tom Calma says White Ribbon Day contributes to "very real and important outcomes".

"Violence against women is very often a manifestation of wider social problems but there is absolutely no excuse for it.

"It sends a powerful message when more and more men are prepared to stand up and say they are against it."

Earlier this week, White Ribbon Day Ambassador Mark Dreyfus, the member for Isaacs in Victoria, called on members of Parliament to join the My Oath campaign.

"Preventing violence against women requires us to address the underlying issues of sexism, lack of respect for women and a sense of privilege that many men enjoy," he said.

"It requires us to work to change attitudes, emotions and behaviours that support violence such as sexist jokes.

"Beliefs that women are inferior or that some women ‘deserve it’ or were ‘asking for it’ do not simply encourage violence; they create a culture in which silence becomes the acceptable response to violence against women."


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

So violence (sexist jokes etc) against men is okay????

Surely the call should be for more personal responsiblity and lack of violence against everyone?

Inane Studies: Comfort Food Reduces Stress

Really! Scientists have discovered that eating comfort food can reduce anxiety! And here am I wondering why it's been called "comfort food" for so many years!

Read the full article here.

My favourite part from the article is:

"Future research would aim to determine whether other rewarding activities - such as exercise - could have a similar stress-busting affect on rats' brains."

Can't wait for that research to be published!

Red tape stops ‘green’ bullet

This article appeared online recently ...

Red tape stops ‘green’ bullet



THE State Government has been questioned over its refusal to allow the production of a locally-designed bullet, which has reportedly attracted strong interest from the United States and Commonwealth defence forces.

Midvale-based product design consultants Geng has created what it claims to be an environmentally-friendly ammunition projectile, the Geng Indoor Training Round, that it believes could lead to a multi-million dollar industry for WA.

Midland MLA Michelle Roberts implored the Government this afternoon to meet with Geng to discuss minor amendments to the Western Australian Firearms Regulations that would allow the technology to be manufactured in WA.

Geng chief executive Cliff Green said the projectile was designed for indoor defence training as it was less powerful than traditional ammunition.

He said the company was seeking only minor changes to the legislation to allow the manufacture of the projectile in Western Australia for defence purposes, which could then be sent to New Zealand to be loaded into ammunition.

He predicted such an industry could generate more than $500million each year, while reducing the global demand for lead-based ammunition, which had significant environmental impacts.

“The US and Commonwealth have both expressed strong interest in this and we would like it to be manufactured in WA,” Mr Green said.

“It’s completely safe – we’re not even talking about a loaded projectile and it won’t be available to the general public in any country.

“It’s a small bit of red tape stopping a potentially huge industry which would boost the WA economy, export sales, jobs and future spin-off developments,” he said.

“This is great for Midland – if this goes ahead the design and manufacture of the production equipment will all happen from Elmsfield Road and expand from there.”

He said if the Government did not amend its legislation, Geng would be forced to move the manufacturing to New Zealand.

Ms Roberts called on the Premier and Police Minister to discuss the firearm regulations.

“This local business is leading the way in their industry yet red tape is threatening to keep hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue from Western Australia,” Mrs Roberts said.

“Hundreds of Western Australian jobs will be lost in design, production and transport.

“The Premier must assist Geng to make sure this industry is captured now and not permanently lost overseas.”


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

On one hand I think that it is a shame that a company with a marketable idea is thinking of going offshore.

However, on the other hand I'm not so sure that I would be happy for this bullet to go ahead. I can imagine three years down the track legislation being passed that only these bullets can be used in ammunition in Western Australia and this will potentially put an end to reloading.

Further thougths: I've been wondering what changes to the legislation they are seeking. There is a company here in Perth which has been producing lead projectiles for many, many years.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

QOTD ....

"Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task."
William James


Sorry the blogging has been light the last couple of days - I'm trying to get lots of "unfinished" tasks finished! Nothing exciting - just life :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Glock What???

From the news today:

Officer shoots man, Taser left holstered
A LONG-SERVING police sergeant was equipped with a Taser when she used a gun to shoot a man in suburban Sydney.

The man, who also had self-inflicted knife wounds died at Canterbury Hospital this morning, the Daily Telegraph reports.

It is believed one reason the officer fired was that the confrontation occurred in the kitchen of the Lakemba house, meaning the man may have been too close for the Taser to be effective.

Police have revealed they were called to the Wangee Rd home about 8.50am (AEDT) after reports of a man trying to kill himself with a knife.

They arrived with paramedics and started to treat the 36-year-old man on the floor of the kitchen.

South-west Metrpolitan Region Commander, Assistant Commissioner Stuart Wilkins, said the man then got to his feet, grabbed a knife and confronted those attempting to help.
A female Sergeant with 21-years experience then drew her service-issue Glock revolver and shot the man once.

"He's committed self-harm again and have police have wrestled the knife from him," Ass Commissioner Wilkins said.

Paramedics again started treating him and raced him to hospital but died.

The shot man, known to neighbours as Adam, had walked next door about 7.30am (AEDT) to ask to borrow a mop, and was not suffering injuries at that time, a neighbour told reporters.

About 90 minutes later emergency service crews were called to the house.

"Upon arrival with the ambulance, police located a male suffering stab wounds in the kitchen of the house,'' Mr Wilkins said.

"Paramedics had attempted to assist that person. During this time the male, who has got up from a lying position, we believe he has grabbed a knife from the kitchen and confronted police.

"During that confrontation that male has been shot, once, by police ... a further struggle has ensued, the male has committed self-harm again, police have wrestled the knife from that male person.''

The man was then taken to hospital by ambulance.

Four police officers, three women and one man, were at the house at the time of the shooting.

The man's father was also at the house at the time.

Police say he was not injured, but a next-door neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said the older man had been brought into her backyard for treatment and had been covered in blood.

The father and son are believed to have lived together and were the only occupants of the house.

The man was not known criminally to police.

Mr Wilkins would not confirm that the officers were threatened, but said the decision to use a firearm was "not taken lightly'' by officers.

"I'm not here to speculate on the use of Tasers or whether or not that was the appropriate use at that time,'' he said.

"Tasers are just one option available to us, we have a number of options available.''


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

Sad situation but interesting that she went for the gun instead of the taser!

And I'm pretty convinved that it WASN'T a glock revolver!

The New English Language...

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.


(h/t Mike375).

Mmm .... it IS the middle of November isn't it???

November which, here in the southern hemisphere, means REALLY CLOSE TO SUMMER somehow or other has got very mixed up and brought not just showers but DOWNPOURS ....

Apparently we had 12mm of rain in the 24hrs to 9am this morning. Will have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out how much we got today.

Here's the forecast for the rest of the day and the next couple:

Forecast for Wednesday evening
A few showers. Fresh and gusty W'ly winds.

Precis: Few showers.

Forecast for Thursday
A few showers, easing later in the day. The risk of a morning thunderstorm.
Fresh and gusty SW'ly winds, tending S'ly in the evening and easing.

Precis: Showers, thunderstorm, easing.
City: Min 12 Max 21
Mandurah: Min 15 Max 20

Friday Partly cloudy. Min 9 Max 22
Saturday Morning cloud. Min 11 Max 23
Sunday Mostly sunny. Min 12 Max 26

Was planning to get up the range this morning, but a sick kid kept me awake all night so that didn't happen, however I was told that there were rivers of water running across the ranges so I probably didn't miss much!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Letter of the Law

This article appeared in a UK newspaper on November 14, 2009 and shows the sad state of affairs in the UK regarding firearms possession:

Ex-soldier faces jail for handing in gun

A former soldier who handed a discarded shotgun in to police faces at least five years imprisonment for "doing his duty".

Paul Clarke, 27, was found guilty of possessing a firearm at Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday – after finding the gun and handing it personally to police officers on March 20 this year.

The jury took 20 minutes to make its conviction, and Mr Clarke now faces a minimum of five year's imprisonment for handing in the weapon.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Clarke said: "I didn't think for one moment I would be arrested.

"I thought it was my duty to hand it in and get it off the streets."

The court heard how Mr Clarke was on the balcony of his home in Nailsworth Crescent, Merstham, when he spotted a black bin liner at the bottom of his garden.

In his statement, he said: "I took it indoors and inside found a shorn-off shotgun and two cartridges.

"I didn't know what to do, so the next morning I rang the Chief Superintendent, Adrian Harper, and asked if I could pop in and see him.

"At the police station, I took the gun out of the bag and placed it on the table so it was pointing towards the wall."

Mr Clarke was then arrested immediately for possession of a firearm at Reigate police station, and taken to the cells.

Defending, Lionel Blackman told the jury Mr Clarke's garden backs onto a public green field, and his garden wall is significantly lower than his neighbours.

He also showed jurors a leaflet printed by Surrey Police explaining to citizens what they can do at a police station, which included "reporting found firearms".

Quizzing officer Garnett, who arrested Mr Clarke, he asked: "Are you aware of any notice issued by Surrey Police, or any publicity given to, telling citizens that if they find a firearm the only thing they should do is not touch it, report it by telephone, and not take it into a police station?"

To which, Mr Garnett replied: "No, I don't believe so."

Prosecuting, Brian Stalk, explained to the jury that possession of a firearm was a "strict liability" charge – therefore Mr Clarke's allegedly honest intent was irrelevant.

Just by having the gun in his possession he was guilty of the charge, and has no defence in law against it, he added.

But despite this, Mr Blackman urged members of the jury to consider how they would respond if they found a gun.

He said: "This is a very small case with a very big principle.

"You could be walking to a railway station on the way to work and find a firearm in a bin in the park.

"Is it unreasonable to take it to the police station?"

Paul Clarke will be sentenced on December 11.

Judge Christopher Critchlow said: "This is an unusual case, but in law there is no dispute that Mr Clarke has no defence to this charge.

"The intention of anybody possessing a firearm is irrelevant."


----------------------------
It will be interesting to see if the stupidity continues through sentencing or if someone will actually THINK.

Oh, and if you're in the UK and you find a gun you're probably better off keeping it than handing it into the cops!

(h/t The View from North Central Idaho)

UPDATE: Just done a bit of googling and Paul Clark seems to have a bit of a history ... here's a news report from a court appearance in 2008.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Interesting Articles: Gun Ownership and Crime Statistics

I have just come across an article about the "mandatory" (with some exceptions) gun ownership in Kennesaw, Georgia, USA.

The first article I read was at Compaign for Liberty.com however the "source" listed there returned a "not found" error.

Note: This article was put on the internet this year but if you do the maths, it is referring to 1998.

An extract from this article claimed:
The city's population grew from around 5,000 in 1980 to 13,000 by 1996 (latest available estimate). Yet there have been only three murders: two with knives (1984 and 1987) and one with a firearm (1997). After the law went into effect in 1982, crime against persons plummeted 74 percent compared to 1981, and fell another 45 percent in 1983 compared to 1982.

And it has stayed impressively low. In addition to nearly non-existent homicide (murders have averaged a mere 0.19 per year), the annual number of armed robberies, residential burglaries, commercial burglaries, and rapes have averaged, respectively, 1.69, 31.63, 19.75, and 2.00 through 1998.


However, not being able to read the source concerned me a bit as well as the dated nature of the article, so some googling turned up this article, which has extracts from the "The New American" magazine with references to Kennesaw. The extracts date from 1986 through to 1997.

Again, however this is 1997 data.

More googling turned up the following:

Crime Report for Kennesaw, Georgia for 2004, which states:

Kennesaw, Georgia has a violent crime rate of 91 incidents per 100,000 people. This compares with a rate of 840 in Georgia and a rate of 596 nationally. Lower numbers are better, indicating that fewer crimes happen per person in the population.

And for even more "up-to-date" figures here are the ones from September 2009:

Monthly Crime Stats - September 2009

Murder: 0
Rape: 0
Robbery: 0
Aggravated Assualt: 1
Burglary: 5
Larceny: 54
Auto Theft: 3
Arson: 0

Total: 63 -6 from previous month.

Y.T.D: 474 +31 from last year

**Note: Thefts from Autos continue to be the most common reported crime. In fact they make up almost 40% of all crime reported in Kennesaw! Please help us reduce this type of crime by locking your car doors, not leaving valuables such as cameras, GPS units, guns, purses, etc in your car, and reporting any suspicious persons/cars you see in your neighborhood.


Oh, and if you're a total geek you can go to this website which lists crimes by city by state for 2008 in the US and compare the numbers for yourself (yes, the numbers are downloadable into Excel).

Interesting read, especially for those people who believe "guns cause crime".

(h/t cocked and locked)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Weekend Spent at the Range - and Newbies

Well, Saturday saw me at the range again (after Little Athletics) for the trainees.

This time there were only 5 trainees in total so we decided to combine the groups. Mainly because I had one guy learning how to RO and only one other student - which isn't really enough. The good thing about combining with the Chief Instructor is another set of eyes and a much louder voice than mine!

We decided to set up a number of shooting challenges - consisting of a barrel, hatch, soft cover and a door for the guys to shoot through. We also did some strong hand / week hand shooting prior to this (so they knew what to do when they approached the hatch) and practiced some mag changes. Three of the group were comparative newbies so whom I had never taught before so I wanted to make sure that they knew the basics of mag changes and stuff before hitting the stages.

It went well. We did have one guy shoot past the 90 while pretty close to where we were standing. The Chief Instructor gave him a few hints as to why that's NOT A GOOD IDEA.

The poor guy doing the ROing didn't have any notice so found it a bit of a challenge at the start - memorising the commands and looking after a range (even with me a metre off his shoulder) but did well and got the hang of it pretty quickly.

We shot three of the competition stages afterwards. There was a 30 round stage which had some challenging rooms and really cute teepees hiding targets, an eighteen round stage with soft cover and the last stage was three poppers and three paper targets all shot through portals.

All of the shooters stuck the guns in the portals while they shot (talk about noisy). So after they shot it that way, I put a fault line about a meter back from the portals and got them to shoot from there. The main aim of this was to get them to realise that a bullet has no problem going through a circle around 15cm diameter and that they didn't need to get right up close.

Every one had fun but again we didn't get off the range until after 5pm. By which time I was seriously looking forward to a nice cold one :)

Today we had a "Have A Go Day". We haven't advertised it much so today we had one adult and two 6y.o.s. These girls are classmates of my youngest so my whole family came up the range too.

Another club member turned up with his 10y.o. (and a Walther PK 22) so they were invited to join in and play too. At one stage we had all five kids in a line on the range shooting. Three of the girls (2 x 6.y.o and my 8y.o.) were using .22 pistols, the other 6y.o. was on the air pistol and the 10y.o. boy was using the .22 Winchester rifle. Unfortunately the noise and flying brass was too much for one of the visiting 6y.o.s so she decided to watch her sister on the air pistol and then have a go of that, which she liked. After the girls had shot about 20 rounds they decided to go off to play. The 10y.o. boy stayed on the shooting line and tried a variety of guns on offer including my Springfield which he quite liked.

While we were showing the dad a range of 9mm pistols and 357 revolvers another club member turned up with two shotguns. The first was a side-by-side coach gun which I seriously fell in love with although I've never shot a shotgun with two triggers before so it took me awhile to find the second trigger!

While we were all (including the 10 y.o.) taking turns with the shotguns, the Chief Instructor went off and got the club's shotgun. Which, of course, we all had to have a go of too (I had a couple of goes of it!).

I'm not sure how many rounds were shot in total. There was a couple of times where three people with .22 pistols were all trying to knock over the poppers (subsequently taken down with the 357 revolvers) and the targets were shredded by shot gun shot but after 2 hrs we all decided that it was enough and headed up to the club house for a cold one or two.

When we got the club house one of the members had made "Parrot Soup" from some parrots shot on a nearby property. All of the kids LOVED the soup, especially my eldest who not only had three bowls of the soup, she also gnawed on the bones. A friend took a photo of her so I'll put it up when he sends it to me.

It was nice to see the kids having a go and we're looking at doing more with littlies in the future.

When I asked my girls what the best thing was today they both answered "Everything" at the same time and then the eldest said "The parrot soup".

When asking my youngest what she thought of the Walter Pk 22 (one of the smallest guns we're legally allowed to have here) she said "nice, but the trigger was harder than your gun!". I am seriously thinking of buying one of these too - but the current price is around the $800 mark :(

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Day of Visiting Gun Shops

This is the first day this week without nausea and dizziness so I decided to take my husband with me and go gun shopping!

The pretext was to find a gun (or two) for the girls.

Our first stop was Barry's Firearms in Beckenham.
- Barry had a really nice little Savage. It wasn't the Savage cub but we thought it could suit the girls.

Second stop was Roy Alexander and Sons in Maylands.
- There was a lovely little single shot Sterling there for a REALLY good price. We couldn't resist so bought that. I guess I'm going to be trialling the new licencing process earlier than planned!

Third stop was Claremont Firearms in Bibra Lakes. (This was my first visit to this gun shop but Bob came highly recommended and I can see why).
- He had a bolt action Mossberg with a synthetic stock which he thought might be suitable for the girls (I had phoned him yesterday) and after seeing him we agreed.

We then went and picked the girls up from school and went and visited gun shops again.

First stop was Clarement Firearms.
- The girls liked the look of the Mossberg but it was too long in the stock for them (about 5cms too long). We discussed cutting it down, but Bob's recommendation was to wait a couple of years before getting the girls a rifle.

We then decided to go across to Barry's to see how the Savage measured up.
- Again the girls liked it, but again it was about 5cm too long in the stock. Being a wooden stock it would be easier to cut down but I'm not convinced that is the way to go.
- Barry also had a wonderful small 410 Shotgun - didn't ask the make, but have just done a quick google and found it. It's a Rossi Tuffy 410 Shot Gun. Seriously cute!!! The one we were looking at was sold :( But Barry said he's got more on order, so I've put my name down for one when they come in.

Third stop was Beaton's Firearms in Maddington.
- Zane had the Savage there and a small Browning. The Savage was the best fit but still needed to be cut down. We discussed the Savage Cub but at only $20 less than the Savage and being a single shot only we decided it wasn't worth bringing in from the Eastern States.

So at the moment the choice seems to be the Savage and cut it down for them or search out of state.

I would love to get my hands on a CZ Scout to see how that fitted the girls, as well as the Henry Youth and the Ruger 10 22. These are my current favourites based on what I've read but they just don't seem to be stocked by anyone here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

West Atlas Oil Rig Follow Up

I recently blogged about the West Atlas oil rig which had been leaking oil into the Timor Sea since August 21st and the subsequent fire.

Both the fire and leak were brought under control shortly after that blog and now the photos have started to appear.

Here's one of the first pictures showing the burnt out rig:



More pictures and article here.

New Firearms Licensing System Up and Running

Apparently.

Following my earlier posts on licencing firearms in Western Australia here and here, I thought I would bring you up to date on the new system which is operating as of today.

If you want a firearm's licence or to add a new firearm to your licence you need to download a bunch of forms off the Police website, fill them in and take them to the Post Office.

I love warning on the website not to take the guns with you when you attend the Post Office!

Now you would think that a new system would have a nice webpage summarising the process, wouldn't you? Well if there is one I can't find it.

I did find the FAQ page - in Word document format - with this information:

Q: I want to apply for a Firearm Licence. What do I have to do?
A Firearm Licence entitles the holder to possess, carry, and lawfully use the firearm/s named and identified in that licence, and ammunition for that firearm.
Refer to Section 16(1)(a) of the Firearms Act.

An approval is determined by the category or type of firearm applied for, and the reason for which it is required.

· Application for a Firearm Licence is to be completed online by the applicant, then validated and printed. Refer www.police.wa.gov.au and follow the links.

· You must attend a nominated Australia Post outlet with your application, supporting documentation and fee.
Note: If your application is for a first time issue (original) Firearm Licence, you will need to supply the following in addition to your supporting documentation:
- Firearm Awareness Certificate (obtained from authorised persons of approved Clubs/Associations).
- Firearm Serviceability Certificate for each firearm (obtained from the seller of the firearm).
The term “supporting documentation” may include but not limited to, the following:
- Property Letter/Primary Producer Advice
- Club Support Letter
- Occupational Requirement Disclosure
- Identification Exemption Certificate
- Proof of Property Ownership
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Certificate of Registered Business Name
A 28 day cooling-off period will apply to first time issue (original) applicants for a Firearm Licence. This means your licence will not be processed until after the 28 days.

· For first time issue (original) firearm licence applications, Police Licensing Services (PLS) will mail you a letter requesting that you confirm your intention to proceed with your application and to fit an approved cabinet to store your firearm. You will need to provide a Statutory Declaration evidencing this. Refer www.police.wa.gov.au and follow the links to “Licensing requirements/Storage”.
Note: Failure to advise PLS of your intentions to continue with your application within a further 28 days will result in your application lapsing and the application will be declined.

· The applicant will receive notification of acceptance or refusal in the mail. If successful, you will be issued a licence (via post).

· For a first time issue (original) Firearm Licence, this notification will also include a request for you to attend a post office to have your photograph taken for an Extract of Licence card which incurs a fee. This card will be mailed to you at a later stage.

· If refused, and you are applying for an original licence, you will be forwarded a partial refund of the original payment and receive documentation detailing the reasons for this decision.


AND:

Q: I want to apply for a Category H firearm. What do I have to do?
Follow the same process as an application for a Firearm Licence.
Active members of firearm clubs can apply for a Category H firearm (handgun) subject to certain conditions and/or restrictions.
The only exceptions (non-club purposes) are:
· professional or recreational divers (for power heads);
· required in the course of the person’s occupation (restrictions do apply); and
· Commonwealth or State Government purposes.
Note: Hunting, recreational shooting or vermin control are not deemed to be a “genuine reason” for possessing a firearm of this type.


Also found in the FAQs are these helpful answers:

Q: Do I have to carry my Firearm Licence?
If seeking to purchase ammunition or if you are in possession of a firearm you will need to produce your Firearm Licence on demand.

Q: Do I have to carry my photo card?
If seeking to purchase ammunition or if you are in possession of a firearm you will need to produce your Firearm Licence on demand.


Umm, guys, they're two different things so you didn't actually answer the second question!

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

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how quickly new licenses and additions are processed through the new system.

I think the problems are going to revolve around the two forms mentioned above:
- Firearm Awareness Certificate (obtained from authorised persons of approved Clubs/Associations).
- Firearm Serviceability Certificate for each firearm (obtained from the seller of the firearm).


The Firearms Awareness Certificate is a piece of paper saying that you have completed the safety questionnaire. This needs to be signed by and "authorised person". I have heard that Club Armourers and Club President's are the only "authorised" people, but that isn't specified on the website or in the FAQs. I know that our club hasn't fully determined who and how this is going to be done.

The Firearm Serviceability Certificate is a form signed by an "authorised" person to say that the firearm is "as described" and "is serviceable". I know that there are lots of liability-type questions about the "is serviceable" aspect. Again I have heard that there are some dealers who are willing to sign it for guns purchased from their shops but I am not sure what is going to happen for "private sales".

Should be an interesting couple of months as the teething issues are ironed out.

Deep Sea Crab that Eats Trees

Honestly ...

The crab survives by eating wood that has sunk to the ocean floor, comprising trunks and leaves swept into the sea, as well as the odd shipwreck.

Check out the full story here.

I found it interesting that the only thing the crab eats is wood, I would have thought that would be a risky limitation when you choose to live in the ocean.

Neat Web Site - The Size of Things

To get an idea of the size of things check this out.

h/t Red

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NO

From the news today:

WEAPONS SEIZED IN POLICE RAIDS

POLICE will use airport-style metal detectors and carry handheld scanners if the State Government's controversial stop and search powers become law.

Scanners would be set up at major tourist, entertainment and nightspot areas, known troublespots, at concerts, rail stations even beaches.

The proposed laws would allow police to stop and search people in designated areas at specific times without reasonable suspicion.

Police today displayed 85 weapons, including guns, a crossbow, knives and machetes, seized since June, from people either committing an offence or acting suspiciously in Northbridge and the CBD.

Ten weapons were seized in Northbridge in the last 10 days.

Both police commissioner Karl O'Callaghan and police minister Rob Johnson said the display was evidence that a crackdown on weapons was needed.

Mr O'Callaghan said there was a real and growing concern about the number of weapons on the streets.

``We need to do something to make Northbridge and other entertainment precincts safe,'' he said.

``We need the powers to control the number of weapons where the community goes. This proposed stop and search powers will enable us to do that.

``This is simply asking someone in most cases to either walk through a metal detector or be screened by a metal detector in declared precincts.

``We're not just going to go round putting up metal detectors anywhere. They would be at spots where we think we're going to get the best benefits.

``I don't have any specific targets and we won't be making any applications unless it is based on good intelligence.''

Mr Johnson claimed the weapons were just a small sample of the number that are on the streets.
``It is frightening that officers are picking these weapons up,'' he said.

``People deserve to be able to go into Northbridge and the CBD area without fear that someone is carrying a knife or even guns.

``That is a serious concern to me.''

Mr Johnson said searches would be random but if officers believed somebody was carrying a weapon or was acting in a strange or anti-social way they would have the right to search them.

``It will be similar to going through an airport security screen,' he said.

``You're certainly not going to be thrown up against a wall.''

He said the laws were designed to stop ``smart defence lawyers'' arguing not if their client was carrying a weapon but whether police had grounds to stop them.

``I'm not worried about smart defence lawyer,'' he said.

``I'm worried about the people who want to go to Northbridge and the CBD area and enjoy a good night's entertainment without the fear of somebody pulling a knife, a machete or even a hand gun.

``At the end of the day the government wants to make Northbridge and the CBD area an area that families can go back into.

``A lot of people won't take their families into Northbridge these days because they are very concerned at the weapons and the violence that they are seeing enacted out.''


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

Now, I don't like Northbridge and I know that there is a lot of random violence there, however I do not believe giving the Police the powers to "stop and search people ... without reasonable suspicion". is the answer.

A better solution would be to allow people to carry and defend themselves adequately.

Oh and if you want to see the photo of the "cache" of weapons seized click on the link.

Here's a map of the Northbridge area. How many metal detectors do you think they'll need to effectively stop weapons coming into the area?

NASA Pictures - International Year of Astronomy

To celebrate 400 years since Galileo first turned his telescope to the heavens in 1609, NASA is releasing never-before-seen view of the turbulent heart of our Milky Way galaxy.

Here's one of the images:



For the full story and more pictures click here.

Court Ruling - Drinkers Need to take Responsibility for their own Actions

THE High Court has dramatically shifted the responsibility for drunken actions on to the individual, ruling that the nation's publicans have no general duty of care to protect patrons from the consequences of getting drunk.

Read the full story here.

Very pleased to see this. I do believe that publicans (and similar) shouldn't continue to serve alcohol to someone who is observably drunk (i.e. laying on the floor unable to get up) but it is good that the responsibility has been put back onto the individuals.

Useful Website

The difference between COLD, SEASONAL FLU and H1N1 SYMPTOMS.

Based on this I've only got a seasonal flu not H1N1 (I've been feeling really bad for the last couple of days) going to try and get a Drs apt today as diagnosing yourself from a website isn't probably the smartest thing to do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Products

This has possibilities (for us women) but I don't think it is available for purchase in Australia yet.

Wow .. Nudibranch Photos

Apparently Nudibranchs (mmm, why isn't that "es"?) are sea slugs which come in a brilliant array of colours.



Check out more photos here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fun on the Range and Family Life

Saturdays are a busy day in our lives. Both girls do Little Athletics which starts early. You have to be there for an 8am start and as we live 25mins away it's often challenging getting everybody up and ready for it!

While I think Little Athletics is great for the kids we're not too stressed about it, so when my youngest had a birthday party also on Saturday morning we let her leave Little Athletics and go to it.

This week the programming was a bit strange and after my eldest sitting around waiting for her first event for an hour and a half (all other age groups had been called) I went and had a talk to the club manager - who spoke to the co-orindators and it seemed that they had forgotten to program that age group! Anyway she got called for an event shortly afterwards.

My husband took my youngest to the birthday party at 10 and then came back to the oval. By 11.45am my eldest had only done three events - one of which was the 70m where she came 2nd (which for her is great!).

My husband needed to pick up my youngest around 12 and I needed to leave by then also to get to the range in time for the trainees. We heard the co-ordinators say that they thought the program would run for another hour and half at least so I asked my eldest if she minded missing her last two events (100m and discus) and to come up the range with me. She was okay with that so we went home, got all the equipment and headed for the range.

This week I had four trainees. Two were on week 3 of the training course, one other on week 5 but we've not seen him at the course for a month or so and the other on week 4. Of the four one of them was a women. It's great to have women in the training course. This week we had two - I had one in my group and the Chief Instructor had one in his (he also had seven other students - four newbies and four on week 2 of the course).

Basically, the training course is nominally 12 weeks. During which time we cover a number of competencies. We run this course however on a rotating basis and base the actual topics we cover on the people that turn up for the day. Therefore until the students arrive we never know exactly what we are going to do or what equipment we need.

Once I knew which students I had, I decided to focus the session on starting and shooting positions. We had done some the week before (mainly loaded and holstered starts), so we reviewed those first and then moved onto the unloaded starts; starts where you retrieve gun from a prop; and then kneeling / sitting and prone starts.

We had practiced the "facing up range" starts the previous weeks too but as one of the students hadn't done these before we reviewed these again starting both loaded and unloaded.

The "going prone" position is always the least favourite amongst the students but as I said to them, at least it wasn't raining and I did put down a plastic mat over the gravel!

During the course my husband arrived to pick my eldest up and she was not happy. She had been sitting on the range watching the trainees and didn't want to leave. I had a quick chat with her and after promising her that we could come up on Sunday and she could shoot then she was okay about going.

We used about 65 rounds on the training range before moving to the competition stages for a practice. Five stages had been set up for the shoot and there were two squads shooting. The other group of trainees had already moved onto a stage as well.

The two free stages were only stand and shoot stages rather than a stage which involved movement. We had done this type of stage the week prior and I particularly wanted a stage where the trainees had to move about and do mag changes, so we decided to wait until the other group of trainees had finished with their stage.

While we were waiting I suggested to the trainees that they started to plan their shoot. There were 13 paper targets and 4 poppers (two small, two large) on the stage with five different shooting positions. Each of the trainees had four magazines and only 35 rounds. As our mags are 10 round mags I suggested that they share the bullets around their mags so they can time their mag changes to their advantage.

I was really pleased with how they shot the stage. All of them had planned their mag changes well (do them while moving rather than static) and apart from one student who had troubles with the poppers no one shot the gun dry at any time.

I did have to pull two of the students up on having their finger on the trigger while moving or doing a mag change but that was it. Muzzle direction was good and they coped well with moving backwards and doing mag changes while moving both left to right and right to left (skills we had practiced the week before).

Great fun was had by all but as we had waited for the other group of trainees to finish we didn't get off the range until after 5.30pm. By which time the cold beer in the clubhouse was looking very good.

On Sunday I took my daughters up to the range to have a go with my friend's air pistol and the 22 winchester. Both shot really well and had a great time. I was really impressed at how patient they are about lining up a good shot before pulling the trigger. I didn't get any photos this time as my new camera died last week :( and I am waiting on a replacement (it was still under warranty).

After the shooting and a hot dog at the club house we came home and my eldest had an assignment to finish.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Interesting New Law

Found this on news.com.au today. I guess it is like all legislation - you hear some of the details but not all. I knew that there had been changes to the Family Law Act to give de facto and same-sex couples additional "rights" I didn't know that these changes also applied to mistresses.

$100k payout for jilted lover in Victoria

A CHEATING husband has paid his former lover more than $100,000 under Australia's new "mistress laws".

In the first known case of its kind in Victoria, the Melbourne businessman was sued under changes to the Family Law Act - which gives rights to people in de facto relationships and same-sex marriages, the Sunday Herald Sun reports.

Legal experts say the case, prompted by the end of an affair of more than 20 years, will strike fear into the hearts of philanderers nationwide.

The woman, who has not been named for legal reasons, said not only did she deserve the money, but others should follow her lead.

"I gave him the best years of my life," she said.

"He always told me he would look after me, then he left me. I had committed myself fully to him for all those years and it just came to a dead end.

"He behaved like a gentleman toward me throughout our relationship - except at the end - and now he has been a gentleman again by doing the right thing.

"I saw our relationship as a loving companionship.

"He got a lot of relaxation away from the stresses of his business life. When he came to me he did not have to worry about business.

"And I provided him with a lot of moral and emotional support.

"So this is also about giving our relationship a validity. It is a recognition that I have added something of value to his life.

"Now I am beginning to come to terms with life again. The money provides me with a security in my later years.

"This law has made a difference for me, so hopefully it will make a difference for others like me."

The lawyer for the woman who took the action said his client "Mary" (not her real name) started the affair with "Tom" (not his real name) more than 20 years ago, with the pair enjoying a close bond throughout the period.

"Many marriages don't last that long," the lawyer said.

Mary accompanied Tom on several overseas and interstate trips and she often joined him at dinner functions.

"They had a mutual commitment to each other and Tom promised he'd look after her. But he was married and still is married."

Though Mary worked and had her own home, Tom also gave her a monthly allowance running into four figures.

The pair - now pension-age - had regular sex and Tom showered her with gifts, the lawyer added.

But Tom ended the affair this year.

Mary said she was devastated at being dropped.

Then she learned of the law change and her legal team sent a letter of demand - quoting the new legislation - to the man.

"It settled (out of court) within weeks," her lawyer said.

"If it had not been for this law, my client would have been abandoned, left on the scrap heap.

"This is an acknowledgment that if you are in any substantial relationship, each party has a level of commitment to each other."

The new federal laws for maintenance and division of assets for de facto couples, mistresses and same-sex couples came into effect on March 1 and any disputes are heard by the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates' Court.

The laws give some mistresses, as well as de facto and same-sex couples, the same rights as married couples.

A mistress wanting maintenance or a pay-out had to prove the couple had a long-term relationship, a sexual relationship, financial dependency, a commitment and a public recognition of the relationship, Mary's lawyer said.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Had Some Cops Knock on the Door Today

Which was a bit of a surprise.

Apparently the letters I send in December 2008 to Firearms Branch transferring gun support for my husband's & my pistols weren't received and they were chasing up to see if we were members of a gun club and where our guns were supported.

Luckily we both had our club membership cards to hand and I also managed to find copies of the "Transfer of Gun Support" letters.

They were very friendly and nice about the whole thing but it did surprise me that it has taken just under 12 months for them to chase up the paperwork and it's always a weird feeling (for me anyway) when cops pull up in the drive-way.

Three Years for Killing a Women and Injuring Her Son

In today's news:

Fatal 'wrong-way freeway death' driver jailed for three years

A PERTH man has been jailed for just three years for the wrong-way Kwinana Freeway death of a woman motorist while he was high on drugs.

Lynwood man Lee David Toplass, 32, was charged over the "wrong-way driving'' Kwinana Freeway death of a woman in July last year.

Toplass was today jailed after pleading guilty earlier this year in Fremantle Magistrates Court to dangerous driving causing the death of McKenzie McGuigan, 37, and driving under the influence of drugs.

The ABC reported Toplass was high on cannabis and amphetamines at the time of the crash.

Magistrate Leigh Jones jailed Toplass for two years, eight months for the death of Ms McGuigan and four months for the injuries caused to her son.

He was also fined $800 for driving under the influence of drugs.

He was made eligibile for parole and could be released after 18 months.

The crash occurred at the southern end of the freeway at Mandogalup about 10.30pm on Tuesday, July 29, 2008.

Police alleged Toplass was driving a Proton Coupe north on Kwinana Freeway against the flow of traffic in the south-bound lanes, resulting in a head-on crash with a Hyundai Excel near the Anketell Rd exit.

Ms McGuigan died at the scene and her 18-year-old son, a passenger in the vehicle, suffered abdominal injuries.

Toplass is also charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm to the 18-year-old man.


THREE YEARS ?????????????? Okay, so we don't have all the facts, but he was high on drugs, driving on the wrong side of the road, he killed a women and injured her son and he could be out in 18 MONTHS ?!?!?!?! There's something seriously wrong here.

Photos

Whilst going through my daughters' SD cards I found these photos - not sure who took them but I think they're pretty stunning (the girl in them is my eldest, these were taken when she was 7).





Inane Studies: Caffeine interferes with Sleep

Just in case you weren't aware of this a study has been released which "proves" that having caffeine before going to bed interferes with your sleep.

I did find one interesting thing in the article, apparently this side effect worsens as you age. But seriously by the time you're in your 50s I would have thought you would have figured out that if you have coffee before bed your sleep will be affected.

I guess however that the folks at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada needed something to do.

H/t to Dr Grumpy

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Seen on a T-Shirt

"I work with tools"

(Sorry couldn't get a photo).

Monday, November 2, 2009

From Bad to Worse

I'm not sure how much air time this "disaster" is receiving in the rest of the world, but a off-shore oil well has been leaking oil and gas into the Timor Sea since August 21st.

A really good summary of the situation in this article - reproduced here:

KEY QUESTIONS IN A 71-DAY DISASTER
November 02, 2009 09:13am

AS the Montara spill continues to grow as one of Australia's biggest environmental disasters, environment reporter Narelle Towie examines the crisis off our coast.

What happened?
On August 21 at 5.30am, PTTEP Australasia reported a sweet crude oil and gas leak at the Montara wellhead in the Timor Sea, 250km northwest of Truscott in WA.

The West Atlas mobile drilling rig is sitting above the leaking pipe. When the leak began the 69 workers on board were evacuated.

PTTEP has refused to confirm what caused a concrete and rubber plug at the end of a well pipe 3.6km below the sea floor to crack - sparking the leak - because the incident is now the subject of a Government inquiry.

Who is responsible for the oil spill?
The West Atlas is a mobile offshore drilling rig owned and operated by Atlas Drilling. But the rig is leased to PTTEP Australasia.

PTTEP is Thailand's national petroleum exploration and production company and is one of the nation's largest publicly listed companies.

PTTEP is working to plug the flow while the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is responsible for managing and cleaning up the resulting oil slick.

How many days has it been since the oil escaped?
The leak started 71 days ago.

What sort of oil is it?
Sweet light crude oil is a type of petroleum that contains less than 0.5 per cent sulphur, giving it a ``sweet'' taste and odour.

High-quality crude oil is processed into gasoline, kerosene and diesel.

Why wasn't a boom used in the first days of the leak to contain the slick?
Booms are used to contain spilt oil close to shore or in areas not affected by waves or currents, such as harbours. The oil is then cleared with skimmers similar to vacuum machines.

Before now, AMSA says it has never tested a boom in an offshore environment.

However, booms are being trialled in the clean-up and so far have been successful because of seasonably calm waters.

Conservation group Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard said AMSA waited too long to test the booms.

"We are very concerned that dispersants are toxic and therefore could be doing more harm than good,'' he said.

“We were surprised that there were no booms available to contain the leak when it first happened. This could have determined whether dispersants were needed to be used at all.”

What is the extent of the slick?
The Montara oil spill is one of the biggest in Australian history and the longest flowing. But reports on the size of the slick differ.

PTTEP would not provide an estimate of the extent of ocean affected by the leak.

AMSA also said it was unable to provide an estimate of polluted areas because the slick was constantly moving.

The Wilderness Society said oil had contaminated 50,000sq km of ocean.

Based on estimates provided by PTTEP - that 400 barrels of oil have leaked into the ocean a day - 4,515,600 litres of oil has spilled from the leaking well head so far.

But, The Wilderness Society believes this figure to be much higher.

The biggest spill in Australian history occurred in Victoria's Port Phillip Bay in 1903 when the Petriana ran aground, spilling 1300 tonnes of bulk oil on to the beach.

Has the oil reached the shores of Roti and has it damaged fish and seaweed farms there?
Farmers on Indonesia's Roti Island, 500km northeast of Australia, say oil from the Montara field has damaged more than 1000ha of seaweed ready to harvest.

Hundreds of local fishermen also claim thousands of fish have been killed as a result of the spill, massively decreasing stocks of red snapper in the area.

Normally clear waters off the island have reportedly turned a milky-white colour, emitting a rancid odour.

PTTEP claim information they have received from AMSA and satellite imaginary shows the slick to be 250km from the Indonesian coast.

“The basic information is what we are hearing and what information we have is not the same,” Mr Martins said.

To what extent has wildlife been affected by the slick?
PTTEP's consultant environmental scientist John Wardrop said 25 oil-coated birds had been discovered and 17 had died.

But WWF Australia's conservation director Gilly Llewellyn said a recent survey found hundreds of migratory seabirds, turtles, sea snakes and dolphins had been found in the slick-affected area.

Up to 15 species of whales and dolphins, more than 30 species of seabirds and five species of turtles were potential victims of the Montara Field oil spill.

“New estimates show up to 30,000 individual sea snakes and 16,000 turtles may be found in the area affected by the slick,” the conservation group say in an online press release.

"We need to shatter the myth that an oil spill only affects marine wildlife when it washes up on our beaches," Dr Llewellyn said.

A report commissioned by the federal Department of the Environment on the impacts of the spill on birds, cetaceans and marine reptiles is inconclusive. "It was impossible to ascertain how many individual species were adversely affected,'' the report said.

"However, the presence of dying birds and dead sea snakes suggests that there is an immediate risk to species utilising the water that has been affected by the oil slick.''

Is the slick likely to move towards Australian shores?
Seasonal changes are likely to push the slick towards the WA coast, Mr Wardrop conceded.

Still conditions and northeasterly winds would change in the next few months as the cyclone season arrived -- from November to April -- potentially moving the slick towards the Australian coastline.

What other options are there to fix the leak sooner?
The simplest, but far more dangerous, method of plugging the leak would be to work directly on the exposed wellhead from the West Atlas rig.

PTTEP said this option wasn't chosen because of the risk to human life.

``What looks like smoke is gas with oil and water in it and, of course, with a gas cloud there, any spark has the potential for ignition,'' a spokesman said.

``It was just deemed too dangerous.''

Why didn't the company accept help from Woodside when the leak first started rather than shipping in its own relief rig?
The relief rig, which took weeks to ship to Montara from Indonesia, is called a jack-up rig. It stays on top of the water because it is pinned to the sea floor and is therefore able to support the heavy mud needed to plug the leak.

The rig offered by Woodside is a semi-submersible platform and would sink under the weight of the mud, PTTEP director Jose Martins said.

What has the spill cost the company?
PTTEP says it has spent $170 million on clean-up, a relief rig and costs associated with the incident.

This figure did not include the cost of oil lost in the spill. If 400 barrels a day had leaked into the ocean for 71 days, based on present prices, the company had lost more than $US2 million in sales since August 21


If this wasn't bad enough, the rig and well head platform is now on fire (article and video clip here).

Also check out http://feww.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/australian-oil-slick-satellite-images/ for additional satellite images and maps.

Hopefully a solution will be found soon and the spill can be contained without any more drama.