Monday, March 25, 2013

Bring on the NT horses

I need to play catch-up. I think the last time I commented on the Northern Territory, Clare Martin was Chief Minister. Since then we've had Paul Henderson from 2007 to 2012, Terry Mills, who lasted less than a year and was replaced while overseas, and the brand new guy, Adam Giles.

Giles is of interest to us because he originally hails from the Blue Mountains - he used to work in the Blaxland  bakery - and is, at 39, the first indigenous state or territory leader.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A new association

The World Wide Web is weaved of our clay and papyrus
it bears the fingerprints and smudges
of its usual users
You can see the underlining
and trace the hyperlink

WWW takes longer to say
how far it can take you

The dot com comes
in dot form

the dot org organised
into abbreviation

Tim Berners-Lee I believe
built it in CERN
and now it's a world
w   i   d         e


Monday, March 18, 2013

Isles and Aisles

I did see a list of the smallest islands but since I've been reading that you can't really say as islands submerge and reappear. The oft mentioned smallest island no more than a matter of decree.   In 1861, the British government set out the parameters for classifying an island. It was decided that if it was inhabited, the size was immaterial. However, if it was uninhabited, it had to be “the summer’s pasturage of at least one sheep” – which is about two acres
  Bishop Rock is fifty square metres, consisting only of a lighthouse.

There are islands that have islands. And there are even islands that have islands that have islands.

Indonesia, mentioned twice previously on the subject of islands and once on forests, consists entirely of islands, including the giant Sumatra. There are 13,667, roughly half of which are inhabited.


I wonder what happened to encyclopedia publishers.  I would have had to look all that information up once upon a time and, if I was in a library, I could check the different points to highlight in World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica. Now I can put a search term in and check the thousands of entries from the comfort of my desktop. Or smart phone if you must.

From a tactile perspective, wandering down different aisles and seeing what books are on the shelves has its own appeal. It may not be the most efficient way of finding out a specific piece of information, but it does give you that burst of surprise or delight when you stumble on a novel by an author you like, or a tome you'd heard of and were interested in reading, and there it is.

It packages information differently to that which can be found on your laptop or tablet. Not much use for that pub quiz you're going to tonight but useful in the way that every bit of bric-a-brac is if you acknowledge its history and the sense impressions it provides.


The Internet allows you to employ either methodology when on the hunt for general knowledge.

 The old style Children's Encyclopedias were arranged by sections and were more a source of wonder than a way to easily locate facts. It was only later that they came to adopt the same structure as a dictionary, listing every subject alphabetically.

 In a similar way, you can either look up the exact thing your are wanting information on, or you can browse through some general lesson or treatise and pick up your understanding of the topic as you go along. Both approaches have their benefits, so it really depends on how much time you have and how interested you are in  related fields.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Clean up in isle 21

The smallest island country is 21 square kilometres; a single island. The island of Nauru.

Boasting an even smaller population, while being only marginally bigger (or less small, if you like), is Tuvalu, by five kilometres.

In fact, there are a cluster of sizes, if not proximity, between island nations before we reach our cut-off - counting those island countries less than a thousand sq km in total size.

Nauru also holds the dinky distinction of being the third smallest country, after Vatican State and Monaco. I kind of like the fact that here's a place that is restricted purely by the size of the island, rather than through religious or regal machinations.

Third place getter is a long way behind by being 181 sq km; crazy big in comparison. Marshall Islands do however complete the three Micronesia Polynesia islands, before the move from the Pacific to the Caribbean and fourth smallest island country, St Kitts and Nevis, (which is, in turn, part of the Leeward Islands), 261 sq km

We find the fifth smallest island country in the Indian Ocean. Maldives are 298 sq km

Malta, sixth smallest island country, at 316 sq km. Can be found in the Mediterranean.

Grenada is the seventh smallest island nation, there's little more to be said. Just 344 sq km. Like eight and ninth smallest island countries, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (389 sq km) and Barbados (430 sq km), it is one of the Windward Islands of the Caribbean.

Antigua and Barbuda are across the Caribbean in the Leeward Islands. They are/it is rounding out the tiny ten at 440 sq km but this is misleading as Seychelles is but fifteen square kilometres larger in circumference, and Palau a mere four square kilometres wider again.

They stack on 57 square kilometres to play Saint Lucia and the remaining islands are at the higher end of less than 1000 so let's list them on single lines

Singapore 694 sq km

Federated States of Micronesia 702 sq km

Tonga 748 sq km

Bahrain 750 sq km

Dominica 754 sq km

Kiribati  811 sq km

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Denis match

Things can move swiftly in Australian politics. Just reading about how Victorian premier Bailleau had made some mistakes and may be challenged for leadership. Now I read he has resigned and been replaced by former Liberal leader Dr Denis Napthine.
Perhaps a similar feat could be managed in WA and federally?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Deputy dogged

I've been a deputy workplace union leader and been called Deputy Dawg on my rounds, so I understand a bit of what deputies go through.

Only two Deputy Prime Ministers have gone on to become Prime Minister: Paul Keating and Julia Gillard.

The title was created to honour its first bearer, Sir John McEwen  on 10th of  January 1968. Prior to that, there had been unofficial deputy leaders but it took placating a former acting prime minister to formalise things.

Succeeding 'Black Jack' in the deputy's chair was Doug Anthony. This was so not only in that he immediately followed his term, but by virtue of his leadership of the Country Party cum National Country Party cum whatever sounded authentically rural at the time, automatically making him Deputy Prime Minister every time a conservative party was returned to power (the same pulling power, incidentally, that had made McEwen caretaker Prime Minister). The ruler of the rump party, whose own vote is low but still gives them authority by dint of their constituency. Enough to give them cabinet posts and the deputy leadership.  So Anthony served under Gorton, McMahon, and Fraser.

Lance Barnard#, Jim Cairns#, and Frank Crean played musical chairs in the deputy spot in those three years before the Whitlam government was dismissed.

Another seven and a half years of Doug Anthony later and the antipodes were ready for the shattering consequential nature of Lionel Bowen. He all but reigned for some seven years before an upstart named Paul Keating took over and lasted a year and two months (I bet he's sad about that) in the job

His successor was Brian (don'tr ask me) Howe# who was followed by.Kim (Bomber) Beazley, a man who made several runs at the Prime Ministership as leader of the Opposition.

When Howard heads to Hawks Head, he needs Tim Fischer, John Anderson or Mark Vaile to cover for him.

Rudd could doubtless have fared better with a different deputy, one who didn't dislodge him shy of a full term, after he returned the Party to victory. But then Julia Gillard doesn't have much to fear from Wayne Swan.

[I don't normally feel it necessary to distance myself from posts and sites I link to but those right wing ones lambasting Barnard and Cains do not represent my perspective whatsoever. The scholarly analysis of Crean, placing him in the fiscal context of others who'd had to manage the economy, doesn't need an asterisk (or hash) because it is well argued]