That old black magic

Today I spent the morning at the Fetal Medicine Clinic watching mothers-to-be get ultrasounded, and being generally confused by the ultrasonographer pointing out structure after structure which all looked like variations on a theme of randomness. It really is a fantastically dark art, and you have to either be initiated, or hold your tongue in just the right way….

IQ 100

One of the things that I failed to develop an appreciation of until quite recently is that I hang out in a really intellectually non-representative crowd. Most of them have multiple degrees and don’t represent an intellectual “average” by any stretch of the imagination, and as such have severely skewed my idea of what “normal” is.

Now by definition the average IQ in the world is 100, and when you start to meet lots of people from the general population, and get a handle on what an average person with IQ 100 is like, they really do seem pretty ordinary.

One thing I had not really given too much thought to was what happens to average IQ people when they get old, but unfortunately this was answered for me when I had the misfortune of sitting down on a bus directly in front of these two ladies in their mid fifties who proceeded to gossip and talk absolute trip for 15 solid minutes of my trip. They used shocking grammar. They used words in the wrong context. They staked their reputations on supporting facts that I knew to be wrong. They professed their ignorance on a raft of current event topics. In short I was apalled by their cluelessness, and was pleased when my bus ride ended, but was left shaken by the realisation that the IQ100 youths you see and meet do not mature into anything better as they age…

The risks attendant on reminiscence

As some of you will have seen, I have all my photos scanned and sorted on my computer (all of them.. every one I have ever taken… not that I’m obsessive compulsive or a digital magpie (mmm shiny) or anything), and occasionally I go for a wander through them generally, or go looking for something specific (the photos of me as a teenager with long hair seems to be a popular request, even though I really do look butt ugly in them…), however there is always a problem. Namely I find myself randomly perusing through the collection sighing a lot and thinking how I miss the “Good old days”. Of course I know intellectually that the good old days had more that perhaps their fair share of crap components, but I still fall into the common human trap of selective reminiscence, and so whenever I go in a short search for a photo I invariably end up taking a rather time consuming amble down memory lane.

Never thought I’d say it

I’ve obviously been in queensland too long because I appear to be acclimatising, and I am definitely feeling the cold this winter (and it’s not as though it’s even particularly cold…). I’ve been breaking out the polar fleece and we’ve even been using the heater in the evenings….

In my defence (which is stupid really, because it’s not as if I need an excuse, but I still feel a bit soft wearing polar fleece in Queensland) I do have quite a bit less hair that I had when I was in Dunedin, and I do loose much of my heat through my head, although a hat alone doesn’t seem to be enough to keep the chills at bay, hence my acceptance that I must also be generally acclimatising. Now if only that also meant I was becoming better at dealing with the heat of the Queensland summer….

It takes all kinds

I have found it interesting sitting in on the birthing suites, and watching the variability amongst the Dads-to-be.

I had, for no good reason that I can think of, thought that they would all fulfull certain basic characteristics, such as being involved in supporting their partner, being outwardly excited when the baby was born, and wanting to be involved, however this is actually not the case.

I suppose that this is just another example of human variety, but it seemed a bit odd to me to have some guys who behaved as though they themselves were squeezing the baby out, and others who sat in the corner and barely said a thing throughout the entire process.

Men are stupid

Sometimes men are just stupid.

I mean you really do look like a prat standing beside the bed on which you wife is giving birth say such assinine things as “Breathe in, breathe out”.

I mean, damn, it was getting so irritating that I was tempted to hit him, and I wasn’t even the one giving birth!

And another thing is complaining about the women squeezing the guy’s fingers during contractions.

I had several women squeeze my fingers in the course of my deliveries, and it’s not like it’s exactly painful, and in light of what their partner is busy going through at the time I would have thought that they could at least have had the tact to either shut up or grown a pair….

Really good use of technology

I was just reading on CNN about a really cool use of technology, seeing as I had thought up the very same idea independently a few months ago I am mighty pleased to see it actually being done.

The general idea is that these people are photographing and putting on the web the entire contents of about 100 ancient christian manuscripts from the library of a monastery in the Sinai Desert. As an academic resource it’s fantastic, from both the historical and theological viewpoints. It will in theory help scholars better understand the evolution of the scriptures, and in doing so the evolution of the christian faith.

Ultimately this is something I’d love to see rolled out globally.

I keep on watching these cool documentaries on ABC and SBS where the historians go all over Europe and are shown these gorgeous, priceless and unbelievably historically important books and manuscripts which then get promptly locked back up again as soon as the presenter has stopped pointing excitedly at it and explaining it’s significance.

Really what would be spectacular would be if all those books were photographed, and the results placed on an open web site for all to see. I realise that this is more of my digital pack-rat-ism coming to the fore again, but I still think that it’s a great idea.

Mmmmm…. pointy

One of the presents we got for our wedding was a new set of knives, and compared to Simone’s existing (and somewhat blunt) knives it’s been amazing what a difference sharp knives make.

Now I slice. I dice. I do everything your old kitchen slave did and much much more!

Combined with the Jamie Oliver pro non-stick frying pan (which is sooooo sexy and makes me cackle maniacally every time I use it) Simone has commented to several friends that she may not be allowed in the kitchen ever again, which while it may be a slight exaggeration, is only a very slight exaggeration….

Better late than never

Well I’m very glad to see that finally, after years of frankly f*cking around on the matter the federal government has seen fit to start introducing some changes which lean towards reasonability into the regimen of immigration detention.

  • They have allowed children and their parents to be released into the community.
  • They have set time limits (3 months) on the amount of time which they have to process an application for refugee status.
  • And they have placed a 3 month time limit on the appeals process relating to refugee applications.

All up this hopefully means that those who are in detention will either be acknowledged as refugees by the government (as many of them apparently already are by the UNHCR) and allowed to stay, or be turned down in their application in a reasonable amount of time, and be either returned to their home country, passed on to another country which will accept them as migrants, or allow them to apply to enter Australia under some other immigration avenue.

As some aside notes, while looking around the UNHCR website I found this little comment, which confirms that it is not just Opposition politicians and those with a score to settle who think that indefinite mandatory detention is a pretty dodgey situation.

I also found an interesting thing on the BBC website about how recent studies have shown that immigration has many more benefits for a country than it has problems. It’s interesting reading, and seems to support my pet idea in relation to immigration that in light of the chronic shortage of trades people in Australia, and the reluctance of young Australians to enter into apprenticeships, Australia should simply create a new immigration avenue and say to people, you can come to Australia, and so long as you are of sound character (ie. no criminal history etc.) and are willing to do one of this list of approved apprenticeships we will help you learn functional english, give you permanent residency and welcome you into our country as a productive contributing member. I’m sure most of the people in Baxter would jump at the offer of a new safe home and a guaranteed job (with quite lucrative employment opportunities once you’re trained), and it’d be a damn site cheaper for the government to collect income tax off them than pay to keep them locked up… (plus it drives the economy and makes you look positively saintly in international circles..)

The 80’s strike back

The other utterly perplexing thing about the above mentioned shopping centre was the number of stores which had been decorated in hard core 80’s style, from the lighting, to the curtains, to the furniture and in several cases even the merchandise (generally women’s clothes). I had though that 80’s style had died a timely death never to be revisited, but apparently I was wrong.