Saturday, January 28

A Childrens Story

A picture it’s said is worth more than a thousands words. This picture is of orphan children in Malawi, whose numbers sadly grow as a consequence of the Aids virus.

I think it’s important for children to grow up in a compassionate caring environment to realise their counterparts in other countries have warm hearts but are far less fortunate. Last year I composed a short story for schoolchildren who sent off pictures about the story to their Malawian counterparts.

Ther story is included below.

A Children's Story about Malawi.

I am indebted to Trish Taylor, from the Malawi Support Group, whose editing helped to make it a suitable story for the schoolchildren of Eltham.

Rainbow Worm was once deep in the earth; a special Worm, longing for freedom, different to all of the other worms digging in the soil. Rainbow Worm was storing up great energy and courage to emerge from his darkness, into the light outside. When he emerged, the sun was bright, and burned colours into his delicate skin, but he was strong and courageous and endured his discomfort for it was not to last for long. Soon came the soothing rain. It increased his strength; giving forth such great energy it caused an almighty wind to sweep Rainbow Worm up into the sky.We recognise this today as the rainbow!.

Rainbow Worm wanted to help.
He viewed the Earth from his wondrous sky place and saw a very poor but hardworking community in the African country of Malawi. He decided that this is where he could help. He realised it was one of the poorest countries on the planet, but he also saw that the people had generous and warm hearts. This is why Malawi is known as the “Warm Heart of Africa”. "How can I help?”thought Rainbow Worm. From his wondrous place in the sky he noticed a group of school children in Eltham on the vast continent of Australia. He decided to take them on a journey to Malawi. All he needed to do was to tap on the classroom window and they found themselves crossing the wide oceans from Australia to Africa on the back of Rainbow Worm.

On landing they spotted a group of people cooking up a great feast. They learned that it was a feast where all are welcomed; a feast to remember and celebrate the lives of St Kizito, a thirteen-year-old- boy, and his friends, who died because they dared to believe in the Christian God. They were welcomed into the celebration. There in the midst of the people was an old woman, her face wrinkled, but compassionate, her body bent, her character straight and true, her person small but mighty in spirit. She stood surrounded in a golden aura.

"I am your dear "Sister of Compassion ". I have been here for 25 years now so it is my home. I came here to work with these people, especially those who are suffering so much with the AIDS virus. Before I came I worked in the capital city, Lilongwe, in the hospitals as a medical missionary. But I was asked to come here to help for the suffering is great. Many things need to be done. We need help for special classes to teach families to be healthy and to improve their diets. We need help to develop language skills and to encourage sporting activities. I am trying to organise concerts around the world to raise money to help these people.”Rainbow Worm and the children listened to their dear Sister of Compassion.

It was time to leave. Sadly there was no time to stay and enjoy the feast. “Never mind," said Rainbow Worm, “We have much to keep in our minds and hearts, much to pray about". It was late so their thoughts returned to home where morning was breaking. They told the amazing story to their parents. Many people in Eltham came to hear about the story. Some formed a group that came to be called the "Malawi Support Group." This group worked hard to raise funds for Malawi and the good people of Our Lady Help of Christians in Eltham continue to do this to this very day. An act of love for the people of Malawi from the people of Eltham on that great Australian continent.

Friday, January 27

Harpers a Howard Vision

The political scene in Australia is a majority coalition of Liberals (Conservatives by way of policy) with the National Party, who represent the country town and farming communities.

Canada shares the same Westminster system but many Canadians may be surprised to learn Australia played a pivotal role in the recent election strategy for Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper and his party. Youthful Stephen pictured with his wife Laureen and young children looks an unlikely chum of the much older conservative Howard but apparently the 2 are good buddies. They are already looking forward to forging a closer alliance between their 2 countries.

According to Tony Walker from Ottawa reporting in the Australian Financial Review recently Canada was heavily influenced by our Conservative Prime Minster.


Harper by all acounts followed closely the ABC playbook of John Howard’s whose personal staff has doubled in minders /advisors since he first became Prime Minster 10 years ago.

Howard is a skilful Politician and adapt at the art of wedge politics. It was reported Canadian party spokesperson Tim Peters said "The Conservatives had studied each of Mr J Howard’s 4 election victories extensively and learned from them."

John’s a regular to GW Bush’s ranch and built up such a close working relationship we have the benefits of a new free new Trade Agreement with the US. Don’t be concerned the numbers reveal a deterioration in our net income position with the USA since, as the facts should never be allowed to mess up a good story and who wants to read all that b…….y fine print anyway !!.These guys are big picture men.

Howard met Harper and discussed strategy last year when they were in Washington.

John Howard’s keen to make his mark ever since GW Bush remarked Johns my Deputy Sheriff down under for the region!! John responded then by saying …or shucks that just some Texas humour, but he maybe taking it all seriously after all and extending his influence to young Harper in Canada.

Spokesperson for Harper Tim Powers also said Canadian Conservatives have also absorbed lessons from the book Dark Victory by David Marr and Marian Wilkinson which documented Mr Howard’s use of wedge politics in the asylum seekers issues to bolster his support in the tough 2001 election.

Liberal Party Director Brian Loghaner has also provided advice. Slogans Like “Stand up for Canada” which I understand were conerstones to electioneering in Canada reveals just how far reaching this advice has permeated their political scene.

Harper also learned from Howard how to dislodge “working class and lower middle class families from their traditional political roots”.

Where do you think the first call of congratulations came from? Down Under of course !!

Tony Walker reporting in the Financial Review of the 27th January 2006 said the Australian Prime Minster expressed his delight at Harpers electoral success and said he looked forward to working closely with him.

To Canadians privy too the conversation it was as if Howard was welcoming a protégé into the game of Politics. And in a way he was.

Saturday, January 21

Whispering Spheres

Erwin Schrödinger in 1935 first discovered quantum mechanics, which led to the famous “Schrödinger’s cat” illustration of the principle in quantum theory of superposition. Scientists ever since have been puzzled by the question of a dual reality. Theories of parallel universes and of so called “surface truths” and “deep truths” at different levels of consciousness are mostly based on the duality concept in quantum mechanics A wave becomes a particle, only to re emerge as a wave.

Maybe it's a repeat performance, with many more bells and whistles of the ancient mystics, where new discoveries fired up their imagination.

So what’s changed?

I think some of the more enterprising physicists have tapped into into the “new age” spirituality movement. At their disposal is an astonishing amount of new knowledge and research that stretches our imagination to probe endless possibilities outside the previous restrictive Newtonian scientific view of our universe.
It’s spawned an untold number of books asking the big questions on life, and all designed to quickly intoxicate its appreciative audience. It's magical.
However I think the scientific basis for the duality principle in quantum mechanics is somewhat “shaky and uncertain” if you will excuse the pun. The reason a particle and a wave can be in 2 different states is the crux of the puzzle. But maybe we will never have knowledge of those separate states, for if we had that knowledge we would be able to view them separately, in their separate state. This assumes reality and knowledge are one and the same.
So I can’t prove that, but neither can it currently be disproved. I think Schrödinger’s cat may rest in peace. So if that be true than many of the other duality spin- offs are meaningless.

I also think its likey the tiny quarks that lie deep within the neutrons and protons, which are thought to be indivisable will be one day found to be further divisable just as the aton was.

Some of the ideas coming out this new age thinking concerns our sleep and assumes an interaction in overnight dreaming that refreshes our being.
Given this thought I wrote a poem last year entitled Heavenly Spheres where I attempted to capture this thought in rhyme so it's included here.

Whispering Spheres

As the sunset rays cast their fading light
Birds fly past to rest for the night
Night air cools as the sky is at dusk
Farwell to our toils, time for our rest

Whispering spheres of a neo light form
Spiritual heavens in explosion and storm
Peace is that energy a dream for your mind
Peace and rest for a mind of that kind

The moon beams alight and rest on our skin
Heavenly spheres, our heavenly next of kin
Whispers of hope to enter your mind
Refresh and to heal for all humankind

Whispering spheres of a neo light form
Spiritual heavens in explosion and storm
Peace is that energy a dream for your mind
Peace and rest for a mind of that kind

A universe reveals each night its rebirth
New stars are born, death is new light
Time and space are our one universe
Continues forever its beginning in light

Whispering spheres of a neo light form
Spiritual heavens in explosion and storm
Peace is that energy a dream for your mind
Peace and rest for a mind of that kind

Dawn approaches a light of daybreak
Birds fly in and herald the day
Sweet note refreshed to sing of a new way
Awaken a mind, open thinking to day

Whispering spheres of a neo light form
Spiritual heavens rebirth every night
Peace is the light of the dream of your mind
Refreshed and ready to heal for humankind

Monday, January 16

Tree Hugger

Last night we had dinner with my daughter Nicla, husband Alex and grandsons Declan and Liam. Pictured is Declan, who likes our backyard as he can hug the trees.

Saturday, January 14

7 up

Here are my top 7's as requested by DA

7 Things I want to do before I die

Grow with my grandchildren and become their mentor
Continue to be a mentor to my children
Become involved in the non profit sector of business
Travel to Bethlehem and the holy lands
Undertake studies into philosophy
Become a full time philosopher
Publish several Books

What I can’t do

Handyman round the house
Go backwards in time
Step outside the universe
Break 80 round my golf course
Take sport seriously
Play the piano
Sing a high C

The Blogging attraction

Freedom of expression
Choices to read what’ interesting
Links to virtual communities
Learning more about others thinking
Engaging in debate
Improving technological know how
Understand more about publishing

What I say most often these days

At the end of the day
If you follow through to its logical conclusion
I think
We are “home and hosed” once ……
Trapped in the paradigm of that thinking
I better let you go
Best wishes

7 books I read last year

A New Kind of Science by Stephen Wolfram
Collapse by Jared Diamond
The Books by Albert Schweitzer and My life and Thought
The Executive Brain by Elkhonen Goldberg
Science a History by John F Gribbin
Stephen Hawking's Universe
The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking

7 movies I enjoyed

Jesus of Montreal
The Maltese Falcon
The English Patient
Out of Africa
Whale Rider
The Piano

Best wishes

Monday, January 9

Old Land, New Landscapes.

The title of my posting is Chris Williams'book about Australian Farmers,Conservation and the Land care movement in Australia, which are creating a new green wedge of improved bio diversity through private farmland of our immense continent.

Chris is also currently the Bush Protection Director for Trust for Nature in Victoria, an organisation whose objective is to preserve “Nature in Perpetuity” for all future generations. Trust for Nature assists private landholders set up legally binding covenants on private land by setting aside areas to be held in trust for nature. Larger acquisitions of entire properties are similarly covenanted.

His publication is of particular interest, representing the “cutting edge” into the parenial problem of mankind’s uneasy relationship with nature and how we might dream a new sustainable life on a fragile earth. A country boy at heart his infectious enthusiasm has him immersed at the “grass roots” level of research alongside the farmers and communities.

Before commenting more specifically on his findings I thought it would be helpful to provide some brief agricultural aspects about Australia.


Australia is one of the most urbanised countries in the world with dense populations on the eastern seaboard. The country is fragile, dry and one without the rich volcanic soil seen in many other parts of the globe, except for a few isolated pockets. This is the legacy of 4 billion years under the sea which washed out most of the soils nutrients. The aboriginals occupied the land prior to colonisation for 45,000 years but the early settlers shaped the landscape in the shadow of English and British farming practices, with extensive tree felling and overgrazing with sheep and cattle. The combination of tree felling and irrigation raised the water levels causing salination problems in many parts of the countryside.

Australia has not subsidised farming as occurs in Europe and North America, so farmers have become more experimental and adaptive than there counterpart’s overseas. Hence they are considered the most efficient and environmentally conscious in the world to day.

Old Land New Landscapes

Chris Williams introduces us to farming communities linked through a common vision. Their local Land Care groups ensure farms are not only sustainable, but set aside corridors of up to 12% of the land as sanctuaries for nature. Land Care was introduced in 1989 as a government funded imitative which enable groups to receive grants and technical advice to help better maintain the native landscape and set up the vital corridor sanctuaries which interlink the properties within each respective land care group. There are 4,000 community Land Care Groups currently engaged at many different levels.

One of the more exciting projects was the reintroduction of an endangered species, the “Bettong’, into a specifically designated sanctuary on one of the properties where their population quickly increased from 10 to 100. Land Care Groups continue to learn about nature and how to maintain their ecological system within their farm whilst making a farming living. The prospect of serving two masters might seem as if it would be adversarial but the long term benefits point to a much greater overall production if less of the land is used.

Naturally enough there will not always be general agreement between farmers as to the best way to farm alongside nature. There is the large scale technologically based farming that is more reliont on chemicals versus those in favour of a more bio diversified approach that relies more on nature for its sustainability.

The conclusion that Chris Williams reaches is for the communities and Nation to accept there is no common panacea or methodology going foreword. Rather what’s needed is a partnership approach with nature itself. We need to make a covenant with nature, to respect and learn at both the grass roots areas on the farm, in the communities and at the highest levels of society. The old landscapes will never reappear fully, but we can,in our dreaming, create a new landscape, one that will last for ever, but we will need to respect our partner, Mother Nature.

I would like to end on a positive note with the remarks by Jarred Diamond last year when he talked about Australia and what had changed from 40 years ago when he was last here. It was all about the Land, he said, the new spirit within the country that acknowledges it is not here for us to do with it whatever we please.

We have a responsibility to preserve it for ever. He saw grounds for cautious optimism.

I also see the same conclusions in Chris Williams inspiring Book “Old Land, New Landscapes”.

I think Old Land, New Landscapes is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the preservation of our natural environment. I recommend you read the book, which can be purchased on amazon

Monday, January 2

What do You Believe in 2006 but can’t yet prove

I thought it might be interesting as a New Year’s reflection to consider what we believe but can’t yet prove.

I currently believe our state of general wellbeing and living conditions are much more a random outcome of our resident geographical location that hitherto was understood, as explained by Jared Diamond, author of Guns Germs and Steel and Collapse.
I attended his book launch with my eldest daughter and her husband (both ardent fans) when he was out in Australia last year. I am thinking of doing a posting about his conclusions when I finish reading his book entitled Collapse. In this book he sets out the repetitive reasons for collapses of past civilisations and the implications for our future.

I have also found Albert Schweitzer’s philosophy and life example inspirational and influenced my beliefs. Should you be interested in reading about my posting on his life and thought click here.

I have taken selected quotes from prominent thinkers using as my reference a publication by John Brockman entitled “What We Believe but Cannot Prove”. Check out his website. www.edge.theforum

Here are selected few with condensed comments on what they currently believe but can’t prove.

Jared Diamond –Evolutionary biologist and professor of geography at UCLA, author and Pulitzer Prize winner with extensive field experience in North America, South America, Africa, Asia , Australia and New Guinea.

When did humans complete their expansion around the world? I ‘m convinced , but can’t yet prove, that humans first reached the continents of North America, South Americas, and Australia only very recently-during or near the end of the last Ice Age. Specifically I’m convinced they reached North America around 14,000 years ago, South America around 13,500 years ago and Australia and New Guinea around 46,000 years ago. And that within a few centuries of those dates humans were responsible for the extinction of most of the big animals of those continents.

Anton Zeilinger. Professor of physics at the University of Vienna. Click here for his website

Once you adopt the notion that reality and information are rather the same, all quantum paradoxes and puzzles_ like Schrödinger’s cat (click here to gain appreciation of this notion) disappear. Note the price of reconciliation is high. If my hypothesis is true, many questions become meaningless. There is no sense asking what is going on out there. Schrödinger’s cat is neither dead nor alive unless we obtain information about its state. By the way, I also believe that the day will come when we learn to overcome “de coherence” and to observe quantum phenomenon outside the shielded environment of Labourites. I hope that (unlike the unexamined cat) I will be alive when this happens.

Carolyn Porco-Planetary scientist click here for her website

We may soon discover life-forms under the ice on some moon orbiting Jupiter or Saturn or decide the intelligible signals of an advanced, unreachable distant alien civilisation.

J Craig Ventor –Visionary Genomic Researcher. Click here for his website

Our human centric view of life is clearly unwarranted. From the millions of genes we are continually discovering in all our organisms, we learn that a finite number of genes appear over and over again and could easily have evolved from a few microbes arriving in a meteor or in intergalactic dust.

Leon lederman -Nobel Prize Winer in Physics 1988. Click here for his website

To believe something while knowing that it cannot be proved (yet) is the essence of physics. Guys like Einstein, Dirac, Poncare, extolled the beauty of concepts, in a bizarre sense placing truth at a lower level of importance.

Maria Spiropula -Experimental physicist.

I believe nothing to be true if it cannot be proved.
My hunch (and my wish) is that in the laboratory we will be able to segment space-time so finely that gravity will be studied and understood in a confined environment –and that gravitational particle physics will become recognised field.

David G Myers-Professor of psychology at Hope College, in Michigan
Click here for his website

The mix of faith based humility and scepticism helped fuel the beginning of modern science and it has informed my own research and writing. The whole truth cannot be found merely by searching our minds, for there is not enough there. So we must put our ideas to the test. If they survive, so much the better for them; if not. So much the worse.

Jonathan Haidt Associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Virginia. Click here for his website

If psychologists took religious experience seriously and tried to understand it from the inside, as anthropologists did in studying other cultures, I believe it would enrich our science. I have found religious texts and testimonials about purity and pollution essential for understanding the emotion of disgust and for helping me to see the breadth of moral concerns beyond harm, rights and justice.

And my pick is ……corny as it may sound!

David Buss Professor in the Psychology Department of the University Of Texas at Austin. Click here for his website

I believe in true love. The road of ordinary love are well travelled and their markers are well understood- the mesmerizing attraction, the ideational obsession, the sexual afterglow, the often profound self sacrifice, the desire to combine DNA. But true love takes it own course, through unchartered territory. It knows no fences, has no barriers or boundaries. It’d difficult to define. Eludes modern measurement, seems scientifically woolly. But I know true love I exists. I just can’t prove it.

I am interested in what you believe but can’t prove? And what you think about any of the above named or others beliefs.?