02 July 2006

MNLY: A time-capsule of Manly, Australia

MNLY is a time-capsule of Manly Beach, Sydney and Australian culture specifically. The Manly Blog is a year old and provides a snapshot of how human society interacts with the Earth and life. It could also be anywhere on this planet.
The authors will leave Australia for a long period and live in urban environments.The bookmarks will continue.

30 June 2006

Missing fig tree, stripped paperbarks & bitou

The last photo of the large fig that was eliminated today. Many pedestrians found shade and rest underneath its large branches.
In the foreground are paperbarks, stripped to the core. Handy free wrapping for the market-place or the dog loo. Unfortunately the Melaleucas die when skinned.
Keep bashing that bitou!

28 June 2006

Overheard & seen in Manly

Cockatoos all over the road, Mum to excited child: "They are very noisy and destructive!"

Shelley Beach sporting adventurers: 20 something female: "Help! I'm scared of possums"

Picnicker's lawn under pines: Mum makes boy urinate on the lawn, just steps away from the public toilet.

Beach car park: Obese guy chucks armful of fast-food rubbish under a car.

In the Aboriginal Art Shop: An elderly Caucasian man to a young Chinese man: "And these were the natives' instruments"

26 June 2006

Corso tree watch

Update on the 'pedestrian strip' of Manly, the Corso: Banksias (integrifolia) disappeared in full blossom, Figs have had major branches ripped off by machinery and roots exposed and damaged. The business of grading continues...
Trees on Council land
Update, 30.06.06: This iconic fig of the Corso intersection has now been 'graded' away by a bulldozer.

Choppers over asphalt Sydney

Up to 8 helicopters were whipping the community with noise pollution yesterday from Manly to The Harbour Bridge and the city. It had that war-like ambience being under these hovering choppers on a Sunday.
The other trend from Darlinghurst to Potts Point and Manly was to paint buildings in an asphalt colour to merge in with the car parks and roads. A mysterious design choice to extend that bitumen-look.
Many un-leased shops and office towers embedded in a car-friendly and pedestrian-hostile environment provided a spooky 'ghost-town' feeling.

24 June 2006

Plundering the aquatic 'pantry'

The plunder of the world oceans goes unchecked and even increases. The over-exploitation takes place in the oceans, Marine Parks and the deep seas. The additional 'by-catch' of albatross, seals and dolphins goes unmentioned. Aqua-'farming' is also unsustainable. The 'I'd rather be fishing' culture also engages in practices outside all regulations. Australia is amongst the few nations with 'the largest numbers of threatened species in the world.' Species are disappearing, shrinking in body size or done out of a habitat altogether.

Many of the aquatic beings are gobbled up. The iconic Barramundi has been on the menu from Darwin to Tasmania in every little eatery, it has become the new 'flake' now that the sharks are going. There is no culture of informed decision making or a will to make informed sustainable choices with regard to ocean produce. Try to ask your shop or restaurant where the ocean food originated from, or if it is produced in tubs of anti-biotics on cleared mangroves. Slowly certain foods are being banned, wild cavier and some do not sell live lobsters and crabs.

Utilising the world waterways and the oceans as cost-effective sewage and industrial discharge ponds, it is no wonder that high readings of toxins are accumulated in sea creatures. Dioxin here, dieldrin here or mercury there.

Sharks and other living fossils inhabited the oceans for 350 million years. 'Harvesting' them in a blink of history is irreversible. Newly discovered species disappear immediately. Mining the mysterious deep seas with high technology combined with blind watchdogs makes for an empty 'pantry' for the ones to come. Grazing the tree of biodiversity to the deep ground.
National Parks Association of NSW

Australian Museum Fish site
Fish movies
Free sustainable seafood guides
Best and worst seafood
Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide ($)
Fish caught with 'hi-tech' methods has a wastage rate of 80 %
Manly Leafy Seadragon

21 June 2006

Collaborative satellite maps of Manly

Now you can be a bird and fly over Manly to see how the Earth is cared for.
Fly over North Head and watch it disappear. Some of the building sites are here or proposed. Check out the Corso 'before pictures'. Watch Shelley beach car-park expand and the bush disappear. See how much land is devoted to push balls around, rather then develop it as a community park with fresh water for native animals. Watch the blue harbour converted into a boat-park. Check out that Beach strip being privatised with gear and ads. Don't' forget to count all the many pools,re water shortages.
You can enter significant places of Manly on this Wikimapia
On the Australian version you can collaboratively enter Manly sites or place local comments.
Do zoom in!
Wonderful tools to check developments and missing trees.
More: On homeless Bandicoots

18 June 2006

Delights of Manly

Unusual sightings at Manly beach yesterday were 6 Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos flying along the beach in amongst the pines heading to North Head. Screeching all along the way. A 100 % sign for more big rain to come. A Sooty Oystercatcher gave alarm calls while flying over the shoreline. Bandicoots and possums behaved as if it is spring. Micro-bats raced from beach light to beach light. Frogs on North Head gave a concert into the clear night sky that would have delighted Steve Reich.
Image: Ernst Haeckel's 1904 Kunstformen der Natur,via Wikipedia.

16 June 2006

Chainsawing the tree of life

'Give a fish a home', 'Dog/cat needs a home', so run the advertisements appealing to that noble feeling of empathy. The exotic fish is extracted with dynamite out of its tropical habitat and floats, if it survives, in some Manly shop or restaurant thumped by mega stereos, till it drops. Elephants are dislocated out of their environments to do time, serving as family amusement in animal-prisons. Life is only tolerated, if it is domesticated and subjugated to the arbitrary whims of an (pet) owner. Commercialising exotic flora and fauna establishes consuming patterns.

The human species' insatiable hunger for resources and space deprives more and more species of a habitat at ever increasing speed. Ineffective international stewardship of the biodiversity of life on this planet sets the example for regional and individual practices. Most species are being robbed of their homes. Australia tops the charts of eradicating life on the planet. In 'New South Wales, 1004 native species, populations and ecological communities are listed as threatened with extinction.' The land and its native species are rolled up like a carpet, chucked or flogged off. This process ensures economic and ecological poverty. Large branches of the tree of life are irreversibly chain-sawed. It will never ever resprout.
Why not provide habitat/home for Australian plants and animals around your houses, in the subs, in the city and in parks? Encourage clean water and food sources for endemic species. Observe at a distance and enjoy living in an urban wilderness together.
Extinction and a world full of poodles
Update 18.06.06: Australians are actually reversing the historical trend and are converting dwellings for human beings into stables. As reported in the SMH,(paper edition, 17.06.06). 64 % of households, that is 7.5 million places keep dogs & cats. It is the largest pet owning community per capita. The task now is to make real estate 'pet friendly', convert flats, gardens and houses to stables for reliable life companions.

13 June 2006

The only good tree is a pulped tree

It seems that most trees in Manly are being shaped into a truck, car and wire-friendly shape at the moment. Ideally they are pulped or allowed to resemble toothpicks. Residents seem annoyed with a few leaves. One can't help feeling that they would love to drop some Agent Orange on them to eliminate that 'untidy problem'. Till then the armies of debris blowers whiz about daily creating an Iraq-like sound-scape, shifting the organic matter to the public or neighbouring property. Pouring rain or the dark are no hinderance in shifting the mush.

First, people seek to move to the 'leafy suburbs' with high property values, then a 'view' would increase values even more. Many tree vandals are clearing whole creek-banks in public bush-reserves to have that $-view. Once on the market, the view is further 'improved'. Then a few more branches are trimmed to place that giant real estate billboard in your face, even on public reserves. In the subs, the trees go bit by bit via chainsaw gardening and silent poisoning. Never mind any permits! And then there is that branch over the third driveway, there is too much shade on the new deck, the leaves on the pool and the bottlebrush in the public 'nature strip' was always a hassle to mow around. And so they go - week by week, by council staff, contractors, staff from Energy Australia and local residents. The ideal seems to be low-maintenance cement bunkers from fence post to fence post set in a giant car-park. Sales could be enhanced by popping a few toxic foreign conifers at the entry. No trees, no birds and no possums.

Elsewhere the community initiative Canopy is working to improve their urban tree canopy.
Here are their reasons why it is worth creating and maintaining an urban forest:
· Trees add to the aesthetic enjoyment of life. An environment abundant with trees is both healthful and restorative.
· Trees significantly increase real estate values for residential and business properties; an ordinary 36 inch tree can add $30,000 - a special tree can be worth $100,000.
· Trees enhance economic stability by attracting businesses; people linger and shop longer where trees are present.
· Well-landscaped areas experience less crime against people or property.
· Apartments and offices with a canopy of trees rent more quickly and have a higher occupancy rate. Workers report more productivity and less absenteeism.
· Trees save energy. Strategically placed trees can reduce the need for heating in winter and cooling in summer, with energy savings of 15% to 35%.
· A large street tree has the cooling power of ten air conditioner units operating twenty hours a day. Shaded air conditioners operate 10% more efficiently than those in direct sun.
· A windbreak can cut heating cost from 10% to 50%.
· Trees reduce wind intensity and act as a noise buffer.
· Drivers slow down on canopied streets.
· Trees need less water than lawns. Trees also reduce the amount of storm water runoff, which can cause erosion and complicate flood control.
· Birds and other wildlife find welcome habitat in trees.
· Trees reduce the impact of greenhouse gases by removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. They improve air quality by reducing the formation of smog, capturing airborne dust particles on their leaves and increasing humidity.

More on the value of trees

12 June 2006

Reading Manly library

Manly library's change of focus might reflect the new demographic trend.
On the shelf:
'How to get pregnant',
'Childcare for your baby',
'Parenting your complex child',
'Surviving divorce',
'What dog breed is that?'

09 June 2006

Bicycle maps for Manly

Anyone using a bike in Manly will be interested in the new Google maps mash-up for cyclists in Sydney and elsewhere called Bikely. The idea is to offer cyclists possible routes by pooling the experience of bike users.
For Balmain a detailed map using side-streets has been prepared offering a tour of the suburb. Another route from Dee Why to the city through Manly shows some very good ways to avoid the main roads.
MNLY trialled it and made a route using some of the
cycle paths of Manly. Bikely proved to be very user-friendly.
At present two other
routes to the city have been mapped for Manly but are quite unsuitable as they just follow major traffic roads without cycle paths. Roads without cycle paths are dangerous and toxic. Without a place on the roads cyclists really have no rights and are risking their health and lives.
Bikely has great potential for Manly. Anyone who joins it can add their own routes using back streets combined with bikeways and public transport such as ferries. The quality of the routes depends on the input from users.

03 June 2006

Another meat & wine festival in Manly

Yes, the Manly Food and Wine Festival has "become more about drinking a lot of wine and eating poor quality food" (Peter Macdonald). Absent were the primitive cooking facilities incinerating meat and filling the air with thick blue smoke. The main offering seemed to be pure plonk. Generators provided the acoustic ambience. The green pine strip turned into a gigantic luna(cy) fun park. Best bit was, the road was blocked, no stinking cars on part of Manly Beach for two days! Off to have some slow food

02 June 2006

Birds of Manly

The birds are very vocal at the moment in Manly. Despite the bobcat & chainsaw 'gardening' some native birds manage to survive. Birds in Backyards has many resources to identify and encourage the (sub-) urban survivors. There are tips how to design a bird friendly garden, which plants are endemic to Manly (or any other area in Sydney). At the moment the Gannets are doing a lot of diving at the ocean and Wattle birds are in the pines. Apart from the section on sea birds and shore birds, there is a pdf on 'Sharing beaches with birds'. The Silvereyes should pass through on their mysterious migration soon.
The site also features 40 bird songs, some Manly voices are: the Grey Butcherbird, Currawong, the Lorikeets, the Masked Lapwing, Tawny Frogmouth and the Figbird.
The little birds are most in trouble.Big birds too are killed by cats and often by speeding cars. The introduced ones and fish & chips fattened Seagulls are making a mess of Manly.

31 May 2006

Smoking in Manly

Various countries have effectively protected their airspace for people to breathe. Tobacco and its additives are the leading cause of preventable death. Five million people die each year from tobacco related diseases.
Manly (beach) supposedly became a smokefree zone in 2004. More signs than trees sprang up and 'hefty fines' were promised for smoking. Two years on one is still forced to passively smoke on the beach, on footpaths and in restaurants/cafes. Lacking effective implementation one finds themselves sitting in stuffy places and smokers sit outside in the open air blowing their toxic fumes into the enclosed space. There is in effect no non-smoking area. Elsewhere customers are deserting such polluted gastronomy. The footpaths are filled with lunch time smokers standing under 'no smoking signs' and door ways, making passing these clouds a health hazard. The pavement, flower pots, the beach and waterways are littered with butts and 'throw away' lighters. On rainy days all the toxic sludge gets washed down to the iconic Manly Beach. (image).
Minors often get a good dose of toxins, especially in cars. In flats, balconies and neighbourhoods the second-hand poisoning continues. Enforcing authorities seem to hope that the signs bring about change and outsource the enforcement of existing laws (DIY). Businesses are also not inclined to ensure a breathable space for their customers. Approaching tobacco addicts oneself is as risky as their toxins.
The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia
Tobacco Industry Documents,CDC
Airspace Action on Smoking and Health

27 May 2006

Hibiscus or digger intersection

On a busy intersection of Manly (Cnr. Wentworth/ Darley) is a large old Cottonwood tree in a tiny patch of soil. The tree and a large sandstone monument of the public school provide the much needed shade in the hot cement desert of this crossing. When there is a market on the school premises many people gather in the shade of this large Australian Hibiscus. Often the freshly planted small plants underneath got trampled.
Now, most of the earth has been removed and a statue erected on a cemented patch. Most bottom branches of the old tree have been shaved off (as it is a new Manly convention to turn public trees into toothpicks, irrespective of species).

The hero to be unveiled is a digger of the so much loved 'bygone area' providing the young with nourishment for their days in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq. In the absence of a concept for a sustainable future and a lack of providing contemporary direction, one just models the old paradigm.

The Cotton tree (Hibiscus titialceus) is salt tolerant and flourishes on sandy beaches. A known shade tree of many Australian holiday locations it sprouts large yellow hibiscus flowers. As part of the 'natural heritage' the young could be informed how the Aboriginal people utilised this resource. Weapons, rope, fire-sticks, fishing nets, weavings, medicines and other artistic artefacts were gained from this dense and bushy tree.

Some councils seem to be aware to increase their natural canopy cover, but Manly gets further cemented out. There is no concept/planning of greening the CBD or even retaining existing endemic/native vegetation.

26 May 2006

Baby TV, 24/7

A round the clock Baby TV channel for under 6-month-old babies has arrived. No more stimulant medication is needed, just add mobile under the plastic cover of the pram and experience the calming effects.

Signed land of Manly

Some of the remaining Kay-ye-my Aboriginal 'sites' on the Manly walk (from Spit Bridge) are documented by Creative Spirits. Images and a map of the walk can be found there too.

There is also interesting and updated reading on sustainability by the CSIRO Sustainability Network.
(Image: petrography 'woman in whale' by the Eora people)

25 May 2006

Iconic lap dogs of Manly

In the absence of any enforcement, Manly cafes are putting up signs to remind dog owners that their loved ones are not allowed on laps, tables and plates. True to the Manly iconic image (beach promenade,sign reads:'The lap of luxury') one can see cafes lined with ladies sipping their bubbly at mid-day with their white fluffy pampered things on their laps, hand feeding a few delicacies. Others prefer large hulks with huge jaws as companions, they have their snouts right in the plate. But then one should be happy they are populating the gastronomy and are not locked up in the subs yelping once the Valium has worn down or mauling another creature. 'Toothless laws' can't stop the noise pollution or physical violations. One can just hope, royals eat more of these ex-canines or pet food will get them. Till then the black dog-poo plastic bags will blow along Manly beach...
See also

13 May 2006

Designer 4WD for Manly

Parade that status symbol down Manly beach, park anywhere, indulge in conspicuous consumption (4.5km to the litre), with 4 tons, taking up 4.5 meters of car park. It "...is built to appeal to those who do not need to worry about fuel consumption or parking spaces - or indeed anything to do with money." (BBC)

12 May 2006

Leave some of Manly as a penguin habitat !

Manly penguins along the Manly Scenic Walkway will have their habitat a little more protected as council will erect fencing and declare the area a "dog on-leash" area. (Manly Daily)
More signs will go up. As reported before, (illiterate?)dog owners chase dogs deliberately into penguin territory, many little penguins are mauled by dogs and aquatic motorbikes threaten their breeding grounds.

Let us hope council enforces the protection for these little birds as vigorously as their parking meters.

Mobile phone transmitters, science, society and health

Seven staff working on the top floors of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's building have developed brain tumours. The suspected cause is the radiation emission from the mobile phone antennas placed on the roof of the building. The two floors have been shut and the 100 employees work from home.(SMH)

  • The academics' union claims that the tumours are caused by the towers on the roof.
  • Medical experts are quick to point out:"… no definitive link had been proved between mobile phone tower radiation and cancer."
  • 'Independent' R&D (National Health and Medical Research Council), funded with $2.5 million is looking into "the possible health effects of electromagnetic energy emissions from mobile phones and mobile phone towers."
There is a low attention field on the issue in the media:
The brain tumor and death of broadcaster Andrew Olle in 1995
The excellent articles (>health) on the subject by Stewart First in the late 90s.
Some abc interviews: "When those diseases arise people tend to want to see a pattern in it and in fact a cluster of diseases like that may just be one extreme of randomness. Nobody's talking about clusters of 'no brain tumours' in their workplace for example, which would be the opposite extreme. However, there is ongoing unease about electronic magnetic radiation and its affect on brains."
ABC interview:" Studying the effect of radio frequency radiation on life:" If we think that there is a possibility of external electromagnetic fields to interfere with electromagnetic fields in our body then there is a possibility of some health effects.

The gesture of a mostly non-consultative risk society chooses to invest in ongoing 'independent' r&d to outsource the 'solutions' of the 'down-sides' of radiation fields. Meanwhile risk minimisation is recommended, the sale of gadgets for personal electrosmog 'protection' booms. Should the human misery come to the public attention then compassion society springs into action, collects a lot of funds which 'calm' and turn the attention hype back into a calming collective amnesia. Risks are privatised and business as usual can proceed.

In Manly mobile radiation antennas sprout from most building roofs and decorate many pubs. Consultation seems alien. No one really worries. Brain tumours, leukaemia, lymphoma etc are for some-one else.
Electromagnetic Fields, WHO
"As Low As Reasonably Achievable"
Health and symptoms
How to cook an egg with two mobile phones
Update (260506):Tests found 'nothing', but another "handful" of tumour cases have been reported.

08 May 2006

Sofie Delezio and her community

"The pedestrian remains the largest single obstacle to free traffic movement."
The praying, hoping, positive thinking, school assemblies and empathy for Sofie Delezio is continuing and it is very powerful that many minds are with her now…

But after the shock - where are the parental groups lobbying for pedestrian safety?
Where are the municipality, politicians, RTA concerning themselves not just with that 'hot spot', but effectively addressing a dysfunctional mass motoring system that accepts too many dead and mutilated people? From the perspective of 'the people', the steering of these automobiles is way beyond 'the means of transport' and well in the realm of car fetish. The vehicle as a means of self-expression glares from every ad and it is learned early 'to burn rubber'. The decision makers of an infrastructure of car(n)age and the auto-mobile community are all adult participants in a risk society. With a will, manufactured risks can be met with preventative measures to decrease levels of risk (sustainability).
There could be a discussion about the will to a sustainable mode of mobility.
  • Some mark the 'hot spots' not with flowers and crosses but with stencils reading:
  • The 'party for a good cause'-neigbourhoods could block of their streets, discuss and implement child/people friendly 'transport'.
  • They could lobby to have the $1 billion for transport diverted to public transport and bike paths.
  • They could lobby for the auto-related fatalities on an epidemic scale to end. NOW!
  • They could get out their cars and walk/ cycle with their children, modelling 'safe' and fit mobility.
  • They could get to work, study, shops by public transport
  • They could…but do they want to?
Update: (100506) Sofie opened her eyes and looked at her mother. (Manly Daily)
The chairperson (Harold Scruby) of the Pedestrian Council of Australia:
"If you are improving traffic flow you have a direct conflict of interest with safety"
"They (councils) must make safety the priority, not (parking) meters.'' (Manly Daily)

07 May 2006

Spraying flammable solvents over beach and bush

Twirling and splattering flammable solvents on the white beach sand and near Shelley Head bushland is a regular activity in Manly now. Today there were various people (a class?) at Shelley beach fuming out the entire headland with a stenching smell from their fuel ( metho, (formaldehyde) kerosene, naptha, petroleum etc). Sparks fly close to the dried out bush, the high winds this evening made it all fly well over the headland. But there they twirled, hurling these toxic chemical solvents and drenching with it the white sand of the beach. An amazing tolerance of the Kiosk. The car park above was also shrouded with this foul smell. So much for 'fresh air in Manly'.
But then it is part of the culture to chuck a bit of metho on the BBQ and the absence of any enforcement will probably soon ignite the bush and all the bunkers encroaching upon it.

05 May 2006


Killer transport and the effects on children

Sophie Delezio was one of the two children who suffered massive burns when they were trapped under the car that ploughed into a childcare centre in Fairlight in 2003. Sophie "…lost both feet, some fingers and suffered third degree burns to 85 per cent of her body…".

Today, she was hit again by a car while sitting in a stroller attempting to cross a pedestrian crossing. The five-year-old has 'critical injuries to her head, chest and legs.' She is now fighting for her life in hospital.
Wishes for Sophie, post a message
Automobile apartheid & sacrifice
What weblogs are saying, Technorati

04 May 2006

Life in a pram with a fit mum

The birth of twins, triplets and other multiples appears to be the norm at the moment. This seems to be due to an artificial boosting of the birth-rates. Parents arriving in their hummers at the beach, unpack their 4WD-like prams, usually while the motor is running. Manly Beach parade lacks pram lanes wide enough where kids are lined up in threes or more. From dawn to dusk all lanes are taken up with mums jogging, one hand on the kid-mobile, the other on the mobile and/or dog. Pramwalking wards off depression and obesity it is said. But for the infant, toddler and/or pre-schooler the double/triple decker prams often turn to isolation chambers and physical restraints. Many of the older children could easily walk and explore their environment or cycle along, but that would interfere with mum's jogging speed. Some are allowed to develop their motor competence on dysfunctional Chinese throw-away-bikes, girls push pink mini-prams (of course). The point is that children are often too old to be in a convenient pram. Additionally, the overtaxed parent offers junk-food and sugar-rich drinks, or worse medication to create silence. This is obesity in the making, but most of all hinders the age-appropriate development of the childrens' muscles and coordination system.
Cafes have even resorted to putting up 'pram rules' to allow access for non pram wielding customers. The primary caregivers tend to seek interaction with anyone, but their off-spring. The revenge turns the venue into a sound-scape of a crèche without care.

Cartoon: "This is our most practical model. It comes with a 21-year warranty."
Beware of fat kids in strollers - they hurt, SMH

- hild Development: Lack Of Time On Tummy Shown To Hinder Achievement. American Physical Therapy Association (2008, August 7). >How to to get infants out of devices that constrain mobility and learn how to carry, hold and play with a baby (pdf)
- How best to walk your baby, The Independent, 211108
- Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, Dundee's School of Psychology
- The ability to engage in joint attention is crucial for language development. Joint attention is the shared focus of two individuals on an object. (Jogging and communicating on the mobile while the infants scream their heart out in a covered plastic capsule (pram) on Manly beach's Poodle-Pram-Parade. Shelly beach to Queenscliff with a cafe stop in between.) Eye-gazing, word learning & developmental disorders 042012

80 per cent of brain development occurs before a child is three years old. abc 052012

Want a child who is "emotionally secure, self-confident, curious, and autonomous"? Ditch the pram and carry them upright, tribal-style. Jared Diamond on child-rearing techniques used in indigenous societies 012013

Babies' brains may be tuned to language before birth Nature 0213

29 April 2006

Going to the dogs

It is tolerated that dogs rip off the face of a toddler or even maul them to death. Frequent attacks on adults (Curl Curl Beach) seem to go unnoticed. The 'love' and material interests towards the predatory carnivore also blinds to the mauling of the last endangered penguins. ("…about 35 injured penguins a year.")
Despite a forest of council signs, dogs are allowed to run unleashed and defecate freely on Manly beach (regularly after council knock-off time), hunt along the Marine Reserve and in adjoining National Parks. The lawns of the beach promenade are often used for lawn picnics and toddlers crawl on the grass. Often the heaps are not collected by the owners from this grassy strip. Recently one such owner of a multi-horde was politely asked to remove their dog faeces. The irresponsible owner sprung into direct physical assault mode and then proudly walked off in bright daylight. There are many fouling bullies about in Manly, in full knowledge that there is little enforcement and hardly any prosecutions. Should anyone say anything, 'Just thump em!'.
Beaches elsewhere have become unswimmable, because of dog excrements.
In some European municipalities RFID tagging of dogs is compulsory now.

Acoustic domestic terror

In the industrial age the noisy, grimy factories tended to be 'over there' and people lived slightly at a distance going about their lives manually and travelled with public transport.
Now the suburbs are fully industrialised, the 'in-between' space is for individualised transport in petrol addicted combustion engines. The 'domestic terror' (Leunig) is committed 24/7 with the consent of the monoculture. 'Regulation' suggests that there be peace & quite from 10 pm to 7 am, but 'freedom-loving' individuals feel challenged to make their own law. "Bullies, claiming rights and freedoms that are not theirs while degrading…" common resources. Routine neighbourhood noises, especially petrol-gardening (lawnmowers, debris blowers (aka "leaf blowers"),whipper-snippers, chainsaws, mulchers etc) are not just a nuisance but a health hazard. "People forget that noise is not contained by picket fences". Official stats claim that that constantly barking/yelping dogs are the main reason for concern after petrol-gardening. Compressors, air conditioners, pumps and power tools belong to the sound and vibration-scape of sub-urbia. 2-4 vehicles and motorbikes all fitted with alarms start up in and under the dwellings themselves, fuming, vibrating and revving.The latest electronic entertainment throbs through thin walls,the alarms are for the neighbours. The regular renovation crews set up at the property and are mostly lacking acoustic responsibility.
The acoustic ecology on the roads lacks enforcement. The high financial cost of people moving out of 'high traffic zones', noisy neigbourhoods and the creation of uninhabitable urban areas for 'transport' does not appear in the GDP.
Decibel-based municipal noise laws are accompanied by controversial measurements that do not include vibrations. The health effects of noise and vibration pollution are not just hearing loss, the heart, stress, but also
vibroacoustic disease.
The sky, the water and the ocean are not exempt from the petrol-powered motorised terror.
The hesitation and fragmentation of the enforcing authorities and a sound-illiterate population cannot promote an acoustic urban habitat that promotes peace and quiet.
"In the last 15 years, noise levels have risen six-fold in major US cities. The Census Bureau reports that noise is Americans' top complaint about their neighborhoods, and the major reason for wanting to move." (Noise free America)
Elsewhere people are active for a quiet and healthy society that is sustainable:
On hearing
Previous on Mnly
Elsewhere, from 'below':
Noise free America
The Right to Quite Society, Ca
A quite Life, UK
The Acoustic Ecology Institute
Sound Awareness, educational
Quite gadgets and products
Australian, from 'above':
EPA,NSW noise pollution info
Noise on Waterways
Vehicle noise,EPA, NSW

28 April 2006


Fires burn all over Australia at the moment. Sydney just got out of a huge dome of diy-smog. Melbourne has 65 fires burning and will have over 100 by the weekend, managed by the The Department of Sustainability and Environment. Check out these satellite images of Tasmania, smoke columns 50 km long. With all the fire 'science' it still whiffs of slash-and-burn, cost-effective clearing, cheap land-gains for real estate. Pity about the climate, biodiversity and human health.
On the South Coast The Group Against Smoke Pollution (GASP) is taking action.
Will bushfires change the climate?
Bushfire conference

Manly on bike

Aggro Australians on roads

Violence against people travelling
"Sydney is one of the worst places in Australia for cyclists - it's pretty scary and visiting riders from overseas just shake their heads,''
"The whole road can be clear and they'll have a go at you."
"If you go further out west they start to throw things at you - sometimes you'll catch an orange or mandarin in the back.'
"When there are bike lanes they can be full of glass because people have thrown bottles out the window - like the RTA says, the road is there to share.''
"He said a lack of cycling infrastructure and the attitude of some Sydney motorists were to blame."
"Every year I come back from Europe and over there people are really nice, but when you come home it's almost like you're scared to ride on the roads." (SMH)(Help & comments!)

"A man who sat down on a Sydney street after feeling ill was run over in a hit and run last night despite his friend activating the light on a mobile phone and frantically waving it around to alert the oncoming driver... But the car failed to slow down or stop and, as the friend jumped clear of its path, it ran over the mid-section and legs of the 36-year-old's body…. The friend escaped injury but the 36-year-old was taken to Nepean Hospital suffering "massive internal injuries" (SMH)
Update:Another child squashed by a hummer: "A four-year-old boy has suffered severe head injuries after he was hit by a 4WD in Sydney..." (SMH)

Stay alive while moving
Self-Help for Petrol Junkies
Tolerating automobile apartheid

27 April 2006

Monoculture or creative environments?

  • Usurp creative suburbs and convert them into commercializable Mc Mansion-land
  • Privatise public resources to subsidise unsustainable forms of living.
  • Dysfunctional and out-moded forms of social reproduction
Young, creative, artistic and intellectual parts of a city develop an ambience with time that many others often wish to travel to or join in. In Sydney many of these places fall like dominos when the monoculture of families descend on them. The producers of that urban flair are forced to move out, Mc Mansions are erected and the self-sameness of iconic bland-burbia creeps in. After the right price is achieved for the real estate and the waste land no longer offers the right 'life style' it is time to seek new frontiers and 'get away from it all'.

The suppression of the creative class is actively encouraged by government subsidies ($2.4 billion a year) to the mainstream model. Decision-makers of bygone eras encourage temples of consumerism, theme-parks, the same asphalt parking lots, the same chain stores, the same chain restaurants, the same clogged highways, the same family dwellings from one tip of Australia to the other. The image of infinite opportunity is zealously cultivated. Consuming 3 - 5 worlds' resources is the footprint to have. Water & petrol are not an issue. The rapid rise of single people constituting the bulk of households is not a planning matter. Lip service is paid to encourage 'our young and innovative'.

Manly is undergoing such a transition. The average family tends to 3-4 children, 1-2 dogs & 3-4 cars-family. The breadwinners, dressed up as penguins are delivered at Manly wharf 'plaza' by mum's hummer. Kids & dogs go to day-care. Then the cafes are humming with 'motherhood & meat-pie, blah-blah'. The beach pram parade is congested with kids immobilised, when they could develop their bodies too. At the end of the day it is time to rev the tractor to the 'wish -I -could- live- in Bali- Tuscany- NY etc-house'. Then the new house-extension plans are discussed…

"Talented people seek an environment open to differences. They favor active, participatory recreation over passive, institutionalised forms. They prefer indigenous street-level culture---a teeming blend of cafes, sidewalk musicians, and small galleries and bistros, where it is hard to draw the line between performers and spectators. They crave stimulation, not escape.."
Diversity flourishes best in an authentic and unique environment. The dominant mono-culture rejects people making conscious decisions about their life and not accepting the pre-trodden paths of tradition. Innovation, creativity and productivity will migrate with these individuals to where there are inclusive and diverse human habitats.
Inspired by Richard Florida,The Rise of The Creative Class
Theories of 'gentrification'
Understanding gentrification

25 April 2006

Striped marsh frog

MNLY has previously reported about the striped marsh frog, which is still relatively common in the gardens of Sydney, despite lawn mowers, dogs and cats. Our success with breeding them has progressed from froth to tadpoles with large numbers swimming in the improvised pond.
The secret to their nutritional needs is the common kitchen cockroach. A half dead roach provides them with something which they keenly nibble on and fattens them up.
We imagine a generation of striped marsh frogs raised on, and with an appetite for, cockroaches could be a solution to one of the most visible introduced pest problems.
A more ambitious project is to raise a generation of frogs on a diet of poodle.

20 April 2006

Manly Cabbage Tree Palms

At Dee Why beach they are removing 51 weedy palms (Washingtonia robusta) from their beachside park "…in response to community pressure and the demand for more space as Dee Why's cafe culture and apartment population flourished." The apparent reasons given are that the foreign palms have "sharp and serrated trunks" and "spikes" which are "…a serious safety threat to children". No statement was made if they would be replaced by endemic/local plants. This foreign palm species is also often planted in sub-urbia, harbouring vast amounts of Indian Mynas (pest) and being know to be a 'dirty' palm as it drops things in profusion.

The local Cabbage Tree Palm (Livistona australis) on the other hand used to grow in thick groves on beaches and gullies in the area of the Kay-ye-my clan. After invasion, the 30 m tall trunks were utilised for building, the glossy green fan-tail leaves for weaving and the centre, the 'cabbage' was fed to the pigs. Soon all was used up and only the names remain. Recently Shelley Beach and the Marine Parade had mature palms planted which are struggling to re-establish themselves.
The worry is - yes, they have spikes and yes, leaves fall occasionally, and yes, there is never enough space for all the people of 'café culture'. How did the children and guardians of the indigenous culture deal with spikes and falling leaves? Cut em all down? By that logic one would have to take all the killing vehicles off the roads first.
Picture of Cabbage Tree Palms at Shelley Beach with most bottom leaves removed.

19 April 2006

Petrol or penguins in an aquatic reserve?

Jet Skis and other motorised watercraft will be banned from the Cape Byron Marine Park. No more aquatic motorbikes fuming out the air, endangering swimmers and surfers around Brunswick Heads and Lennox Head.
Manly Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve often has Jet Skis, Yachts and other motorised watercraft parking there and speeding through. This is a danger especially for the Little penguins. One day they'll ban these petrol powered crafts on Manly's shores too. Does anyone know if motoring on top of an aquatic reserve is legal?

Sydney: 70 more dwellings a day...

While the habitat of all non-human species is incinerated and the huge dome of pollution mingles with the cosy fire-place odours, they decide to go mega-city. More than 70 dwellings a day for the next 25 years are to be built. For a water and oil vulnerable city this proposed horizontal and vertical sprawl sounds unsustainable. Already now, there is hardly a dwelling without a building proposal or a noisy building site. The present infrastructure is a prime example that 'cities on a budget' become dysfunctional. Sydney refugees attempt to conquer more lebensraum in the 'bush' or along the sand dunes. Taking their proudly unsustainable life pattern with them.
The rape of Sydney continues...
Check out your ecological footprint

Oil, money, speed & death

Retiring on a $400 Million (oil) Package ?…till then paying peak prices on the roads and off the roads. Deadly roads full of speeding, drink-drivers that also hit and run and with the odd highway robbery. Surgeons cant's keep up with the mangled, elderly get fined for crossing the roads too slowly.
"All crashes involved drivers doing the wrong thing."

18 April 2006

"Inside Man"

A thriller that appears like 'the perfect bank robbery', but isn't. Playing with pre-conceptions, the plot entices the viewer to engage, getting as close to participatory media as a movie can get. The two heroes are not of the 'shoot first, think later' type, proudly stuck in restricted code. Here, both heroes master complex contexts in a contemporary metropolitan (N.Y.) situation. The use of cultural literacies by detective (Denzel Washington) is cool. The bank robber (Clive Owen) is in charge, works the gadgets and has a very distinct ethics.
One is reminded, that there are still many elderly beneficiaries about, that have prospered from extracting/expropriating wealth in the 30's in Nazi regimes.(Contested archives). The film offers thrilling and unexpected solutions.
It is on at the Manly Cinemas. BTW Syriana was also very engaging and timely.
Inside Man, trailer, viewer's reviews
Manly Cinemas
Update: Archives now opened, more here