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

14 April 2006

Visualising nuclear bunker busting

To visualise the impact of bursting bunkers in oil rich areas with 'Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrators' the Union of Concerned Scientists has prepared this animation for you. A must watch, before you go for your easter drives.
(via Pacific Views)

'US Could Use Limited Nuclear Weapons in Iraq'
or What arms control treaties?

13 April 2006


Double rainbow at Manly today. More on (secondary) rainbows here.

12 April 2006

Mothers - go for gold!

Despite that the nation's fertility rate has jumped to a 10-year high, (abc) a government leader is urging to have a third child 'for the country'. Maybe a bronze Motherhood Cross for the fourth, silver for six and gold for eight?
Meanwhile child abuse and neglect are increasing in Australia, but the high price of petrol is of more concern to Australians. (abc) 'Getting away from it all'…for Easter in their suburban tractors (video) to increase the 'toll'.

Australia is in the midst of the biggest baby boom in its history 01012012

10 April 2006

Earth penetrators

"The US has rejected suggestions that it might be preparing to use nuclear weapons against targets in Iran." (BBC) OPEC's second largest oil producer with the largest natural gas reserves will not be blasted with the "Mother Of All Bombs" (Massive Ordnance Air Burst), despite them being moved to this area. (Cnn). This research paper outlines the immediate consequences of such a military intervention. More reading on the effects of nuclear Earth penetrators is available here. Details also on 'Hard and Deeply Buried Targets'.

09 April 2006

Manly parade

In the absence of walkable neighbourhoods Manly Beach and the Marine Parade leading to Shelley Beach are packed. The people-poodle-pram-stream gets so dense that it moves at shuffle speed. Air, ocean and walkway are fully motorised: the blue sky is assaulted with ads, high speed motors over-power the surf and groups of kids with DIY petrol bikes are on the walkway. Lately even the council races along the walkway with a vehicle (mini moke ?) as well. (Please do not turn it into another World Heritage Magnetic Isld.)
At the northern horizon, endless fires to incinerate the bush in the protection of human habitation. The smog clouds linger and crawl back into the human dwellings. Additionally, the stinking fire-places are lit up at night, just when the the noisy compressors of summer are switched off. At Sth. Steyne beachfront one can admire the large rustic fire in a front garden.
In an eatery, diamond-studded claws (gem-o-cide ) clutch that puggle, feeding it that 'bird-flu-causing-poultry' on their lap. Maybe soon they'll change to the pet of the moment. The petroleum distillates with lots of synthetic aromatics, known as perfumes, are breath-taking.
Despite it all, the surf, the birds and Manly Beach are awesome.

05 April 2006

Killer Transport or rational decision making

"Last year, 520 people died on NSW roads...153 people were killed" so far this year. Elsewhere cars are tracked for speeding via networked GPS. The choice is obvious, 'the individual's right to speed' or the right to be transported and live. A structural, systemic decision.

Caring for Country, People and Place

'Caring for Country, People and Place' is the theme of the Bilarong Cultural Festival, 8 & 9 APRIL 2006 at North Narrabeen. Looks like the clebration of Indigenous arts, music and Spirit is worth participating in.

04 April 2006

Happenings at the shoreline

A White-bellied Sea-Eagle was soaring over the shore today. With a wingspan of 2 m this bird of prey scanned the Marine reserve in one swoop. A noisy jet-ski at Shelly Beach racing off to the Northern beaches made the bird disappear.
Back on the walkway, desperate curved hands rolling nicotine, putting out the burn with lots of tinny. At the end, all is generously left in the bush.
Health-conscious parents jogging by with prams, stacking their 3-4 children against the glaring sun. The infants are in total isolation chambers (sensory deprivation), the toddlers and older ones are prevented from developing their muscles and coordination system. In between white fluffy balls yelping and hunting dogs yearning to get their teeth into the last Bandicoot.
Back at Manly beach, the sound-scape of generators, pneumatic drills and cement cutters battling with the surf.

On gardening the mind

"…Most gardens reject the local environment."

The Old Country, Australian Landscapes, Plants and People, George Seddon, Cambridge University Press 2005, p.83 (Manly Library, 581.994 SED)

03 April 2006

Stuff that grows here

Overseas friends often ask what Australian food consists of, what is special here that one cannot eat anywhere else in the world. So tonight's dinner was all local tucker: Steamed Bunya 'nuts', Davidson's Plum sauce and Midyims.
The giant Bunya Pine (50 m) can get up to 600 years old and actually is a living fossil from the dinosaur time. The Aboriginal owners held huge feasting ceremonies in Queensland and NSW. The larger than a pineapple cone consists of delicious 'nuts'. There is still a large endemic forest in Qld., but there are many pines all over Sydney.
The only Australian 'plum'(Davidson pruriens) is actually a tall rainforest tree, that bears many burgundy tangy plums (6 cm) from its stem. There are even a few on the main streets of Manly. The one in our garden is popping a lot of fruit at the moment.
The beautiful mauve speckled Midyim (Austromyrtus dulcis) used to grow densely all over the NSW coast. Now only few remain on the north coast. A juicy, tasty snack behind sand dunes. I am sure, Blue Tongue loves them too.
BTW the froth is really coming on!