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May, 2009:

Lake Wendouree – Swimming Not Recommended

It was only a photo similar to the wikipedia one below on Nothing To Do With Arbroath [^] that reminded me about Lake Wendouree.

Lake Wendouree [^] was one of the stand out attractions in Ballarat for Ballarat people. The problem is that despite the name, the lake [^] is dry and has been almost completely bone-dry since October 2006 – two and half years ago. 

To add insult to injured pride the “lake” experienced several fires over summer (Ballarat’s Courier Newspaper [^] and The ABC [^]). All of this got overshadowed by the outbreak of the more serious Victorian Bushfires in February. If it wasn’t so serious it would be funny.

Lake Wendouree - No Swimming

It is sad to hear that the lake has suffered such indignities. I spent a good few afternoons wandering around Lake Wendouree while I was in Ballarat. And there may have been the odd late-night ramble past it on the way home from a night out on the town. Let’s hope that the lake is soon returned to it’s former glory.

Toilet Paper Canned

This is one of those story’s that you wouldn’t believe unless it came from a good source. The ABC, Australia’s national broadcaster, has run a story about a school that has pulled the toilet paper [^] out of the toilet blocks.

Magda Sorbent Fast Forward

The school in question is Glossop High School’s middle campus, in South Australia’s Riverland. Apparently the decision is a temporary response to a spate of vandalism. “Dunny dockets” are still available on request from members of staff, but who would want to ask?.

This reminds me of the series of skits on the comedy show Fast Forward (click on photo above for the skit on youtube) by Magda Szubanski that parodied a Sorbent Toilet Paper ad. The parodies were so successful that the comedienne ended-up starring in her own TV ad for Sorbent [^].

Rules for Time Travel

After years of reading and watching science fiction, fantasy, and other time-travelling fiction it’s nice to know that someone has had a serious think about some rules.  Discover magazine, propelled by the latest Star Trek movie, has published a list of 10+1 time travel rules [^] that should be followed to maintain current scientific accuracy. 

The first, and probably most telling rule is the rebuttal of the fiction favourite: the time travel paradox. Reality simply doesn’t allow for paradoxes. Two contradictory, mutually exclusive outcomes from one event (like the Grandfather Paradox [^]) cannot exist simultaneously.

What is really interesting is the amount of serious discussion that this article has provoked. Especially as the article notes that this is an area that is still in it’s infancy in the highly theoretical realm.

Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine as Spock and Kirk

There is one thing that I am sure of, and that is that writers will never let some new theory get in the way of a good plot!

As for Star Trek [^], well it is one of the better Star Trek movies. It’s big, noisy, and enjoyable. And it doesn’t always take itself too seriously, quite a bit of which is down to “Bones” McCoy and Simon Pegg’s “Scotty”.

The one gripe that I have about the film is the completely unexplained “Red Matter”. Come on guys couldn’t you explain that a bit – it’s like there’s five minutes of tape missing. We don’t know what it is or where it comes from even at the end of the movie, and this is a key part of the story!

The 2009 Star Trek movie seem to be a good entry point for non-Trekkies/-Trekkers, and a fantastic excuse for a spot of revision. Oh, yes there is a time-travel twist in the movie, but it might not be as good as Discover’s:

“Spock travels to the past and gets a sex change and becomes Kirk’s grandfather lover”.

Tilt-Shifted AEC Bus

I have mentioned tilt-shift photgraphy before with the Monster Truck Rally [^]. Well now everyone can turn their own photos into something similar with the tilt-shift generator [^] at Art&Mobile. All I need to do know is go and dig out some more suitable photos to play with.

MET Liveried AEC Bus

MET Liveried AEC Bus

This is my first attempt, a photo of a MET liveried AEC Bus.  The bus was was running a shuttle service between the Yarra Valley Railway’s [^] Healesville station and the Healesville Memorial Hall during the 2009 Healesville Railway Show.

This Melbourne & Metropolitan Tamways Board AEC Regal III was in service on Melbourne’s inner city routes from the time it was built in the 1953 through until the mid 1980s. The bus still has the posters and advertisements that it would have had when it left service with the MET, which is in itself a practical history lesson.

Salvaging Flight 1549

Wired have just run a story about the salvage operation [^] for US Air Flight 1549.

US Air 1549 was the flight that landed on New York’s icy Hudson River [^] in January 2009. Luckily all 155 people on board survived, mostly due to the skill of the pilot, Chesley Sullenberger, and quick thinking ferry operators.

US Air 1549 - Stephen Mallon

Interestingly only one photographer, Stephen Mallon [^], was allowed to take photos of the salvage operation.  And as the Wired article points out, the release of even these photos was almost stopped by legal action.