Archive for the ‘ Animals ’ Category

It’s a hard day’s night

And she was panting like a dog…

It all started at something like 3 or 4am. Managed to stay awake for four. Woke up and counted five. Everyone’s a bit tired but queen and kittens are doing well.

Is this what we can expect?

Second time round, and the girl cat is so ridiculously preggas, it’s almost a worry! She has become a monolith. A gut so massive, my year ten home room teacher, nicknamed “Barrel”, would be jealous. The girl can’t even act as a cat any more; it’s just one weird pose after another to take the pressure of that Zepplin of a tum!

So much for GillardGate being a vast right wing conspiracy

Andrew Bolt sets the record straight as to where the information on the AWU/Slater&Gordon scandal is coming from… and it ain’t from the Right.

There is a determined campaign by Labor and its media allies to portray the scrutiny on this scandal and on Gillard as a Liberal plot, a Murdoch press gotcha, or the malevolent muck-rucking of disreputable “shock-jocks” and cartoonists.In fact, the scandal was recently raised in Parliament by former Labor Attorney-General Robert McClelland. It is being researched by a former Socialist Left unionist turned lawyer Harry Nowicki. It has been given fresh momentum [by] a former Slater & Gordon partner Nick Styant-Browne, It has been kept alive by allegations by former AWU officials Ralph Blewett and Bob Kernohan. The most devastating indictment was an affidavit by then AWU national secretary Ian Cambridge, now a Gillard-appointed judge of Fair Work Australia. The man who gave me the most damaging insight into the affair was another senior AWU official. The story has recently been pursued by Fairfax’s Financial Review.

That’s right. The actual content, the info, the facts, the guts of this scandal is coming from… the Left! Leftists who are are also fed up with this travesty.

Because as much as some of the Gillard Luvvies in the media and elsewhere would like to dismiss this for their team, this isn’t actually a left/right issue.

It’s a criminal issue, a trust issue, a judgement issue, an integrity issue.

So enough of this shooting the messenger BS.

BTW, that link also contains more info from the excerpts in the post below.

Compensate our beef exporters, Julia

Australia’s live cattle export trade was almost brought to its knees last year when the Gillard government, in a knee-jerk reaction, temporarily banned it after shocking footage was aired on the ABC.

The timing couldn’t have been worse – just as cattle were being loaded onto the boats.

The timing of the ABC 4Corners report raised a few eyebrows as well. A report they’d been sitting on since January of last year was aired in the worst possible month, June.

Further investigation revealed that whilst the footage was in no way doctored, it was not representative, either.

Naturally, once all the facts came to light, the trade was allowed to resume. But the damage had been done. A government that should have had more information at its fingertips than a graphic, yet sensationalist current affairs report, had acted.

And the cattle industry wants them to pay for their stupid, short-sighted, ill-informed mistake.

Now the government is secretly trying to head off class action by legal firm Minter Ellison, which is acting on behalf of beef producers demanding compensation, the ABC’s 7.30 program reported tonight.

The law firm did not comment on the program but the amount sought is reportedly worth hundreds of millions.

Why secretly?

But yeah. No worries. The government’s mistake that the taxpayer will have to pay for…

There goes Julia and Wayne’s budget’s cash handout freebies.

The beer drinking black bear bandit

Who says nature is that fragile? Here’s on of Gaia’s favourites with its priorities firmly in place.

A LARGE black bear may have overstayed its welcome in a Florida neighbourhood after stealing beer and prowling around a local bar.

A resident who live at Highbanks Marina in De Bary, Florida, 48km north of Orlando, said the unwanted visitor – thought to weigh at least 136kg – recently made off with a case of beer he had left on his back porch, reported today.

Can’t blame the bear. The weather’s been warming up lately, and who doesn’t love an ice cold beer?

American readers should note, however, Aussie bears can handle the harder stuff.

Oh, FFS. ANY red meat is bad now?!

The perils of having among one’s peers a significant number of Arts graduates? The following crap was posted all over my facebook news feed today:

A new Harvard study suggests that eating any amount—and any kind of red meat, significantly increases the risk of premature death.

You're going down, cow!

Well. Shut the door. It’s a HARVARD study. See you in the next life, McDonald’s. It was fun while it lasted, Sizzler’s. At least I got to try some kangaroo once.

Ninemsn diligently picked up on it, too (and if you check google around the time of posting, so did others).

Eating a portion of processed red meat daily can boost a person’s risk of dying young by up to 20 per cent, says a long-running US study of more than 120,000 people.

Woah! Not just Harvard but a whopping 120,000 people tested by Harvard.

I might as well go fire bomb the butcher’s shop right now. He’s not just killing Daisy, he’s killing ME!

But as I commented on FB, “Well, that’s your choice … but before flying in the face of millions of years of evolution as an omnivore species – a trait that played no small part in giving us dominion over the planet – it might be wise to first check any counter arguments to such an alarming claim.”

Wait. What? CHECK it? This is Harvard. It was in the media. Surely a ninemsn journo would try and bring us a balanced report, right? If there was any checking to be done, it would have been done already.

No, just more of the same… in the same article.

A separate study, also led by Hu but published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, found that men who drank sugar-sweetened beverages daily faced a 20 per cent higher risk of heart disease than men who did not.

Just put a warning label on everything I say! That way we’ll be safe, saved from ourselves, and will live forever.

Wait. Where was I? Ah, yes. CHECKING.*

How did the researchers test the dangers of meat? Through a survey and questionnaire. This wasn’t some deep and complex lab work.

As for the ability to demonstrate a cause and effect relationship between red meat and mortality? Those claims are impossible. Always remember Research 101: Correlation does not equal causation.


A frickin’ survey? A frickin’ questionaire?

That’s it?!?!

And on top of that, the test group were ALL doctors and nurses.

I agree with the assertion made in that last link. I love them, but they don’t always work the most convenient hours (exercise, sleep, access to quality food or crappy hospital food?) and thus might not have the healthiest bodies. And besides, doctors and nurses are hardly representative of the entire population.

And as for the drinks? Sigh, everybody knows downing too much Coke isn’t good, but again, was that survey done using extensive lab testing, scientific rigour?


Just another stupid survey.


*And note, the folks who checked the Harvard survey, are partners with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. If red meat’s good enough to help Lance win seven Tours de France, then it’s good enough for anyone.

Or what? My next steak is gonna…? You know…


Someone called Molly on FB, a FB acquaintance of my FB acquaintance, says it well.

I don’t claim to know the answer, but James B. is onto something with that last comment. If you look at the design of the study, it was observationally based and not an experiment. The participants were asked to report how often, on average, they consumed certain meat products over the course *of the previous year*. I can barely remember what I ate yesterday. Some questions were asked of participants every four years. They also changed/refined the categories of process/unprocessed meats over the course of the study and included ground beef as “unprocessed.” Anyone who’s read about the preponderance of Pink Slime in the last couple of weeks will wonder about that designation.

The self-reports revealed that the people who ate read meat were also a group who exercised less, smoked more, and drank more. Should we conclude that red meat makes you a lazy, smoking, alcoholic? Probably not. The conclusion is that it’s not clear whether the increased mortality rates were due to red meat or an overall unhealthy lifestyle.

And she was kind enough to link to another site, Mark’s Daily Apple, that takes a look at the Harvard study.

But if you’ve been hanging around the nutrition world for very long, you’ve probably realized by now that health according to the media and health according to reality are two very different things—and even scientific studies can be misrepresented by the researchers who conduct them. Is our latest “killer meat” scare a convincing reason to ditch red meat? Is it time to put a trigger lock on your lethal grass-fed beef when the young’uns are around? Or is there more to this story than meats the eye? (Sorry, I had to.)

Observations vs. Experiments

Before we even dig into what this study found, let’s address an important caveat that the media—and even the researchers, unless they were terribly misquoted—seem to be confused about. What we’ve got here is a garden-variety observational study, not an actual experiment where people change something specific they’re doing and thus make it possible to determine cause and effect.

That link goes into quite some detail.


Kinda related (not really) but inquiring minds still deserve to know: facebook at its best.

Via JM

Discussion needed on foreign state-owned farm ownership, but perhaps avoid the “hyperbowl”

So the MP With Australia’s Best Interests at Heart, none other than independent Tony Windsor, has thrown his authentic Akubra into the ring and said his two cents about the issue of Chinese state-owned firms buying up Australia’s farms.

“We shouldn’t debate about stopping foreign investment – no one is going to do that – but should foreign governments have freehold ownership over our land?

It’s something we should debate and look at the distinction between state-owned buyers and others.

And a cursory google search finds all sorts of alarming press about the Chinese government investing in and buying huge swathes of our farmland, including the notable ABC special report provocatively entitled, “Selling the Farm to China”.

Foreign interests including state-owned companies from China and the Middle East are increasingly looking to Australia to secure their food production by purchasing key agricultural assets.

The sale of agricultural land is exempt under Foreign Investment Review Board regulations and the FIRB’s attention is usually triggered only by the sale of companies whose assets exceed a $231 million threshold.

And many are right to be concerned about state-run Chinese firms cashing in on Australia’s farms, but is Liberal senator Bill Heffernan (concerned, in the report above) not playing perhaps a bit of politics here?

It would be wise to keep this in a little perspective. Even when investing as little as $1, state-owned enterprises (SOE) have to have approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Why’s that important? Because most of the investments from China come from SOEs, so that $231 million threshold doesn’t apply, and nor does the exemption for agricultural land.

And this:

ABS released some land ownership data based on a survey of 11,000 agricultural businesses recently and the study found 89pc of the surveyed agricultural land was entirely Australian owned, while 92pc was majority Australian owned.

So not that much land is full or part foreign owned, and most of that has been approved by the FIRB because at least in China’s case, those investments are from the Chinese state so you can’t really go around attacking China on this one.

For sure, we don’t really know exactly how much farmland Chinese SOEs own, and that’s something that should definitely be rectified, but you can be rest assured it’s not that much, most likely nowhere near proportional to the panic generated over it.

If people still want to get worked up, be at some sections of our media, notably one that doesn’t mind the odd bit of exaggeration when it comes to their rural reporting.

Most of us were suckered in to that one for a while.

Let’s hope we’ve learned and don’t get suckered into this one, too.

Flood evacuations lead to new spider overlords

OK. So the latest reports have the residents of Wagga Wagga returning home, but it’s not just flood damage they’ll have to contend with.

Local spiders escaping from the rising waters have made higher land their new domain. And by spiders, we’re talking lots of spiders… with massive spider webs!


(Image: Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

In other news…

Seriously, nothing much happened news-wise today. I checked on the smartfone whilst getting a haircut…


Anything half-decent has already been posted in recent comments.

But yes, last night (27th) was rather a special one. April did finally have her kittens. Four in all. Two have her white colouring and two have Azzy’s grey/blue colouring (and howzat? born exactly one year after Azzy (Aslan), too).

First one popped out a bit after 7:30pm blog time, the next around 15 minutes later at ten to, the next at about a quarter past, and we thought that was it until another decided to say hi at about a quarter past eleven.

They all came out fine which was a relief (even though Lady Bingbing hates me mentioning a lot of my relief comes from the fact we can sell them for around 500 bucks a pop in a couple of months). The last one seemed a bit touch and go for a minute or two, and I had to cut the umbilical cord of the first.

April aka the milk machine is resting up outside their box at the moment, and, well, so is lady BB (yes, this is the second night LBB’s fallen asleep right outside the kitteh box)..

TBH, the kittens first looked more like mice than baby cats.

Anyway, here’s a pic. Hope it’s not too graphic (heck, some of the first ones… eek!)

Seven members of this animal house are sleeping now, and a movie just started. With any luck, I’ll chuck a few posts up tomorrow, but with the day off and everyone home… hmm, feel free to use this post as a discussion board also i.e. for other news. Heck, that’s what the title says. :-)

With the way Gillard is spending, how CAN Abbott possibly commit to a return to surplus timetable?

OK. I get it. Opposition leader Tony Abbott, before the last election, did commit to return Gillard’s budget deficit to surplus within one term.

But that commitment simply isn’t possible now for two main reasons.

1. The budget deficit is much higher that the initial $6 billion Abbott committed to returning to surplus.

2. With gross national debt (and yes, this does affect the budget) skyrocketing at around $2 billion per week, budget debt rising fast too, and uncertainty as to exactly what week this government will fall, it would be foolish and impossible to try and dream up some sort of timetable now. Timetables require a costing/spending plan. You need to start out with a total, but nobody knows exactly what that total will be when this mess finally comes to an end.

Mr Abbott said the Coalition wasn’t in a position to make a similar pledge as it did at the last election, when it promised to post a $6 billion surplus by 2012-13.

“Now since then a lot’s happened and as you know for the current financial year the government originally predicted a $12 billion deficit, then it went out to $24 billion and now it’s gone out to $37 billion.

Imagine what that budget debt would be if sneaky Wayne Swan hadn’t taken the NBN out of budget calculations.

Our reefs love global warming

Andrew Bolt:

Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is the world expert in forecasting warming doom for the Great Barrier Reef – crying wolf again and again.

This Ove Hoegh-Guldberg bloke, as Bolt readers would know, has been trying to scare the kiddies with tales of reef doom and gloom caused by global warming for years  now.

Thus, it was refreshing to read this in the Australian today (and it’s not the first finding of this sort by any means, either).

A GOVERNMENT-RUN research body has found in an extensive study of corals spanning more than 1000km of Australia’s coastline that the past 110 years of ocean warming has been good for their growth.

The findings undermine blanket predictions that global warming will devastate coral reefs, and add to a growing body of evidence showing corals are more resilient than previously thought, up to a certain point.

Love the little disclaimer at the end there, but let’s move on.

The researchers found that, contrary to their expectations, warmer waters had not negatively affected coral growth. Quite the opposite, in fact: for their southern samples, where ocean temperatures are the coolest but have warmed the most, coral growth increased most significantly over the past 110 years. For their northern samples, where waters are the warmest and have changed the least, coral growth still increased, but not by as much.

And I love how it’s the government-run Australian Institute of Marine Science who made these findings. That doesn’t fit the narrative!


One has to wonder, but. Why did it take a whole swathe of scientists to work out that coal reefs like warm water more than cold? One would think that’s kind of obvious.

The article goes on to state that our fishies love warmer water, too. Hardly a surprise for cold-blooded creatures whose metabolisms (growth rates) benefit from this. In fact, fish farms often make the water warmer to obtain bigger yields.


Now, there’s dispute as to whether our oceans actually are warming (like the above article states) or not – and you can look that up yourself if my claim is really such a pressing issue for you – but to this layman, the fishies can handle it anyway, just as they’ve handled temperature, sometimes acute temperature fluctuations in the past. After all, our fishies can handle night and day and migrate from warmer to cooler to warmer waters all the time.

What would actually worry me, or at least intrigue me is if ocean temperatures suddenly became static.

Besides, apart from a few mad Russians, who likes swimming in cold water?

How much would you pay for a pigeon?

You know, those sky rats…

Well? How much?

What someone actually did pay for a pigeon is below the fold. Continue reading

Who would win?

Until I see how this super gecko matches up in a fight to the death with a mutant hybrid shark, I will not be satisfied.

Seal showdown

Efforts by the EU to save the planet are resulting in emancipated seals.

It involves lawyers.

Horrified by mental images of baby seals being clubbed to death by merciless Inuit, the EU a while back banned all seal products being imported (even from countries states within the EU which technically means those products aren’t being “imported”… but anyway).

This earth-saving gesture did not only destroy one industry in Greenland – the baby seal clubbing industrial complex – but it also wrecked havoc on the fishing industry, a not so trivial pursuit for people who live on a freezing island with bugger all animals and bugger all in general… except fish.

And ice.

And I hope someone is sending them tartar sauce.

  • Not killing seals equals more seals which equals less fish.

Bad luck if you’re a tartar sauce magnate.

But where the Tabasco really starts to get pumped down the dickhole, is that the progressive EU has also signed various scraps of toilet paper affirming indigenous peoples’ rights (seriously, who the fuck isn’t indigenous on this planet?)

The Danish commonwealth (Denmark owns [the Danish own] Greenland’s arse*) is legally bound to protect, in essence, the baby seal clubbing industrial complex but it can’t because the idiots signed up to the EU which banned the baby seal clubbing industrial complex run by indigenous peoples whom the EU are also legally bound to protect, and by “protect”, we mean allowing those said Inuit to continue their time-honoured – sacred? – tradition of clubbing baby seals.

*Do you fucking get it yet???

You’d think the polar bears would just eat the seals, but remember, they are endangered.

And they can’t swim.

And not even polar bears want to live in Greenland.

Thus, efforts to save the planet have resulted in precisely… lawyers.

And people unemployed.

And starving baby seals.

And on this day, the planet did not give a single fuck.

Because it’s a planet. It’s a rock with shit growing and living on it. But a baby seal and a lawyer are not planets.

Or sentient.

Look, I “get” the warmy argument. Life is fragile. Most planets can’t possibly hope to support life.

We fart and all life will discontinue its existence here too.

Except is hasn’t in literally almost the entire 4.3 billion year existence of this planet.

You love nature? Nature is all powerful?


And be rest assured that if it needs to, it will wipe us all out and not a single lawyer or politician need apply for that job.

But life hasn’t been wiped out, and we are thriving better than ever.

I dunno – and let’s run with that mindset if only for a brief moment – maybe that’s Gaia actually telling us we’re doing a good job.

Or maybe, I dunno, we should be more concerned about a giant flaming speeding meteor (that’s what an asteroid is after it enters our airspace) than a fucking trace gas that occurs mostly naturally and is actually fucking essential to all life on this planet.

I digress.


Ditch the EU, club baby seals, airlift polar bears if you want to, and stop picking up soap in the world’s jail.

(Thanks to Nilk for the unintended, perhaps, inspiration)

*Chronic weather may be, but acute weather is not climate.*

Just move the damn frog

How many will die or be severely injured because the NSW state government is wringing its hands over a frog?

THE discovery of a single endangered frog has stopped a multi-million dollar upgrade under way on a notorious stretch of the Princes Highway.

The state government suspended works before Christmas following the discovery of the “rare and endangered” green and golden bell frog.

The Department of Roads and Maritime Services had been working on a $62 million widening duplication project on a 6.3km stretch of the highway through South Nowra.

Take a leaf out of Hong Kong’s book already.


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