The Iron Curtain Descends

Sydney goes all Melbourne-like. That is to say the “restrictions” are being made more stasi-like. The iron grip is tightening. An iron curtain is descending. It’s hard not to use something like that famous Churchill quote. But enough iron for now. You get the point.

It is now prohibited to travel more than 10km from your home in the greater Sydney area. This is the same road that the colossal prick Dan Andrews went down when he locked down Melbourne (and many other parts of Victoria) for months when there was absolutely no need to. Apparently covid “cases” are continuing to rise. Now? Eighteen months after covid (supposedly) broke. That is just pathetic. They clearly just want people to take the experimental vaccine. Coerce them. Force them almost. There is no other logical explanation. It is very odd that this renewed panic in Australia (brand new panic in this part of the country really) has come about shortly after the Aussie Prime Minister returned from the G7 shindig in good ol’ England. That is no coincidence.

No idea exactly what the other new restrictions are but will no doubt check it out in due course. It is all so tiresome as we have all heard about what went on in the UK and Spain (as well as Victoria).

Here are a few things to consider;  – and some common sense to go with it.

Surely Supermarket need to be shut right? Completely. This is the main place people rub shoulders with other humans on a regular basis. But of course they cannot do that. Imagine the panic buying. The riots even! And anyway, if supermarket crowds were ever an issue then don’t you think the supermarket staff would be dropping like flies? At least there should be so many “cases” that even these huge users of minimum income labour would struggle to find enough wage-slaves to remain open. Yet remain open they do! All of them! While smaller shops are forced to close the big corporate supermarkets rake in all of our money.

What about the cafes and myriad of other take-away services still operating? Shouldn’t they all be closed down? Let’s be honest here; ask yourself this question. What do you feel safer doing in a so called ‘pandemic’? Walking around a shopping centre without a mask on or getting your food and drink made by a load of people you don’t know? That’s not difficult is it? But again, they don’t want to shut down people’s caffeine fix nor the huge appetite for fast food take-outs. But they do insist on you wearing your muzzle. Like a pet dog.

Then there is the testing. It took them about a year to come up with a test for covid. Forget for a moment that it is far from being exact. Now however, they are suddenly able to tell which “variant” of covid you have. It truly is a miracle eh? Although it seems the test can only tell that you have something they call the ‘Delta Variant’ – as that is the popular one now. Alpha, Beta and Gamma? So last season don’t you know. Then again, ‘The Delta Variant’ is another great name for a rock band or an album eh?

What a crock of shit!

I could go on. I don’t want to dwell on it too much as I don’t want to give it any real credence. But my son will still hopefully read all this when he is older and curious enough. He needs to know what a complete crock of shit this all is (or was).

What I will say however is that if you are reading this outside of Australia I can tell you straight that covid is not, and never has been, an issue here. But don’t take my word for it. It could be as bad as “they” are trying their hardest to make out. Just look at the latest government video on the current situation…Well, if they could get away with it I am sure they would use something like this. Wankers!

Thanks to my friend Neil for reminding me of this one…

(One of many examples o this famous sketch widely available)

So for now, it’s back to the drawing board and plan what we can do….

 

 

Cute, Cuddly and Out of Control. Australia’s Rabbit Plague

Australia has had a problem with European rabbits since their introduction to this isolated continent in the late 19th century. It is estimated that there are approximately 200 million feral rabbits in Australia.

Introduction of Rabbits to Australia

As previously mentioned on this blog (in this post), European rabbits were introduced into the Australian wild in 1859 so that they could be hunted. Thomas Austin, a wealthy settler in Victoria, had 13 wild rabbits sent to him and he let them roam free on his estate. From this small group of rabbits it took just 50 years for the animal to spread across the entire continent. That is simply amazing.

There were so many that they destroyed crops and land, leading to soil erosion. They also contributed to the decline of native plant and animal species. As recently as 1999 the Australian government’s main environmental legislation still listed the effects of feral rabbits as a “threatening process.”

Rabbits adapt very easily. All rabbits need is soil to burrow and short grasses to graze on. Since these conditions are fairly easy to come by even in the desert and outback areas of  Australia. The other thing that makes rabbits so adaptable is their famously rapid and constant reproduction rate. The rabbit population soon became a plague for Australia.

Dealing with the Rabbit Plague

Scientists, farmers, and others have all attempted to get rid of Australia’s rabbit problem. Experts have tried Several techniques have been tried to manage the rabbit population, including fences, poisons, and even introducing diseases; with varying degrees of success.

One of the earliest attempts to control the rabbits was the building of fences. This was done by farmers as well as the government. They even constructed a fence along the entire Western Australian border (north to south). But the rabbits were already in the state so that fence only served to keep them there.

Up to the present day farmers have continually tried to take away the place where the rabbits breed and raise their young – by destroying the rabbit warrens.  This method is only effective for controlling rabbit populations found on local and easily accessible land.

Poisons and Disease

Poisons were once a common method for controlling the rabbit population. Many types of poison have been tried including strychnine and arsenic. One of the main chemicals used to poison rabbits is sodium fluoroacetate, which has a very high mortality rate—more than 90 percent. Carbon monoxide and phosphine are also used to fumigate burrows.

In the 1950s, almost one hundred years after the introduction of rabbits, the government turned to what was effectively biological warfare against the rabbits. They released rabbits infected with myxoma into south eastern Australia. This was the first time a virus had been deliberately introduced to the wild to eradicate an animal. The myxoma virus leads to myxomatosis, a disease that only kills rabbits. Although many rabbits died they eventually developed an immunity to the virus and it became ineffective.

This was a huge experiment in natural selection on an incredible continental scale; and it had failed. If scientists wanted to wipe out the rabbits, they were going to have to try something else.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) is another rabbit-specific pathogen that scientists created in the 1980s. This disease is caused by an RNA (ribonucleic acid) virus transmitted by flies, and it can kill rabbits in 48 hours once contracted. In 1995, this virus was said to have escaped a quarantine facility and made its way to the wild. (Hmm… it does make you wonder eh?) It was officially released a year later in 1996. RHDV (also called calicivirus) lowered rabbit numbers in Australia by up to 90 percent in especially dry areas. But because flies were the main spreader of the virus the disease did not affect rabbits that live in cooler, wetter regions. Also, as with the myxoma virus, the pesky rabbits soon began to develop resistance to RHDV.

And so it continues…

It is a constant battle to control the numbers of rabbits while not destroying the Australian wildlife and landscapes. Introducing viruses into the wild is still thought to be the best, most cost-effective way to reduce rabbit numbers. So called “experts” are still working on new, more  deadly strains of RHDV. The non-indigenous and extremely disruptive rabbit remains a huge problem in Australia. Finding a solution to control their numbers is still imperative.

Mungo National Park – Alternative Video

Same scenery, different music

After I posted the Mungo National Park post with the video I made another, slightly longer version with a different soundtrack. (Actually both tracks are off the same album.)

I think this one is better. The track seems to enhance the alien landscape. What do you think?

The other worldly scenery at ‘The Walls of China’
Mungo National Park, NSW.

There is something both eerie and special about this place. I really loved it there and would go again without a moment’s hesitation. It is definitely in my top five of places that I have seen in Australia (so far). And there’s some pretty stiff competition believe me… I have been to Ayers Rock (aka Uluru) in the days when you could climb to the top, and dived on the Great Barrier Reef (both in a former life). In fact I think I may make a top ten list (of sorts) for a future post.

 

 

Film Review – Buckley’s Chance

The cinemas have closed down again (due to covid – groan!). But just before they closed we all went to see an Australian family movie.

Bill Nighy, that most typically English actor, tries to play an outback sheep farmer in this low budget family movie set in outback Australia. I still can’t understand why they had a British actor playing that part… But I am wandering off the point – already!

Some other people play some other parts… I really can’t remember them as they were not very memorable…

Plot

Not much to it really. Aussie guy, who had moved to the USA years ago, has died and his son and wife go off to the outback to stay with the boy’s estranged grandfather whom they have never met. It seems the boy’s father left under a cloud and never returned to Oz.

The boy does not like his grandfather but they go out for an overnight hike and camp under the stars. After an argument the boy wanders off and finds a dingo caught up in a barbed wire fence. He frees the animal and that’s how the two make a connection later in the movie.

Meanwhile the baddies are trying to buy up part of the grandfather’s sheep station for an oil company. Two of the stupidest villains turn up to burn one of the out buildings one night and the young boy foolishly gets caught up in their wagon and ends up in the middle of nowhere having to escape the clumsy bad guys. That’s when the dingo finds him and they keep each other company.

The mother and grandfather (and just about everyone else) search for him and eventually – SPOILER ALERT!!!! – find him but only with a little help from Skippy. Erm…I mean the dingo…

Bill Nighy was definitely miscast – or just not very good, depending on how you see it – although he played a man of few words so just about got away with a poor Aussie accent. The best acting came from the dingo.

Critique

It was not totally crap but it could have been better. A weak story line really but it was a PG so it was good for Dani. He hadn’t been to the cinema in a while. The main thing I wanted to see was the outback scenery and that never fails to deliver. It was filmed around Broken Hill and they even had a scene in the famous Bell’s Milk Bar that we visited our first time in Broken Hill. A lot of the open scenery is clearly in and around the Mundi Mundi area (where Mad Max 2 was filmed), another place we have visited.

Not my idea of a good film but Dani quite liked it. At least once the Dingo made an appearance. That said the animal was hardly in the movie but managed to do a cheap impersonation of Skippy at that critical point. I will give it one star (out of five) – maybe two for Dani’s sake. (One of them is for the scenery.)

I do think that if Dani was a year older he may not have enjoyed it. So it’s fair to say that it is for younger kids only.

And a plus…I did learn what “Buckley’s chance” means however. If you want to know watch the movie. Or save yourself some money and just google it!