Tuesday, July 17, 2012


It is becoming alarming just how our language is misrepresenting actual reality. The computer was promoted as the tool that would allow offices to be paperless. Now we have 'wireless technology.' Just as the amount of paper used has grown exponentially, so too has the increase in the number of cables needed to keep the wireless gadgets charged. There is some chat about trying to get some standardisation in this equipment, but like those dreams of compatibility across all platforms, this seems to be a hopeful dream that will never become fact. The real worry is that if we continue to allow our language to perpetuate such hoaxes as this, what future is there for anything sensible to occur? Even the old 'wireless' didn't have the complication of cables that we see today!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


The following report in The Australian, July 13, 2012, by Aviation writer Steve Creedy, is interesting not only because of the subject of the piece, but also because of its language and logic. The implication is that the introduction of tablet technology into the cockpit will make an environmental difference to the operation. The new technology - cunningly promoted by brand of tablet twice in two sentences, complete with detailed specifications but no price - will apparently reduce the quantity of paper used and the weight carried on each flight. Wow!

Qantas pilots turn to iPads in a move designed to improve communication

QANTAS will deploy 2200 iPads to its pilots in a move designed to improve communication and data access while cutting down on cockpit paper.
The 64Gb iPads with 3G connectivity are also expected to provide about $1.5 million in annual savings through a combination of reduced printing and distribution costs as well as weight saving of about 20kg per aircraft.

The message seeks to give the classic ‘good news’ message of a ‘win-win’ situation: improved efficiency with money saved, with less paper used and less fuel wasted. It also clearly promotes one brand of tablet. It is the sort of language frequently used for positive ‘environmental’ promotional and sales messages.

The concern is that like most environmental and sales messages, this looks like a cynical public relations exercise in a ‘feel-good’ advertorial story rather than reporting on genuine concerns with real outcomes.

While the matter of latent tablet sales advertising is a concern, one has to ask: is weight on flights so critically managed that the effort to save 20kg on each flight is required – even considered? Forgetting about that person who always seems to be able to get the enormous bag on board as hand luggage that never fits, when you have struggled so hard to keep yours to size and weight, one only has to think about the other concern of personal size - that extra-large individual who nearly always has been given the seat next to you. Both these situations go unmanaged, randomly adding who knows how many ‘kg’s to the flight, all while we are asked to believe that Qantas is working so hard to be totally responsible in reducing its weight by 20kg. No, surely not. Is the main aim tablet sales? Has a deal been done here? Gosh, the decorative paint on an aeroplane weighs hundreds of kilograms.

Environmental matters are a weighty issue, but this media release seems to be a flippant game in manipulation of opinion on brands rather than a serious response to a real issue. Environmental matters only become degraded by such approaches. They become jokey when they are really much more serious, allowing others to treat these matters with a sceptical disdain - and why not?

 We need to manage these issues with much more rigour and responsibility if we expect others to respond accordingly, and act appropriately. Linking sales promotions to environmental concerns is a dangerous business that degrades both sides of the campaign. Has anyone asked about the embodied energy used in the manufacturing and distribution of the technology quoted? Has anyone asked about the batteries that these tablets use? What happens to the tonnes of batteries used every day? In Australia, with any luck, they find their way directly into landfill with other general waste. Who cares? The smart technology and stories like this only serve to distract us from such serious issues that need attention. The whiz and bang of wonder games and feel-good yarns keep us content with our entertainments, until a newer model arrives with better stories and faster outcomes. Who cares about anything else? We should.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


 Further to the A ROAD IS NOT A ROAD article- see http://springbrooklocale.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/road-is-not-road.html - the street images above and below are published here to illustrate the point made about roads and character. More simply: not all roads have the same character; nor should they be alike. Those that have a unique charm, scale and/or context need to be managed differently to other thoroughfares, in the same way as a private lane has no requirement to become a super highway.

The first image, (above), is also published here for the historical record. This quaint 'ROAD NARROWS - 25KPH - ROAD CLOSED TO THRU TRAFFIC' sign has now been removed. It is likely that it, and signs like it, will never be seen again. Did it go to the heritage section for future display? Is there a heritage section in the Council?

The images published here have been taken from Google Street View that still displays the sign in its' location. Even though the sign has gone, the road has not changed. It is still a narrow, twisting and steep track, open on one side to the bushland reserve. The sign was taken away after Council was asked to enforce its' messages. Instead of showing any sensitivity to place and purpose, Council appears to have opted to get rid of the controls that were thought necessary when the road was constructed. Council's only interest seems to be in avoiiding any effort that might be needed to keep the street safe and its' character in place. The simple proposition appears to be: Who cares? Certainly not the Gold Coast City Council or the local Councillor. The response is that this is a public road just like every other one the coast: if only!. Even the suggestion of some simple controls on traffic flows along this hill track have been rejected - mocked.

This is Wairoo Street in Division 12. Alas, one can only expect more of the same neglect and disregard for any road at Springbrook, Division 9 - World Heritage of not: road kill or not.

One must ponder the legal implications of Council's removal of this sign should there be any accident that might have been avoided if the information and controls had been left in place and enforced. Council's responsibility for native flora and fauna needs to be considered as well. While the images of quaint tracks, rainforest and bushland, and birds, koalas and lizards all appear in their beauty and colour on the promotional tourist brochures, they are not given much care or attention beyond this hype.
Going up. . . .

Vista from hill over Burleigh Heads developments - typical of the Gold Coast character

Coming back down . . .

Springbrook can be seen in the distance through the wires.

This street offers one of the few vistas of the Hinterland regions from the coast but Council refused to listen to or act on the suggestion that available land here should become open parkland that could connect green areas in the district and offer this mountain prospect for visitors to enjoy. Such is life on the Gold Coast. One gets the feeling that there is some regret that the coast has any bushland reserves at all when the only driving force seems to be growth - growth in both population and numbers of tourists, never the trees.

The great worry for Springbrook is that it will be consiered only as a location that has to have its' roads 'improved' rather than as a UNESCO World Heritage location, and all that this means fof the management of this region.

For more on tourism and the environment see KILLING FOR LOVE OF PROFIT and WHO OR WHAT IS A TOURIST?:
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There are four articles in Google News today, Thursday, 12th July 2012, that spell out very clearly the terrible present state of things environmental. These reports have come together only because of the daily news cycle. They highlight the raw and careless cynicism in our world that seeks only profit, and is prepared to ignore all necessary responsibility for outcomes, while seeking to gain from the promotion of the ideals of sustainability, and the care and concern for our world’s future.

One has to do with the false advertising of a duck producer:
CONSUMER authorities are suing Australia's largest duck producer after activists filmed its ''open range'' ducks crowded into dirty pens, some of them covered in faeces with their wing-stubs caught in metal grates.

One has to do with the fate of a baby panda in Tokyo:zoo:
The death of a baby panda in Japan stopped regular television programming and brought a Tokyo zoo director to tears yesterday, a week after its birth sent ripples of excitement across the nation.
Newscasts had dedicated a nightly segment to the male cub's daily activities since his birth on July 5, with retailers unveiling a host of panda-themed products in celebration.

 The next has to do with the super trawler seeking registration in Australia to allow it to fish in our territory:
It will be flagged to Australia to be eligible to fish for a quota of about 18,000 tonnes of mackerel and redbait, to be block frozen whole on board and exported, Parlevliet's joint venture partner Seafish Tasmania said.
The 142-metre trawling giant has a 200-metre long net with an opening measuring 75 by 35 metres. It has a freezing capacity of 200 tonnes a day.
Australian fishers have long sought to exploit the country's so-called "small pelagics", which are prey for bigger fish such as tuna and marlin.

 The last article seems to sum it up. It has to do with the bulldozing of thousands of rare turtle eggs:
KINGSTON: Thousands of leatherback turtle eggs and hatchlings have been crushed by heavy machinery on a beach in Trinidad.
Conservationists said the beach was widely regarded as the world's most dense nesting area for the biggest species of living sea turtles, which is endangered.
Government work crews with bulldozers were redirecting the Grand Riviere, a shifting river that was threatening a hotel.
The hotel was full of tourists who had come to Trinidad to see the tiny leatherback hatchlings head for the surf. Instead, they saw injured hatchlings dying.

The duck producer seemed happy to promote his barn-raised ducks as:
duck meat as ''Grown Nature's Way'' and indicating that their ducks ''were allowed to spend at least a substantial amount of their time with access to an outdoor body of water … foraging for food outdoors'', and were of better quality than barn-raised ducks when ''that was not the case''.

While talking about the excitement and news interest in the first baby panda to be conceived naturally, the text continues on breathlessly to report on the ‘panda-themed products’ that were on sale as part of the celebration. The panda had immediately become a marketable item. The text suggests that there is some sadness at the loss of this market opportunity, leaving one with mixed messages on the meaning of the birth for the world.

The super trawler leaves one gob smacked at the statistics. Why would anyone believe that the extraction of such quantities of fish could ever be sustainable? Why would a country allow such a devastation of its fisheries? Our prime minister has already leapt into the fray:
The venture has been backed by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who said the Australian Fisheries Management Authority would decide on a permit based on the sustainability of the catch.
The real worry is that lists and boxes are just too easily crossed off and ticked when words can be used as shields to justify anything. One should recall that this is the same prime minister, a trained lawyer, who declared Julian Assange guilty even though he had broken no Australian law.

The fate of the turtles seems to say it all. The bulldozers were redirecting a river that was threatening the hotel that was erected for the tourists to come to see this rare and endangered species hatch. The most important matter was the hotel and the tourists, not the turtles, endangered and rare or not. As Oscar Wilde pointed out: ‘all men kill the thing they love.’ But does this have to be done so blatantly by blind greed and rapacious thoughtlessness?

The message is clear: we will end up with nothing but the ruins of hotels and bands of tourists wandering around looking for the next ‘fix’ if we do not act now to ensure a coherence and integrity in our attitude to this world and the other lives that share it with us.

Responding thoughtlessly to the declarations of sergeant-major-like screams, and the pomp of the little man, does not give good outcomes, no matter how the actor might pretend to believe in the gravity of the pronouncements. Queensland needs to be vigilant. Springbrook is too special to be allowed to be managed carelessly, just as the sergeant-majors are:


The articles can be read in full at:

see also WHO OR WHAT IS A TOURIST? - http://springbrooklocale.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/who-or-what-is-tourist.html