I have decided to go for my PhD.

After exhaustive search of the literature, I have noted there is not a single case of a shark of any species ever having attacked a compass binnacle.

I shall therefore base my thesis on on the proposal that sharks are repelled by magnets. I hypothesise that the field of a reasonably strong magnet will disrupt the sensitive navigational function of their lateral lines.

I shall test this hypothesis by putting a couple of fridge magnets in the pockets of my swim shorts, and going swimming in heavily shark infested waters, which is what Australians call the sea.

This is an exciting project with serious implications for bather safety worldwide. I am eager to get started.

I have “I crossed the Nullarbor” and “buzzy bee” fridge magnets in my pockets,. I’m off for my first field test. In the words of Captain Oates, “I may be some time”.

Architeuthis dux

I remember well my one and only encounter with the great giant squid, Architeuthis dux.

It was long ago, when I was young. So long ago, in fact, it was back in the days of pounds, shillings and pence. If you youngsters know what that means.

I was swimming in the sea near Goat Island when I encountered the huge squid, almost 10 metres long. That’s 32 feet as we called it back then. Huge.

Well this was a deep sea creature and was clearly unwell being washed around in the waves and surface currents. I grabbed a couple of its tentacles and dragged it towards the shore.

With a lot of heaving and hefting I managed to get it into the back of my beach buggy. It was pretty flexible.

I knew what to do. I drove straight to my friend John’s place. Luckily he was home.

I knocked on his door. “John!” I called.

“I’ve got that six quid I owe you”.


The video is out.

You can buy it here or here on line, or ask your local dealer to get it for you.

I think you should.

Vai is a “portmanteau” film made by a group of female Pacific filmmakers, filmed on seven Pacific islands, and In New Zealand. It is about the journey of empowerment through culture over the lifetime of one woman, Vai. The theme of water, it’s ubiquity, it’s power, spiritual significance, connectivity and adaptability is a metaphor throughout the movie for the feminine and for the feminist principle.


One review includes this comment:

The filmmakers developed the script together but nevertheless, the consistency in their interpretation of her character is remarkable. Fierce, stubborn, passionate and strongly connected to her environment wherever she is, she (Vai) pushes at the limits of what women are expected to be at the same time as embodying the traditional feminine values of the region.

There is another very good review here.

Another here. So far I’ve only found very positive reviews.

One of my daughters is one of the directors, so you might expect me to say that her segment was among the best parts of the film, but I am not alone in that opinion. I have heard that said and seen it written by others.

For anyone not familiar with the diversity of cultures around the Pacific, the movie may seem a little bewildering at times because there are not too many specifically scripted explanations of the significance of what is happening in a cultural context. It is all decipherable in context, however, and the one thing viewers need to be aware of is that these cultural differences exist.

One importantly positive aspect is that despite the film being in segments that relate the experiences of the lead character (whose name varies slightly but always translates as “water” in the language used) and despite the character being portrayed by eight different actors of different cultures and different ages, it is easy to follow who she is each time.

What impressed me most is how beautifully this film was shot, with some exquisite camera work and direction, especially considering the limited budget and even more limited time available for rehearsal and shooting. More than one promising young director was involved in making this movie. And some very promising young first time actors also.

Eight and a half stars out of ten, seven if you discount the bit my daughter is responsible for.



I just posted this on the Halls Creek Community Facebook page

To the person who broke into my donga in Billiluna, stole my possessions and trashed the place, and wrote nasty things on my wall:

I forgive you. If you were hungry, I would have fed you. If you needed something I would have tried to help. I am sorry you had to act so badly, but that is on you, not me.

But I am really sorry for what is likely to happen next. You should know that among the spears, bows and arrows and carvings from my family in Solomon Islands, were two genuine antique war clubs that were used in warfare back around 1912 or so. They have a very powerful blood curse on them. Before I became their guardian my brother in law had to make a strong protection charm for me. Anyone who steals, mistreats them or damages them or uses them without protection is likely to have Very Bad Things happen to them. I hope bad things have not already started and you and your family are safe. I would not wish the Solomon hikaluzi on anyone. Please return them to the Shire office before something terrible happens. Tataru nomana Koa goi. (Good wishes to you).

No point appealing to their sense of fair play. Maybe this will work.

Whistleblower Reveals Suppressed Cancer Cure

The medical industry is abuzz this week following a controversial announcement  by Dr. Baemi Nilam Yoo, a medical researcher at the Nambanaen Hospice for the terminally ill.

Dr. Nilam Yoo claims to be the co-author of a paper revealing  a recent breakthrough in cancer research.  He says the paper is being suppressed by Big Pharma.  Shortly after his first public announcement, Dr. Nilam Yoo vanished without trace.  Before disappearing, he made the following statement to our reporter;

“We were working on a study into improving pain alleviation drugs and stumbled upon something quite extraordinary” he says.

“There was a small kitten at the facility, and it would often come and sit with a patient as we were conducting trials on the most appropriate pain relief. We noticed something odd about the patients’ dose requirements and found a correlation between the presence of the kitten and the dose required for the patient to report feeling comfortable.  We then embarked upon a study using as many kittens as we could get hold of.  There was a definite statistically significant correlation between the number of kittens purring on a patient, and the amount of analgesic required. 

Kittens are expensive to keep, so we reported our preliminary findings and sought funding for a more in-depth double blind clinical trial.  The study was the biggest of its kind and took over a year.  It seemed very positive at first, and then things became even more interesting.  In retrospect our big mistake was not paying closer attention to who was funding the trial, because things became awkward as our results became clearer. 

We reported that, in general, where three or more kittens attended the patients, dosages required for effective pain relief were reduced by as much as 47% in a significant proportion of the terminally ill.  It was at this point the sponsors seemed to become reluctant to continue the trial. Then they did a quick turnaround, increased the funding, and made us all sign a confidentiality clause added to the contract.  I suspected they intended to suppress the results of the trial, but things suddenly became even more complicated.  We found that some of our terminally ill patients were recovering.  Excited, we increased the kitten dosage, and found that if five or more kittens were with a patient for eighteen hours a day, 73% of the patients went into full remission of symptoms, regained mobility,  reported no pain and considerable cheerfulness.  Examination revealed their tumours had shrunk significantly, or had disappeared entirely.

It seems we had serendipitously stumbled onto a cure for cancer! A cure that required no drugs, irradiation or surgery. 

Once we reported this we were shocked to learn that our funding had been cut and the confidentiality clause had been invoked.  It seems that kittens cannot be patented and the market supply cannot be controlled.  We were all threatened with ruinous legal action if we revealed the results of our trial, and there were dark hints of something worse that could happen.  Most of my colleagues have families, and were easily intimidated, but I am single and despite being followed around by shadowy figures in dark coats and sunglasses, I am determined to reveal the truth.  There are lives at stake here and money should not prevent them being saved. Kittens cure cancer. It is as simple as that”.

Our reporter  attempted to verify Dr. Nilam Yoo’s story. He confirms there was a facility called Nambanaen Hospice but reports all records of its activities have disappeared, as have all the patients who attended for treatment.  Our reporter was unable to find any living person to verify the story. Shortly after filing his report he also disappeared.