Online Insights on fiveAA, Sunday, April 20, 2008

April 20, 2008

Australia 2020
Well, our nation’s huge talkfest is over and now it is up to politicians and public servants to filter through the ideas and see if any can be made to work – or if any are electorally palatable enough to warrant pushing through.

According to various reports, our representatives/delegates have floated ideas including:

  • Junk food tax
  • Becoming a republic
  • HECS discounts for graduates who agree to go to rural communities
  • More study of Asian languages
  • Compulsory creative studies at schools
  • Indigenous Australians becoming enmeshed in the preamble to the Constitution
  • Opening lift wells at offices so people in desk jobs get 30 minutes exercise a day
  • A national happiness index to measure the growth of social health as well as economic strength

If you want to find out more, there is a report at the official website – – and The Australian’s online political editor, Samantha Maiden, has a blog.

Australian Wildlife
I have just returned from a week in Katherine, in the Northern Territory and heard a lot about crocodiles. So, in my search for some good information about our saltwater crocs, I discovered a colourful site that celebrates Australia’s fauna and landscapes. It is put together by photographer, Gerry Pearce.

Some of the information about crocs includes:

  • up to 7 metres in length and one tonne in mass
  • particularly large heads and strong jaws (strong enough to crush a buffalo skull) and the ears, nose and eyes are all on the top of the head, allowing these senses to be used whilst almost completely submerged
  • spend most of the time basking in order to regulate body temperature (at 30 to 32 degrees C) and defending a territory by the use of postures and low-frequency vocalizations
  • maximum lifespan is at least 70 years, possibly over 100

Gerry is a photography-tragic, meaning that his long suffering wife understands at nature photography is in his blood, so she has learned not to expect him to be home much during sunrise and sunsets.

On his simple site, there is information about many of Australia’s animals, and a free, monthly newsletter with stories drawn from all over the web that deal with animals, conservation and the environment. As a bonus, he provides free and royalty free pictures with each month’s newsletter – and he keeps an archive of previous newsletters on his site. Great for kids doing homework and for people who love having quality animal pics on their screensavers and as wallpaper. Head to the Australian Wildlife croc page then discover his site from there.

Photoshop Express

**PS: A listener just reminded me (thanks, Alan) that you need to say you are in the USA when you sign up for this site, to enable you to have a membership. Had meant to mention this last night but had one of those brain lapses – can I also blame Sean for distracting me? I have thrown one image up at
This is the long-awaited, free, online version of Adobe Photoshop and it appears to be worth it.

You can do most of the common things to your photos that you can do with the full Photoshop. Lightness/darkness, cropping, hue, etc. What they have also added is a number of fun things such as being able to twist and contort aspects of your images, such as giving friends large heads or removing blemishes. Plus you get up to 2 gig of storage to hold your images online. Finally, the key thing Adobe seems to be trying to foster, is a community of photo fanatics. They encourage people to create galleries and albums to show off your pictures to your friends. There’s a whole host of display templates from simple grids to alien crop circles. At last count, April 20, 2008, there were already 36,000 galleries!

Visit the site at

Save The Murray-Darling blog
Friday night, saw one of Adelaide’s first meetings of its blogging community. About 20 bloggers got together to meet their virtual colleagues face-to-face. One of the members in the crowd was Jim Manning. Jim has a hard-hitting blog called Save the Murray-Darling Basin. Boy, it is good reading, but probably not on Mike Rann’s, Karlene Maywald’s or Penny Wong’s favourite reading lists.

Last week, one of his entries was entitled, Communities Die – while Kevin,Penny and Mike Fiddle – it was about Karlene Maywald having the job of delivering the bad news to irrigators that the system is still under enormous pressure and their allocations will need to start the new year at almost zero. He also gets stuck into the Victorians quite a bit for their selfish approach to the river.

If ever you feel frustrated at the way our pollies seem to be dragging out the task of somebody actually waking up to the fact that the Murray-Darling is a national security issue and not some tender little political toy, then this blog will not only give you some down-to-earth commentary, it will also give you some good questions to pose the next time any of our Murray River leaders are taking calls on FIVEaa! You can read his blog at