Maria Sharapova

August 31, 2006

Russian tennisstar Maria Sharapova has a top ten cities where she likes to stay. Melbourne is on six. Why? “I have only been there during the summer when the people wear really cute sarongs. And everybody is super friendly… a HUGE plus.” Her three most favourite cities are Rome, London and of course New York.



August 30, 2006

Professor Ian Frazer vaccinated two girls with Gardasil, the only cervical cancer vaccine on the market. Frazer and his team worked sixteen years on Gardasil. Vaccinating the girls was the end of the journey.

Frazer acknowledged his colleague Dr. Jian Zhou. Zhou died six years ago, aged 42. There is a fund that commemorates him and that will finance a medical fellowship in Queensland.

The world first vaccine prevents four of dozens of strains of the HPV which causes genital warts and cervical cancer. Gardasil protects against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Most cervical cancers are caused by HPV.

“This is not a substitute for pap smears – it is an adjunct. The vaccine can only prevent 70 per cent of cancers. The good news for women is they are very much less likely to have an abnormal pap smear”, said Frazer.

The weather

August 29, 2006

Warm, cold, windy, drought, rainy; the weather is an ideal topic for some chit chat. But the weather is some good stuff for photographers as well. Enjoy Australian weather with the Flash-album ‘The Weather – Images that shape our nation‘ on the The Age-website.

Marvellous pictures…

Daniel Bowen

August 27, 2006

The weblog ‘Diary of an average Australian‘ is the first Aussie blog I started reading a couple of months (a year?) ago. Daniel Bowen lives in Melbourne and tells about his daily life in the magnificent city of Melbourne. You can read about the adventures he has with his children, what he has been doing the past weekend and the big step he took by taking a mortgage. He is an expert on public transport as well.

His posts about public transport are a must read if you lives in Melbourne or if you have a weak spot for everything that has to do with busses, trams, trains, etcetera. He brings on decent information and uses a lot of statistics. His aim is to make public transport in Melbourne run better, be more frequent and more usefull.

Other weblogs he writes: ‘Geek Rant‘, ‘The News You Had to Have‘ and ‘Toxic Custard Guide to Australia‘. He updates them frequently.

Police overseas

August 26, 2006

The Bbc writes that the Australian government has decided to increase the amount of police men that can be deployed in South East Asia and the Pacific. The move is a response to the instability in the region, says prime minister John Howard.

Some figures: the Australian Foreign Police has 800 personnel, 400 are serving abroad. That number will be increased to 1.200. The future operational response group will have 150 officers. Thursday, the government decided to expand the army with 2.600 troops.

Howard is a bit pessimistic about the stability in the region and wants that Australia plays an important role in peace keeping – and keeping its influence in the neighbourhood.

Today, Australia has police officers in Solomon Islands, East Timor, Nauru, Vanuatu, Sudan, Cyprus and Jordan. The country has send troops to East Timor and the Solomon Islands.

Paul Briggs writes in The Age an op-ed about the aborigines in South-East Australia. He says that these people are less accepted as aborigines than the ones in the north of the country.

“Much to our bitter sorrow and loss, south-eastern Australia’s Aborigines have no opportunity to take identity for granted, and no opportunity to celebrate their culture in the environment of diversity and multiculturalism that the nation purportedly values”, he writes.

But there are 200.000 aborigines living in South-East Australia. That’s approximately the same amount as in the rest of Australia.

“We are stigmatised as a ‘deficit’, having nothing to offer or share, and represent nothing to celebrate in mutual joy with the mainstream community.”

Briggs wants that the aboriginal culture is as important as any other culture in Australia.

Oizo in Oz

August 22, 2006

The first weblog I will discuss on this website is in French: Oizo in Oz. Ludo is studying at the Ecole de Management in Strasbourg, a city on the Rhine in France. For his exchange year, he has chosen to go Down Under. He will be studying at the University of Technology in Sydney. You can keep track of his doings on his weblog. He has an amazing photoalbum as well.

“Certains se demanderont sûrement ‘Pourquoi l’Australie?’, question à laquelle je répondrai simplement ‘Pourquoi pas?’.

Ludo didn’t made a bad choice. He will remeber his stay in Australia, I’m sure about that.

Google News Australia

August 21, 2006

Newsmap is a cool visiualization of the news aggregator Google News. There is a set for Australia as well, so you can see what’s hot and what’s not. Newsmap is a treemap.

“Newsmap’s objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe (or in this case Australia).”

It’s Flash-based, but works fine on my weak laptop with Kubuntu.

Last chance to visit the exhibition ‘Australia, the land, the people‘ in the museum ‘Volkenkunde’ in the city of Leiden in Holland. Next weekend is the last weekend the exhibition is open. The history of the aborigines is told. There is some exclusive video footage from the thirties and you can see lots of instruments that come from the collection of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide.

If you’re in the Netherlands this week; a must see!

This year it is 400 years ago that the first Dutch set foot on Australian soil. The ship was called ‘Duyvken’ and the sailors wrote in their logs that Australia is an empty country with no gain whatsoever for the ‘Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie’.

Exile’s Lament

August 18, 2006

The title of this blog is weird. Everybody knows a cockatoo, one of those many strange animals in Australia. Cockatoos are a kind of parrots. They reside naturally only in Australia and nearby isles. All (21) the species belonging to the family are protected by international agreement. Some are even endangered: Goffin’s cockatoo, Red-vented Cockatoo, Moluccan Cockatoo, Lesser Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and the Palm Cockatoo.

More information about Cockatoos can be found in the on line encyclopedia Wikipedia.

The phrase ‘the notes of the tame cockatoo’ is mentioned in the song Exile’s Lament. The lyrics were published in the Sydney Gazette on 26 May 1829. The song is attributed tot M. of Anambaba. The author is an Irish convict.