Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Capital White-Out

I don't think I've ever experienced a storm quite like it. Even the biggest & baddest storms in Brisbane don't quite compare.

I'd watched it roll in from my balcony in Kingston for about an hour, then thought it was all show when only a few drops spattered down. I even jotted down a note to prompt some research for this weekend's show: "Is there a special name for a storm that's all thunder & lightning but no rain?". I pondered too soon; the wind picked up, there were bolts of lightning every few seconds and it bucketed down (& check out that radar image from the BOM - black!).

Then the eerie calm came...

...but it was not too long before the first twack, thwackthwack, thwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwackthwack
thwackthwackthwackthwackthwack (etc etc) of hail pelted down and blanketed the city.

The Canberra Times online coverage is pretty average, but the ABC Canberra site has a good collection of photos of the aftermath. There were so many pictures flying around on email today; most government email servers would have had their work cut out for them. Most have them had been posted to flickr by lunch time. The most spectacular were these of the storm from Yass.

The ice was still in piles around Civic this afternoon. Apart from the ice in this defoliated courtyard in this picture, I saw the remains of the snowman at The Avenue and hail piled up at least a metre in a stairwell leading to an underground carpark.

Hopefully we'll get to interview Kenn Batt from the BOM on this weekend's Fuzzy Logic.

UPDATE: Chris' office didn't fare well.

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Sunday, 25 February 2007

Producers Report - 25 Feb 07

Producer: Jacinta
Contributor: Dean
Observer: Jaykaprash, Kathryn E

News: Phasing out incandescent lights, Hollywood is going green by removing the silver from the silver screen.

(1) Video games: Action video games improve vision and the military applications, surgeons perform better if they play video games, some general discussion about video games, their uses (eg NRMA driver training) and potential for rehabilitation.

(2) Sport-type things: What Jacinta did on Saturday (ie a five hour AROC adventure race), why she is sore (delayed onset muscles soreness) and what she can do to recover faster. Crazy marathon man who just can’t stop running.

Amazing animal facts: Stumpy lizards have the worst pregnancies, guinea-pigs stampede [pdf] (very scary!), and cows transported to the Middle East benefit from sports drinks.

Quirky bit at the end: spearmint tea could potentially be used to treat mild hirsutism in women

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Monday, 19 February 2007

Producer's Report - 18 Feb 07

Eamon Lindsay

Nicole, Jeevan

Newsy Bits:

Bilk (not something I would down at after-work drinks!), HIV protein, Great Barrier Reef safe from Crown of Thorns attack (for now!), cyanide extraction and size DOES matter to fish.

Feature Articles:

The founders of Wikipedia, immune security and relationships, air conditioners heating up cities, motion sensitive space suits, rats whiskers and new history on chillies.

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Sunday, 11 February 2007

Fuzzy Logic 11 February

This has to be a first: my adding the producer's report on the same day as the show... And after seven hours of drinking, laughing and feasting (thanks for the fun, guys).

Today's show featured a new recruit, Michael, as well as Pip, one of our experienced campaigners.

She kicked things off with the very disturbing news that there's a shingleback lizard who gives birth to young that are the equivalent in human size of a seven year-old. Their scales don't stretch outwards like humans do so the baby lizard expands upwards, meaning the poor mother's organs are pushed upwards and she can barely move or breathe.

  • There's a new blood test taking advantage of the fact that human babies shed cells into the mother's bloodstream at about 5 weeks - the newly-found ability to isolate enough foetal DNA to detect genetic defects means that amniocentesis may be become a thing of the past.
  • A sixth star has been discovered in the Southern Cross and a computer has written a fairytale all on its own (sort of).
  • French scientists have worked out how bees are able to determine how fast they're flying (thus providing an explanation for why they fall into still ponds and drown)
  • Other researchers have developed a computer that uses tiny bubbles instead of electricity to make calculations
  • Female Antarctic fur seals aren't the passive individuals they've previously been supposed to be when it comes to choosing a mate to try and avoid inbreeding, whereas there's a fish that selectively breeds with brothers and sisters because for them inbreeding isn't a bad thing
  • A 14 year-old transsexual in Germany wants to bring his sex-change operation forward by two years
  • Brain scans have measured changes in blood flow that signal poeple's intentions
  • The Vikings may have used special crystals and their property of birefringence to be able to navigate in cloud, fog or bad weather
  • A really exciting new census of the bacteria on human skin has detected more of them than anyone ever realised, and many of which are new and unidentified (this is no cause for panic and at this point we dipped into Fuzzy Knows Best and I ranted a little about the use of antibacterial sprays and wipes in the home - DO NOT USE THEM. They only promote bacterial resistance to antibiotics and they are not necessary if you keep your home clean and practice personal hygiene. Our immune systems need constant stimulation, so let your kids go play in the mud, it's good for them)
  • The CSIRO has just released a new real-time information tool to help graziers in eastern Australia better cope with the impact of climate variations on pasture production
  • And finally, and perhaps the story that appealed to my warped sense of humour the most, was the bombshell that the United Kingdom weighs 24,000,000 billion tonnes. No, not its inhabitants, the actual, physical bits of the earth's crust that make up their land mass.

Today was also the day we officially said goodbye to Tim and Chris - both are migrating to other places and we shall miss them. Hopefully as our European and Sydney correspondents we can still keep them on the show through all this new-fangled technology stuff.

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