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Author Topic: Australia by Tibrogargan January 2007 - present and 155216+ views later!  (Read 580951 times)
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Tibrogargan
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« Reply #440 on: April 26, 2007, 03:16:44 AM »

Here you go, Mishy.  This will explain "hooning"   Laughing  Laughing

CAMERAS TARGET HOONS

By Chris Griffith...April 25, 2007 12:00am...Article from: The Courier-Mail

A QUEENSLAND road safety group is offering "hoon removal kits" to help frustrated households rid their neighborhood of reckless drivers.
For $150-$200, residents upset by the antics of hoons will be able to hire a ‘’consultant’’ to film them with specially made cameras.

The cameras take 10 still photos per second, can snap number plates clearly even where cars travel at high speeds,and offer evidence that can be tendered in court, says the organisation.

Roadside Watch founder Loraine McElligott said the group was interviewing former Queensland Police Officers and private investigators who would provide the ‘’hoon removal’’ consultancy service and operate the cameras.

The controversial service will see roadside video surveillance not just a police activity but also in the hands of private citizens.

In a double whammy to dangerous drivers, parents concerned about their teenage children’s driving habits will be able to mount the same high speed cameras in their cars as monitoring devices.

She said that in the United States, parents had mounted cameras in cars in states where breaches of law could lead to a parental car being confiscated

"The parents know what is going on in the car before the police arrive on the doorstep.’’

She said the two special cameras would be trialled this weekend.

"We’re going to do a test run this weekend. We’ve just imported two cameras from the States,’’ Ms McElligott said.

She said Roadside Watch had written to police ministers around the country who had been supportive of the group’s aims while not necessarily endorsing its tactics.

"We got these cameras from OBS (on Board Security) in the States and they offer evidence that’s usable in court,’’ Ms McElligott said.

She said evidence of driving offences, and dangerous spins and wheelies would be available to police.

“We’ve also had a good response from police at the local level and higher level.’’

She said the group had established a blog for hoons to hear their side of the story.

"I don’t have a problem with them chatting on our site. It opens up the project. They say they have a right to let off steam on the road.’’

Ms McElligott said frustrated residents knew exactly where and when hoons would be operating, and therefore getting them on camera was likely to be relatively straight forward, whatever the time of day or night.

She said Roadside Watch planned to make its business national and offer consultants with their cameras in each state.
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« Reply #441 on: April 27, 2007, 02:05:47 AM »

MAGPIES

The piping shrike is also known as the white-backed magpie. Magpies can roughly be divided into white-backed and black-backed. The white-backed magpie is largely confined to western and southern Australia. (Kaplan, 2004).

There are at least four different subspecies of Australian magpie:
·...The Black-backed Magpie found in Queensland and New South Wales, right across the Top End and most of arid Western Australia. In the future the black-backed race may be further split into four separate races, as there are regional differences between them.
·...The White-backed Magpie  found in Victoria, South Australia, and outback NSW.
·...The Tasmanian Magpie.
·...The Western Magpie  in the fertile south-west corner of Western Australia.

At least two of the races were originally classified as separate species, but they are cross-fertile and hybridise readily. Where their territories cross, hybrid grey or striped-backed magpies are quite common. Magpies mate across the year, but generally in winter. Nesting takes place in winter and spring is the season when the babies are looked after. By late summer the babies either make their own clan or separate from their parents whilst staying in the same clan.

Magpies are known to "dive-bomb" people or animals who venture too close to their nesting sites.  They can inflict nasty wounds and protective headgear is necessary if walking or cycling through their territory.

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« Reply #442 on: April 27, 2007, 02:08:14 AM »

NUMBAT

Numbats (also known as Walpurti) are small marsupials, which feed almost solely on termites. Because of this, they are also known as the Banded Anteater. When fully grown, they reach about 40 cms from nose to tail.

They inhabit woodlands in Western Australia, this is the only state in which they are found in the wild. To improve numbat numbers, they are also bred in captivity at the Perth Zoo. However, a new colony has now been established in South Australia. The area in which they live have a high termite population, and each numbat can consume up to 20,000 per day! Numbats have a long snout, and this helps them to find termites in soil. They also have a long tongue which aids when feeding on termites.

Numbats are one of the few marsupials who are active during the day.
Numbats were critically endangered a few years ago, but populations have now increased. With their unique look, it makes them a very popular animal. Their body is covered in reddish-brown fur, and has white bands running across. They have long bushy tails, about the length of their body

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« Reply #443 on: April 27, 2007, 02:11:19 AM »

WEDGE-TAIL EAGLE

Wedge-tail eagles are among the world's largest eagles with a wingspan of up to 2.5 metres. They are relatively common all over the Australian mainland, in Tasmania and southern New Guinea, except in densely populated areas. To get off the ground they use an active flapping flight, but once airborne these eagles use thermal updrafts to carry them effortlessly aloft and gracefully spiral upwards to great heights.

Australia has three species of eagle, the Little Eagle (Hieraetus morphnoides), the White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and the largest, the Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax - literally 'bold eagle'). Wedge-tails prefer open woodland, but are found exploiting a range of habitats from arid desert to grasslands, mountainous areas, and even rainforest.

Easily identified by their size (up to 3.2 kg for males and 4.2kg for females), Wedge-tails are known as booted or trousered eagles thanks to the heavy feather 'trousers' covering their legs. They are also characterised by finger-like wing feathers and, of course, a long wedge-shaped tail. Young birds can be distinguished by their light brown plumage and golden highlights; the plumage of older birds tends to darken to near black at sexual maturity between five and seven years.



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« Reply #444 on: April 28, 2007, 02:34:41 AM »

BORONIA

The large family of plants which includes the genus Boronia is distributed over many parts of the world. Botanically the family is known as the Rutaceae and it includes a number of commercially important plants such as the citrus group of fruit trees (oranges, lemons, lime, etc) and popular ornamental plants such as Diosma which is native to South Africa. Within Australia there are about 40 genera, many of which are cultivated. The most widely cultivated of these are the genera in the "Boronia group".
Generally the Boronia group comprises plants of open forests and woodlands. They only rarely are to be found in rainforests or in arid areas. Overall the group is distributed throughout Australia but certain genera within the group may be restricted in their distribution (eg Correa is not found in Western Australia).

The flowers are bisexual and usually have four or five petals but it is not unusual for some of the flowers on a particular plant to have an abnormal number of petals. In some cases the petals are fused into a bell-like tube while in others the petals are small and the stamens are the conspicuous parts of the flowers, similar to the flowers of the well known but unrelated genera Callistemon and Melaleuca. The number of stamens either equals the number of petals or is twice the number of petals. The fruits contain hard, waxy seeds which are expelled over a wide area when ripe.

The Boronia group of plants are usually small to medium sized shrubs; none would reach even small tree proportions. A feature of most of the group is the presence of aromatic oils in the foliage and, in some cases, the flowers. When crushed or brushed against, the foliage gives off quite a strong aroma. In most cases this is an attractive feature but a few people find the very strong aroma of some species to be unpleasant. A number of the boronias have a very attractive perfume with the "Brown Boronia", being the most famous.

LEDUM BORONIA



BROWN BORONIA



BORONIA MICROPHYLLA



HARLEQUIN BORONIA



SOFT BORONIA

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« Reply #445 on: April 29, 2007, 02:49:48 AM »

"ODDBALL" IDEA PROTECTS ISLAND PENGUIN POPULATION

Story by Lorna Edwards

A South-West Victorian chicken farmer known as Swampy and his dog Oddball may have found a way to save some of Australia's endangered wildlife from predators.

After Warrnambool's once-flourishing penguin population was decimated by foxes and dogs until only 27 remained, Allan "Swampy" Marsh hatched a radical plan to save the birds. His four maremma sheepdogs had been protecting his chickens against predators for a decade. He figured they could do the same for the penguins.
"The difficulty was trying to convince all the wildlife wallies to think outside the square," Mr Marsh said. "It's not an altruistic view of penguins or chooks but an ingrained sense of territory that makes maremma dogs work, and it is far stronger in these dogs than any other domesticated breed."

Oddball's stint as guardian of Middle Island's colony last month was a success. At the end of the month, 70 pairs of happy feet were counted returning to the island. About 2000 penguins inhabited the island in the 1990s.

"The poor little buggers have copped such a hiding," Mr Marsh said. "Oddy is really protective of the chooks, so to her the penguins were only chooks in dinner suits."

Highly territorial dogs, maremmas have been bred in Italy to guard livestock for 2000 years. They instinctively ward off intruders such as foxes and dogs.

The trial's success has generated interest from overseas. The use of guard animals such as maremmas — and even alpacas, which also deter foxes — is now being considered to save other endangered species such as the eastern barred bandicoot.

Oddball's first encounter with a penguin resulted in a peck on the nose.
But they soon learnt to live in harmony, with Oddball sleeping metres from the penguins' burrows. "They pretty quickly got used to the fact there was a new smell on the island," said Mr Marsh, who also camped on the island.
Warrnambool City Council environment officer Ian Fitzgibbon said the community was excited by the trial's success and its implications for wildlife.

"The penguins are part of the Warrnambool community and everyone feels pretty strongly about them," he said. "People see maremmas as a conservation technique that could be used with other animals suffering from predation."

The council closed Middle Island to the public during the trial amid concerns that the dog might attack people. Department of Sustainability and Environment regional biodiversity manager Craig Whiteford said the concept could be adapted to protect shearwater, gannet and other penguin colonies along the coast, as well as the eastern barred bandicoot in the Hamilton area. "We've adapted a normal agricultural process into conservation of an animal and we don't know that that has happened before with native species," he said. "There is global interest in this little trial."

The council and DSE are now considering a year-long trial at Middle Island, using two maremma puppies recently acquired by Mr Marsh.
With Oddball back guarding her chooks and interview requests trickling in from overseas, Mr Marsh said he was chuffed she had become the "Paris Hilton" of the animal world. "From the point of view of having introduced a new idea to the conservation community and opened a lot of closed minds, I feel really proud," he said.



Oddball the maremma and Allan "Swampy" Marsh at Middle Island in Warrnambool. The chicken-loving dog spent last month guarding the island's penguin colony, with great success. Photo: Robin Sharrock
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« Reply #446 on: April 29, 2007, 08:06:11 PM »

Quote from: "Tibrogargan"
LATEST CUB PHOTOS





Awwww, they are so pretty, such nice coloring and all!
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« Reply #447 on: April 30, 2007, 06:19:44 AM »

Beautiful markings too, Elaine.  You can see the differences in the black lines on the individuals cubs faces.  I have been checking the website but no new photos yet.  Hope they print some soon otherwise the cubs will have grown quite big.
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« Reply #448 on: April 30, 2007, 06:26:42 AM »

THE AUSTRALIAN WINE INDUSTRY

Australian wine has won an international reputation for quality and value. Australian wines have taken key international awards, competing favourably against longer-established national wine industries. Innovative Australian winemakers are sought internationally for their expertise.
Australia produces a full range of favoured wine styles from full-bodied reds and deep fruity whites through to sparkling, dessert and fortified styles. Prized Australian bottlings grace the menus of many of the world's leading restaurants, while popular varietal and blended wines compete on the shelves of wine shops and supermarkets in some 80 countries around the world.

Wine-grape growing and winemaking are carried out in each of the six States and two mainland Territories of Australia. The principal production areas are located in the south-east quarter of the Australian continent, in the states of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.



The older-established concentrations of productive wineries in South Australia's Barossa Valley, in the Hunter River region north of Sydney in New South Wales and in Victoria played a major role in the development of the industry and continue to be important sources of fine wines. However, wine is produced in over 60 regions, reflecting the wide range of climates and soil types available in the continent. These include areas such as Mudgee, the Murrumbidgee and Murray River valleys (New South Wales); the Southern Vales, Clare Valley and Riverland (South Australia); and Rutherglen and Yarra Valleys (Victoria). The States of Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland have smaller wine industries, which have grown rapidly in volume, quality and reputation. The Canberra region, near Australia's national capital, has a recognised cool-climate wine industry.

A generous range of grape varieties goes into the making of Australian wine. In 2003-04 Shiraz was the most-produced variety, followed by Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Premium white varieties other than Chardonnay include Semillon, Riesling and Colombard. Main red wine varieties other than Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon include Merlot, Grenache and Pinot Noir.



Wine is very much a part of Australian life, closely associated with both business and leisure. Wine consumption is often linked to the country's outdoor-oriented lifestyle as well as to the cosmopolitan urban way of life of the bulk of the Australian population.
Wine festivals are a feature of cultural life in the major wine producing regions of Australia and draw many Australian holidaymakers and international visitors each year.

The first vines arrived with the first European settlers to Australia in 1788. Initially wines were produced in the coastal region around the fledgling city of Sydney. John Macarthur established the earliest commercial vineyard.
In 1822 Gregory Blaxland shipped 136 litres of wine to London, where it was awarded the silver medal by the forerunner of the Royal Society of Arts. Five years later a larger shipment of Blaxland's wine won the gold Ceres medal.



Planting of vines accompanied the spread of European settlement across the Australian continent, and by the beginning of the 20th century Australia was exporting some 4.5 million litres of mainly full-bodied dry red wines to the United Kingdom.

The end of the Second World War saw a rapid influx of migrants from Europe who brought with them a strong culture related to wine. This provided an important impetus to the Australian wine industry.
However it is the period 1996 to 2004 that has seen spectacular growth in exports following rapidly increasing appreciation of Australian wines overseas. Major wine producers from abroad have invested in Australian wineries and Australian companies have taken controlling interests in wineries in countries such as France and Chile.
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« Reply #449 on: May 01, 2007, 06:00:16 AM »

AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A HANGDOG

Martin Philip..May 01, 2007 12:00am..Article from: The Courier Mail

EIGHT-year-old blue heeler Patch is one old dog that can be taught new tricks. Perched high on a hang-glider above Rex Lookout near Cairns in Norther Queensland,  the versatile cattle dog looks every bit the seasoned pro he is But Patch isn't just a hang-gliding hound. The 12-flight veteran is also an accomplished motorcyclist and surfer, not to mention an old hand at the job he was bred for – rounding up cattle.

Professional hang-gliding instructor Greg Newnham has owned Patch since he was five weeks old, but waited until he turned two before taking him on his maiden voyage. It's not where a dog should be, I think they're happier on the ground, but to come up with me and see what I do, I think that puts the whole world in a different perspective for him," Mr Newnham said.

After Patch passed his first aerial test with flying colours, Cairns-based Mr Newnham set about equipping him with a set of skills usually reserved for Hollywood stuntmen. "I taught him to ride a surfboard, he rides on the front and on the back of motorbikes and he's good on cattle as well – he's a jack-of-all-trades," he said.

Patch is strapped into a training harness before taking to the skies. The unflappable bluey is a better learner than a lot of his hang-gliding students, according to Mr Newnham – a hang-gliding veteran of 23 years. "He's easier to handle, there's less weight to carry and he doesn't talk as much," he said.

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« Reply #450 on: May 02, 2007, 02:50:44 AM »

IRWIN TEAM TO CATCH LA ALLIGATOR

Peter Mitchell…May 02, 2007 12:00am…Article from: AAP

STEVE Irwin's expert crew of Australian crocodile wranglers are set to fly to Los Angeles to catch one of the city's most elusive rogues - Reggie the alligator.
LA residents were stunned yesterday when news broke that Reggie, a 2m long alligator, was spotted swimming in Lake Machado, a popular inner-city lake.
Reggie was last seen in the lake 18 months ago and Irwin, who was visiting LA at the time, vowed to catch the reptile before it attacked a jogger or picnicker.
LA City Council contacted the late Crocodile Hunter's manager, John Stainton, in Australia yesterday to ask if Irwin's crack crew of wranglers at Queensland's Australia Zoo could trap Reggie.
"They have shown initial excitement about this," LA councilwoman Janice Hahn told AAP today.
"They felt like it would be a great way to honour Steve's memory and fulfill his promise.
"We're in discussions right now and they're going to call us back when they have a sense of when they could come over."
In LA, a city filled with celebrities, Reggie has created his own cult status.
Hundreds of locals lined the lake today with binoculars, hoping to spot the elusive reptile, while local TV stations led their news bulletins with the Reggie sighting.
US authorities allege the alligator was owned by a former LA policeman, Todd Natow, who kept it as a backyard pet, but when Reggie grew too big Natow dumped it in the 16-hectare Lake Machado.
Natow has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanour charges tied to Reggie's possession and lake release.
If Reggie is captured he will likely be housed at LA Zoo.
Reggie shocked locals when he was first spotted swimming in the lake in August 2005, but two months later he disappeared until yesterday's sighting.
Hahn and LA city officials and residents are dumbfounded about where Reggie may have been hiding.
"I want to talk to Steve's crocodile guys to give me a sense where Reggie has been all this time," Hahn said.
Irwin, who was killed by a stingray on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef last September, toured Lake Machado in a small boat with Hahn in early 2006 searching for Reggie.
"Steve knew we were in quite a predicament since we were very unfamiliar with alligators," Hahn said.
"Steve was such a gentleman and so gracious.
"I loved my hour with him.
"Steve said 'I want to help Los Angeles'.
"All of LA felt connected with him and when he passed away the city was devastated."
Hahn said she did not know if Steve's wife, Terri, and budding TV star daughter, Bindi, would join the Reggie expedition.
"That would be so sweet if they could come over," Hahn said.
Details of who would pay for Irwin's crew to fly to LA were still to be finalised.
"We'll work all that stuff out," Hahn said.
"If they can come, we'll try to figure it out."
Adding to the folklore of Reggie, LA Council had enlisted a motley crew of American crocodile trappers to catch Reggie, but all failed.
"We've had our share of 'gator wranglers," Hahn laughed.
"One of them had escaped from jail."
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« Reply #451 on: May 02, 2007, 02:52:05 AM »

OBESITY PILL DEVELOPED FOR DOGS

May 02, 2007 01:31pm…Article from: AAP

OVERWEIGHT dogs may soon get a scientific leg-up to help shed unwanted puppy fat after an Australian company's animal weight-loss drug passed initial tests.
Perth-based Stirling Products Ltd's R-salbutamol drug was trialled on 15 beagles in the US, each losing 3 per cent weight loss a week, the company said.
Stirling chief executive and managing director Calvin London said it was early days in the drug's development.
"Phase one established an initial dose range that was considered safe to administer to dogs without any clinical side-effects and the second phase tested both high and low dose options in reducing the weight of overweight dogs," said Dr London.
"While it is early days, these results are extremely encouraging and we know we can enhance the effectiveness of R-salbutamol even further with revised formulations in studies."
The company will now tweak the formulation before more extensive trials.
If the second phase of testing is successful, the company will seek approval from the US Food and Drug Administration - a stage Dr London hoped to reach in about two years.
Should R-salbutamol make it to the supermarket shelves, the spoils won't be small (dog) biscuits.
About 35 per cent of US dogs and cats are considered to be overweight or obese, a statistic mirrored in Australia and Europe, Stirling said.
The market for anti-obesity drugs for pets is estimated to be worth more than $US200 million ($242.17 million) in the US alone.
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« Reply #452 on: May 03, 2007, 01:44:23 AM »

CRADLE MOUNTAIN

Cradle Mountain is the central feature of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, part of Tasmania's World Heritage area. The park covers an area of 124 942 ha which is characterised by a rugged, glaciated landscape with over 25 major peaks and a wide range of glacial formations - tarns, glacial lakes, moraine deposits, U-shaped valleys and waterfalls.  The area was glaciated during the last ice age (about 10 000 years ago) when a huge 6 km ice cap formed and glaciers flowed from its edges carving the landscape into dramatic shapes with their inexorable erosive powers.

The mountain is one of the favourite features in the park and is surrounded by stands of native deciduous beech (wonderfully colourful in autumn), rainforest, alpine heathlands and buttongrass. Icy streams cascade down the mountainsides, and ancient pines are reflected in the still glacial lakes.  Here you see the face of creation all around you in the mirror lakes and rugged mountain peaks. And you don't need to be an environmentalist to feel humble in the towering presence of a King Billy Pine - over 1,000 years old yet still a relative newcomer to these ancient forests At night time the nocturnal animals which inhabit the park - the Tasmanian devil and possums can be seen.  There are also pademelons and Bennet's wallabies in the area.

The first human settlement of the region occurred when the local Aborigines moved into the highlands as the glaciers began retreating. The extensive button grass plains are a legacy of their extensive use of fire to clear pathways through the rugged terrain and to aid hunting by attracting animals to the tender shoots of the new vegetation.  Early reports of the Aborigines in the area tell of recently burnt vegetation and well constructed huts of bark some of which were still standing 25 years after the last of the people had been removed.  Archaeological research in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park has revealed many Aboriginal sites consisting of stone tools and quarries which suggests that people moved mainly through the valleys with occasional visits to higher areas.

Cradle Mountain was named in 1827 by the explorer Joseph Fossey who decided it bore a remarkable similarity to a cradle. It was first climbed by a European in 1831 when the explorer Henry Hellyer successfully reached the summit. Surveyor General George Franklin passed through the area in 1835 and he was duly followed by prospectors, trappers and settlers. As early as the 1890s there was some tourism in the area. Governor Hamilton had a house and boat shed built for visitors on Lake St Clair.

The man remembered as the founding father of tourism in the area was the Austrian born naturalist Gustaf Weindorfer who, in 1911, bought land in Cradle Valley where he built 'Waldheim' which he opened to guests who wanted to explore the region. When his wife died Weindorfer moved to Cradle Valley permanently. He died in 1932 and is buried near 'Waldheim'. Weindorfer is credited with naming  Dove Lake, Crater Lake and Hansons Lake. He named Mount Kate after his wife.

Reservation of land began in 1922 when an area from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair was set aside as a 'scenic reserve and wildlife sanctuary'. It became a National Park in 1971.  In 1978 the National Parks and Wildlife Service built a replica of 'Waldheim' and this, combined with the Cradle Mountain Lodge and the excellent new NPWS Information building, have made Cradle Mountain one of the most accessible and interesting attractions in Tasmania.  In 1982 Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park along and the Franklin-Lower Gordon Wild Rivers National Park were placed on the prestigious world heritage list in recognition of their outstanding natural, cultural and wilderness qualities.  Today the area is a model of an accessible wilderness region. There are numerous walking huts, a wide range of walks through the mountains, a road to the edges of Lake Dove which lies in the shadow of Cradle Mountain, and plenty of excellent accommodation.
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« Reply #453 on: May 03, 2007, 01:47:38 AM »

CRADLE MOUNTAIN



DOVE LAKE



LAKE ST CLAIR



CRADLE MOUNTAIN SNOW

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« Reply #454 on: May 04, 2007, 02:21:43 AM »

SOMETHING FOR THE CHOCOHOLICS :

CHOCOLATE TO HELP ARMY SOLDIER ON

Glenn Cordingley…..May 04, 2007 12:47pm….Article from: AAP

VITAMIN-packed dark chocolate that won't melt in the heat of battle - but will melt in your mouth and also last for years - is being developed for Australian soldiers.
Scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) at Scottsdale in Tasmania are working on a new super chocolate for army ration packs.
"From a nutritionist's point of view we would love to give the soldiers a fresh meal every day," DSTO spokeswoman Helen Ward said.
"But logistics don't always allow that and we don't want our soldiers to die of malnutrition when they are in a foxhole feeling hungry."
Ms Ward said the idea of supplying troops with chocolate had psychological and physiological advantages.
"We could just give them a pill containing the same vitamins, but it would be nothing like giving them real food.
"Chocolate has long been regarded as a treat, something to look forward to, and something that would provide a mental and physical boost.
"That's why this is being developed to withstand the elements."
DSTO food technologist Dr Lan Bui, who is based at Scottsdale, said the new product is more granular and firmer but the flavour is still appealing.
"DSTO is looking at product reformulation, including new fat compounds, to improve texture and flavour, without affecting the melting point," Dr Bui said.
Normal chocolate melts at about 25-30 degrees celsius, but she said the new version will be expected to maintain its uniformity for extended periods at over 49 degrees celsius.
Scientists are working with food experts on coating vitamins to keep out humidity, moisture and oxygen, while allowing them to be slowly released into the body.
The team also is working on a milk chocolate variety and developing less permeable packaging to extend shelf life.
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« Reply #455 on: May 04, 2007, 02:24:43 AM »

AND FOR THE NEMO FANS :

NEMO REALLY CAN FIND WAY HOME

May 04, 2007 12:00am….Article from: AAP

THE cute clownfish made famous by the hit movie Finding Nemo really can find his way home after spending months at sea, researchers have found.
An Australian-led team of coral reef scientists has discovered that 60 per cent of clownfish complete the journey back to their reef of origin after being swept into the open ocean as babies.
The team of Australian, American and French scientists say they have achieved a world breakthrough that could revolutionise the sustainable management of coral reefs and help restore threatened fisheries.
The team, led by Dr Geoff Jones and Dr Glenn Almany of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at Queensland's James Cook University, pioneered a new way to study fish populations by "tagging" adult fish with a minute trace of a harmless isotope which they pass on to their offspring.
The findings were published today in the international journal Science.
Working on coral reefs in a protected marine area in Papua New Guinea, the researchers tagged more than 300 female clownfish and vagabond butterflyfish with a barium isotope.
The researchers found that 60 per cent of their offspring returned to the tiny home reef - only 300 metres across - after being carried out to the sea as babies.
"Just as importantly, 40 per cent of the juveniles came from other reefs that are at least 10 kilometres away, which indicates significant exchange between populations separated by open sea," Dr Almany said.
"This shows how marine protected areas can contribute to maintaining fish populations outside no-fishing zones.
"...If we can understand how fish larvae disperse, it will enable better design of marine protected areas and this will help in the rebuilding of threatened fish populations."
The team is conducting further research at an aquaculture facility in Bali, looking at the possibility of applying the tag to coral trout.
They hope to conduct trials on coral trout off Great Keppel Island on the Great Barrier Reef and in PNG, as well as work with a threatened species, the Nassau groper, in the Caribbean.
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« Reply #456 on: May 04, 2007, 03:16:19 AM »

SOME COLOURFUL INHABITANTS OF THE REEF

MOORISH IDOLS



CLOWN TRIGGER



SEND IN THE CLOWNS



WHITE HUMPBACK

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« Reply #457 on: May 04, 2007, 03:20:56 AM »

PTEROIS



ANEMONE



CUTTLE FISH

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« Reply #458 on: May 05, 2007, 03:26:49 AM »

SURREAL DAYS IN BOWEN

May 05, 2007 12:00am….Article from The Courier Mail

BOWEN is living a strange double life. The north Queensland town is simultaneously a vast film set, preparing to work around the clock to helP create Baz Luhrmann's new epic film, Australia.



But the town is also pretending to be a 1940s Northern Territory town and wartime Darwin. As the first of the cast and crew moved in this week locals adapted – one local cafe started selling "hunky" meat pies in honour of one of the stars, Hugh Jackman.



And a woman who looked uncannily like Nicole Kidman drove a herd of cattle through the streets. It wasn't Kidman – it may have been her stand-in – but the cattle drive gave residents a taste of what was to come.
Hundreds of extras will be used in the film. Most will be drawn from Bowen and surrounding towns.

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« Reply #459 on: May 05, 2007, 03:33:29 AM »

KIDMAN IN NEW BAZ FLICK

Brett McKeehan….May 02, 2007 08:50pm….Article from: The Courier Mail

THIS is the first picture of Nicole Kidman looking grand as cattle queen Lady Sarah Ashley in Baz Luhrmann's sweeping new $120 million epic Australia. The Oscar-winning beauty, 39, plays an upper-crust English aristocrat who heads Down Under just before World War II to confront her skirt-chasing husband - only to find him dead. This leaves her in control of a massive Northern Territory cattle station the size of Belgium.



Kidman joins a massive cast of top Aussie talent with Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson, John Jarratt, David Gulpilil and Bill Hunter all hand-picked by Luhrmann. Filming began in Sydney this week at the 150-year-old Strickland House in Vaucluse, which is doubling as Darwin's Government House.



Kidman and a bearded Jackman were earlier spotted brushing up on their riding skills in Centenntial Park. Riding is an essential part of the film - the pair fall in love as Jackman, playing a rough stockman, helps her drive 1500 cattle across the property. Shooting takes place over five months with the production moving to the tiny North Queensland mango growing town of Bowen later this month.
The coastal community is now bustling with construction workers as more than eight town blocks are taken back in time. Stockyards, shacks, old-fashioned cottages, shops and even a hotel have been erected at the oceanfront site.



A 93-year-old sugar cane locomotive called Homebush has even been enlisted to play a significant role in the flick. The loco started chugging around near Mackay in 1915 and was kept in mint condition by sugar company CSR. Homebush will stay in Bowen until the end of next month - CSR even had to arrange for train tracks to be laid in the town's main street to complete the illusion.
But getting Bowen ready hasn't been all smooth sailing. New Idea magazine made a classic blunder when it ran a photo purportedly of Bowen's main street with inset snaps of Kidman and Jackman.



Unfortunately the picture is of the main street of Roma - an inland Queensland town at least 1000km to the southwest. It also features a series of distinctive bottle trees, which can't even be found in Bowen.
Bowen Shire Mayor Mike Brunker was not amused. "Of all the beautiful photos of Bowen they had to go and use one of Roma,'' he stormed. "(The photo) has even got bottle trees in it."
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....And at night the wond’rous glory of the everlasting stars..  A.B (Banjo) Paterson
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