No more mercy

5 11 2009

But it’s a good thing.

Sydney’s Mercy Ministries has gone bankrupt.

While being promoted as a counseling and psychiatric care operation for young women, allegations surfaced last year that the ‘treatment’ consisted of isolation, denial of drugs and exorcisms to expel their inner demons. Showing Scientology isn’t the only cult that preys on people in need.

Megachurch Hillsong, which was the driving force behind the ministry in Australia (it is still operating overseas), has ditched the mess and run away screaming.


Moving in pictures

12 07 2009
From this:
North Sydney view of Harbour


To this:

The Derelict


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Insert Psyschedelic Tortoise Fantasy Sequence … here

12 06 2009

Sky Gamera

Was afraid of going over my internet cap this week, so played around with GIMP to distract myself (okay, maybe I could have turned off the computer…)

This is a mash of several photos I’ve taken this year.

Advice to Teachers of Science

5 06 2009

From the New South Wales Government.


In developing the NSW Science curriculum, the Board of Studies undertook extensive consultation with experts in the field to ensure that content, including that relating to evolution, would be consistent with accepted scientific knowledge and understanding.

The Board wishes to remind teachers that Creationism and Intelligent Design are not part of the Board’s Science syllabuses. If taught as part of any school-based program, it must be clear to students that Creationism and Intelligent Design:

  1. are not scientific, nor evidence-based
  2. will not be included in any task that forms part of the assessment of student achievement for the award of the School Certificate or Higher School Certificate
  3. will not be tested in any School Certificate or Higher School Certificate examination and will not be relevant to any response to School Certificate or Higher School Certificate questions.

Effective: Immediately

[Colouring added]

Note: Intelligent Design has not been banned from schools. But teachers must make it clear that they are not scientific or evidence based – and that will be irrelevant to any assessment or examination.

Given the ID crowd’s penchant for mandatory disclaimers, maybe they won’t be upset about this (and then I wake up).

Any comments on this mandate?

Can you hear that colour?

30 05 2009

Next week on Wednesday (June 3rd) the University of Sydney is hosting a free lecture on synesthesia – the peculiar concept of cross-sensory stimulation.

Imagine a world of magenta Tuesdays, tastes of blue, and wavy green symphonies. At least one in a hundred otherwise normal people experience the world this way in a condition called synesthesia. In synesthesia, stimulation of one sense triggers an experience in a different sense. For example, a voice or music are not only heard but may also be seen.

Synesthesia is a fusion of different sensory perceptions: the feel of sandpaper might evoke a sensation of forest green, a symphony might be experienced in blues and golds, or the concept of February might trigger the perception of orange.

Hearing Colours, Tasting Sounds: The Kaleidoscope of Synethesia with Dr David Eagleman (Baylor) starts at 6:00pm at the New Law School, Lecture Theatre 101.

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It’s Alive in Sydney: Goanna

24 05 2009

Big Fat Goanna 002, originally uploaded by zayzayem.

This big fat fella was found in Lane Cove National Park, the same weekend as the waterdragon I posted a while ago.

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It’s Alive in Sydney: My own private taxonomy fail

2 05 2009

Just so that we are clear I’m not afraid of kickin’ my own moronic ass sometimes.

I thought I was all clever adding this picture to an Agamid group in Flickr as a bearded dragon:
Physignathus lesueurii lesueuri (Eastern Waterdragon)

Turns out it is Physignathus lesueurii lesueuri, an Eastern Waterdragon. If I’d paid any attention, I should have noticed the complete absence of beard.

I saw this little fella, and a few more (and a massive goanna, coming up) along Lane Cove River, in the Lane Cove National Park in North Ryde/Macquarie Park.

Thank you Jen 64 for pointing out my error. More on identifying subspecies of waterdragon over at Australian National Botanic Gardens website – note the face stripe goes eye-to-ear in this critter, distinguishing it from the Gippsland sub-species, you can also see some of the red underbelly if you look hard  (plus it was taken in Sydney, not Gippsland)