>Its not always about the Zombieapocalypse

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Back off man, I’m a Zombiehunter

Though as a card carrying member of zombie squad (motto We make dead things deader) admittedly 97% of my free time is spent with rehearsals, drills, checkinga and re-evaluating my go-bag and every day carry, checking literature, consulting health records, watching for Patient Zero, recharging torches seemingly endlessly recharging torchs, restocking food and medical supplies, watching training films and reading manuals like DEADLINE by Mira Grant.

Occasionally I feel the need to widen my horizons, albeit only slightly. Such as this week when this arrived in the mail.

Don’t think me being in a hardcopy will save you

Its Dr Daniel H Wilsons’s ROBOPOCALYPSE. I’ve lauded his work ever since first his lament to the 21st Century  ‘Where’s my Jetpack? A guide to the amazing science fiction that never arrived. He has go one to write a series of how to texts on

How to survive a robot uprising

How to build a robot army:Tips on defending Earth against Alien invaders, Ninjas and Zombies.

The book even before it became available was Steven Spielberg was committed to direct the movie.

In case you were wondering why I bought it in hard copy and not e-text. Manly because I haven’t chosen my e-reader yet though when this becomes available I will be sorely tempted. The reason is if it on an electronic device that will make it far to easy for Archos to locate me.

Here is the winning fan made trailer for the book.

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>An early start to a Thursday morning

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“Way to ruin my night vision Dad”

At 4:20AM on Thursday Morning, I and the_weapon like the rest of the world bundled ourselves up in our warmest gear and left our toasty beds and sat in the back yard to watch the longest total lunar eclipse I have seen in my lifetime.

It was wonderful, from 4:20 when we saw the edge of the shadow begin to cross from the top right corner and fall across the moon’s face. It fell with the slow majesty you’d expect from an event orchestrated across a million kilometers of void.

Damn it was cold, but we were held spellbound, for as the darkness fell more stars came out and we each tried to name the star as it appeared. And I maintain that IRK is not a star we can see, no matter how dark it gets.

By 5:30 the moon was biblical – I mean literally like in the King James ” …and the moon into blood”.

No moon for you

And when I say the rest of the world I do of course exclude North America. As you see from the chart the Moon largely gave a big ‘FRAK YOU’ to the United States on this one. That’s okay, you were probably all busy anyway.

The cold and early rise was worth it because during the totality (the bit when the moon passes deepest into the shadow on this pass) the moon was in the Earth’s umbra for the longest time.

Which means at the height (depth, maximium) lets go with the ‘totality’ if you hadn’t been watching where the moon was the whole time then you couldn’t see it, as no sunlight was falling on it, not even the filtered red light that gives the moon its eerie red colour during the eclipse. For why the moon turns red during an eclipse I turn to the explainantion given by the_weapon, my 11 year old son.

“only the sunlight that goes through the earths air is hitting the moon, the air’s pulled out all the blue light so only the red light is left”

That’s not too shabby and explanation of what happens. He has seen sunlight split into colours by a prism and knows that the sky is blue because that’s the part of the white sunlight that is most scattered by the particles in the air, and he figured this out

White – Blue = red.

For my US friends here is the eclipse someone filmed, my video wouldn’t have recorded for the whole hour and 20 minutes. They have sped it up for those you are busy.

But US you will get your chance with the second total eclipse of the year will be in December 2011.

and I leave you with this science article about an insect called the lesser water boatman, Micronecta scholti. Which on a kilo for kilo basis makes the loudest noise in nature at 105 dbs by

“… rubbing its ribbed penis against ridges on its belly, playing its genitals like a miniature fiddler”

which shows to me why reality will always be more remarkable than what we can imagine.

>Hug me I’m Vaccinated

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“Look its Patient Zero, TAKE’ HER DOWN!”

Are you noticing lots of people coughing, spluttering, complaining of sniffles and worse SNEEZING? Everyday on the train into the city a half a dozen people in my carriage release a mighty, droplet-riddled – ACHOO, and I think

 ‘is this it? is this Patient Zero of the next great pandemic?’ 

What is the correct etiquette in this situation? pass them a hanky, douse them in disinfectant, yell at them “way to to doom the planet sneezy.”

This week saw 4197 cases of Whooping Cough (Pertussis) since the start of the year in Victoria. This is twice the numbers for the same period in 2010. The Chief Health Officer of Victoria provided these figures

In 2008 there were 1673 cases
2009 there were 3736
2010 a total of 6736

anyone else spotting a trend here?


My reason_for_living, a mild mannered academic at a major metropolitan university, (that’s a fib she’s never been mild mannered) was notified of a case of diphtheria in the university. That’s right

DIPHFRAKINGTHERIA

The New South Wales health department describes this disease as

As a contagious and potentially life threatening bacterial  infection, a common cause of death in children up   until the 1940s but has now almost  disappeared in Australia due to immunization     

I expect Tetanus to start rearing its ugly jaw locking head any day. 

If only there was some effective regime we as a society could adopt to prevent these terrible disease from ravaging across our civilization? There is its called VACCINATION.  Perhaps a schedule like the one listed here given to all children. Its called the National Immunization Program Schedule. So why isn’t it working? I tell you why its because ….

Immunization is a victim of its own success, we don’t see children suffering from these diseases anymore so we have become complacent. Which allows the efforts of the deliberately miss-titled Australian Vaccination network to spread lies and fears of the risk of immunization. This organisation headed by the appalling Meryl Dorey whose rants against immunization are so bizarre, on one occasion likening a vaccination of a child to rape, leads me to suspect she may suffer from some form of twisted Piquerism. Then there is the work of ex Doctor Andrew Wakefield whose fraudulent study proposing a link between the UK MMR vaccine and Autism lead to a boom in cases of measles. Plus the Tree-change, we live in a fairy tale mind state in rural New South Wales and don’t believe in Western Medicine type. 


When I took the_weapon in to get this years flu shot I discovered the booster for tetanus I got after my motorbike accident only covered me for Tetanus and Diphtheria. So I paid the $40 for the booster and received the most painless vaccination ever. At the moment the health department is offering the booster free to new parents in an effort to get this outbreak under control and reduce the risk to new borns.

I’d like to think in some office in the Health Department there is a big transparent plasma screen like the one you see in all the high tech movies, with a outline of the state, highlighting the reported infections. Down one side a series of numbers recording the tally and plotting against previously calculated intervention points which automatically trip increasing levels of free immunizations.


At this level the standard childhood immunizations,  at this level parents of newborns, now people working with children, the vulnerable and finally in a desperate attempt to stop the spread free to everyone. 


Of course its not like that, and I worry that our health services are desperately under funded and people don’t realize the risk or appreciate how long it took us to reign in these terrible scourges and how this brief respite in the history of civilization could end and we could return to tiny babies gasping for breath due to whooping cough.  


We shouldn’t have to go backwards, we shouldn’t have to learn this stuff all over again.