computer
blogging, History & Traditions

Google will Help You

In the almost forgotten days B.C. meaning, “Before Covid,” we might search for holiday accommodation, or sightseeing spots using Google. Sometimes Google suggests places we didn’t even know we wanted to go, based on our search history and we don’t have to ask.

hotel entrance stained glass

Whilst away on vacations, we might need to know a good place to eat nearby. No need to ask the concierge or at the Reception desk, as Google can tell you. Do you want to know what people thought of the atmosphere, the food, the service of that restaurant? Google knows better than any food critic. Directions to get there? Google will be delighted to share various routes and time frames. Not sure of the constituents of a fancy French dish on the menu: Google will be happy to elaborate.

You might have consulted the medical form – Dr Google – who compiles a list of potential medical conditions from your given symptoms.

Can’t find that recipe for Turmeric flavoured Brownies? Chef Google to the rescue.

So much of our news and information stems from social media pop-ups, short headlines or excerpts on Google. News services and some newspapers have been made redundant by Google. We are now so good at finding out information for ourselves, via Google, I wonder if journalism will become redundant too?

Syndicated news doesn’t seem to reflect differing viewpoints any longer. Instead, reporters grow more like the mouthpieces of social media behemoths, reporting on what they personally think of a topic, rather than any balanced, objective or original perspective.

There is little need for a media launch or PR campaign for a new product. With a small amount of money, social media marketing will use targeted advertising will reach your chosen audience and Google spiders automatically do the rest.

Google is omnipresent and listening. If you don’t believe me, try saying, “Hey Google” to your cell phone.

Flowers
Time – less flowers

Google has made the world better by improving access to information, but it has also eliminated a multitude of jobs. How did we ever manage without it?

In referring to time, our future years may be B.G. and A.G. – Before Google and After Google.

1980’s was a year B.G. – being that time when we used Telephone books, Street Directories, read broadsheet Newspapers and Hard copy Dictionaries and more people had full time employment.

I remember those days.

Australia, Community, Environment, Mental Health

Corona Fallout

When I looked at the stats for countries being hit with this pandemic, it struck me as surprising that the number of cases/deaths due to Covid 19, in some places, did not correlate proportionately with the level of population.

It would be easy to assume hygiene levels and santization practices might be lower in underdeveloped countries, as compared to say, Australia. And that spread of disease would be faster. In countries with higher levels of health care, the contagion might have been anticipated to be slower. This does not appear to be the cases if you look at the current statistics. Places like Malaysia and Thailand, are doing remarkably well, with a small number of Covid 19 cases, in regions with populations far greater than others. Why? Is it their level of preventative measures?

Here are the current stats country by country, if you are interested.

Why is Covid-19 so prevalent in Italy?

Then there is Italy – why do they have so many Covid cases? Some suggest that many Chinese and other businessmen, have been visiting the north of Italy, in greater numbers of recent times.

Starting in Codogno, a small town in southern Lombardy, one of the wealthiest, most densely populated, and most globalized areas in Europe, the coronavirus circulated very fast and easily…. The Codogno economic district hosts large companies and multinationals – making it a hub for production and international trade. Workers, salesmen, managers, and consultants of all sorts travel daily to their workplace, many of them commuting to nearby cities. International partners visit from abroad. And of course, Milan is a mere 70 kilometer drive from Codogno. Although “patient zero” has not been found yet, it looks increasingly likely that the virus had been circulating in Europe weeks before “patient one” was identified in late February.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/03/covid-19-hits-italy-a-test-for-china-ties/
singapore

Singapore

Singapore, to its immense credit, appears to be managing the crisis well. They were well prepared, quickly instituting pro-active measures after having previously learnt valuable lessons in pandemic management, during the SARS outbreak.

A New World Order?

The current crisis highlights just how connected and how vulnerable we, as a society are. Our financial and business sectors, recreation and travel mean a contagion can and does travel fast and far, throughout the entire world. Not even in a small village in Iceland are you safe, from this virus. Whether we care to admit it or night, we do live in a global village. We can no longer live and conduct affairs without considering the rest of the world.

iceland

The economies of the Western developed countries are suffering, just as China is beginning to recover. Many Western democracies, including mine, will inevitably head into a deep economic recession, in coming months. We need to have in place new and different strategies and policies for business, health care, education and technology in order to appropriately respond to this contagion.

Some Chinese communities are questioning whether they should move back to China, from their new bases in Italy. What effect would this have?

“About 100,000 people from Wenzhou, and another 100,000 from nearby Qingtian county, live in Italy, according to official Chinese data, with Milan also hosting a sizable Chinese community. “We definitely feel safer in China. The government is more efficient … Hospitals here can treat patients well, but the government’s ability to respond to an emergency is not ideal,” Wu said.”

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3073987/stay-or-go-tough-call-chinese-italy-coronavirus-crisis-hits

The social fallout from this virus also highlights the disparity between European countries, with high levels of health care against the economic might of America, who has almost no universal health care. [Let me know if this is wrong].

I wonder why Universities and Schools are only now moving to E-learning in response to the viral threat. Why didn’t the education facilities, fully implement this mode of delivery, earlier? Can I attribute the reason to their penchant for keeping a social interactive community on university campuses alive? Wouldn’t E-learning be far more profitable to them?

Climate Conspiracy?

If I believed in conspiracy theories, which I don’t, my cynical self would also suggest that the release of the virus, if it was deliberate, is a discrete way to circumvent and divert debate and action, on action against climate change.

Continuing and ever increasing school strikes successfully highlighted issues of climate change. Now that schools are closed in many countries, except Australia, the strikes cannot happen.

Moreover, we cannot gather in groups of more than 100 in Australia. Some countries ban gatherings of less than 50, and in Portugal, gatherings must be less than 5 persons.

Food and Job Security

Adding to this, is the issue of global food security. The shops across the world are emptying, and people are staying home, for the most part. Food is becoming harder to obtain. If transport is halted, how do we all access food?

Many have already lost their employment or will lose it in coming months. Many will become homeless or develop mental health issues.

How Fragile is our existing World Order?

leaves

A Positive Effect

If there is one postive to be found in self-imposed isolation or government quarantine and in business shut-down and potential failure, it is that some parts of the planet and nature, get a break from human intervention and destruction.

  • Global rainforests may not get burnt this week.
  • Fewer carbon emissions from reduced transport services.
  • That precious koala habitat may not get cleared/logged this week.
  • Industries may refraim from discharging their poisonous effluent into the sea this week, due to shutdowns.
  • The lake near my Home by the Sea might not have pieces of plastic litter from building supplies contaminating it this week. {we are on track so far}
  • People may re-discover making ends meet – growing their own food, cooking for themselves, entertaining at home, chatting with family.

In short: we get a chance to pause and breathe too.

Australia, Community, Travel

Coping with Covid

beach

Latest Update

475 deaths from Corona, in Italy yesterday. 140 new cases overnight here, in Australia. No new cases in China – that they are aware of. Some good news from China, at last.

Iceland had its first death, possibly attributed to Covid 19! Iceland!

A sparsely populated area in the north of a country of only 250,000 people. An outpost in the very north of the Atlantic!

And who was it that perished in that tiny village in the north of Iceland?

An Australian tourist!

Unbelievable, but true.

RIYADH: The Saudi Health Ministry announced 67 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total in the Kingdom to 238. The ministry said that highest number among the newly recorded cases was 45 arrivals to Saudi Arabia during the past two days. These cases arrived from UK.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1643431/saudi-arabia

It begs the questions of how much international travel, for business or pleasure has contributed to spreading this virus, albeit inadvertantly?

Hong kong

The Australian Airline carrier, Qantas, has reduced flights by 90%. International travel has been curtailed indefinitely, for most people. The Government has now banned foriegners from visiting our country. If you are a foreign citizen living here, you may leave, but you cannot return.

Is the sun setting on the future of passenger cruising and travel? Along with companies whose sole business is tourism, holiday accommodation, hospitality, and recreation?

Supermarkets sales are booming, whilst every other business languishes, rots or dies – Death by Corona.

Toilet paper, rice, pasta, other staples and curiously broccoli, fly off the shelves as soon as they are re-stocked. Why just Broccoli?

Broccoli and Spinach Soup

Nurses, Doctors, Hospital staff such as Cleaners, Ward Admininstration staff and Service folk, Ambulance drivers, Paramedics, Police, Fire, Laboratory testing staff, Security Personnel, Emergency services, all continue to work. Thanks goodness they do.

A friend works in a Hospital laboratory conducting more than 1000 Covid 19 tests a day! His work is usually only URGENT specimens for the hospital. One hospital. How many more are being conducted at the major high volume blood laboratories in each city. That statistic staggers me.

Gyms, sporting clubs and Yoga studios have closed.

Cinemas have closed.

Social Clubs have closed.

Universities have moved to online delivery of lessons.

Fiestas and Public festivals and events are canned.

We cannot gather together in a group of more than 100.

Yet the Government refuses to close the schools – children are safer in the germ- riddled playground and public toilet than in their family home,according to our fearless leader!

TV ratings must be up higher than ever before, or perhaps residential internet data usage is?

I remain at work, by direction. Everything but essential appointments are cancelled. Essential means an appointment that is vital, for safety reasons. So there will be very limited community visits for me – I will be spending my days at work, filing!

Quite frankly, I would rather stay at home, on unpaid leave and write, or paint. One consolation is the traffic is better. And I have my podcasts to listen to. There is no Covid 19 news on them.

microphone
Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Driving to Podcasts

As I drive the long drive to and from work, I listen to stories of history, of what it was like to endure life in years gone by, scientific advances, the wars, heroic tales of people who overcome adversity or those who achieved success. I listen to philosophers and researchers – those who study the past to find answers to the future, who create our future. It interests me and is much preferable than listening to Corona updates.

Corona Anxiety

My daughter is worried. A 20 year old girl should not have to worry about whether she will live or die by the hand of a virus. She worries about having money to buy food and essentials; she works at a hotel, empty of guests, so her shifts have been drastically cut. There is a pitiful amount of money coming in.

She worries about paying rent. The landlord will no doubt still collect every last cent that is due. There is no relief for those who pay for their accommodation, or who have a mortgage. We help her, of course. We are her parents and willingly help. What if we weren’t here?

Traffic light control boxes

I reassure her worried teenage young adult mind, by telling her that humans are a resilient species. We have survived famine, years of food rations in the Great Depression and The World Wars. People ate rabbits, for the most part! I don’t tell her that part.

Yet in all this, life feels like it’s on hold.

I am flooded with daily emails about the extra precautions industry and businesses are taking, offering hand santizer, cleaning door handles, countertops, using gloves to handle food, only taking credit cards for payment, in order to avoid ‘dirty’ cash. I wonder: did your business, never ever clean your products or benches, door handles or ATM’s buttons before?

The mood at work and throughout society now, is solemn. And it can only become worse. People are worried, talking constantly about the latest media updates. It is hard to remain joyful and optimistic when everything is so uncertain.

– and the schools still remain open.

The Government must have shit for brains.

How are things in your area?

Australia, Community, Environment

Where are you going, Australia?

Australia Day 2020

Today is Australia Day, or if you are a First Nation person, you might call it Invasion Day. Back in 1788, the “First Fleet.” of British ships arrived on Australia’s eastern coast and began establishing a British colony.

The British considered the Australian continent unoccupied – as the indigenous peoples were not considered as a nation in themselves. However wrong this was at the time, it happened and today we still celebrate this day with a public holiday.

pool
We never wore sun protective sun shirts like these kids did!

January 26 in Australia, marks the end of the long summer holidays and that means lots of folks travelling on the roads and lots of pool parties and barbeques.

At a time when the dude from Top Gear is making egotistical comments about Australia, Boris Johnson comments on our ‘resilient spirit.’

Is our country still resilient? When many of us support dirty coal fired power generation? Or deny climate change?

Not all Aussies fully comprehend the gravity of the planet’s situation as they only hear what the media here tells them. The media often fails to give a balanced view!

So,
What can you do, when those who are ignorant or closed to new ideas vote in ignorant fools, because they read and listen to tabloid tripe? It’s a little depressing.

Whilst European economics has its problems, at least they are aiming for better air to breathe, and a better country for their children.

We seem to be taking a longer time to understand the problem.

Great Ocean Road
Port Fairy, South Eastern Victoria, Australia

This Australia Day – take up my challenge and show that Australians can:

  • Read more widely – especially those opinions that you don’t at first agree with – they may have a point of view that resonates somewhere. It can’t hurt you even if you don’t change your opinion – you will just be better informed.
  • Seek out facts to substantiate your opinion. The Radio and TV commentators might be and often are misinformed or wrong.
  • Discuss this with your friends and listen to feedback.
  • Challenge long held beliefs – the world is changing.
schnauzer dog reading
Even my Schnauzer was interested in books

Don’t get left behind, Australia.

stpa logo
Community, Environment

The Future of Australia


Recently I had a discussion with another blogger and it highlighted to me how the bulk of Australian public opinion appears to differ greatly from the rest of the First World in the North.

Coal and Renewable Energy Sources

Australia could, and should be, a solar energy powerhouse of the world with our almost constant sunlight and extreme lack of rainfall, right?

It is not.

As India and China, the major markets for purchasing Australian coal, move towards solar and renewable energy sources, it makes good economic sense in the long term to utilize a raw material is FREE and infinite.

Early morning sunrise photography

Surely there must be a tipping point at which the Australia coal industry no longer becomes viable, yet some companies and politicians still support expansion of coal fired power generation. Will we see subsidized fossil fuel generation as a way to prop up employment?

Why? When there are alternatives.

The baseload power needed to support solar energy argument doesn’t make sense when it is solar that is putting more energy into the grid at times of peak demand. I am happy to hear otherwise along with hard evidence. Enlighten me.

For decades the coal industry has supplied power to Australian homes and so many jobs, towns and industry are heavily reliant on it. Past and present governments have been reluctant to invest in solar, due to vested interests who benefit from coal making large political donations.

Is it such a good idea to penalise those folk who choose to invest money in solar by making them pay for infrastructure? Infrastructure that actual makes power companies money by tax relief?

photo editing

I would love to see coal industries leading the charge to investing and promoting/converting to solar. Why not? Currently, we import solar cells from countries like – wait for it – Canada, Italy China and Germany! Canada and Germany are not exactly renowned as warm weather countries are they?

What madness is this?

Prior to moving to our Home by the Sea, we had a wonderful solar system with German solar panels, and Italian inverter and expertly installed by an Australian small business – providing jobs to Australia.

Original colour photo

Five years later, that same company had to close its doors and sack workers because the government initiated moves that caused extreme business uncertainty for companies in the Solar and Renewable energy sector, by reducing the incentives to Australian solar energy customers, thereby assisting the coal industry to further entrench reliance on itself by the energy grid and the monopoly they have enjoyed for years.

monochrome

Pariochial Thinking and Media Control

Foreigners often direct criticism at Americans for having “blinkers” and closed thinking. Meaning that they seem to have a lack of awareness of external issues, due to their media focus on internal matters. However Australians may also be guilty of inward thinking and thus, are far removed from the levels of environmental awareness and action found in the many parts of Europe, where using dirty coal is regarded with much derision. For example: Finland

Yet our Prime Minister seems certain burning coal is still kosher!

Be a leader!

Be Bold, Mr Morrison, P.M of Australia.

Have a vision for your country moving forward for the sake of your children!

Stand up to the Media Moghuls and radio shock jocks who claim they dictate Australian public policy and public opinion!

“We are striking because we have done our homework, and they have not.” – Greta Thunberg

Climate protest in Hamburg, Germany, 1 March 2019

I hear vehement criticism of Greta Thunberg in the hair salons and in the cafes and even by Australians, at backyard barbeques. It utterly shocks me that many Australians think she is some kind of spoilt child throwing an environmentally themed tantrum.

What has happened to my countrymen that they can be so narrow-minded as to criticize and poke fun at a child with a wish for a better future?

Time magazine didn’t think she was a climate brat; they nominated her as their person of the year for 2019.

Australians who deride Greta Thunberg, a child with a vision and the guts to speak out, disgust me, but then I think perhaps they have not had an opportunity to hear another opinion and don’t have the smarts to listen to information sources that are not mainstream.

bank climate change

How does one get through to this sector of the population if the media is so regulated by powerful self-serving interests?

The ageing population here is a hard line conservative group who favour stoic right wing governing with a touch of xenophobia. Compounding this and disappointingly, there seems to be a political swing away from the green movement by the middle income, middle aged voting cohorts. And this is happening when the young folk are much more environmentally aware than any of my peers.

Employment

Is it uncertainty over job security that drives this? Australia has always been so reliant on exporting its raw materials, that is has no manufacturing base to speak of. Research and the IT industry was beginning to develop until it was all but destroyed by government cutbacks.

computer
CC0 Creative Commons

I am unsure why.

On our final day of this decade, open your minds to new possibilities and new solutions, and cast away the hard line thinking of the past.

Happy New Year World.

A New Dawn is approaching.

Community, Philosophy

Sunday Sayings – Contentment

Bättre en fågel i handen än tio i skogen.

Better a bird in hand then 10 in the forest.

Swedish Proverb
bird

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.

If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”

― Oprah Winfrey

Are you constantly seeking contentment?

Marc and Angel stated that there are two variations of contentment in life – fleeting and enduring. 

“The fleeting type is derived from instants of material comfort, while the enduring type is attained through the gradual growth of your mind.  At a glimpse it might be difficult to decipher one from the other, but as time rolls on it becomes vividly obvious that the latter is far superior.

Enduring contentment sustains itself through life’s ups and downs, because through them your mind remains confident and at peace.  On the other hand, when life’s fleeting changes have the ability to ruffle your mind into a frenzy, even the most elaborate physical comforts won’t make you any happier for very long. “

“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.”

― Immanuel Kant

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog, which morphed into Sunday Sayings.
I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.
They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

Something to Ponder About this sunday.

Community

2019 – How Does it Look So Far?

I am not really someone who makes New Year resolutions as I prefer a little more structure around the aims and goals, however a little planning in February, can’t go astray, can it?

Lake
Boreen point lakeside beach

I found this little memo on the net and thought it was a prompt to think about general and personal goal setting for the year ahead. Even though we are two months in, I still feel  that I am just getting started with 2019.

Here are the ‘resolutions’ and my answers.

A bad habit that I am going to break – reduce or stop overreacting to personal bad news with knee-jerk judgements.

A new skill I would like to learn – I love languages and learning to speak a little Polish and Old German will help me in reading historical records, as well as be welcome stimulation of the linguistic neurons in my grey matter!

A good deed that I am going to do – assisting the Smith family and helping to re-distribute food via Qantas volunteer program. I like to support community projects and endeavours.

A book that I would like to read – I would love to reduce some of the books currently on my TBR shelf – one that comes to mind is Anna Funder’s, ‘All that I Am.’

A new food that I want to try – I’d be willing to try anything fermented or pickled – the probiotics contained within are so good for you.

A place that I would like to visit –  I would like to say something remote like the Faroe Islands, but as I am busy at home this year, there will be no long holidays, unless I count a potential, but not scheduled visit, to the Mornington peninsula, in Victoria or getting involved in research at the Genealogical Society headquarters.

I am going to be better at being – non-judgmental and maintaining calm ….. ohm……

Are you someone who sets goals or makes resolutions?

Do you reassess them regularly? Are they a useful prompt, or temporary navel-gazing?

Join in with the Seven resolutions and tag me in so I can read up on your inspiration for 2019.

Community

Poetry Challenge – October Reminder

October Prompt:

~ Write a poem to, or about, your future self.

How might you see yourself, or your life, in ten years time.

 

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

This prompt is merely a suggestion and you may choose a topic of your liking and still be included in the challenge.

Remember to add the tag A and I Poetry Challenge, to your post, so that I can link to your blog in the final end of month round up of contributors.

FINAL  MONTH FOR THE POETRY CHALLENGE

POST BEFORE 31ST OCTOBER to be INCLUDED in the CHALLENGE ROUND UP POST.

The challenge is open to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced writers or aspiring poets. The challenge will include writing tips and link backs for contributors. Beginner poet, hobbyist or Advanced writer We hope you will join in.

You can write in either language, however, please post a link back, and comment at both WordPress blogs to indicate your interest and include the tag  A and I Poetry Challenge. 

In this way, we can find you and read your poetry.

 

Have fun!

A and I Poetry Challenge

Something poetic to ponder About

Scrapydo2

Community

Poetry Challenge – October Prompt

A and I Poetry Challenge Hosts are a Blogger and Writer, from New Zealand, Ineke, of Scrapydo2 and Blogger from Australia, Amanda, of  Something to Ponder About.

Amanda and Ineke

Amanda’s Poetry challenge is  in English and Ineke’s Poetry Challenge is in Afrikaans, (with many translations in English). Everyone is welcome to join in. October is the final month of this challenge! Please do join in!

You can write in either language, however, please post a link back, and comment at both WordPress blogs to indicate your interest and include the tag  A and I Poetry Challenge.

For Full guidelines on joining in, click here.

 

October Prompt:

~ Write a poem to, or about, your future self.

How might you see yourself, or your life, in ten years time.

 

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

This prompt is merely a suggestion and you may choose a topic of your liking and still be included in the challenge.

Remember to add the tag A and I Poetry Challenge, to your post, so that I can link to your blog in the final end of month round up of contributors.

 

The challenge is open to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced writers or aspiring poets. The challenge will include writing tips and link backs for contributors. Beginner poet, hobbyist or Advanced writer We hope you will join in.

You can write in either language, however, please post a link back, and comment at both WordPress blogs to indicate your interest and include the tag  A and I Poetry Challenge. 

In this way, we can find you and read your poetry.

 

Have fun!

A and I Poetry Challenge

Something poetic to ponder About

Scrapydo2