Sunday, April 11, 2021

Maternal DNA

According to a maternal DNA test (mtDNA), I'm descended from a Viking woman. My haplogroup is J1c3f, who lived 4600 years ago.

A haplogroup is a genetic cohort of people who share a common ancestor on either their paternal or maternal line. mtDNA is mitochondrial, or maternal.

A previous maternal ancestor J1c3 is believed to have lived 11,000 years ago while J1c goes back 15,000 years.

The mutation defining haplogroup J is thought to have taken place some 45,000 years ago in the Caucasus. Researchers have called her Jasmine.

J1c3 descendants are found throughout Europe while J1c3f are mostly in northern Europe, although some are found in the North Caucasus and Kazakhstan.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Everyone works in communications


Bundaberg Now Weekender

This might come as a surprise but Bundaberg Regional Council has 900 people who work in communications.

Every single Councillor and every Council employee communicates every working day, either internally with colleagues or externally with the public.

This includes the smiling faces at the front counter, call centre operators, community development workers, rangers, venue managers, etc.

So, when a journalist starts asking about the size of the communications team and its budget, I immediately suspect self-interest on the part of their employer.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Scrap the cashless debit card


It's time in my view to scrap the cashless debit card as a failed social experiment.

The scheme quarantines 80 per cent of social security payments to a cashless card, which prevents spending on alcohol, illegal drugs and gambling products.

It's operated under a contract by private company Indue.

According to the Australian Government, the cashless debit card tests whether reducing the amount of cash available in a community will reduce the overall harm caused by welfare-fuelled alcohol, gambling and drug misuse.

"While it is not the only solution, it is a useful tool operating alongside other reforms to address the devastating impacts of drug and alcohol misuse and problem gambling," the Government's website says.

"The cashless debit card looks and operates like a regular bank card, except it cannot be used to buy alcohol or gambling products, some gift cards or to withdraw cash."

The idea is that people receiving welfare benefits will only be able to use that money on approved purchases, such as food and clothing, and not on poker machines or alcohol.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Coronavirus wipes out 2020


The year 2020 is both memorable and one to forget. It's memorable for having the first global pandemic since Spanish Flu in 1918-19.

It's forgettable for stifling travel, recreation, arts, culture and all the good things we enjoy in life like socialising, dining, sports and entertainment.

I feel fortunate in some respects and cheated in others. My partner and I were due to leave on the trip of a lifetime to Europe on 27 March. If it had been a week earlier, we would have flown from Brisbane to Lisbon via Dubai.

As it happens, we're probably lucky it was a week later or we might have been stranded there.

We've missed out on some long-planned, amazing experiences but escaped the worst impacts of the pandemic.

Regional Queensland is probably one of the safest and best places to be this year. We've had fewer than 10 cases of COVID-19 in Bundaberg and they were related to overseas travel or the Ruby Princess. There's been no community transmission.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Bundaberg Now connects Council and community

Bundaberg Now

I'm pleased to have been involved with the launch of Bundaberg Now.

The website is an initiative of Bundaberg Regional Council to provide a platform for publication of Council and community news.

It also connects Council with the community.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Experimental cooking

I try to cook several meals on Saturday or Sunday for the week ahead. I spend too much money on lunch and coffee; it's ridiculous. Better to prepare my own meals and take them to work.

One dish that I've been experimenting with for several weeks is fried rice. Sounds simple, but I've discovered there are nuances and options. It also takes longer to cook than stir fries and pasta dishes.

Last week I added nasi goreng paste and chilli paste. It made for quite a tasty meal but I thought the rice was too sticky.

Although I have a rice cooker, this is often a problem. Today I referred to Chef Google and dried the rice in the oven for a few minutes before putting it in the frying pan. Some of the grains became a little crunchy, but overall it was a good result.

The dish pictured has lots of olive oil, a small amount of sesame oil, turmeric (powder), salt, prawns, bacon, peas, beans, capsicum, chilli, two boiled eggs, onion, spring onion and cayenne pepper.

It's my best effort so far.

At the first attempt I used home-made basil pesto dip as well and I might add something similar next time.

Monday, August 6, 2018


This is one of my new kokedamas, obtained from Dear Little Kreations at Bargara.

According to Wikipedia: Kokedama (苔玉, in English, literally "moss ball") is a ball of soil, covered with moss, on which an ornamental plant grows. The idea has its origins in Japan, where it is a combination of the nearai 根洗い (literally "root wash," but meaning "no pot") bonsai and kusamono planting styles. Today, Kokedama is very popular in Japanese gardens.

The care instructions suggest to water the plants about once a week. They are said to be idea for indoor locations with not too much direct sunlight.

They're absolutely gorgeous and a wonderful way to brighten a room.