Sunday, April 23, 2017


North  Queensland  media   continue  to  miss  obvious  major  follow ups , ask obvious questions .

In  his  latest  weekly serving   in  the  spirited Townsville   website , The   Magpie's Nest   ,  journalist  Malcolm  Weatherup  revealed  the  latest   development in  the  court action  in  which  he was   awarded   more  than  $500,000    for  defamation  by  the Murdoch newspaper ,  The Australian .

 The  Magpie , like any good  local journo  should  ,  reported  that the Appeals Court in Brisbane  had  basically dismissed  an attempt by News Ltd to  "  overturn a jury verdict that The Australian  had defamed a fine, upstanding, sober gentleman of the press … err, ahem, cough, cough … that would be  moi. "

The   judges, he  continued,  had  done  a little legal tinkering around the edges of the outcome, changing a word or so in the complicated jury verdict while otherwise leaving  it  untouched.

Bottom line – Rupert was told to  pay up, and now it remained to see if  News Ltd  wanted  to  take the case  to the High Court. As the company had already spent close to a  million dollars in legal costs, The Pie wondered how much more flattery they  would  afford   him.  If  you  could  be   bothered, he said the  Appeal Court judgement was included  in  The Magpie's  post .

"One of the claims which News could not prove in its defence against my action was that I was forced to leave the  Townsville Bulletin   (I wasn’t, I resigned in disgust at the paper’s tabloid direction) because of the ‘wrath’ of several judges.

"This was also found to be fanciful codswallop, and the only irritation the local judges showed me was that they were grumpy because they weren’t called as witnesses to  confirm what utter tosh the claim was.
"It was the subject of a jolly lunch  they shouted  me  after the Supreme Court case. 

"But one of their number, the now retired John Baulch SC, just couldn’t control his ‘anger’, and called around to The Nest to give me a piece of  his mind … and to give me this." 
Screen shot 2017-04-22 at 11.32.20 PM
In an unsolicited  testimonial , Weatherup  said  Baulch  always has had a good taste in wine … and in  his avian friends. "Thanks, John, get angry as often as you like."

Wow !!! What a  great  story to follow  up   by  the  dynamic  local media  outside of  the Townsville Bulletin : local  journalist  tosses  Murdoch  again  in court ,   judges  angry that they were not called in his defence in the defamation case ...  Weatherup   presented  with  an aptly  named   bottle  of  vino , The Laughing Magpie . 

So  far , not a full  throated  peep  out of  the scribes , which speaks  volumes.Who  said  Queensland  needs a major media shakeup , especially  a  new  voice in  the North ,  apart  from the   vast  network of  Murdoch  papers and websites , commercial TV and  radio  interests  which  leave  a lot to be desired  and  the  ABC , which   performs  the  best, especially  with  rural news,  but   nevertheless  lacks  oomph  in   other  areas?
Ask Murdoch  HQ in Sydney if it intends   to  take the case to the High Court . If  so , why ? If not , when  will payment be made ?  Is  News Limited  aware Mr  Weatherup  had  his voice  box removed  and  is  not  in the best of health , a  situation which some  people might  think  is  aggravated  by  the drawn  out  court  battle  with a  media  giant ?Is News Limited  procrastinating in the hope that  Mr Weatherup will   fall  from  his  perch ?  This is a nasty  suggestion, but legitimate in  the circumstances.      Incidentally,  quite regularly on TV  you see an army of reporters  outside   courts   asking  key  players  in  cases  what  they think of  the  result   and  other   related  questions .  


Giant  waterfall  in  Antarctica  worries  scientists .

The big question is : has the level of surface melting increased in the last seven decades ?

Article by Tim Radford  in  the American Independent  NationofChange  on April 23 .


Scientists poring over military and satellite imagery have mapped the unimaginable: a network of rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and even a waterfall, flowing over the ice shelf of a continent with an annual mean temperature of more than-50C. In 1909 , Ernest Shackleton and his fellow explorers on their way to the magnetic South Pole found that they had to cross and recross flowing streams and lakes on the Nansen Ice Shelf.

Antarctic Waterways

Now, U.S. scientists report in the journal Nature that they studied photographs taken by military aircraft from 1947 and satellite images from 1973 to identify almost 700 seasonal networks of ponds, channels and braided streams flowing from all sides of the continent, as close as 600km to the South Pole and at altitudes of 1300 metres.
And they found that such systems carried water for 120km. A second research team reporting a companion study in the same issue of Nature identified one meltwater system with an ocean outflow that ended in a 130-metre wide waterfall, big enough to drain the entire surface melt in a matter of days.
In a world rapidly warming as humans burn ever more fossil fuels, to add ever more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, researchers expect to observe an increase in the volume of meltwater on the south polar surface. Researchers have predicted the melt rates could double by 2050. What isn’t clear is whether this will make the shelf ice around the continent – and shelf ice slows the flow of glaciers from the polar hinterland – any less stable.
“This is not in the future – this is widespread now, and has been for decades,” said Jonathan Kingslake, a glaciologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who led the research. 
“I think most polar scientists have considered water moving across the surface of Antarctica to be extremely rare. But we found a lot of it, over very large areas.”
The big question is: has the level of surface melting increased in the last seven decades? The researchers don’t yet have enough information to make a judgment.
“We have no reason to think they have,” Dr. Kingslake said. “But without further work, we can’t tell. Now, looking forward, it will be really important to work out how these systems will change in response to warming, and how this will affect the ice sheets.”
Many of the flow systems seem to start in the Antarctic mountains, near outcrops of exposed rock, or in places where fierce winds have scoured snow off the ice beneath. Rocks are dark, the exposed ice is a blue color, and during the long days of the Antarctic summer, both would absorb more solar energy than white snow or ice. This would be enough to start the melting process.

The Antarctic is already losing ice, as giant floating shelves suddenly fracture and drift north. There is a theory that meltwater could be part of the fissure mechanism, as it seeps deep into the shelves.

Drainage  Theory

But the companion study, led by the polar scientist Robin Bell of the Lamont-Doherty Observatory suggests that drainage on the Nansen Ice Shelf might help to keep the ice intact, perhaps by draining away the meltwater in the dramatic waterfall, the scientists had  identified.“It could develop this way in other places, or things could just devolve into giant slush puddles,” she said. “Ice is dynamic, and complex, and we don’t have the data yet.”

Saturday, April 22, 2017


Another  genuine scoop-not  fake news
After 100   days  of  running  America , President  Donald Trump  has decided to make  regular  trips to Magnetic Island  for  R and R , playing  golf   on the course  where  Greg  Norman used to  belt balls  when he was  a lad .  The above   reserved   spot  has  been set aside  for  his Sherman tank  at  the ferry terminal parking area.   Not all residents are happy  about   Trump  getting  special   parking    treatment  as  his  visits will be  few , probably  only one  a  month .  And parking  is a  growing  problem at the  terminal  . Interstate   Mexicans , like President Trump ,  from  across the border  and  the mainland,  are  known  to  leave  their  cars in  the   area  for  weeks  on   end  ,  taking  up  valuable   spaces  . The Magnetic  Island Ratepayers  and  Residents Association  recently   requested the Army Bomb Squad to  send in  a  cute looking   robot  to blow up   the many numerous   overparked   cars  at   the   terminal .   The president's tank , of course,  will not be destroyed-just towed away to a  holding yard  at the   dump by  landscaper and environmentalist   Charlie  McColl .         

Friday, April 21, 2017


Saucy  additions  to   Australia’s  ugliest , never ending  mouthful
In this  blog’s obsessive   hunt for  oddities in books and ephemera  ,   we   recently stumbled  across   a  surprise insert  in  the above  1983  Angus and Robertson reprint  of  Norman Lindsay’s   Australian epic   children's book  The Magic Pudding  Being the Adventures of  Bunyip  Bluegum . That item , a  printed  slip , contained  instructions on  how  to deal   with  a   Christmas  Pudding , cooked in the  old  fashion  way in  calico  ,  on  Christmas  Day . In addition , it  supplied  two recipes    for  sauce , one  “Grandma’s white sauce “


With   apologies  to   Henrik  Ibsen , a  Townsville  waterfront rhapsody.

Photographs  by  our  snap-happy  S(h)ipping  Reporter.


Some of  the treasures  from the vast  National  Library of  Australia's  collection  will soon  be  touring . In addition , NLA  is  asking  various places along the way to share their  collections . Question   and   answer  sessions  will  be  held  which will show how various  organisations   can   include  their  collections in  Trove .  Options to digitisation  will  also  be  discussed.  Places to be  visited include  all capital cities, regional centres  ... Darwin (  June 15 )   and Townsville (May  16 ) .  

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Newspaper  Man
Following  the rejection by the Museum  and   Art  Gallery  Northern Territory  board  of   the   offer  of  an    award winning  unusual  piece  of  artwork inspired by Australian  Rules  footballer  Michael  Long's  long  march   for  Indigenous  justice   to   Canberra ,  comes  news  that  the  National Portrait  Gallery, strangely, also knocked back  the  offer of  the  unique  rendition , shown here ,  of   prominent  Darwin  based   journalist  and   author   Douglas  Lockwood.

Lockwood's journalist  son , Kim , of  Melbourne , said that last year he wrote to  the National  Portrait  Gallery, Canberra, offering the  above portrait   of  his father .  It received the same response as  the Michael Long  item,   which had been made and  offered by Darwin agronomist  Robert  Wesley-Smith.   In a polite but  firm letter , the National Portrait Gallery   had  said  it  did   not  "meet  their  criteria ."  
Douglas Lockwood , above, born 1918 ,  covered a large part of  North Australia when  he  was  the  Melbourne Herald representative  based  in  Darwin ,  there  when it was  attacked   by  the  Japanese , won the  London Evening News 1250 pound  prize for the World's Strangest  Story  about  Bas Wie , a 12 year old boy , kicked by a cook, who  stowed  away inside the  wheel nacelle  of a Dutch Dakota  which flew from Dutch Koepang  to Darwin  ,  a  three  hour flight in August   1946.

 The retracting wheel  laid  bare his shoulder blade , Bas became unconscious and  suffered  burns from the exhaust. On landing  at Darwin , he was  found  hanging  in the nacelle .The story has been told  here  previously how the people of Darwin firmly said  authorities  should not send him back to  Koepang  after medical treatment . He  resided  in  Government  House  at the  request the Northern  Territory  Administrator , Mick Driver .    

 Lockwood , who  wrote 12  popular  books  about the Territory, some  translated into at  least four languages , included  one dealing  with  the   bombing of  the Darwin  , was managing editor of  Herald and Weekly Times publications in Papua New Guinea, which he amalgamated  into the first national paper , The  Post- Courier  .  He was managing editor of  the Bendigo paper in  Victoria   when he died  in  1980. 

 Kim provided  pertinent comments  about  the rejected  portrait : It is a terrific likeness,  was made in the Northern Territory  by  artist  Jack Goodluck , won a prize at the Darwin Show ,  called " Newspaper Man ",  made  entirely of newspaper  clippings, very  clever .  It did not , however,  meet  the  Gallery's  criteria .  

Some  time  ago , Kim took up  with the   Darwin City Council   the subject of   his  father  not  being  included   in  the  parade of  notable  Territorians   represented   in   tiles  along   Darwin's  Esplanade   ... Douglas Lockwood , a  reporter and  author  who  put  Darwin  and  the  Northern Territory  on  the  map  in   many  ways.