Coal seam gas: dirty technology

It seems that the Queensland Government has basically sold it's soul to big business and given the go-ahead to massive expansion of coal-seam gas extraction.

However, the fracturing side of this is such a dirty technology, that has already resulted in highly toxic chemicals leaking into the ground-water. Vast aquifiers are at risk, which could spoil agriculture over large areas of Queensland.

It is not just Queensland at risk: all States of Australia have reserves of coal-seam gas and extraction is well underway in New South Wales and pending in the other States.

Wake up! This is a one-way thing. Nobody can really state definitely that leakage of the dangerous chemicals won't contaminate ground water, and in fact it has already happened -- the response of the Queensland Government has been to close down just one well where leakage has been proven. Yet, leakage could be going on elsewhere, maybe very slowly over several years. We end up with water poisoned for a thousand years.

Some links:

Queensland Govt official FAQ:

My objection is not about the gas extraction itself, but in the fracturing process that requires exotic toxic chemicals. Some sites do not need fracturing, but there are still other concerns, such as lowering of the water table.

I find the very notion of pumping thousands of litres of toxic chemicals into the ground to be fundamentally unacceptable, and decided to post this message as one tiny little contribution to raise awareness here in Australia.

I watched a "Four Corners" documentary, which covered the concerns of some rural communities in Queensland. What was uncovered was a series of lies and subterfuge by the gas companies. For example, water getting contaminated in neighboring farms and the gas company keeping it quiet for 13 months, until they were exposed. Another example, use of 23 chemicals that have never been evaluated for the purpose of fracturing -- despite this, the Qld and NSW State governments and the Federal Government have give the projects the thumbs up.

About the Four Corners program: must click on the interview with Marianne Loyd-Smith ...what she has to say is so alarming!

Just one extra note: one of those chemicals was examined by Four Corners and the documentation from the chemical manufacturer states that it is highly toxic and must not be used underground where it could contaminate groundwater.

"The coal seam gas land grab", Australian "60 Minutes":

Posted on 21 Feb 2011, 22:24 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02150">Edit - Delete

Horrible food additive

Recently, my daughter developed a rash all over her body. She went to a doctor, who said that she didn't really know but thought it most likely to be heat rash. Well, it wasn't even hot weather at the time, and my daughter has no history of heat rash.

So, she did a lot of research on the Internet, and eventually thinks that she has tracked it down. The day before the rash appeared, she had eaten a Hungry Jacks vege burger. So, you think that you are being healthy by eating a vege burger? Wrong. The lentil patty used in the burger has flavour enhancer 635.

See this report about 635:

Apart from the rash, what is a real worry is that 635 can cause you to develop adverse reactions to other foods. This could be happening to people, and they don't have any idea why.

For years, I have always looked at the ingredients on the label and avoided artificial additives. But I have been buying pickled cucumbers with this on the label:

Cucumbers (55%), water, vinegar, salt, dill weed (0.4%), mineral salt (509), flavours

...what the @#$!%& are "flavours"!!!!

Actually, I have been buying these pickled cucumbers as the supermarkets no longer have any without this mysterious "flavours" on the label.

After my daughter's report, I am going to be more vigilant, go to a speciality store (?) see if I can locate "natural" pickled cucumbers.

Posted on 3 Feb 2011, 21:37 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02126">Edit - Delete

Telstra pre-paid Mobile Wi-Fi MF30

I have been having the usual hassles with my satellite Internet connection cutting out, so yesterday I "took the day off" and went to Perth -- and bought one of these:

When I got home, I had to telephone Telstra to active it. I spoke with a lady who identified herself as "Anne" (yeah, right) and 10 minutes later we were done. But, there was one funny moment, when she asked me what operating system I was using, and she rattled off a list "Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP...." and I replied "none of those, I use Linux". There was a pause, and then she repeated the question, rattling off the same list of operating systems. I realised that she was doing it all by rote, so I told her to put down Windows XP. Actually, these MF30 devices are operating system independent, as they have their own inbuilt DHCP server and web interface.

I had been warned on the forum to wait 4-5 hours after activation before using it, so I had an afternoon snooze. Then I came to my desk with anticipation, only to find that the MF30 was dead, no lights when I press the on/off button. Charger plugged in? ..yep. I opened it up, took out the battery, put the battery back in, then it worked!!! Hmmm...

Speed test
Anyway, here I am now, using the MF30 and I went to and got these results, communicating with a server in Adelaide:

Ping (latency): 192ms
Download speed: 2.62Mbps
Upload speed: 0.24Mbps

Ahhh! Now we have a decent download speed! Upload is no better than my satellite Internet. However, my satellite download was only about 550Kbps.

Posted on 2 Feb 2011, 15:58 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02121">Edit - Delete

Telstra pre-paid WiFi MF30

Yesterday when I my satellite connection was so bad I was forced to use my dialup account (over my old rural telephone line, only get about 2.1 K bytes/sec), I wasn't a happy chappy. I contemplated buying one of these:

I am within the range of Telstra's 3G network, just, very weak signal. Telstra offer the MF30:

The main problem with these is that the 5GB for 90 days may not be registered properly at the place you buy it or when you register online, and you get cutoff after 30 days. Then you phone customer support and speak to someone with a fake American accent and after a couple of hours you may or may not have resolved the problem:

...the outcome of this lengthy discussion is that you have to tell the Customer Support person to put $1 credit into your account, which will reactivate it and allows the bonus data to be used for another 30 days, or hopefully 60 days.

What interests me is that you can buy 10GB for 365 days, for $150.

One thing that concerns me about the MF30 is that as I have a very weak 3G signal where I live, the unit will operate at maximum power, so it will be radiating like crazy right beside me. Plus, apparently it gets too hot at max. power and shuts down, not good in my climate.

Anyway, my satellite connection is running nicely today, so the above is for reference only.

Posted on 25 Jan 2011, 16:51 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02098">Edit - Delete

Fast satellite Internet

On Sunday I sent an email to Skymesh, complaining that my satellite Internet connection had degenerated to the point of being unusable. I received an automated reply, then I waited for a human to respond...

All day yesterday I waited, no reply, awful Internet, had to resort to dialup.

This morning, my satellite Internet is so incredibly fast, it has never been this good. So, it looks like a human has done something. Quite incredible.

The Skymesh site has a speed-test tool, and at about 7am local time I ran it and got this:

Data center: Sysdney
Earth station: Kalgoorlie
Distance: 78,000 km
Satellite: IPSTAR-1, Beam 501
Ping: 828ms
Download: 510 kbps
Upload: 246 kbps

Running the test again at 8.30am local time, it is a bit slower, but this time I discovered something very interesting. I have both SeaMonkey and Firefox installed, and I can run either, even simultaneously. Running the speed test, SM reports a ping latency of 2,675ms, whereas FF reports 627ms. Oh!

The Skymesh support page has some suggestions for optimising FF, but I checked and SM and FF are configured the same. So, why the difference in the latency report?

Anyway, my subjective impression is that SM is accessing the web just as fast as FF.

Posted on 25 Jan 2011, 8:26 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02097">Edit - Delete

Back on dialup

Right now I am on dialup Internet. My satellite connection is so bad, dropping out every few minutes.

I looked at my provider's site -- they have a page that informs of any delivery problems, but nothing. The page does report weather problems yesterday, but not today:

Posted on 14 Jan 2011, 16:54 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02084">Edit - Delete

Home again!

I arrived home yesterday afternoon, Saturday January 1st, 2011.

After the highly variable but mostly cool weather of Melbourne, here I am back in the heat.

A little storm cloud came rumbling by this afternoon, bringing with it a slight drop in temperature.

Oh boy, some drops of rain, and much cooler outside. Inside the house is hot and stuffy, my fan doesn't help much, and my airconditioner hardly puts a dent in it. But outside has become sooo pleasant.

Anyway, happy New Year!

Posted on 3 Jan 2011, 8:14 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02060">Edit - Delete

Proud owner of Puppy Linux cup!

I got a "Puppy Linux" cup as a xmas present! Added a photo to my "Holiday in Melbourne" page:

Posted on 25 Dec 2010, 19:34 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02051">Edit - Delete

Holiday in Melbourne!

Having a great time. Here for a few more days, but suddenly was motivated to create a page with holiday snapshots:

...which turned into a bit of a promo for Melbourne and studying in Melbourne., if you decide to become a student at one of the Melbourne unis after reading my page, I should ask the uni for a commission

Posted on 23 Dec 2010, 10:05 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02047">Edit - Delete

Xmas holiday

I already posted seasons greetings:

In a few days I will be flying to Melbourne, to spend Xmas with my daughter. My neighbour will mind my house -- nice thing about a rural community, everyone knows everyone else -- and even if I don't know someone, whoever I pass while walking on the main street, I say "Hi!".

Perenjori is a sleepy one-main-street town, typically a few cars parked, no one visible. One general store. I like it.

Anyway, Melbourne -- the opposite. Almost 4 million people. I notice the bad air quality when I am in the Melbourne CBD. But, I like Melbourne too.

If you live in Melbourne and you have a 3G modem, try my latest Wary Puppy 102 -- if you have any problems with the modem, perhaps we could meet up and I will see if I can get it going for you.

...not Vivid Wireless 4G modem though, it seems to be a no-go with Linux.

Posted on 12 Dec 2010, 8:29 - Category: General - Comments - href="?edit=02028">Edit - Delete

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