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Grey saltbush Atriplex cinerea

October 18, 2021 — BarryK

There is a little bare patch in my garden, where thought would buy a ground cover plant, something drought tolerant. Bought "Atriplex cinerea" seedling from Bunnings, and Australian native coastal plant.

When I got it home, I looked closely, and it has little bumps all over the leaves and stems. I wondered whether that was an infestation, however, a bit of online research showed that's how it is. See this photo:


Photo is from the wikipedia:

My garden is sandy soil, not coastal, so it will be interesting to see how this plant fares.

It was very interesting to learn that Atriplex cinerea is edible. The wikipedia mentions it being used as feed for cattle, and I found this link:

...edible for humans also. As the article states, it is easy to identify, with those little globules all over it, so probably easy not to confuse it with some other poisonous plant -- don't  quote me on that, just guessing.

Always interested in growing edible plants, so looking forward to this one thriving.

Ah, the ocean! I regularly drive to the ocean, where there are rugged limestone cliffs, and walk the pathways:


...see that hunk of limestone standing alone, undercut by the waves. It is home to various sea birds.    

Tags: ethos

The Spectator on Tony Blair

September 27, 2021 — BarryK

I posted a political commentary in January this year, and thought that perhaps would restrain myself to doing so only about once per year. Two topics that it is best to stay away from, as the saying goes, "stay away from religion and politics". But, today I can't resist this post...

Blame my idle mind. Currently doing compiles of Chromium, or rather attempting to. Each build runs for over 12 hours, and in the meantime have to find something else to do. So, amongst other diversions, visit the city and read "The Spectator"...

A couple of days ago, I visited the State Library in Perth, Western Australia. I sometimes pop in there when visiting the city, to read the latest magazines. One of those is "The Spectator", a British periodical. Later on, I learnt that there is an Australian edition, however, the library subscribes to the British edition.

I only browse through the magazine, and I don't recall it having any particularly radical agenda, no strong leanings to left or right of politics, nor idealogical policy. However, the commentary on Tony Blair was remarkably blunt, pulled no punches, which got me wondering.

I photographed part of the article, attached below. Very curious, read about The Spectator in the wikipedia:

First published in 1828! Changed hands many times. Wow, Boris Johnson, current Prime Minister of Britain, was editor from 1999 to 2005. Yes, it is on the conservative side of politics.



In future, I will browse that particular journal knowing that it does have an idealogical leaning. And, I really must try harder not to post political commentaries to my blog!    

Tags: ethos

Recalling TV comedy series The Late Show

August 24, 2021 — BarryK

Daryl Sommers, host of a long-running light-entertainment TV show, now defunct, commented recently that their style of humour is no longer politically correct. That goes also for a lot of TV shows that screened in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Making fun of gays, treating women as sex objects, stereotyping ethnic characteristics, sending-up religions ...and a whole lot more.

Some of those shows might be considered puerile (childish, silly and immature), but that was the appeal, just relaxing in front of the TV, having a laugh.

"The Late Show" was one of these, screened in the early 90s. From what I can recall, it was fairly tame, just light entertainment, suitable for kids to watch.

Introducing Detective Sargeant Bargearse. This is a dubbed sendup of a 70s TV cop show named "Bluey". Introduction video, you would have to be Australian, and of a certain vintage to know the names being referred to (like Christopher Skase):

"Bargearse - Intro"

"Bargearse - Episode 1" total, there were 10 episodes.

The Late Show is remembered for many other skits and mini-series, like this:

"Charlie the wonderdog -- Run Charlie Run!"

"Charlie the wonderdog -- Double Trouble!"

...only 7 episodes of Charlie the Wonderdog.

Links about "The Pissweak Kids", and more:

Ah, the old days...    

Tags: ethos

Proof of Covid-19 immunity required in France

July 25, 2021 — BarryK

We have been expecting this. France has now mandated that proof of vaccination, a negative test, or having recovered from Covid-19, is now required to enter certain venues:

This is also apparently going to happen in the UK, and looking likely also for Australia.

The Prime Minister of France has stated that 96% of those now getting infected are not vaccinated. I think that this is a very important statistic, because it is the crux of the problem ongoing.

Let's say that Australia reaches 80% vaccinated early next year. Problem remains, we cannot just "open up", remove all restrictions, because we have to "protect" those who are not vaccinated. We will still require restrictions, such as social distancing.

So, the un-vaccinated will be imposing a burden on the vast majority of the population who are vaccinated. Maybe...

It seems, from what I gather from news reports, that Boris Johnson in the UK has decided "enough is enough", and those who have chosen not to be vaccinated will have to face the consequences.

Perhaps, if 80% are vaccinated, the virus will not spread and the risk will decline. One possibility, but indications so far, unlikely.

Another possibility, you choose to not be vaccinated, and you catch the virus. You may die, or you may recover. For most people, it is the latter, however, there is something very worrying -- two things: the other "opportunistic diseases" that wait for your immune system to become weak, and something known as "long Covid".

These are the side-effects of having caught Covid-19. In India, one of the "opportunistic diseases" is "Black Fungus", with a 50% death rate:

There are a plethora of long-Covid side-effects, that can stretch months after, and even cause permanent damage.

While researching for this post, there were some links to Sky News Australia, however, I will not put those links here. My experience with Sky News Australia is that they are rabidly extreme right-wing, specializing in sensationalism and distortion of the truth. This is my personal opinion of course.

One news source that sticks to the facts and mostly avoids sensationalism is the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) -- I think that there is an ABC in the US, but that is different. My limited experience with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) has been pretty much the same, a sane news reporter.

The news so far about "long Covid" are preliminary, but very worrying, such as this:

Another worry, to add to the heap of worries that we already have, is that getting vaccinated won't necessarily protect us from dying after catching Covid-19. But, that depends on which vaccine...

All of the reports I have read about Astra Zeneca and Pfizer vaccines, the two being currently administered in Australia, are still effective at preventing adverse symptoms, even if you do catch the virus.

However, not so, apparently, for the Chinese Sinovac vaccine. It was designed to protect against the original strain of Covid-19, and it looks like it is losing its efficacy, especially against the Delta strain, based on reports from Indonesia and Brazil. ABC report on Indonesia:

To complicate everything, the vaccines themselves have side-effects. Here in Australia, we have manufactured the Astra Zeneca vaccine, on license from the UK, however, it is filling up warehouses, an increasing number of people are choosing not to take it, instead waiting for availability of Pfizer. The reason is, deaths from blood clots.

The Australian government, in an attempt to force people to take Astra Zeneca, has ruled that anyone 60 and over must take Astra Zeneca, they are not allowed to take Pfizer. Result, those 60 and over are choosing to not getting vaccinated. I know people in this category, who are waiting until the end of the year, or early 2022, when it is anticipated there will be enough Pfizer available for everyone.

So, with a stockpile of Astra Zeneca, what does the AU government do? They donate it to poorer countries. This is Papua New Guinea and our Pacific neighbours.

Of course, it can be argued that the risk of blood clots and dying, is miniscule compared to the dire consequences of catching Covid-19. We are fortunate here in Western Australia, being entirely Covid-free, so not feeling any pressure to get vaccinated, but that is a very unusual situation compared with the rest of the world.

My daughter, for example, is not in WA, she is elsewhere, where Covid-19 is circulating in the community, and she got the Astra Zeneca jab. She only felt crook for a couple of days after the first jab, then was OK. For most people around the world, it would seem the best advice is, get vaccinated!

EDIT 2021-07-30:
Thanks for the feedback, guys! Feedback expressed a range of opinions, I won't name names, you know who you are. Some further points...

One email warned me that the 96% figure given by Jean Castex, the Prime Minister of France, is incorrect, that he has "cherry picked" from the statistics. Here is one link where that 96% is given:

I don't know about the validity or otherwise of that statistic, but I am quite familiar with politicians putting "spin" on statistics or facts, to suit their agenda. It may be deliberate, or it may be ignorance, or the politician may just be thick.

Regarding the path ahead for Australia, getting beyond the need for lockdowns, here in Australia there is an "independent" thinktank, the Grattan Institute, that has published a report:

They reckon we can "open up" when reach 80% vaccinated and 95% of over-70s and most-vulnerable.

...they refer to "entrenched anti-vaxxers" being 10% of the population, and those people are going to hate the recommendation for "vaccination passports". Ah, but the Grattan report also states that vaccine passports to be removed when 85% vaccination is achieved.

Regarding whether the Grattan Institute is left-wing or right-wing biased, it is informative to see who has funded it:

I think that it's premises are located within the University of Melbourne campus. Government backing looks to be from the Liberal party, also funded by BHP, a big mining company, and the University of Melbourne. So, if anything, it would be leaning right-wing -- unless it is truly independent as they claim.

EDIT 2021-07-31:
I also received feedback that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines will cause a permanent change in the body.

I studied reports from reputable sources, about the mRNA vaccines, and the way they work does not cause permanent changes in the body. It does not alter DNA. Some sites with information about this:

Unfortunately, there is an incredible amount of misinformation on the Internet, and con-artists are having a field day.

EDIT 2021-08-30:
Recently there was a pamphlet in my letterbox, titled "They're Coming For Our Children", regarding Australia's Therapeutic Goods Adminstration (TGA) approving Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15.. It had two URLs, that I looked up. One was to a video by Sky News, the other to a far-right-wing pro-trump website. I read some of the articles on the latter site ...oh dear, sad that people are buying into websites like this.

I also watched a video that included Dr Robert Maloney, who claims to be the inventor of mRNA. The second Reuters URL below, has a link to that video.

Reuters has posted two fact-check pages:

I am becoming very reluctant to continue commentary on this, or any other similar issues. Political, religious, whatever.        

Tags: ethos

YouTube psychotic AI is deleting comments

July 13, 2021 — BarryK

I posted recently about Mike, a guy who makes quilts for camping/hiking, getting overwhelmed and stopping taking orders:

Yesterday, I saw a comment from '26realmc' on "Dori's Hiking Adventures" channel, her video on Mike's quilt that she purchased:


I posted a comment, just a few words, with link to my blog post. Comment got posted OK, but a little bit later saw that my comment was deleted. I sent an email to Dori, asking why she deleted my comment, and she replied that she didn't. She checked in the "held for review" folder, it wasn't there either.

So, I posted again, this time as a reply to '26realmc', no link this time, just a short inoffensive text message, refreshed the page, and once again the comment was deleted.

Tried a third time, different text, deleted again.

I have posted comments to YouTube before, and they have not been deleted, so what's up????

I did an online search and found heaps and heaps of people complaining about this. This post gives some reasons that the AI uses: have to click on "more" to see the full message.

It seems that the AI does not just object to certain keywords, but also makes associations using algorithms that we know nothing about. There is no warning, no reason given, nothing, the comments just disappear.

As this guy with a YouTube channel has complained, people are blaming him for deleting their comment, but he has nothing to do with it:

"YouTube is randomly deleting your comments"

I gave up trying to post a reply to Dori's video. This is very sad, no, much more than that, very disturbing. Innocent comments getting deleted.   

Tags: ethos

New 15 minute Covid-19 infectious test

July 10, 2021 — BarryK

Wow, this test equipment is now being manufactured in Perth, Western Australia. It was developed by scientists at UTS, a university in Sydney:

I heard about it on the radio, while driving my car, a few days ago. They are manufacturing the test equipment with the intention that they be installed at places like airports. Cost per unit will be about a quarter of a million AU Dollars, and AU$25 per test.

The guy being interviewed on the radio said that it is easy to adapt to detect other viruses.

It is a saliva test, not that horrible probe shoved up the nose, and here's the thing -- it detects when people are infectious, before they show symptoms. Quoting from the above link:

A person with COVID-19 may be contagious 72 hours before starting to show symptoms. With the sensitivity of our optical technology, we aim to identify the viral protein in saliva from asymptomatic but already infectious patients. This would allow for much more effective contact tracing and rapid discovery of pockets of disease before it is transmitted to others.

72 hours, that's 3 days, no wonder the virus spreads through our communities!

YouTube video:

A company called Alcolizer has, on  June 10, 2021,  received a Federal grant for manufacturing this test system, here in Perth. The new device will be called the "Virulizer". Fantastic!   

Tags: ethos

Gympie Gympie suicide plant

March 11, 2021 — BarryK

It is well known that there are dangerous snakes and spiders in Australia. What is not well known is that there is a plant, touching which, you will experience "hell on earth".

Today I remembered the story told, of soldiers on manoeuvres in bushland in Queensland, Australia, during World War II. An officer went behind some bushes to do number two, then he looked around for something to wipe his bum with, grabbed some leaves off a plant. His men found him lying on the ground, pants down, shot through the head with his own pistol.

Yep, that's how painful it is. Not from personal experience. It only grows in northern Queensland and Indonesia.

it is such an innocent looking plant, covered in very fine hairs, you would be tempted just to feel it.

img1 can't see the hairs in this photo, they are so tiny. Like microscopic glass hypodermic needles.

Some information here:

Dr Marina Hurley, a scientist who studied the Gympie Gympie, has appeared in this video:

...yes, people can even inhale the hairs just by walking past the plant.

No difference if they are dead leaves on the ground, the neuro-toxin remains active for 100+ years.

Hiking in northern Queensland is not on my agenda.  

Tags: ethos

Why do we have magnesium deficiency?

March 06, 2021 — BarryK

I posted about cramps in the feet and legs while contorting around inside a small tent on the last hike:

I take a magnesium tablet about every third day, which is effective at preventing leg cramps. if I don't take the tablets, I will wake up in bed with painful cramping. Also, the feet will cramp during the day, especially if they get a little bit cold.

I know of two close relatives who also have to take magnesium supplements, due to cramping. Haven't asked other relatives, but I assume it is a widespread problem.

Sometime ago I investigated iodine deficiency, which is a worldwide problem, or rather, used to be. I don't have the links, but there is an Australian academic who spent most of his life studying iodine deficiency, and he also took part in programs in China and other countries to study and eliminate deficiency.

The fundamental problem is that iodine has leached out of soils and ended up in the ocean. Especially in Australia, which is a very ancient continent. Sea food is rich in iodine. Animals and plants inland are deficient.

Here in Australia, the practice was to wash milk bottles and other food preparation containers, with iodine, which meant that most Australians were getting sufficient iodine, without realising it. The medical fraternity didn't realise it either, until they began discovering iodine deficiency in infants -- then they discovered it coincided with an Australia-wide switch from iodine to chlorine to wash bottles and other food preparation containers.

One of the outcomes was introduction of iodine into salt. Unfortunately, there are those in Australia who only use non-iodized salt, nor do they eat bread and other processed foods that contain added iodine. I know one of those people -- and she mentioned awhile back that her doctor had diagnosed goitre, a symptom of iodine deficiency.

In China, having a totalitarian regime, the government simply ordered that all salt was to be iodized, no exceptions.

Anyway, back onto magnesium. I found a fascinating academic paper:

A few quotes from it:

Because serum magnesium does not reflect intracellular magnesium, the latter making up more than 99% of total body magnesium, most cases of magnesium deficiency are undiagnosed. Furthermore, because of chronic diseases, medications, decreases in food crop magnesium contents, and the availability of refined and processed foods, the vast majority of people in modern societies are at risk for magnesium deficiency.


‘The homeostatic mechanisms to regulate magnesium balance were developed millions of years ago. Investigations of the macro- and micro-nutrient supply in Paleolithic nutrition of the former hunter/gatherer societies showed a magnesium uptake with the usual diet of about 600 mg magnesium/day, much higher than today’. Our homeostatic mechanisms and genome are still the same as with our ancestors in the Stone Age. This means our metabolism is best adapted to a high magnesium intake.

In developed countries, the average intake of magnesium is slightly over 4 mg/kg/day. More than a quarter of obese and non-obese youth have inadequate intakes of magnesium (27% and 29%, respectively). The authors of a study concluded: ‘Even though children may consume an excess of energy, they may not be meeting all of their micronutrient needs’. In other words, children are overfed and undernourished. One expert has argued that a typical Western diet may provide enough magnesium to avoid frank magnesium deficiency, but it is unlikely to maintain high-normal magnesium levels and provide optimal risk reduction from coronary artery disease and osteoporosis. That is, ‘Various studies have shown that at least 300 mg magnesium must be supplemented to establish significantly increased serum magnesium concentrations…’ In other words, most people need an additional 300 mg of magnesium per day in order to lower their risk of developing numerous chronic diseases. So while the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium (between 300 and 420 mg/day for most people) may prevent frank magnesium deficiency, it is unlikely to provide optimal health and longevity, which should be the ultimate goal.


Since 1940 there has been a tremendous decline in the micronutrient density of foods. In the UK for example, there has been loss of magnesium in beef (−4 to −8%), bacon (−18%), chicken (−4%), cheddar cheese (−38%), parmesan cheese (−70%), whole milk (−21%) and vegetables (−24%). The loss of magnesium during food refining/processing is significant: white flour (−82%), polished rice (−83%), starch (−97%) and white sugar (−99%). Since 1968 the magnesium content in wheat has dropped almost 20%, which may be due to acidic soil, yield dilution and unbalanced crop fertilisation (high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the latter of which antagonises the absorption of magnesium in plants). One review paper concluded: ‘Magnesium deficiency in plants is becoming an increasingly severe problem with the development of industry and agriculture and the increase in human population’. Processed foods, fat, refined flour and sugars are all devoid of magnesium, and thus our Western diet predisposes us to magnesium deficiency. Good dietary sources of magnesium include nuts, dark chocolate and unrefined whole grains.

The magnitude of this problem has been going on "under the radar" by most of us, and even, I read, medical practitioners are not sufficiently aware.

I know an elderly person who was prescribed three tablets per day by her doctor. When she told me that, I thought, wow, isn't that over the top, might she be getting too much? However, from the quote above, our bodies are designed to handle huge intake of magnesium.

The paper also mentions that magnesium intake requirement is higher in the elderly. I found a table showing how recommended intake increases with age:

Birth to 6 months30 mg*30 mg*

7–12 months75 mg* 75 mg*

1–3 years80 mg80 mg

4–8 years130 mg130 mg

9–13 years240 mg240 mg

14–18 years410 mg360 mg400 mg360 mg
19–30 years400 mg310 mg350 mg310 mg
31–50 years420 mg320 mg360 mg320 mg
51+ years420 mg320 mg

I take Blackmores MagMin, the active ingredient per tablet is "Magnesium aspartate dihydrate 500mg (Magnesium 37.4mg)". So what does that mean, am I only getting 37.4mg in each tablet?

A word of warning: despite the above academic paper stating that we can tolerate a large intake of magnesium, I did come across warnings, while browsing online, of possible side-effects if too much is taken.

EDIT 2021-03-07:
Very interesting, I have received emails from Stephen, David and Rodney, advising me that a contributing factor to muscle cramps is lack of salt, that is, sodium chloride. Quoting Rodney:

In 1973 I worked in tropical Indonesia for 10 months. with a company crew of tv transmitter installation engineers.
We were warned while there, to liberally sprinkle extra salt on our meals to supplement the body salt lost through sweating in high temperatures.
Westerners will easily keel over otherwise.
As you say, leg cramp is another side issue of magnesium deficiency.

Quoting from here:

Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps.

It is recognised that most of us eat too much salt, however, I will experiment with this on the next hike, maybe take along a packet of potato chips (in the UK, they are called "potato crisps", a fact I learnt when I went into a village general store in England back in the 70s, and asked "do you have any potato chips?" and just got a blank stare).

EDIT 2021-03-07:
The above link mentions lack of potassium as a cause of muscle cramps. See this:

...that link advises not to take potassium supplements, as there is danger if take too much. Potatoes have potassium, so that packet of potato chips is looking good! Yum!  

Tags: ethos