Western Australia: Even our dolphins are hella smart!

As noted by Medical News TodayCosmos, Discover magazine, ABC Science, New Scientist, National Geographic and Georgetown University (among others),  West Australian dolphins in Shark Bay are among the only marine mammals in the world known to use tools, and dolphins in Shark Bay that use sponges  spent more time using tools than any species except humans.


‘It turns out the brainiacs of the marine world can also be tool-using workaholics, spending more time hunting with tools than any non-human animal.’ — Janet Mann, professor of biology and psychology, who has been studying the Shark Bay dolphin population for more than 21 years.

So Western Australia has both the smartest and the hardest-working marine mammals in the world?  Not surprised.  We are, after all, the Conservative stronghold of Australia, specialising in both smarts & hard work 😉

–thanks to nephew B in NC

The West Australian Crime Files #6

Forget the election; forget the economy.  We gots serious crime happening here in Western Australia:

Man charged for couch towing

An 18-year-old man has been charged after a report of a vehicle towing a couch in Gooseberry Hill yesterday.

East Metropolitan Traffic Police have alleged that the man was driving a Holden Commodore sedan on the Zig Zag Scenic Road around 11.30am towing a sofa with two youths sitting on it.

A crowd had gathered to watch, with one person filming the event on a mobile phone.

The Kalamunda man has been summonsed for reckless driving.

Good to see our police are keeping busy.

WA Goes To The Polls… And NSW Should

The great Australian State of Western Australia goes to the polls today to either re-elect the current Premier of Western Australia, Mr. Alan Carpenter, or to elect the Opposition into Government.

This election is going to be watched with close attention all across Australia, namely because it’s the first time that a Labor State Government may lose power in more than a decade. This election could result in a shift in political climate if the Liberals win, because they will now hold a position higher than Lord Mayor of Brisbane, the highest position held by a Liberal ever since the Liberals lost federal government in November last year.

The Greens are doing fairly well in the polls, but polls aren’t terribly reliable, and I’m taking the polls in WA with at least a jar of salt. The Greens stand against many of the activities that actually give WA money to run the State, such as mining and drilling, and WA is currently doing enough of both to not only run WA, but to subsidise the less-wealthy States such as Victoria and New South Wales.

WA is the only State wise enough to go to an election, although the only reason it’s going to an election this week is because the previous Liberal leader resigned, due to an overwhelming media campaign after he rather creepily sniffed womens’ seats after they’d gotten up. An election is a good idea, however WA isn’t the State I would have chosen the first election to have been in. I would have chosen NSW.

New South Wales would have been my first choice. I say this because NSW has a government allegedly entrenched in corruption, of which the Treasurer was yesterday fired, the Premier yesterday resigned, the Deputy Premier retires next Monday, and the Education Minister doesn’t look too clean either. All of this, and the NSW electorate doesn’t get to decide who will lead the State from now on, the Australian Labor Party (NSW Division) does, and it’s not looking like they have much to choose from. That’s not a fair and equitable democracy. Bring on an election!

Andrew Bolt, as usual, has a concise analysis.

Memo Yanks: Socialised Health-Care Sucks

I’m always amazed at the number of Americans who seem to have fallen for first Hillary’s, then Obama’s, delusion  of “Free Healthcare for Everyone!”  So here’s a warning from an American-born Australian:  Socialised/’Universal’ Health-Care is by necessity Rationed Health-Care. And, of course, it’s not really “free.”

Every day I see examples and hear anecdotes about this just in my home state of Western Australia.   People with the financial resources “queue-jumping” and paying cash to buy themselves out of the “free” public system and those without financial resources being left behind.  With some cancer drugs, for instance, costing up to $50,000/year, and high-tech equipment so very expensive for hospitals to purchase and maintain, who in their right mind wouldn’t have seen stories like this coming?

From The West Australian:

Cancer Services ‘Close to Collapse’

There is a looming crisis in WA cancer services because of an alarming shortage of medical specialists and equipment and long waiting lists for treatment such as chemotherapy, a damning independent review has found.

A Cancer Council-commissioned audit, prompted by patient complaints and funded partly by the WA Health Department, warns that unless urgent action is taken, the system could collapse within five years as it struggles to cope with an estimated 50,000 new cancer cases on top of the existing load.

The report, by University of New South Wales professor of radiation oncology Michael Barton, found that while cancer treatment in WA was usually of a high standard, inadequate facilities and staff shortages were major concerns. It also warned new cancer facilities such as those planned for the Fiona Stanley Hospital would not meet demand.

Professor Barton warned WA faced 10,000 new cancer cases a year, rising by three to four per cent a year, but facilities and equipment were unable to cope. Urgently needed equipment included five extra linear accelerators used for radiation therapy.

Facilities in public hospitals for chemotherapy patients were overcrowded, with patients often waiting many hours to be seen by a junior doctor for 10 or 15 minutes. Treatment areas at Royal Perth Hospital were “dangerously overcrowded”.

Some high-cost cancer treatments were available only to privately insured patients or those willing to pay. And patients living in rural areas were at greatest risk of missing out on vital treatment.


Now Western Australia is not some  cash-strapped developing nation.  We are in the midst of a minerals and energy boom the likes of which Australia has never seen, and our State (with about 2 million people to service) regularly runs budget surpluses  of over $2 billion.

But in Western Australia you can see what happens when you have the double whammy of an incompetent Leftist (ALP) government and a Socialised Health-Care system.

So come on,  Americans, think:  Does any government, anywhere in the world, do such a stellar job on the things they’re already responsible for that you want them in charge of all of your health-care needs as well?

Repeat after me:  Socialised/’Universal’ Health-Care is by necessity Rationed Health-Care.

And it’s more expensive, in more ways, than you might think.

Elvis Rudd?

Demonstrating yet again that Western Australia (“Don’t blame us; we voted Liberal”) is chock-full of uncommonly intelligent and perspicacious folks of all ages, the children at St John’s School in Geraldton have submitted the poster below as their contribution to Parliament House’s “20th Anniversary” School Posters competition.

In amidst all of the good traditional iconic Australian images, please note the amazingly apt likeness of our new PM, star-sucker Rockstar Rudd.

Parliament House 20th Anniversary Schools Poster Competition

To see more entries in the School Posters Competition, see the Parliament House website here.

It’s ‘Dog in a Ute’ weekend in Western Australia

Dog in a UteTime to throw your favourite dog in the back of your favourite ute and head down to Corrigin.

For the uninitiated, an event history from the official Dog in a Ute website:

This event has created a friendly rivalry between Western Australia and Victoria where the event was first held in 1997 at St Arnaud. The first record set at 214 Dogs in Utes. The record was then broken in May 1998 at Terang, Victoria in an event that was organized by the Southwestern District Apex clubs. This event managed to attract 325 Dogs in Utes. It was at this time that local Corrigin Apex President, Mr Bob Cooper had a brainwave and decided that Corrigin should have a ‘crack at it’. He came back from the National Apex Convention in Victoria and put it to the local Corrigin Apex members, who took on the idea with great enthusiasm.

Within three months, and with countless hours of dedication from many groups and volunteers, Corrigin held its first Dog in a Ute Queue event on the 31st October 1998 successfully breaking the World Record by attracting 699 Dogs in Utes from places far and wide.
With an estimated total of 3000 people on the day and raising $20,000 for the Royal Flying Doctors Service, Corrigin was rejoicing its fine effort and sent the challenge back to Victoria.Dog in a Ute World Record Statue

Three more unsuccessful Record Breaking attempts in Victoria then followed until 2000 when the Southwestern District Apex Clubs once again took on the challenge in Warnambool, coming out victorious with the new World Record of 797.

Fast forward to 13th April 2002 – a day that will be remembered by many, as the day that Corrigin smashed the World Record of Dogs in a Ute with 1527.
More than 4000 visitors and locals alike banded together and enjoyed the camaraderie, food, beverages and live entertainment. It was a day where there was not one altercation or complaint despite the huge number of people attending. A day when rural Australia ruled supreme and everything else seemed insignificant.

Over $60,000 was raised on the day and has been donated to the RFDS and local Community Emergency Services.

World Recod holdersSince this day, as far as we know, no other town has been able to break the record.


Official Dog in a Ute web site here.


See? Western Australia is SO not dull.


And, if you can’t make it, think about dropping a few bucks the Royal Flying Doctors‘ way anyway Here’s the RFDS gift shop. And, find out more about APEX Australia here.

Who says Perth is ‘Dullsville’?

See, if you were here in Perth today, you could come along and watch this man keep his word!

from The West Australian:


It’s a bet Carey Smith wishes he’d never made, and today he will pay an embarrassing price. The Delta Securities research analyst bet with two stock broking mates at a pub over a few beers back in 2005 that gold prices would not hit $US1000-an-ounce before 2011.

On March 14 gold hit that price and the 37-year-old self-confessed single bloke had no other option but to fulfil his end of a potentially embarrassing bet.

At 2.30pm today he will pull on an unflattering stretchy green lycra mankini and do a dash down Hay Street in Subiaco.


More photos (if you can bear them) via here.

If you’d like to get behind Carey “Mankini Man” Smith (figuratively, not literally!) you can leave messages of support here.

Think what you like, at least this man keeps his word, so respect for that. Listening, Kevin?


UPDATE: I should mention that Carey has been taking donations for the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, and has already raised six thousand dollars for his effort.  Here he is in all his glory:


NOTAM indicates possible date for satellite shootdown. Remember Skylab, anyone? — UPDATE: It worked.

via Slashdot:

“Amateur satellite watcher Ted Molczan notes that a “Notice to Airmen” (NOTAM) has been issued announcing restricted airspace for February 21, between 02:30 and 05:00 UTC, in a region near Hawaii. Stricken satellite USA 193, which the US has announced plans to shoot down, will pass over this area at about 03:30. Interestingly, this is during the totality of Wednesday’s lunar eclipse, which may or may not make debris easier to observe.”

** Memo to the bloke with his finger on the trigger, from a concerned West Australian: Please, be careful this time; we’re still getting over that whole Skylab thing.


For some Skylab nostalgia, see the June 23, 1979 issue of Time Magazine, Skylab’s Spectacular Death.

And if you’re planning on hosting a Falling Satellite Party (dress code: hard hats), add this song to your playlist: “The Ballad of a Balladonia Night” – a cheerful song to commemorate the fall of Skylab by the famous Australian Christian singing group Family.

UPDATE: Another worried blogger wonders, “Will a Spy Satellite Fall on My Head? Will My Insurance Policy Cover This?” I suggest he ask the good people of the Balladonia, Kalgoorlie and Esperance.

* * *

4_64_satellite_military.jpgUPDATE: 21 February — It worked.

WASHINGTON — A missile launched from a Navy ship successfully struck a dying U.S. spy satellite passing 130 miles over the Pacific on Wednesday, a defense official said.

It happened just after 10:30 p.m. EST.

The USS Lake Erie, armed with an SM-3 missile designed to knock down incoming missiles — not orbiting satellites — launched the attack at 10:26 p.m. EST, according to the Pentagon. It hit the satellite as the spacecraft traveled at more than 17,000 mph.

Because the satellite was orbiting at a relatively low altitude at the time it was hit by the missile, debris will begin to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere immediately, the Pentagon statement said.

“Nearly all of the debris will burn up on re-entry within 24-48 hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days,” it said.

The use of the Navy missile amounted to an unprecedented use of components of the Pentagon’s missile defense system, designed to shoot down hostile ballistic missiles in flight — not kill satellites.

The operation was so extraordinary, with such intense international publicity and political ramifications, that Defense Secretary Robert Gates — not a military commander — was to make the final decision to pull the trigger.

The government organized hazardous materials teams, under the code name “Burnt Frost,” to be flown to the site of any dangerous or otherwise sensitive debris that might land in the United States or elsewhere.

• Click here to visit FOXNews.com’s Space Center.

UPDATE #3:  Western Australia Premier Alan Carpenter tells us the satellite’s demise is a “genuine issue” for the state.

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