Fukushima, the Worlds worst Industrial or nuclear accident, or Goodbye Japanese

Radio-activity destroys fertility.

Australia’s first uranium mine was at a place called Rum Jungle (rum as in strange not drink), since the aboriginal folks had noted that this was a place to avoid, since any group that lived there didn’t survive long.

It is possible to argue that that the low fertility rates in the Ukraine and Belarus are due to the economy. It is very hard to find in English, fertlilty rates for specific districts in these countrys.

It is possible however to compare the fertility rate for Cumbria, the home of Britains worst nuclear accident (the Windscale fire) and compare it to London. Nearly two generations later Cumbria has a fertility rate 20% lower than that of London.

Fukushima is the Worlds worst nuclear accident and it is converting the fertilty rate of the northen part of the island of Honshu to something resembling that of an old age home.


Why Jill Jordan was a Great Australian

Why do I consider Jill Jordan a Great Australian?

Jill through her life and works showed that it is possible to change the world. Try to grok that concept.

This is such a revolutionary concept that even the Australian Broadcasting corporation would only give her 15 minutes or half of an “Australian Story”. Jill probably only got this because the late Andrew Olley pulled strings.

Our current model which based on 20th century and Piscean thinking goes something like, if you have a problem, beg the government/corporation to help you. If you beg long enough and to the right people, some panjandrum in a corner office might notice you. The point is that your only power is that of begging.

Jill showed that not only that you can fix your problems yourself but how to do it.

Jill did have some notable losses, the most famous being the Woodford folk festival. (It should have been the Maleny folk festival). The tourist spin off still helps Maleny it was not a total loss.

Jill Jordan, a great Australian passes

JILL JORDAN: I think they just couldn’t be bothered with us. They thought we were a mob of fools, I think. It’s really only been through doing the sorts of things that we’ve done, by getting involved in starting co-operatives and so on and really having an economic impact on the town that probably many of them have changed their minds. After I’d been living up here for about a year I sat on a knoll up at the top of the valley up here. It’s a funny thing to say, but I swear that the land spoke to me and said, “You need other people here to help you look after this.” And it was at that stage that I decided that I would form a community.

From Australian Story http://www.abc.net.au/austory/transcripts/s355648.htm


Jill Jordan was not some wooly-headed idealist but a very practical person

Jill’s factors for sustainability in community enterprise.

  • Sound financial base
  • Good management
  • Flexibility (to change with changing needs)
  • Broad base of members to encourage/maximise involvement
  • Accessible training opportunities
  • Ensuring people are doing what they love to do
  • Valuing everybodies contribution.


I never met Jill Jordan but her work in Maleny inspired thousands of Australians including myself.




St John’s Wort – who was the first to use it?


Figure 1 Hypericum perforatum or St Johns Wort


This is the answer I received to the question on who was the first to use St John’s Wort (SJW) for depression.




It may seem strange but in a discussion on St John’s Wort, I asked the dumb questions “Who was the first use SJW for depression and why? Did they notice their goats were falling off cliffs or jumping around madly?”

The standard answer always with herbs, is somebody went with their intuition. The trouble is there is a big gap between the yellow flowers will make you happy to working out a dose of 300mg of the plant extract taken three times daily will relieve depression.

The Received Answer


The answer I received is that SJW came out of research and development in the noble medieval institution, the abbey. The Abbeys of the time were large economic institutions many of whom did train many monks in various specialities including herbal studies. While the abbeys were self-contained institutions some things had be bought from outside mostly for writing and the luxuries that could not be made locally. One of the more seemly goods an Abbey could produce was always pharmaceuticals.

One of the tasks that a young monk would be required to do is to develop a better understanding of a chosen herb. This would end up being the master work of the monk that he would be required to complete before he could leave the abbey and go to work at another place or start a new abbey. The monk would literally try out the herb. There were the occasional lethal failure and in the black book that was kept by the head herbalist monk, a notation was made that herb X was (bad pun) a dead end.

The young monk would normally pick something that was local and not too rare and not known to be lethal. Then he would check the background to this plant and see if there was any known value. Various parts of the plant would be ingested or extracted and the extracts taken. He would normally ask a couple of fellow monks to also take some to see how it affected them. It was explained that the SJW was a useful plant and that it was associated with the green/water or phlegmatic humour. It was used to treat or balance the yellow/fire or choleric humour. Lo and behold one of symptoms of the excess of choleric humour is irritability which happens to be sometimes a symptom of depression.


Since the above is an intuited answer to a question, I cannot defend the above answer.


Roast Artichokes, a road test of a recipe

One of the wonders of the internet is the recipes available. So when you encounter a vegetable that you have seen but never cooked, a simple search will find an enormous number of recipes. The original prompt was an SBS program on Croatian cuisine Stuffed_artichoke_(punjeni_articoke) . I saw the artichokes at the PCYC markets in Toowoomba and the price was right for a test. The artichokes were sold with stems, which is normally a good hint that some people like the stems. So my initial search was just for recipes. I then refined my search by adding stems and the simple roasting recipe by John Mitzewich Roast Artichokes Recipe. came up. The first reason for choosing John’s recipe is because steaming for 45 minutes for me is normally equivalent to boiling dry and you have start somewhere and the second reason was that I had all the necessary ingredients.

From John.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


  • 4 whole large artichokes
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt


Using a serrated knife, cut off the stem of the artichoke where it meets the base. Turn the artichoke around and cut off 1-inch of the top. Quickly rub each artichoke with a cut lemon so they don’t discolour. 

Tear off 4 large square pieces of heavy-duty foil. Rub a few drops of olive oil on the foil and place an artichoke stem side down. Stick a clove of garlic into the center and push down an inch or so. Sprinkle over 1/4 tsp of salt. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the top. Finish by squeezing the half lemon over the top. The lemon juice will “wash” the salt and olive down in between the leaves. Gather up the corners of the foil and press together on top to tightly seal the artichoke (like a chocolate kiss). You can wrap in a second piece of foil if you don’t think you have a tight enough seal. 

Repeat with the other artichokes. Pan in a roasting pan and bake at 425 degrees F. for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes before unwrapping and serving. Can be eaten hot, warm, or chilled.

My results

My artichokes were a bit on the small side. This meant I only used half a clove of garlic in each globe and I fear they were a little over cooked. Since the only palate I have to please is mineand I thoroughly enjoyed the slightly aniseed after-taste, this is a definite red hot go for a repeat except four artichokes aren’t enough.

Panzanella in Toowoomba

Tinky Weisblat at her blog http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com/ had a post titled “Pestapalooza” http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com/?p=4203 . In this post she had a recipe for Panzanella. I would never have thought to combine lemons and tomatoes. I have been giving this recipe a bit of a try out. Obviously it was high summer in the northern hemisphere when Tinky wrote her post, so normally I would be a bit out of luck in the southern hemisphere however the only shortage was the fresh basil.

Basic Panzanella (after Tinky)


  • Tomatoes cut into cubes (a couple of tomatoes)
  • Basil (fresh is best)
  • Capers (1 teaspoonful)
  • Thin lemon slices.
  • Red wine vinegar to taste (will need enough to help soak bread).
  • Olive oil to taste (will need enough to help soak bread).
  • Bread toasted and cut into cubes.


Tinky recommends preparation 10 minutes before serving and ideally I would also stick to that.

I have found that everything but the bread can be combined before leaving for work. My variations on a theme include using Wendland lime infused olive oil, some olives and a couple of slices of apple. I found a nice stone-ground wheat loaf that seems to provide the kind of bread that goes well with this.


It does appear that the standard recipe for panzanella calls for onions not lemons. After my trials, I recommend the citrus themes and I am keen to give kumquats a go in this salad. As a personal note I find the lemon rind and all easier to digest and refreshing to the palate.








Stuart Wilde on the future value of a Lamborghini

Stuart Wilde predicting the future value of a Lamborghini.


or Stuart Wilde on value of a fast car

According to Stuart you will be able to buy this car out of the money in the petty cash tin in October 2011. For the pedants, Stuart threw a EUR20 note on the car and used the approximation of US$40 and Australia I would accept that this prophecy would be fulfilled if the car could be bought for the equivalent of AUD$50 in 2009 dollars and the event took place anywhere in the world.

On reflection on this video, a Lamborghini while possessing great design and engineering really has has one major single use and that is status symbol or for the vulgar, chick magnet. It is amazing how limited the places that you could actually drive this car. Would you even dare to take a child to school in fear that some soccer mum in a Toorak/Chelsea tractor or worse some senior with poor eyesight and on mind-altering meds might dent your car. You are even hard pressed to fit a weeks groceries in the car. (Yes, I know, if you own one of these then somebody else does the shopping.)

There is the minor use as a an alternate store of wealth. A surprising number of these cars are simply shrink-wrapped and destined to be sold by future heirs and heiresses to fund their lifestyles.

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