US Plan to bomb Iran next.

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In what seems like a case of deja vu, US Diplomats have been ordered to compile a dossier, detailing Iran’s violations of international law that could be used to justify military strikes on Iran. Members of the US secretariat in the United Nations were apparently asked last month to start “searching for things that Iran has done wrong.” I find this ironic, considering that the US Administration completely ignored the UN & world opinion when it broke international laws itself & invaded Iraq.

At the same time, Australia, Britain and Israel have “expressed interest” in a US campaign to launch “surgical” bombing raids on Iran targeting the Revolutionary Guard facilities, one of the US’s leading investigative reporters, Seymour Hersh, reported. Hersh details how the US is making plans for a strike on Iran, beefing up intelligence resources within the CIA and shifting its rhetorical campaign in a bid to win support from the American people should the strikes proceed. Hersh says the US Administration has stopped trying to justify the campaign on the basis of curtailing Iran’s nuclear ambitions, to redefining the war in Iraq as a strategic battle.

These developments are indeed gravely serious to the stability of the Middle East & the world as a whole. If they think the invasion of Iraq has turned out badly, wait till they disturb the hornets nest of Iran, It’s infinitely more powerful army, the tens of millions of fanatical patriotic Iranians & the thousands of muslim extremists who will come from every arab country in the world to fight the US invaders. To coin a phrase by an ex tyrant, this would be the mother of all battles, which would soon involve Israel & no doubt their nuclear weapons of mass destruction. I hate to say it, but it really could devellop into a world war to rival the first two.

Let’s hope people calm down & the war mongers of the Bush Administration dont get their way again.

Time for Bush to face the truth on Iraq war

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I saw this article written by Madeleine Albright, the former US Secretary of State in the paper & thought it was worth posting up. These first two paragraphs summarise perfectly the feelings of many people towards the Iraq War. Why on earth did we all get caught up in this insane crusade to invade a country that posed absolutely no threat to any of us. Well it sure poses a threat now, and George Dubya is now planning to invade Iran… scary stuff how an imbecile can become the most powerful man in the world.

The threshold question in any war is: What are we fighting for? Our troops, especially, deserve a convincing answer. In Iraq, the list of missions that were tried on but didn’t fit includes: protection from weapons of mass destruction, creating a model democracy in the Arab world, punishing those responsible for the September 11 attacks and stopping terrorists from catching the next plane to New York. The latest mission, linked to the “surge” of troops this year, was to give Iraqi leaders the security and manoeuvring room needed to make stabilising political arrangements — which they have thus far shown little interest in doing.

A cynic might suggest that the military’s real mission is to enable US President George Bush to continue denying that his invasion has evolved into disaster. A less jaded view might identify three goals: to prevent Iraq from becoming a haven for al-Qaida, a client state of Iran or a spark that inflames region-wide war. These goals respond not to dangers that prompted the invasion but to those that resulted from it. Troops are being asked to risk their lives to solve problems our civilian leaders created. Mr Bush is beseeching us to fear failure, but he has yet to explain how the military can succeed, given Iraq’s tangled politics and his administration’s lack of credibility.

You can read the rest here:
http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=54&ContentID=40011

Give trees a chance!

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I found it unbelievable that recently the Chairman of the WA Turf Growers Association criticised Environment Minister David Templeton for his sensible proposal to rebate home owners that replace their water guzzling lawns with water wise native plants. How could he possibly think that grass is better for the environment than native shrubs which have adapted perfectly to this harsh country over thousands of years?

Grass requires gallons of water every week, huge amounts of toxic fertilisers which leach into the ground water & pollute our rivers and it also requires mowing which sends more pollution into the atmosphere. I have a native garden which I planted 15 years ago which I have not watered for ten years! It’s spectacular flowers & trees attract many native birds including honeyeaters, parrots & kookaburras. 

I’ve noticed that people just don’t plant trees anymore in the newer suburbs. They plant palms & petunias, diosmas & pencil pines, or just about anything that doesnt drop leaves. In years gone by in the old established suburbs, people did plant trees, native & exotic, which has created beautiful leafy suburbs like Nedlands, Claremont, Churchlands & even not so old leafy suburbs like Duncraig & Carine.
In twenty or thirty years the new suburbs wont have any trees, just tired dilapidated houses with dying palms, pencil pines & diosmas!

The time has come for suburbia’s obsession with perfect green lawns & exotic water guzzling plants to end and plant our magnificent native shrubs & trees, that are perfectly suited to our harsh dry environment. This creates a habitat for the native wildlife that is increasingly losing more and more bush land to development. It’s up to the Government, local councils, landscapers, nurseries & the general public to start planting less lawn & more native trees for our future.

The awesome Playstation 3

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I have just spent the last few weeks playing with my latest toys, a brand new PS3 and a Sharp 32″ HD LCD TV. I got the PS3 on ebay for Aus$780 so I could afford a few games as well as a second wireless controller. The clarity is simply amazing, a big step up from the old PS2. It has to be seen to be believed. It’s also great having the wireless controllers… no more untangling wires! I was able to connect to my Dlink wireless router after a bit of configuration ( it’s not as easy as connecting a mac to a wireless network, no where near it in fact), but after entering all my DNS addresses manually It connected and hasnt dropped out since.

You can get onto the Playstation store and download several demo games, a free Gran Turismo HD preview which is great, and I also bought Tekken 5 for $16 there. They then sent me a copy of Casino Royalle on Blue ray disc which is simply amazing in it’s clarity. Everything glistens and it’s just so crisp with beautiful colours. The Motorstorm demo is awesome and a great one to chuck on to show people the power of this thing. I bought NBA 2K7 which is a trully great basketball game with amazing graphics. It’s like watching the real thing, you can even see the sweat running down the players arms. I also bought Tony Hawkes 8 which is OK, Fight Night 3 which is a good one for a group of blokes having a few beers and a laugh at halftime during the football.

The best game I have though is Resistence Fall of Man. This game is just incredible, a great fluid feel to the movement, some really scary aliens to shoot and the sort of attention to detail that never ceases to amaze. I’m only a quarter of the way through it, but it’s awesome! Easily the best game I have ever played. I hear that they’ve only just begun to touch the surface with the current games when it comes to the power of this PS3 games machine. All I can say is bring it on.

The fish surfboard revolution.

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The latest trend in surfboards recently has been the renewed interest in retro style surfboards. Back in the seventies & eighties, surfboards were quite short & very fat( 3 – 4 inches thick). This was just a natural progression from malibu’s which were long ( 8-10 foot) & fat. Then came along hot young surfers like Mark Occhilupo, Tom Curran and later Kelly Slater, who all rode increasingly thinner boards for better turning ability. So every kid then wanted what the pro’s were riding, which saw the demise of the thicker boards which were much easier to paddle for the average surfer. So the average surfer had no choice but to get one of the new generation thin boards, but because they were harder to paddle, they had to get a longer one, so instead of having a 6 foot board, now they had to get a 6’6″ board which was still a bit more work to paddle , and didnt turn as good as the old thick 6 foot long boards. The whole thing has come around full circle now with the reintroduction of short thick boards that are called ” Fish” which are ideal in small waves up to about 2 – 3 metres in wave face height( or 3-4 foot in surfing terminology).

While most of the “Fish” style boards are shaped like a brick ( and turn like one), Darryl Wilkes from Wilkes Surfboards in Western Australia has refined the genre with his range of “Pyg” boards that are the same outline shape as a thin shortboard, but have the thickness in the middle of the board for easy paddling. They are also fairly thin at the nose, which makes duck diving under waves easier than a typical fat “fish” surfboard.

These fish style “Pygs” which are attracting a lot of attention from your average recreational surfer, also come with nice rounded tails for easy rail to rail turning ability, are 20 inches wide and 3 inches thick. Faster and more responsive than a normal fish style board, they range from 5’10” up to 6’8″ and deliver unrivalled paddling power, speed and loose turning ability , especially with the extreme concave bottom shape. Above all they are a lot of fun in small beachbreaks and a much better option than a mini mal for the average surfer. I ride one myself and most of my mates now ride one after they have a go of it.
For more imformation click on this link below.

http://www.wilkessurfboards.com/

Eating soy & broccoli reduces cancer risk

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Heres an interesting bit of nutrition imformation for both vego’s and meat eaters (I’d say most would probably hate soy products & broccoli). Eating foods like broccoli and soy has been linked to lower cancer rates, and California researchers have said they may have discovered the biological mechanism behind the protective effect.

Using cells in a lab dish, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that diindolymethane (DIM), a compound resulting from digestion of cruciferous vegetables, and genistein, an isoflavone in soy, reduce the production of two proteins needed for breast and ovarian cancers to spread.

“We think these compounds might slow or prevent the metastasis of breast and ovarian cancer, which would greatly increase the effectiveness of current treatments,” said Erin Hsu, a UCLA graduate student in molecular toxicology.

The UCLA team, which reported its finding at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, will next test the theory in mice.

The findings highlight “an entirely unique mechanism … Preventing the invasion and metastasis of cancer cells is crucial,” said Dr Alan Kristal, associate head of the cancer prevention program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle.

Cancer cells express very high levels of a surface receptor known as CXCR4, while the organs to which the cancers spread secrete high levels of CXCL12, a ligand that binds to that particular receptor.

This attraction stimulates the invasive properties of cancer cells and acts like a homing device, drawing the cancer cells to organs like the liver or brain.

The study found that when cancer cells were treated with either DIM or genistein, movement toward CXCL12 is reduced by at least 80 per cent compared to untreated cells.

Hsu says that this same chemotactic attraction is thought to play a role in the development of more than 23 different types of cancer.

The amount of DIM and genistein used in the study is probably comparable to use of a high dose of supplements, and is likely not achievable through consumption of food alone, the researchers said.

Both DIM and genistein are already being developed for use as a preventive, and a chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer, although more extensive toxicological studies are needed, they added.

Reuters

Incidently, on the subject of soy milk, most people I know hate the taste of it. I think it really depends on the brand of soy milk that you use. The best tasting ones in Australia are Vitasoy – Creamy Original and Sanitarium – So Good( all low fat soy milk is indeed horrible!). A close second in taste and much cheaper are “Coles brand” and Woolies “Home brand”. To stop soy milk curdling in coffee, add the milk to the coffee granules first & stir well, then add the hot water and continue to stir for 10 – 20 seconds. Interestingly I’ve noticed that soy milk never curdles when you add plunger coffee to it… which tastes better & is better for you anyway.

Updating the firmware in a Pioneer DVD-R Drive

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Heres a really good tip for updating the firmware in your Pioneer DVD-R Drive.
I have a Pioneer DVR-109 that I installed in my Powermac G4 Dual 1Ghz & had been having some problems burning a dual layer disk of a friends wedding video that I did for them. There was so much video & photo slideshow data in the iDVD project that a dual layer burn was the only solution. I ended up sorting out that the main problem was I was trying to use Imation DVD+R DL disks when Pioneer recommends using Verbatim DVD+R DL disks.

However before reaching that conclusion I found a way of updating the firmware on a mac, which is not easy as all the firmware installers that Pioneer release are for Windows.

There is a little program called DVRFlashX which does the job. DVRFlashX is a GUI Utility for Mac OS X to simplify the use of DVRFlash. This version is only compatible with Pioneer drives up to DVR-109 series and PPC Macs.

All you have to do is:
1 – Download DVRFlashX version 2.1 here:
( scroll halfway down the page to find DVRFlashX version 2.1 )
http://lasvegas.rpc1.org/
Then unzip it & you will have a folder on your desktop called DVRFlashX 2.1. Inside that will be the DVDFlashX application & another folder called Firmware.

2 – Download the original Pioneer firmware for your DVD drive model from here:
http://wwwbsc.pioneer.co.jp/product-e/ibs/device_e/dev00001r_e.html

3 – Then use stuffit expander to open the .EXE file & you will find 3 files inside.
an .exe file, & two black files with funny names like RA100010.141 & RA100110.141.

4 – Put these two black files in the folder named Firmware.

5 – Then double click on the DVDFlashX application & you will be guided through the process of updating your firmware. DO NOT quit the app or do anything else on the mac while it is doing the firmware update.

After it’s finished you will have the latest firmware available for your Pioneer DVD-R drive.

Those people with newer drives like DVR-110 and above will have to use the terminal based DVRFlash Version 2.2. available here:

http://lasvegas.rpc1.org/

Then follow the instructions posted on this forum page:
http://nowonder.com/forums/howto-faqs/263749-howto-flash-new-pioneer-drive-mac-2.html

I must warn you that niether Apple or Pioneer endorse this sort of firmware update, so proceed at your own risk!