David Goodall arrived in Switzerland, today — to die

❝ A 104-year-old Australian scientist arrived Monday in Switzerland before his planned assisted suicide, unbowed about his intentions and hopeful that his premeditated death will send a message to legislators back home…

“I am glad to arrive,” Goodall said from a wheelchair. “The message I would like to send is: Once one passes the age of 50 or 60, one should be free to decide for oneself whether one wants to go on living or not.”

❝ Lucid and humorous, Goodall reiterated his frustration about not being as free or as mobile in his later life as he once was. While not suffering from a terminal illness, he said he hoped his trip to take his own life in Switzerland — which allows assisted suicide, unlike Australia — would change legislators’ minds one day…

Goodall is expected to meet Tuesday with a doctor who will assess his mindset and hold another news conference on Wednesday. On Thursday, he plans to swallow a lethal cocktail of chemicals, ending his life.

More power to you, Doctor Goodall. I agree with your right to make such a determination. I consider it likely I’ll be making a similar choice some day or other. Especially living in a nation where the medical-industrial complex assures its political and economic power courtesy of primitive belief systems – and Congress.

Ready for the Jellyfish Apocalypse?

❝ The most common Irukandji, Carukia barnesi, are the size of a chickpea, and because they’re colorless, in the ocean they’re more or less invisible. The smaller ones might appear to you as the residue of a sneeze. The Irukandji’s translucent bell, shaped like a tiny boxing glove, trails four tentacles, delicate as cotton thread and about three feet long. The jellyfish’s sting doesn’t hurt overmuch. The pain is perhaps equivalent to a mild static zap from a metal doorknob—hardly even enough to make you want to suck your finger. The C. barnesi does not leave red welts, as other jellyfish do. You might miss the prick of its microscopic, stinging darts. You might think it’s just the start of sunburn.

Worst-case scenario: You’re dead by the following sunset.

RTFA. There are several little quirks like this that add a level of adventure and excitement to ordinary life in Australia I wouldn’t seek out.

Oz says “YES” to marriage equality — the fight for human rights continues

❝ The results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey are in. Despite the voluntary nature of the survey, 12,727,920 (79.5%) eligible Australians voted.

By a margin of 61.6% to 38.4%, Australians have said “yes” to the proposition:

Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

❝ To permit same-sex marriage, parliament must amend the Marriage Act 1961…

The definition of marriage can be simply changed by removing the words “a man and a woman” and replacing them with “two people”.

Such a change will have flow-on effects throughout Australian society. For example, celebrants will be free to officiate at legal wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. State and territory authorities will be empowered to register same-sex marriages.

❝ Most significantly, same-sex couples will have equality of choice in how they want to formalise relationships. Those who choose to marry will be entitled to the legal benefits of marriage.

This will engage much of the usual anti-democratic sophistry and histrionics beloved of bigots and True Believers. One can only hope that the Australian Parliament will recognize the forward-looking spirit of this poll as meaningful – and predictive of the spirit of voters come the next election.

Most folks hope the bill sorting things out in legalese will be kept simple and to the point. Human rights are for all humans. Spirits in the sky are entitled to have their opinions voiced by folks who believe in such. They have no standing in civil liberties, civil rights.

Australians Stay Alive Another Day Without God-Given Right to Shoot Down Their Friends and Neighbors


Boring isn’t it?

❝ Due to the nation’s controversial and oppressive gun restrictions, no one has died as a result of a mass-shooting on Australian soil today, for the 7827th day in a row.

❝ North Betoota cinema attendant, Christina Upton can’t believe it has been a whole 21 years and 57 days since a heavily armed white Australian male decided to shoot at a crowd of unsuspecting Australian civilians for no reason.

She says the peaceful two decades that have followed are “probably” because the Australian government decided to strip her of a God-given right to own projectile weaponry capable of shooting down helicopters…

❝ Ms Upton, who claims to be able to walk freely outside of her home without fear of being killed by a mass shooter, believes that God-given rights probably play a bigger role in America’s mass shootings than Americans think.

“I don’t think America should be so hard on itself about the mental state of thousands of lonely white losers. We have those people too,”

“…Just in our country those people don’t have access to Russian-made automatic assault rifles that have been invented purely to help military personnel win wars.”…

❝ Local Betoota cop, Uncle Rick Ridgeway, says that this is because idiots have a harder time getting their hands on machine guns than criminals.

“I think America needs to realise that it’s not really the criminals you need to worry about as such. I’d be more concerned about the weirdos,”

“Criminals use guns to help their efforts in making money through crime – they have much less interest in killing you for the sake of it…”

I’ll second that emotion.

Thanks, Honeyman

Teen bloodied by mystery sea creatures in Australia

❝ A teenager who went for a swim at a Melbourne beach and emerged with his feet covered in blood has stumped marine experts.

❝ Sam Kanizay’s legs felt sore after playing a game of football on Saturday, so he decided to soak them at the beach. About 30 minutes later, the 16-year-old walked out of the water with his feet and ankles covered in what looked like hundreds of little pin holes that were bleeding profusely. Upon returning home, his parents promptly took him to the hospital.

❝ Kanizay’s father, Jarrod, said hospital staff had no idea what kind of creature could have caused the injuries. So Jarrod went back to the beach the following night with a pool net full of meat and captured the animals he believes could have been responsible. He took a video of dozens of the tiny bug-like creatures chomping on the chunks of meat.

“What is really clear is these little things really love meat,” he said.

Eeoouugh!

Thanks, Mark and Justin

No — that’s not tinsel wrapped around the Xmas tree

❝ It’s no partridge in a pear tree but a Melbourne woman got a seasonal surprise when she found a tiger snake entwined among the tinsel on her Christmas tree.

The Frankston woman discovered the snake in her tree on Sunday morning and called in professional snake catcher Barry Goldsmith.

“It’s one of the more different ones, but we find them in all sorts of places,” Goldsmith said. “Tiger snakes are very good climbers.”

❝ With the warmer weather, snakes are more active, but people should leave them alone and not try to kill them, Goldsmith said. “It’s dangerous, it’s illegal, and it’s cruel.”

Eeoouugh!

Thanks, Honeyman – I think

Hidden housemates in Oz

golden huntsman
Click to enlargeBeregama aurea, Golden HuntsmanLinda Rayor

You’re driving along and you open the sun visor. You’re cleaning at home and bump a painting hanging on the wall. Suddenly, out runs a huge, hairy spider. Australia’s huntsman spiders are the stuff of myths and nightmares.

But these are also the most interesting of their family, and deserve their place in the pantheon of Australian wildlife…

First, let’s talk numbers: there are currently 1,207 species of huntsman spider in the Family Sparassidae, out of the total 45,881 described spider species worldwide. It is estimated that there are 155 huntsman spider species found throughout Australia.

Of those, approximately 95 species are found only in Australia. All of these are probably descended from a single common ancestor that immigrated from Papua New Guinea or elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Huntsmen are big spiders…many of the endemics are sizeable animals that can weigh 1-2 grams and may be as big as the palm of your hand.

The world’s second largest species, the massive Golden Huntsman (Beregama aurea) from tropical Queensland, weighs over 5.5 grams. An adult’s forelegs may stretch 15 cm, and they lay egg sacs the size of golf balls…

All huntsman spiders are active at night, emerging from their retreats to forage for insects and other invertebrates, and occasionally small vertebrates. They are ambush predators, generally sitting and waiting for prey to come close before running and leaping on it…

During the day, most huntsman prefer to rest in retreats under bark, crevices, or other protected areas. This is why so many people encounter the spiders under the sun visors of their cars or behind curtains in their homes, because those are perfect tight spaces for a sleepy spider…

What should you do if you do find a big spider in your car or living room? First, get a grip! She isn’t going to hurt you.

Second, find a take-away container, scoop the spider into the container and release it outside. Huntsman spiders almost never bite humans since they rely on speed to escape most predators. When they do bite, most bites are quick defensive nips without injecting venom…

Treasure your huntsman spiders. They deserve a place alongside koalas and kangaroos as iconic Australian wildlife.

Really nice article and this is only a small portion. Click the link up top in this post and read the whole thing. Interesting, entertaining, stuff worth learning.

We get Golden Orb Weaver spiders here in New Mexico that think they’re as big as a Huntsman – but, they really aren’t. They are just as pretty. You really should get to know all your housemates.

Thanks, Honeyman