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Bartender

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Welcome Cyril, tazwegion, et al.

It is nice to have not only new members, but also those that enjoy posting. Drinks on the house.



From a previous thread, Cyril wrote: "I have known Tannin for some yrs now its more like working for a gentleman than a evil overlord well."

Tony, please put the gun down.<whisper>Cyril, slowly step away . . slowly!</whisper> Here, have a seat, I'll make you a cup of tea. I know it's early, but if you want, you can try some Auchentoshan Scotch that fb recommended. <speak from side of mouth>tea, get the straight-jacket</> It might be a bit cool in here, let me get you a nice . . uh . . . blanket. Have you thought of taking one of your month-long bush trips? Maybe it's time again.
 

Tannin

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Ahhh ... Buck? Would you mind freeing one arm? I'd like a cup of tea now, if that's OK.

Cyril is just about up to speed on the building and mending things department. He's been at this game for long enough to be pretty right on the selling things side of it too, with a little practice and some more failiarity with our price list, policies and so on.

Next we have to work on purchasing and accounting. (Quite a lot to learn there, but he'll cope with it no worries. Which is why I picked him.)

Then it's a long trip off to the bush for me. (I may never come back.)
 

tazwegion

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Tannin said:
Then it's a long trip off to the bush for me. (I may never come back.)

The bush eh? that'd be a long overdue (read as contiunally postponed) vacation for you Tannin, BTW I believe it's perfectly legal to shoot ferals & Mr. K's in the more rural regions of Australia :p

Thanks Bartender and may the next round of drinks (doubles) be on me, the local lights-in-cases-crowd representative ;) :lol: :p :aok:
 

LiamC

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I was told today that emus are good eating. Prefer Skippy myself*

No offence to vegetarians/vegans.
 

tazwegion

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The more we discuss this individual... the clearer mental picture I get of him, safe to say he's based on Mr. Bean LMAO :lol:

mrbean4bx.jpg


Kangaroo meat is a bit 'gamey' I've not yet tried Emu or Croc, funny how we eat our National Symbols... I heard a comedian explain that's why the pair of them are holding a shield on our coat of arms :lol:
 

Tannin

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Great illustration, Taz.

Actually though, the funny thing is that we don't eat our national symbols, at least not to speak of. At a rough guess, kangaroo accounts for maybe 0.001% of the typical Australian's diet; Emu maybe 0.0001%. Most of the kangaroo meat sold for human consumption goes overseas, mainly to Europe (where it is, apparently, very popular, and to eastern Asia. Most of the kangaroo meat eaten by people in Australia is eaten by tourists anxious to sample something a little different from their diet at home. (The real Australian diet, of course, is so like the diet of the average American or Belgian that you can't justify serving it to tourists at all, at least not at the usual absurd 500% markup.)

Come to that, I don't think the average American eats too many Bald Eagles, the average Englishman too many Lions and Bulldogs, or the average Frenchman too many frogs.

But this is distracting from my real point: I'll start a new post.
 

Tannin

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So here we are, stupid people, madly eating sheep and cattle and not much else. The moment anyone suggests eating kangaroo or Emu, we all cry out in shock and horror! Oh Shame on You, you Evil Person, for suggesting that we eat our national symbol! Shock! Evil! Horror! Haven't you ever heard of conservation? Of the environment? Of preserving our native species?

What a load of ill-informed, sentimental claptrap! Total nonsense!

First, let's deal with the conservation angle.

There are about 90 different species in the order to which kangaroos belong. Most of these 90-odd species are threatened, endangered, or extinct as a result of human settlement of this continent. More than half. easily more. Of these 90 diprotodonts, about 50 belong to the macropod family (macro + pod = "big feet") - the kangaroo group. Again, the majority are threatened, endangered, or extinct as a result of human settlement.

A small number are, however, doing very well indeed. Most notable among these are the Eastern Grey, Western Gray, and Red Kangaroos. These three are the only kangaroos or kangaroo-like creatures that are harvested commercially for food (or, indeed, for any other purpose). Throw in the ubiquitous Agile Wallaby (a large and very common wallaby of the northern half of Australia, which is almost "kangaroo size) and you have the four most common macopods on the continent. (Allowing for size, they are probably the most common marsupials in the whole world.)

They are not by any stretch of the imagination endangered. Indeed, the experts are still arguing as to whether there are actually more of these large macropods now than there were 300 years ago. Last I heard, the fight was tied up on points entering the 15th round. Either way, each of the four species is to be numbered in the tens of millions. (There is a similar number of Emus, by the way.)

So, on population conservation grounds, there is absolutely no reason why we should not harvest as many as one million individuals of each species each year. We could do that and have zero impact on the size of the population as a whole. (Kangaroos - and Emus - breed readily. We have exterminated their natural predators, so if we don't shoot them they simply breed till they starve to death for lack of grass and other food. Kinder to shoot them.)
 

tazwegion

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Tannin said:
Great illustration, Taz.

You're welcome... I thought you might get a laugh out of it ;)

Tannin said:
Actually though, the funny thing is that we don't eat our national symbols, at least not to speak of. At a rough guess, kangaroo accounts for maybe 0.001% of the typical Australian's diet; Emu maybe 0.0001%.

I've had Kangaroo on a number of occasions, much nicer than rabbit ;)

Tannin said:
Come to that, I don't think the average American eats too many Bald Eagles, the average Englishman too many Lions and Bulldogs, or the average Frenchman too many frogs.

No some Americans Hunt their National Symbol (I thought it would've been protected), the Englishman (@ one time) would've undoubtably hunted the Lion (though I doubt he ate it), and while some French still eat 'frogs legs' they're probably too busy eating snails & horse instead :p
 

Tannin

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But what about health? Won't we pick up all sorts of horrible diseases by eating nasty wild-living kangaroos instead of nice clean pigs and cattle?

Not on your nellie.

The general rule-of-thumb with diseases and parasites is that they transfer most readily between hosts that are most closely related. In other words, you are much more likely to catch a deadly disease from a monkey than from a fish - because 99.99% of fish disease organisims cannot survive in the human body, whereas a good many monkey disease organisms can and do transfer readily to a human host. AIDS is a perfect example.

Sheep, pigs, goats and cattle are all placental mammals - i.e., they belong to the same broad group of creatures that we do. We share quite a few diseases, in consequence. From the point of view of a nasty bacterium, living inside a sheep is not all that different to living inside you.

Kangaroos, however, are marsupials. They are just about as far away from humans (in a biological sense) as it is possible to get and still be a mammal. And in any case, it is every bit as easy and practical to inspect the carcasses of kangaroos for nasty bugs as it is to inspect a side of beef. We al;ready do this as routine. Except with kangaroos it isn't all that important, as they don't carry half the bugs we have to worry about.

In short, the disease argument is a crock.
 

tazwegion

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Tannin said:
So, on population conservation grounds, there is absolutely no reason why we should not harvest as many as one million individuals of each species each year. We could do that and have zero impact on the size of the population as a whole. (Kangaroos - and Emus - breed readily. We have exterminated their natural predators, so if we don't shoot them they simply breed till they starve to death for lack of grass and other food. Kinder to shoot them.)

At least from a humanitarian perspective... our extra population of Roo's would go a long way to feeding some of the undernourished third world Nation's populace Hmmmm... skippy-aid! :aok:
 

Tannin

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Now for the environmental argument.

This is an easy one. The isn't any environmental argument.

Kangaroos and Emus are vastly, vastly less damaging to the Australian environment than sheep, goats, pigs, or cattle. They don't pug up waterholes (cattle do). They don't cause massive erosion problems (sheep and goats do). They have not been directly responsible for the extermination of about a dozen native animals, and partially responsible for at least as many more. (Cattle and especially sheep.) They don't hang around all day close to the waterhole during dry seasons, eating every last blade of grass and ensuring that the topsoil all blows away. (Roos can - and do - travel a lot further away from water, thus evening out the depletion of the greenery.)

They don't have sharp hooves that cut into the soil and destroy the delicate micro-floral layer (mosses and lichens and other tiny things) that produces more than 50% of the nutrient in arid and semi-arid soils. The moment you break that fragile surface layer, you loose moisture and soil fertility, and you create conditons suitable for the germination of exotic weeds rather than the precious native grasses. Also, they prefer native grasses to exotic species, so roos don't encourage the farmer to plough under the natuiral cover and replace it with "improved" European and American pasture grasses, that then seed and spread into the adjoining native bush.

Finally, kangaroos and Emus are much more efficient converters of grass into meat. It take only two-thirds as much grass to make a kilo of kangaroo meat as it does to make a kilo of beef or mutton. (I forget the exact numbers: sheep are better than cattle, roos are better than either, Emus are better still - amazingly efficient creatures, Emus, and their presence and habits can actually improve worked-out land.)
 

tazwegion

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Dare I suggest this is your new calling? an Emu/Kangaroo farming project 'up bush' away from the hussle & bussle of terminally ignorant/arrogant IT customers? ;)
 

Tannin

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Skippy-aid is a great idea, but it wouldn't work. Why not? Because, by and large, the undernourished third world doesn't eat enough meat to bother talking about. They can't - it takes a vast amount of vegetable protein to produce a kilo of animal protein. I forget the number now, but doubtless Buck will remember. 50 kilos of corn to make 1 kilo of grain-fed beef? Something like that. So supplying the third world with roo steaks wouldn't feed many extra mouths at all, simply provide some luxury foods to the most well-off people.

Nope, the place to serve roo steeaks if you want to make a difference to the world is very clearly right here. Or in America or Europe or the better-off parts of Asia where living standards are highest, and where the ecological footprint of the average citizen the greatest. The US would be best, other walthy meat-eating nations next best.

It's worth noting, by the way, that the primary acricultural productivity of inland Australia is so low that, even assuming highly efficient animal "crops" like kangaroos and Emus, the total possible harvest is still quite small. What was my back-of-an-envelope estimate a couple of posts ago? Maybe 5 million carcasses a year. That's plenty to feed Australia (assuming no further population increase), but nowhere near enough to make any noticable difference to the world food supply as a whole.

If we ignore the gross inefficiency of producing meat and dairy products instead of grains and other vegetable products for a moment, Australia already produces more food than it can sustain for any period of time. (For both domestic consumption and export.) More? Absolutely. We are flogging this poor tired land and its ancient, worn-out soils far harder than it can sustain. Look, for just one example, at the phenomenal amount of prime wheatgrowing land lost to dryland salinity each year in Western Australia alone.
 

Tannin

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Last point. (And a trivial one by comparison, but no matter.)

The other week, I thought to go to a different shop (a real shop, not a supermarket) and buy kangaroo meat to feed my cats instead of the usual horse/sheep/cattle stuff you buy in cans. It would, I thought, be a little bit cheaper, and it would also be doing less harm to the environment than feeding them mutton/beef/chicken/whatever. (Because roos are more efficient, and don't bugger up the soils either. Also, roo harvesting is much kinder to the animal than the way sheep and cattle are rounded up and butchered. One bullet, all over. No suffering. At least a lot less.)

And, to my astonishment, I couldn't buy any!

Why not? Because, the owner of the pet food shop told me, it's too expensive - like three to four times the price of beef or mutton.

The reason, apparently, is twofold. First, demand for it in Europe is high, and it commands a good price. Second, and more important, the Asian buyers are snapping up every bit of roo meat they can get hold of because, ever since the bird flu thing hit, people in Asia are scared to eat chicken (fair enough), and with the mad cow disease thing still ongoing, they are scared to eat beef too, and not too sure about mutton.

Short answer: I can't feed my cats roo meat because it's all going onto tables to feed people in Asia and in Germany.

So I got them some rabbit instead.

Fussy little bastards, they wouldn't touch it. I mean WTF? They are perfectly happy to dine on fresh-caught mouse, and raw rat, what's wrong with rabbit? Gave it to Belinda's dogs in the end. They'd eat anything. And usually do.
 

Buck

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Tannin said:
50 kilos of corn to make 1 kilo of grain-fed beef?
It's roughly: 14.5 kilos of feed (11.3 of them corn) transforms into 1.6 kilos of flesh. This is aided by the appropriate hormones. For example, a hormone implant costing $1.50 adds between 18 to 23 kilos to the weight of a steer at slaughter, for a gross return of at least $25. According to Cattle-Fax, a market-research firm, the return on an animal coming out of a feedlot has averaged just $3 per head over the last 20 years -- I thought computer hardware had a low mark-up.

More shockingly, assuming a beef cow eats 25 pounds of corn a day and reaches a weight of 1,250 pounds (this is typical), he will have consumed in his lifetime roughly 284 gallons of oil. We have succeeded in industrializing the beef calf, transforming what was once a solar-powered ruminant into the very last thing we need: another fossil-fuel machine. Plus, if you follow the corn back to the fields where it grows, you will find an 80-million-acre monoculture that consumes more (water) chemical herbicide and fertilizer than any other crop. Cattle are the largest consumer of corn in the United States. Interestingly, an article from 2002 covering this industry stated: "Corn is a mainstay of livestock diets because there is no other feed quite as cheap or plentiful: thanks to federal subsidies and ever-growing surpluses, the price of corn ($2.25 a bushel) is 50 cents less than the cost of growing it."
 

Bozo

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The Bald Eagle is protected.
Even the power companies had to move their lines on towers further apart. Seems the wingspan of adult Eagles would touch two lines at the same time. From what I've read, the power lines acted like a gigantic electronic bug zapper.

Bozo :mrgrn:
 

Tannin

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Yes, it has been one of the better derailments. :wink:

Buck said:
Does Cyril know html and CSS? Maybe he can work on updating redhill.net.au.

Nope. Or not so far as I know. But in any case, redhill.net.au has been updated, extensively. Spunky new css, all pages adjusted to look better at the resolutions modern systems typically run at, every page and every stylesheet run through the w3c validator (4.01 strict, in most cases) - I can't see any point in XHTML at this stage, no-one has managed to show me any possible advantage and you can no longer use HTML entities for stuff like copyright symbold and em dashes ... yuk! - many images replaced by smaller but identical looking ones to save bandwidth, many and various minor edits to the text ...

Essentially, I've done all the work I'm going to do on redhill.net.au for quite a while. Three years maybe. I'm still doing lots of coding, but it's all for useful and practical things. See, for example, http://regent.org.au - a work in progress, but it's getting there.
 

LiamC

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Regent Honeyeater said:
It is a really a demonstration of the changes needed for ecologically sustainable development.

Second last paragragraph--should it read "It is really a" instead?
 

Handruin

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Bozo said:
The Bald Eagle is protected.
Even the power companies had to move their lines on towers further apart. Seems the wingspan of adult Eagles would touch two lines at the same time. From what I've read, the power lines acted like a gigantic electronic bug zapper.

Bozo :mrgrn:

When I went camping on the coast of Maine a few weeks back, I saw my first non-captive Bald Eagle roaming the wild. Made the seagull's wingspan look minuscule.
 

Tannin

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Mubs: yes, thankyou. The measures Tea outlined in that other thread seem to have done the trick. I must ask her to revisit it and post numbers when she gets a spare minute. Short summary: down to about two-thirds of the former traffic level, and thus comfortably inside our self-imposed bandwidth limit.

Liam: woops! Fixed. Thankyou.

Buck: yup. Actually that one is a duplicate (it also appears on a different page), I'll replace it with a different picture of some other volunteer digging when I get a spare moment.

Actually, the site design is rather radical, in a subtle sort of way. Hey, there are only a few ways to achieve the three colom look with a generous left and right margin, right?

* You can use tables (hard to change, hard-coded in the HTML, bad kharma).
* You can use divs (clean code, horrendous IE bug workarounds in the css, always hard to get it looking OK cross-browser)
* Various stupid methods such as iframes and frames. Yuk!

Well, this time I got really radical and said to myself "what I really want here is a generous left and right margin. Why not just use the following css to do it?

p {margin-left: 270px; margin-right: 270px; }

You have to do it with all the other elements you plan to use as well (h1 and ul and so on), but that's it: no other coding required. Delightfully simple, very practical, zero cross-browser problems. Whoever would have thought of coding HTML margins with margin?

The only moderately complicated part is that you can't use percentages (margin-left: 20%); you need to specify it in a "real" measure, such as pixels, ems or similar. This, in turn, means that it only works at a fixed single screen resolution. So the other required step is a tiny fragment of Javascript (shame on me!) that sniffs the user's screen resolution and overlays a suitable second stylesheet: for example, http://regent.org.au/s1280.css

I did look at replacing the Javascript with php (a) because I hate Javascript, and (b) to make it work for users who have Javascript disabled, but I couldn't find an easy way to do it. I'd have needed to spend quite a long time figuring that out, so it's back in the too hard basket for now. Maybe some other month.
 

Buck

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My coding has not become as advanced as yours Tony. Could you tell me more about the "* You can use divs (clean code, horrendous IE bug workarounds in the css, always hard to get it looking OK cross-browser)"? Although I must admit, I don't code for IE5 anymore, but it seems that you're less interested in that browser as well.
 

Tannin

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Me neither, Buck. I stopped trying to code for IE 5 earlier this year. But I seriously doubt that my coding is more advanced than yours. My code tends to be sloppy and complicated, yours neat and streamlined. In fact, that's largely why I'm so pleased with the regent.org.au code: it's (wonder of wonders) clean and simple. Next time I start a new site, I'll use it as a model, I think.

What can I tell you about using divs for layout? As I recall, it was you that helped me sort out a curly div-based layout - probably www.woadyyaloak.com.au - a while ago.

Oh, you mentioned the regent.org.au colours. That's a funny thing. I really like them too. They came about when I was knocking out the very first draft. I had no idea what colours I wanted, just that I wanted white text on a dark background ('cause white backgrounds are so flickery and horrible). So I roughed out a layout, white text, background-color: ... er ... something dark, dunno what yet, just stick the first number I think of ... um ... hex 123. Now, close that div, stick some body text in, let's see what it looks like. Hey! That's rather nice.

The background remains #123 to this day. Sometimes blind luck is a wonderful thing. :)
 

mubs

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That's good work you're doing there, Tony (I don't mean only the websites). Less wise folks like me better get involved and help the planet before it's too late.
 

Buck

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Just as a note Tony, if someone visits regent.org.au and has images turned off, the honeyeater logo is no where to be seen. It would be a little bit more complicated, but you might want to create the text for the logo with CSS. So, when the background image is gone, their name continues to appear in the header. I've been working on a new color-scheme and layout for my company's site, and I've done something similar: http://www.hlmcompany.com/test/ (I'm getting tired of my old tables and white background.)

Basically, I would create a separate <div> for each word in the logo. That way I could play around with the baseline-shift, indentation, and size.
 

Tannin

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tazwegion said:
Maybe Buck they're so rare... nobodies got an actual photo of one :p

That's not far off the truth, Taz. I do have access to a couple of Regent pictures (not taken by me), but they aren't really the sort of picture I'd want to showcase. Last year I drove up to NSW and spent a few days looking for Regents to photograph and use on the site. No dice: I didn't find any. (Lots of other nice creatures though.)

There are only about 750 pairs left, they are highly nomadic, and it's a bloody big continent. But I'll try again this year.

Buck: good idea. I doubt that anyone would ever visit the site with images off (anyone that matters, anyway), but I'll look into it. Thanks.
 
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