Monday, September 27, 2010

My tour of Wilsons Prom

It's been months since I've visited Wilsons Prom, last time I was there, I came via ship (Young Endeavour) so it was quite an experience to return now in more leisurely terms with the island where I also shared my birthday with.

Wilsons Prom itself is a place of refuge, in fact, one of our camping site was situated in a cove called, 'Refuge Cove'. A place where the ship I had traveled earlier would have anchored, had the weather been more reasonable back then. Even so, there was little mobile coverage around the regions that we walked. Everywhere we went we would see nature in it's essence, left mainly alone from the influences of man. There were of course the camping sites, trails that ran through the forests, and hallmarks left behind from fires lit on the island months and years before. Nonetheless, it was a welcome break from the modern world full of technology, cars and the like.

We did see the odd ship and boat here and there, but essentially, trees and wildlife were our friends. As were the food and gear in our backpacks and our fellow hikers within my group, along with other traveling hikers - some lonesome, in pairs or in small groups. It is quite an experience to live off one's pack, and it reminds me of when I am traveling and living out of my suitcase. Only rather than stocking my backpack from supplies at local stores or supermarkets, I would venture towards the rivers and creeks to replenish my water supplies or perhaps trade with fellow hikers.

The terrain itself for which the trails ran across varied, some quite easy and well developed, while others remained quite less explored and treaded. The lurching plants and overgrowth finding themselves reaching over our paths. Still, these paths were managed from time to time, most likely in preparation of the peak session. Where hikers would come in small packs to explore this generally untouched land.

I went myself with a group of kids, each seeking to earn their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze, Silver or Gold awards. I being the older and more experienced on was expected to take the lead, and throughout the journey I discovered what true leading was and the need to ensure that with or without me these kids would be able to live out here on those own. I'm glad that everyone managed to come out in one piece - even through the sometimes harsh and steep trails that had been set for trekkers just like us...

Protect your valuables

Just got this little handout with my nice little rego bill, it's just about making sure one records the make, model and serial numbers of their property. Particularly as these details may be required by police and/or insurance companies in case of theft, so I'd thought I would point this out to you all and make a handy note to myself.

I should be sure to note down the following details:

  • Property item
  • Make/ Model
  • Serial number
  • Place of purchase
  • Date of purchase
  • Cost (at the time of purchase)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Can your heart bounce back?

The faster your heart rate drops after exercise, the lower your risk of dying of a heart attack, according to a 2005 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that followed 5,713 men for 23 years.

Subtract your heart rate at one minute after a workout from the maximum heart rate you reached during the workout. If the difference is more than 35 beats per minute, you're probably not at an increased risk.

  • Heart rate (maximum) minus Heart rate (one minute after workout) = ? (if difference >35 beats per minute then not increased risk of a heart attack)

Otherwise, check the numbers below to determine your risk of dying of a heart attack.

Percentage increase in risk of sudden death due to a heart attack: 110
Drop in heart rate one minute after exercise (measured in beats per minute): < 25
Percentage increase in risk of sudden death due to a heart attack: 30
Drop in heart rate one minute after exercise (measured in beats per minute): 25-30
Percentage increase in risk of sudden death due to a heart attack: 40

Source: Some facts noted after reading an article a while ago...

Interesting facts

There are always something new to learn about the world around us and the country that we live in. Here's a list of some random interesting facts about Africa and my home country, Australia.

African facts
  • Africa is comprised of 52 countries.
  • The largest is Sudan
  • The Sahara Desert in Africa's north is the world's largest. It covers 9 million square kilometers (about 1 1/4 Australia's size)
  • Africa's largest river is the Nile which at 6671 kilometers is also the world's longest river. It has a coastline of 37000 kilometers about the same as that of Australia
  • Mr Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is Africa's highest mountain, 5895 metres above sea level.

Australian facts
Who stood up for convict rights?
Governor Lachlan Macquarie

Who fought for a free press?
W C Wentworth

Who was the first woman to stand for election to public office? 
Catherine H Spencer

Who became Australia's first Prime Minister?
Edmund Barton

Who was the first woman elected to parliament?
Edith Cowan

Who was the first indigenous person elected to the Commonwealth Parliament?
Neville Bonner

What matters more than your talents

Each of us has our own talents, strengths and weaknesses in a variety of different areas and honed to varying degrees depending on our own commitment, dedication and ambitions.

Jeff Bezos presented a presentation at Princeton University on titled, 'What matters more than your talents' in his presentation discusses  how you use the gifts that you have and he asked us whether we should 'pride in gift or pride in choices'. That is, would be take pride in our gifts that we have or will we take greater pride in the way we use our gifts.

He mentions that it is often 'difficult to be kind than to be clever', as sometimes in our own personal pointscoring, we can forget the person behind whom we may be being clever to. So it is important to always consider and feel the potential outcomes of what you have to and can say.

He also notes that 'our character is reflected not in the gifts we're endowed with at birth, but by the choices we make over the course of a lifetime', as ' the end we are our choices...'. Which takes us to the other saying that, it's not only about the 'destination, but the journey' as well, as we must be wary that the things we do today in pursuit of any ambition we may have, will influence others with whom we share the world with.

I find it great how he highlights how we have a choice in the actions we have in influencing the world that we live in.

If you're interested in watching his speech you can view it at:, Enjoy :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Engaging your senses to learn

While each of us 'learn' in different our own unique way, often it is the simulation of many of our senses that helps us to recall and to learn.

We learn kinetically through our actions which can be aided through manipulative learning techniques, whereby someone guides and individual through the motions of an activity until the body remembers the motion to imitate (using sense of touch, sight, and little hints of other senses), rather than simply imitating from just observing (vision) an action. Similarly, they say one can engage particular 'sense memory' by having a particular scent (smell) or sound (hearing) whilst studying and reengaging that sense during an exam will aid with recall.

I find it particularly interesting how we learn from our senses and when placed in the context of learning from other people. While it is possible to learn by observing and reading as you are as you are reading my blog right now. I find if this was presented to me in a way that engaged more of my senses, perhaps in a video or podcast, then it would engage my other senses (vision, hearing) and in doing so allow me to retain the information in many different sources (a vision memory bank, a hearing memory bank) rather than just the one. 

Either way, knowledge of what works best for you and how you can been develop and engage your senses may be the key to you retaining that extra bit of information for that presentation, test or just to recall those crucial details of your significant relations...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Privacy Victoria and privacy in 2009-2010

Late last week Privacy Victoria officially launched their annual report for 2009-2010 which provides some interesting highlights into how privacy as an issue has been engaged during the past year. It is focuses on their work around Victoria and engagement with various stakeholders who have required the assistance of Privacy Victoria such as local and state government agencies as well as complaints.

You will also find the Privacy Victoria's Youth Advisory Group featured in the report, a group whom I've been quite fortunate to work with. Together, we have been actively seeking to raise privacy awareness among young people and helped run the Privacy Victoria 'Watch this space' conference held in May, and you can find photos and information of our contributions on the cover and page 33.

I have also highlighted parts of the report which I found interesting, although you may wish to read about them within the context of the report as well:
  • “Technology has made large-scale data matching between organisations quicker and easier. But depending on how it is conducted data matching also poses privacy risks such as function creep, automated decision making based on poor quality data and profiling.” (p.2)
  • "While it is very pleasing that organisations are more and more willing to engage with us to address privacy issues there is still a tendency for consultation to occur late, when it is much more difficult for privacy protections to be included, especially in large technology projects." (p.3)
  • "It is particularly disappointing when here is no consultation at all on legislative proposals that clearly impact significantly on privacy . A notable example of this is the Summary Offences and Control of Weapons Act Amendments Bill 2009 and the Control of Weapons Amendment Bill 2010. In spite of the significant impact on privacy these Bills involved, there was no consultation before they were introduced into Parliament." (p.3)
  • "Much of the discussion at the conference focused on online privacy issues such as use of social media. This included discussions on ‘sexting’ – the practice of sending nude or semi-nude photographs on mobile phones or on the internet, usually to current partners who then may misuse the photograph . These images are considered child pornography under existing laws and some young people have been charged with offences relating to the material received and distributed to others" (p.34)

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's the ending of an exhibition, but also the start of a journey...

Early this week marked the end of a journey for 16 participants part of WYPIN (Western Young People's Independent Network)'s photography program, but for them it would be only the beginning...

Themed, 'Visions of the West', the exhibition showcased the 8 week's worth of photography work by these young photographers coming from varying levels of experiences from the beginner, to the intermediate and more advanced. During the short introductory program each participant were equipped with an SLR camera each, some only holding one for the first time.

They were taught the basic technical camera details and considerations such as lighting and focus, and used any tool and resource they could find from magnifying glasses to coloured cellophane, and even the odd sunglasses. As almost anything can be used to offer that different perspective of our world and be captured on film. It was certainty a challenging yet fun experience and each were guided towards a central theme which each participant were free to choose themselves.

As a part participant from their program myself and only returning as a facilitator. Following completion of the program, participants are encouraged to continue their pursue their interest in photography as they see fit.

Some will carry on their photography in the more formal sense, seeking to find and equip themselves with an SLR camera (some were fortunate enough to earn vouchers towards their first purchase) and to go out and take photos for another exhibition, for events such as weddings, etc. While others, like myself will apply our skills and knowledge (or in my case, informed trial and error skills) into practice at that odd occasion - whether at a friend's party, on a night out, at a concerts, or even at the local park.

Equipped with cameras (if they're eager enough, or often in my case, my mobile phone), they will take better and more thought out photos. Whichever way each these participant chooses to equip themselves with it is hoped that they will understand that it's not only the tools that one has to take photos with, but the way in which the tools are used which will result in photos that capture that moment - a moment from the perspective that a photographer has intended or hopes to show...

Here's a nice quote to go with this as well:
"Eventually the weapon in and itself is meaningless without the proper applications of its virtues by the warrior" - Miyamoto Musashi

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Would you like some pie?

Haha, well last night was pie night! It was pie night hosted at Lion Kaye and Lion Wayne's home where everyone watches footy and has a pie or a sausage roll, or in my case - both! Haha the night was fun and enjoyable, filled with nice little games, and as we sat and watched a tight match between the Swans and the Doggies, we had a handballing comp, and some footy trivia (both I must admit are not my strong points :s). Through it all we also managed to raise a bit of money for the Biggest Aussie Pie night, which is a fundraiser to support kids with cancer.

Overall, the night reminded me of how I originally became a fan of the Doggies, although through the years as underdog team, they were a team that were quite heartbreaking to support at times. Nonetheless what I'd like to share with you today is why I began to follow them and my story starts when I was a kid in primary school...

As a kid, I think I was like most kids, in that I was quite easily moulded and influenced. Probably as I was still learning about myself, about the world around me and the people that make up that world and why I fit into it all...

I recall a day as what seemed like a quite normal day at school expect that we were visited by the Western (Footscray) Bulldogs. They didn't do anything outrageous or fancy with us but I think it must have been their friendly and down-to-earth nature and the fact they had taken the time to visit - that must have appealed to me. As I still recall the little footies we kicked, the pies and pasties that were kindly given around to each of us, and the smiles we all had all around. The experience was joyful and special for me, and it was certainty something that lit my appreciation and, in the following years, my support for the team. 

I think I will always follow the team, perhaps as they seem close to home for me, being growing up in the western suburbs with them or perhaps it is the idea of that underdog can rise up above all odds through  perseverance and hard work. Either way, I will always remember the day that they came to visit my school, and I hope that they like many other footy clubs, they continue to do create similar experiences into the future and beyond...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happiness driving charitable actions

The 'World Giving Index' produced by CAF and discussed by The Australian newspaper recently brings to light some findings in what seems to drive most people to give and who is more likely to give. 

Here are the highlights of what has been mentioned that I found interesting:
  • Australia and New Zealand topped the “World Giving Index”. Malta was found to be the country with the largest percentage of the population (83%) giving money, the people of Turkmenistan are the most generous with their time with 61% having given time to charity and Liberia was top of the list for helping a stranger (76%).
  • 'Happier people are more likely to give money to charity than those who are wealthy' - Donating money to charity is something that is traditionally seen as being driven by how wealthy a person is. However, it is clear that happiness plays an important role in influencing whether people give.
  • “The findings suggest a positive cycle where one person gives to charity, the charity improves the happiness of the individuals they support and they in turn are more likely to give.”
Conclusion: A snowball effect, a happier world breeds more happiness :)

Source:  CAF ( and The Australian (

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Explore. Dream. Discover.

This is a great quote for thinking about how you are living your life today. If you believe the actions you have taken - particularly those you haven't may be something that you've always wanted to do but have put it off for whatever reason then consider how you will look back at this moment. Will you agree with the choices you did or didn't make today?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the 
things that you didn't do than the ones that you did do. 
So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. 
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. 
- Mark Twain

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Management Is...

I've just been briefly reading a book by former Harvard Business Review editors Joan Magretta and Nan Stone, What Management Is: How It Works and Why It's Everyone's Business, which offers some interesting insights into management and thought I would share a few key points with you that may offer you food for thought:
  • The human ability to manage is to organise purposefully.
  • 'Dealing effectively with change requires a clear understanding of what does not change.'
  • ‘...companies have confused the measurement of shareholder value (i.e. today’s stock price) with the actual creation of it. Shareholder value is a result, not a goal.’
  • ‘Matching an organisation’s measures to its mission is one of management’s most difficult and creative challenges.’
  • ‘Long term performance is impossible without the right values.'
  • ‘Management’s real genius is turning complexity and specialisation into performance. As the world economy becomes increasingly knowledge based and global, work will continue to grow more specialised and complex, not less. So management will play a larger role in our lives, not a smaller one.’
  • ‘The more highly educated and specialised we become, the more we need other people to perform... We think we live in worlds of our own and can contribute as individuals, but this is only possible because some form of organisation makes the specialised work we do productive.