Surfing the roads at Alex Headland

And remember, the foam police are out in force everywhere…

ET:  ‘foam home’…


Hottest 100 highlights

Augie March

Augie March (Photo credit: Devar)

To coincide the celebration of Australia Day, below is a selection of this blogger’s favourite Australasian bands featured in Triple J’s annual Hottest 100 alternative music countdown in recent years.

Augie March – One Crowded Hour

Eskimo Joe – Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Gotye – Eyes Wide Open

Grinspoon – Chemical Heart

Jet – Are You Gonna Be My Girl?

The Naked and The Famous - SXSW Music 2011 - A...

The Naked and The Famous – SXSW Music 2011 – Austin, TX (Photo credit: kk+)

Little Birdy – Come on, Come on

Naked And Famous, The – Young Blood

Spiderbait – Buy Me A Pony

Photos from the field

This gallery shows that setting up an FM antenna for long distance radio listening in an apartment is easy.

These three photos show the temporary placement of an antenna at Noosaville despite metal intrusions on the balcony. Antennas work optimally in free space, but the world is not perfect!

View of the rear balcony from ground level - Noosaville

Close up of the antenna - Noosaville

Close up of the antenna - Noosaville

This is how the receiving equipment was accommodated inside the apartment in this Noosa suburb. Please watch a partial bandscan here.

Tuner set to 4ABCFM 98.5 - Noosaville

At Pelican Waters, the balcony was more ‘accommodating’ of a friendly yagi companion! A prettier view makes these four dull antenna shots far more palatable as well!

View from the Front Balcony - Pelican Waters

View from the Front Balcony - Pelican Waters

View from the Front Balcony - Pelican Waters

View of the front balcony from sea level - Pelican Waters

This is how the receiving equipment was accommodated inside the apartment in this Caloundra surburb. Please be sure to watch the videos here.

Tuner set to 2ABCFM 98.7 with DVB receiver  - Pelican Waters

Note the pirate flag at this nearby caravan park.

A pirate radio flag at a caravan park

The same principles loosely apply for long distance reception of UHF DVB-T. In fact, setting up a UHF antenna for long distance television viewing in an apartment is even simpler. If that’s ‘the go’, a phased array is a good choice. The phased array is extremely portable and far less obtrusive than a collapsible yagi. A phased array was used briefly at Pelican Waters (the suburb pictured above) and was far more effective than the rooftop antenna to receive distant translators — supplementary ‘relay’ broadcasts.

Free to reproduce
Photos from the field by FMdxing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

Maintaining fitness while on vacation

One NHS study suggests 68 percent of Australian men are overweight or obese. That figure is both astonishing and horrifying. Every day represents an opportunity for the majority to improve their weight,  including the holiday period.

Staying active whilst on vacation is easy with some forward planning. For years now, this blogger has taken a pair of screw collared dumbbells with reasonably light barbells away on week-long stays. Despite repeatedly being ridiculed for doing so, it has now become a habit.

It can be difficult to motivate oneself to participate in daily exercise during a vacation with all the delicious food and cold alcoholic drinks on offer. It is even harder when the summer days are frequently so humid that the records are falling.

Dumbers © 2010 apfelfred

On the recent vacation, this blogger packed a 10 kilogram medicine ball ($50 with discount), Aldi sit up mat ($20), Sports Stopwatch ($13) & one stick of dumbbells with vinyl coated barbells aka weight plates ($45 for a pair).

Inexpensive vinyl or plastic coated weights have a cement interior. Although the durability may be poor for long term use, these are convenient to take on vacation. Should a dumbbell fall from grip, little damage can be caused to the furnishings in the accommodation. In addition, should the cardboard box disintegrate whilst carrying the weight set (inevitable in this blogger’s experience!) — damage to the floor surface is unlikely. The bottom may fall out one unlucky day sending the weight plates tumbling onto a tiled or polished wooden floor (including elevator floors) or concrete surface in the basement (car garage).

The combined size of these approximates an average sized suitcase. The trick is to unpack these the first day of the vacation and have these lying on the floor (for example in the entertainment room) as a visible reminder. For this blogger, making them visible is critical, otherwise the equipment will not ever be unpacked or only used until the last few days when guilt sets in, usually after the kegs have been depleted!

On a personal note, packing those three items were a success. Every day apart from New Years’ Eve, ten minutes of exercises were performed. Easy. In addition, at least one hour of outdoor exercise in the waterways or on the bush trails was undertaken.

Forgive the truism, but once something becomes a habit, doing it so becomes easy. To aid inspiration, don’t forget some pumping motivational music which has been proven in several studies to be beneficial. The radio might suffice.  As this is being typed, Metallica’s Everywhere I Roam is playing on Triple M. An awesome soundtrack for holiday fitness.

Medicine ball squat © 2009 Alex Europa

There are many simple combinations of exercises that are able to be performed with the above three items (medicine ball, sit up mat & single dumbbell). The options are plentiful, and include the:

  • Situp;
  • Conventional pushup;
  • Alternating medicine ball pushup;
  • Ab crunch;
  • Medicine ball Ab crunch;
  • Medicne ball Ab crunch with leg raise (in combination);
  • Medicine ball squat;
  • Medicine ball plank for core stability;
  • Standing dumbbell curl;
  • Single arm overhead dumbbell press;
  • Single arm dumbbell flye; &
  • Russian abdominal side twist (medicine ball or dumbbell).

No idea what the hell an Overhead Press is? Try the Nerd Fitness blog workout videos linked to your right. Youtube is also home to an extraordinary array of amateur videos showing how to safely perform these exercises. Alternatively, head to the local newsagent and pick up a magazine such as Men’s Fitness, Eat Fit, Robert Kennedy’s Musclemag or Joe Weider’s Muscle and Fitness and try something from the beginner’s training section. Electronic versions are available for a cheaper price but this old school laggard prefers the hard copy!

Further Information

Crane Situp Mat – Aldi Supermarket

Overweight Statistics by Gender – Australian Bureau of Statistics

Vinyl Weights or Cast Iron Weights? – Stay Fit Bug

Does Asia have capitalism right?

By Phillip Lawrence, University of Sydney

This Asian century will be important for a lot of reasons, and fascinating for many more. Capitalism for better or worse has migrated from Western economies to many parts of post colonial and communist Asia.

That a number of Asian countries have been successful new capitalists is evident in superior economic growth rates. Despite global concerns that China’s growth is slowing, it still provides more than 30% of total world growth.

One particularly interesting aspect of a new Asian century over only this last decade is how different varieties of capitalism are emerging throughout the region.

A common theme is how each Asian form of capitalism differs from a Western norm. Boom-and-bust cycles that have characterised Western capitalism have been used to describe regular economic failures.

Will the Asian varieties of capitalism also experience similar ruinous episodes that have been regularly played out in a variety of Western capitalism?

Forms of capitalism such as Liberal Market Economies, (LME) or Controlled Market Economies, (CME) seen in Europe and North America have maintained their differences, despite predictions each variety would gradually meld into one. Therefore it is likely a unique Asian capitalism will also remain typical for some time.

There are some noteworthy features of a new brood of national economies in South East Asia such as Indonesia and China compared to the West.

Most major business organisations in older western economies are owned by armies of faceless stockholders or detached investment vehicles who never share in running and knowledge building of firms they partially own. Shareholders’ only rights are to future earnings per share, not how earnings occur.

China Joy © 2010 Seki Chin

CEOs and managers of firms in US business organisations in particular can earn obscene volumes of cash in companies that have on occasions failed by any measure. It seems any relationship between business success, firm failure and management income has been decoupled in the USA and now some parts of Europe.Asian economic enterprises are in many cases owned by multi-generation family groups or owned wholly or partly by government. Westerngovernments, particularly the US, have complained Chinese authorities are preventing their Yuan to freely float to a level relative to other global currencies. Chinese leadership avoids a need for short term election cycle vote winning promises.

This means they are able to engage in longer-term strategies such as the Chinese government’s successful reforestation and afforestation and backward efficiency programs in manufacturing industries Regularly the Chinese Government announce a demand for various industries to close old polluting factories so that the shortage of capacity can be filled with new more efficient technologies. This has particularly occurred in the pulp and paper industry, steel production and energy and other energy and pollution intense sectors.

Jakarta, Indonesia  © 2010 Jakob Montrasio

Also the Indonesian variety of capitalism seems to be unique. The Indonesian economy is an economy significant to Australia as recently highlighted in the Asian Century White Paper. In Indonesia, a core group of 15 families control a little more than 60% of that country’s share trading and almost entirely own more than 80% of Indonesian firms.

These internationally significant economies are so different from Western forms that it is hard to conceptualise how they would partially fail as regularly experienced in Western varieties of capitalism.

That is not to suggest they will not partially fail from time to time. Dominant characteristics of some major Asian economies mark a significant departure from the hitherto capitalist norm.

The GFC marked a significant event in world economic history for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has been an extremely long recovery period, which is far from over after a deep global downturn. Such an event has only been eclipsed in 1929, Wall Street stock crash. But it has been far from the only global or near global downturn that has come out of Western capitalism.

Will a similar regularity of economic events plague Asia with its particular varieties of capitalism? What will an Asian economic downturn, (if one does occur) look like given differences in business organisations in that region?

 Seoul, South Korea  © 2008 Stefan Klocek

Except for post-war rebuilt economies of Japan and South Korea, (long term problems that have faced Japan and South Korea have remained mostly internal) the most notable financial crisis for a 100 years or so that can be associated with Asia was the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

That crisis was confined to a number of Asian economies, but in reality its root cause was a rapid withdrawal of large Western cash investments from a number of Asian nations. It was due to opportunistic Western investment houses playing out high risk short term investment strategies in new and untested markets.

Conceivably an inter-generational aspect of Asian family economic organisations may provide a longer term view in any investment strategy. While the presence of greed remains a constant, perhaps leaders of Asian family organisations witnessing participation of their children and grandchildren in their firm might provide a tempered pursuit of return on investments.

Maybe also large scale use of family finances may provide many Asian firms with greater due-diligence when and if embarking into risky new business areas.

Asian firms are often criticised for their lack of innovation and a preference in copying existing technologies and services. With innovation comes increased risk. Extremely risk adverse Asian family firms may provide economic stability in a new Asian economic system, where risk and high rewards and magnificent failures prevail in the West.

The varieties of capitalism in some newly industrialising economies in Asia are yet to be fully defined, but without doubt they differ from the norm. Lucky for us a new Asian financial crash might be some time off yet. For now we’ll just have to do with ones from the West.

Phillip Lawrence consults to a number of Indonesian firms. Currently a PhD scholar at Sydney University, Department of Government and International Relations. PhD topic: Barriers and Incentives to the Ecological Modernization of the Indonesian Economy.

The Conversation

The Conversation

This article was originally published at
Read the original article.

Common sense disclaimer: The blog owner wishes to advise that neither The Conversation nor the author Phillip Lawrence necessarily endorse the original content of

Where’s Wally?

This sleep-deprived blogger is writing from the location in the video. OK, perhaps the video is a tad dull but…   How can it be better marketed? Hey, how about considering the Where’s Wally video a test of a $25 camcorder that arrived from China last week. Still not good enough? OK, let’s interact. Shoulder the burden dear readers.

Guess the location! Elaborate in mind numbing detail on the recording quality of the camera used to film it!

Or engage in neither activity, vacation mode means we care a lot… not… but this blog and its vaunted journalistic rigour will return… it won’t happen overnight, but it will heppen (sic).

The video is legitimate, the give away is that the photographer (and author) was too lazy to even open the glass sliding door to film!

Lazy mode has been engaged.  The Autopilot is grumpy so it is prudent not to disturb her! As per usual this blog has no affiliation with any product or merchant. Our independence cannot be bought, although all serious enquiries may be considered. 

Further discussion

Budget camcorders