Saturday, December 31, 2005

Indonesia Incidentals

A few other tidbits from my last Indonesia trip...

On the seaplane from Bali to the minesite I carried my trusty GPS and recorded the flights. To the left is a snapshot in Google Earth.

Below it are another couple... the second is a screenshot take looking at Bali (Denpasar Airport) and the third taken looking at Mataram on the island of Lombok. Note the volcano to the left.

If you want to have a look in Google Earth, just open this file

Other photos are:
  • The seaplane the trips were done in (taken at Mataram airport)
  • Krispy Kreme donuts in Sydney airport
  • A panormaic shot taken of the pit at the mine. Definitely doesn't do justice to the scale of the thing!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

BOOK REVIEW - The End of Poverty - Jeffrey Sachs

I promise I didn't just read this book because Bono wrote the forward. Although that IS a valid reason to read a book!

In my opinion, this is possibly the second most important book in the world at the moment. Sachs blows away myths about extreme poverty and economics in general. He sets out exactly WHAT we need to do, WHY we need to do it and HOW it can be achieved. He briefly talks about world history, and how we got to where we are today (ie how western countries climbed out of extreme poverty)

It's not always an easy, relaxing read - but worth it.

Here's a bunch of random interesting things...
  • For the majority of history, the majority of people have lived in extreme poverty. The last few hundred years is the first time in history so many people have lived with such wealth
  • 'Trade vs Aid' - many people argue that Trade is the answer to extreme poverty - and it is - to a point. There are many countries, especially in Africa tha thave no hope of significant trade until we help them out of the hole they are in. Trade AND Aid is the answer.
  • Made me realise the importance of trade, economics and big business for improving quality of life for people around the world. It removed (and reinforced) some of my cynicism about large multinational corporations.
  • Made me realise the importance of technology in eliminating poverty. Western civilisation became rich because of industrialisation and technology.
  • The rise in wealth of developing countries does not mean a decrease in the wealth of western nations. Wealth can be created from nothing, and the more countries that are rich, the better for all! (Again, as with everything - this is not a black and white issue...)
I could go on and on... suffice to say, if everyone read this book (or maybe if a select few world leaders read it), the world would be a very different place, very quickly.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Snails in SA

We spent Christmas Eve day with Di's Dad's side of the family at her Cousin's farm near Murray Bridge. The majority of the fence posts on the farm were covered in Snails. SNAILS! How bizarre!? The South Aussies thought it was weird that I thought it was weird! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Bali again!

I'm in Bali for about 13 hours on the way home. Checked in to Hotel Dynasty (it's the one the mine uses). Pretty quiet here, but there's still a few of the usual loud obnoxious Aussies. A bit more security than last time I was here - cars aren't allowed near the entrances of hotels and the airport etc.

Flights back from Sumbawa weren't too bad. It'd take a while to get sick of that Seaplane. The flight from Mataram to Bali was on 'Merpati' airline - VERY old plane. As the line goes 'It's Merpati and they'll fly if they want to'.

Anyway, I'm off to buy a few DVDs...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Anthrax and Bird Flu

I'm on Sumbawa again in Indonesia. This time delivering a driver training system to the minesite here. I read a notice stating that Anthrax is endemic on Sumbawa. Sounds a bit scary really. I don't really know what Anthrax is. Can't even name one song of theirs. There have been no confirmed cases of bird flu on the island however.

I just tried to post a photo but this sharing 8 computers on one dialup connection doesn't seem to work too well!

Hope everyone's having a great week-before-Christmas!!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Keep Kevin!

This photo was taken this morning at a community BBQ held by Kevin Rudd - our local member and Australia's 'alternative' foreign affairs minister.

Ben, Di and I decided to go along with our Make Poverty History t-shirts on and to thank Kevin for the work he's done this year lobbying the government to keep their commitment to the Millenium Development Goals. This was especially appropriate as today was the third Make Poverty History day of action.

We had a great chat with Kevin about how best to influence the government and about some of the things he's been doing. He's not a bad local member, and as a potential leader of the Labor Party and maybe the country, I'd have to say I approve!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Vigilante 500

Had our work Christmas party today at Kingston Park Raceway - go-karting!

I managed to score the 'Mr Magoo' prize for a spectacular get-off through tyres onto the grass. I maintain it was the kart's fault.

The photo is Steve "Extreme" Larkin (1st place), Lord Andrew (2nd) and Minh "Jack of all trades" Nguyen (3rd). Oh, and Mr Magoo.