Band news

Been busy working on material with my new band the last few weeks. We’ve got a guitarist on board and so far the fit seems pretty good – it’s certainly been fun jamming.

And I think I’m starting to get comfortable working with a band in terms of writing stuff on the computer – how to take a live jam and pull together the sequenced stuff around it.

I’m hoping that we can finalise a few tracks (2-3) to record a demo in the next few weeks. I’ll be sure to post the results if the come up ok. Once we’ve got that we’ll start pimpin for some gigs around town.

In related news, I’m jamming with Centipede on Wednesday night to see if I might fit the bass chair. I love their first CD, so I’m stoked to be invited. Thanks Baz for the big nudge 😉

I really wanted to see if I could find a purely bass gig after I got the new band up and running. This opportunity came up a bit sooner than I would have planned, but I’m very excited all the same. Hopefully the jam will go well. Fingers crossed…

From the WTF? department

RSMG Weblog: Icebergs again:

The hardy perennial idea of meeting water demand by towing icebergs from the Antarctic (or, in the Northern Hemisphere) the Arctic, gets another run in todays Courier Mail.

Something is sooooo wrong here… like turning the rivers inland, this idea is so silly from an environmental standpoint I don’t know where to begin. Besides, if I’m not mistaken, the same factors that are causing the water shortages are also shrinking the Antarctic. Perhaps someone might think a bit beyond a headline and actually start promoting real solutions.

The news

Cameron quotes from a few blogs about the footage from the Pentagon attacks that was supposedly “released for the first time” yesterday.

One of the quotes struck me most:

If you’re just the slightest bit intelligent and keep up with current events, you’ll realize that the footage they’re trying to impress us with isn’t new at all. In fact, that footage was available mere months after the whole attack* even happened. I guess they figure we’ve let our guard down since then and they want to inject us with a new healthy dose of angst.

I saw the footage on the news last night and I too remember seeing it years ago. So much for new…

On two related notes – I watched the TV news last night for the first time in months and I was very unimpressed, except when I flicked to SBS. And I realised that I now get very little of my news through mainstream outlets like TV and the papers.

Just a few weeks ago I actually unsubscribed from the major dailies’ RSS feeds – so pretty much all of my news now comes through blogs and friends on instant messaging or email (i.e. people I trust – to a greater or lesser degree – flag items of interest for me).

So another of Cameron’s recent posts, Aussie Newspapers in decline and denial, really got me thinking.

There are some great graphs which indicate that capital city newspapers’ sales in Australia declined 2001 – 2005 and that the per capita consumption of capital city newspapers from 1993 – 2005 have declined substantially, especially the Mon-Fri numbers. The graphs also indicate that capital city commercial free-to-air TV stations have declined 2001-2005 BUT, and I love this, the ABC and SBS are UP over that period.

Very interesting stats. But this rang true most for me:

He misses the true point of what’s happening though. It isn’t technology that is disrupting the news industry – it is the people who are dissatisfied with the news product as it currently exists and who are using the technology to create alternative sources of information and entertainment.

It’s something newspapers, TV and radio would do well to tattoo on their foreheads so they don’t forget: It’s the people, stupid.

Factoid check

John Quiggin: Factoid check:

The obvious question is, if readers of this blog can find this kind of thing out for free, and in a matter of minutes, why is Albrechtsen getting paid for not bothering to make such obvious checks?

Reminds me of another recent incident at The Australian… Welcome to citizen media.

Update 17-May: John reports that a correction was included in the paper.

TPN sustainable lifestyle host

half arsed bluster: Wanted: host for a new podcast on sustainable lifestyles. Wow – that was fast! Cameron of The Podcast Network is seeking a host for the program we’ve been chatting about… I’d love to do a show like this, but I’m kinda busy doing other things 😉

If you know anyone that might be suitable, point them to Cameron’s request (and let me know too if ya don’t mind).


(Just to be clear, I should mention that WWF hasn’t actually got an agreement with TPN – I’ve been chatting to Cameron about how we can become part of the “podosphere” in a constructive way. I do hope that we can get a real agreement up and running though – I really think it would be a Good Thing™. Fingers crossed…)

SMH blogs

I’m probably late to the party, but I just found the SMH blogs. No RSS – but some lively comments and interesting posts so far.

Update: I take that back – they do have RSS (scroll down to the very bottom right sidebar). The dead giveaway that they’re using MovableType as the back-end is that it’s “index.rdf” – RSS 1.0 – which nobody uses except MT for some strange (and I reckon silly) reason. Cool!

ActNow! website launch

Part of the reason I was in Melbourne yesterday was to attend the launch of the ActNow! website.

The website was created by the Inspire Foundation as a means for young people to express their views and have a say on the issues that are important to them.

WWF-Australia is one of the many, many partner organisations (101 at the time of writing) providing actions and information for the site. So far we only have one action up there, but more are in the works.

Some friends of mine at Massive Interactive had a big part to play in developing the site. It looks great and there’s lots of cool features for both the people acting, and for those of us providing information and support. Worth checking out even if you’re not a youngen’ 😉

It was also great to talk to the team behind it. The development of the site has very much been driven by young people volunteering their time. It’s clear that the team at Inspire have learnt a lot, and some of the things we chatted about last night were applicable to anyone encouraging people to act on issues. I’ll hopefully be able to catch up with them soon to learn more.

Update: Leisa, one of the team who worked on the project, has a great write-up on the site and the development process. So does Damian.

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Letter to the editor

Following is the Letter to the Editor WWF sent to The Australian regarding yesterday’s article. Tellingly, it hasn’t been printed (yet).

In reference to the article in The Australian ‘WWF boss to push n-power at meeting’, WWF’s policy is unchanged – nuclear power is not a renewable resource and should be phased out (as should hydrocarbons) and is not the solution to global warming. WWF’s Global Energy Taskforce has been asked to conduct a rigorous study into the energy mix that could feasibly deliver major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions – accompanied by an assessment of the environmental, social and economic consequences of this mix. We will not pre-empt what the conclusions of this taskforce will be. The statement in The Australian that I have "gone to London to lobby the international organisation to overturn its anti-nuclear stance" is simply untrue.

Greg Bourne
CEO, WWF-Australia

So there you have it, from the source.

As an aside I was talking to someone last night about this and they reflected that they were glad to see an environmental organisation that was open to things and not just blocking everything. It’s a pity that their opinion was formed as a result of untruths…

What’s going on?

This is the usual disclosure: I work for WWF. The views expressed here are my own and not those of WWF-Australia.

So, I’m having a break in Melbourne today, and open up the Australian to page 3 and find this headline: WWF boss to push N-power at meeting.

It’s by our good friend Amanda Hodge (again), and is full of unsupported rubbish (again).

Let’s address one thing straight up. In the article Amanda claims that:

The Australian understands he also ordered the organisation’s global anti-nuclear policy be removed from WWF Australia’s website in March.

I’m the manager of WWF-Australia’s website. Content doesn’t get added or removed without my knowledge. There has never been any request to remove our “anti-nuclear policy” from our website, nor have I, or any other member of staff, removed such a policy. So, this is a total fabrication.

As for claims that Greg intends to “lobby the international organisation to overturn its anti-nuclear stance”, I’ve never heard Greg even suggest that WWF should change it’s stance. Although I’m not super close to Greg, and therefore don’t know what his exact plans are, I’d be extremely surprised if that was his intention. (I’d also love to know which “industry” this insider if from – the nuclear industry? The environment movement?)

There’s been no ripples anywhere in the organisation that I’ve detected about any change in nuclear policy, nor of any plan for Greg to lobby for a change in international policy. One would expect that we would have had some inkling of such a big shift in policy.

The only word of nuclear I’ve heard in the meetings I’ve been involved in are to make sure we understand the arguments being made for nuclear as a solution to climate change so that we can respond to them when arguing for renewables. As an organisation that advocates solar, wind and biomass as a practical solutino, we need to answer and respond to the nuclear lobby’s arguments if we are to maintain credibility with the private sector and government.

I really don’t know what’s going on at The Australian, but this is certainly getting out of hand. Perhaps someone isn’t too happy about the recently released report that shows that solutions to global warming are affordable. Who knows…

To anyone that’s reading this out there (all six of you), can you help spread the word about this rubbish through your blogs or even just in conversation with your friends, workmates and family.