Stupid news about Australia from the ABC.

Sometimes I cringe at the absurdity of Australian news items.

While the East Coast of the U.S.A is bracing itself for one of the most terrifying natural disasters which will hit its shores in the next two hours, we in Australia have announced that our natural rock wombat numbers are going to increase by 20% today.

Apparently, 8 rock wombats (little furry animals) will be released into the wild today. This announcement was made this morning straight after the Hurricane Sandy news.

I have no idea what a rock wombat is and I have no objection to its release into the wild. Let it run free for all I care.

All I can do is shake my head in disbelief at this bit of trivia that could not wait.

We certainly live in a very lucky country, don’t we?

Don’t miss “Argo” the movie.

What can I say about “Argo”?

Amazing, exciting, brilliant story based on true events. The acting was superb, the editing, production etc were excellent. But most of all, it had me jumping out of my seat with the suspense.

Do yourself a favour and go see it. I predict that Alan Arkin will win an award for his performance.

It was gratifying to see how brave the Canadian ambassador was while the not so Great British Embassy was too cowardly to even give asylum to the endangered Americans who were trying to escape Iran. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Barak Obama grovelled before the Arabs

In yesterday’s third U.S debate, Governor Romney asked why the newly-elected President Obama avoided Israel on his visit to the Middle East.

Obama replied that he did visit Israel on a previous visit, the one that he made during his election campaign.

Any person can see through this ploy. He was courting the Jewish lobby during the election, of course.

Once he was became President, however, Obama felt that he no longer had to suck up to the Jews. So he blatantly omitted Israel from his visit to the Middle East.

I can still see the image of Obama grovelling to the Arabs, bending over and kissing the hands of the Saudis. It was a degrading act for the leader of a nation which fought and won independence from monarchy.

And there he was bending over and grovelling to the the nations that nurtured the attack on the Twin Towers.

Now in this third debate Obama said he stands with the Israelis.

Now what is that famous saying again? “With friends like these……”

It will be another four years of this and thank goodness that he can only have two stints in the presidency.

I have to agree with Baroness Susan Greenfield about the downside of the internet

While the internet has been a boon in many respects, I am concerned about some of its detrimental effects on the learning process.

When I first purchased a Kindle I was delighted with it. It is light. You can change the font. Downloading a book is not only fast but cheaper than the hard copy. You can carry your Kindle in a purse so that it is particularly handy for travel.

Similarly, a computer and an I-pad are convenient. You can look up anything in a second (if your connection works) and the world of information is at your finger tips. All this is true and I appreciate the benefits of the digital age.

However, and this is a big however, after reading books in E-form I find that my concentration is not as strong. I read the article on the screen and then flick around to something else and have to ask myself what was I reading?

I have read many books on my Kindle and when I study the menu I wonder what they were about. Now this does not happen with the printed word on a paper page. I have hundreds of books in my print library and can tell you immediately what the theme was and who the characters were in every one of them.

It’s as if what is on the digital screen is ephemeral, something to be read and discarded without being absorbed by the brain. I know that if I want to make a note of something I write it down on paper, because that makes it more credible to me.

So what I am referring to is not “information overload”, but rather the form in which the information is presented.

Now it’s very possible that I am having this reaction because my initial education was with books, pen and paper. Why, I can even do “proper” handwriting rather than printing. But I have been using a computer for thirty years, so I’ve been familiar with the internet for quite a while.

Baroness Susan Greenfield has been warning us about the effects of the digital age on the brain. The short attention span that is created by being able to surf the net willy nilly means that nothing much is read in detail.

We are used to the bite, the morsel, the nano-content of information and we are training our minds to flick from one thing to another without weighing the evidence, without questioning its importance and without sitting down away from the screen to reflect on what we have read.

One only has to observe the populace walking around everywhere, head down, thumbs hard at work, on I-phones. The obsession is very strange and rather scary. If they get all their information on the net and they are at it non-stop what will happen to their powers of reflection, comprehension and absorption?

This is what concerns Baroness Greenfield who spends her life promoting Neuroscience. She is certainly not against information and neither am I. In fact, I’m one of those types who checks information and spelling and trivia pedantically.

I have been an educator and I am very worried that the information and the books on E-readers are making us lightheaded. Not much is going in and staying in, and that is a pity because so much is going out into the ether.

We are inundated with the digital stuff and perhaps we are beginning to drown in it without a life jacket. It’s the medium, not the message!