Saturday, April 30, 2016

Australia's defence white paper

Australia recently announced her plans to make a gigantic purchase of French submarines.

It goes without saying that I'm keen to find out what Australia plans to do with these vessels. Some answers can be found in a 191-page public document known as the 2016 Defence White Paper, containing several pages about submarines, which can be freely downloaded through the Internet.

I have taken the liberty of copying those pages and making them available to my Antipodes readers. Click on any extract to obtain a slightly enlarged display. Since I have not requested permission to reproduce these pages here in my blog, the Australian government might ask me to remove them. That would surprise me, but my readers are warned...

This project interests me immensely, both as an Australian and a French citizen. I hope to provide further public information as soon as it becomes available.

Friday, April 29, 2016

All the way to Timbuktu

When I was a child in Grafton (Australia), adults often mentioned the city of Timbuktu (Africa) as if it were a particularly remote place. To indicate that somebody we knew had moved far away, it was sufficient to say that he had gone all the way to Timbuktu. I knew immediately that the fellow in question was no longer in our vicinity, but I had almost no idea of where he might be located, because nobody had ever bothered to tell me where in fact this place was located on a map. Meanwhile, I imagined that there was little point in asking anybody to tell me where this place might indeed be found. It was surely so far away that the route to Timbuktu would be beyond my understanding.

Attitude towards Moslems decreasing in France

An Ifop survey carried out in France for the Figaro newspaper reveals increasingly negative attitudes towards Islam. We can indeed speak of a degraded image of that religion.

In 1989, 33 % of French citizens were “favorable” for the construction of mosques. Today, that favorable percentage has dropped to 13 %.

In 2010, 39 % of citizens who voted (like me) for the Socialist party considered that the place of Islam was « trop important » (too large). Today, we are 52 %.

Brittany bike

Click here to learn about a strange machine that might be referred to as the Brittany Bike, because it was invented long ago by a trio of Druids in the backwoods of Armorica. It's a kind of two-wheeled bicycle, with several slight technological enhancements... but any comparison with the sort of bike you grew up with is probably coincidental.

Before riding through busy traffic on this outstanding apparatus, I believe it would be a sound idea to acquire an insurance policy. My son François assures me that a Celtic cyclist is in perfect safety. Besides, you might notice that the rider in the above photo is not wearing any kind of helmet... which seems to suggest that the Brittany Bike never gets involved in accidents. That might indicate that this device has certain magical powers.

If you wish to order one or several hand-made models of this high-tech
avant-gardist invention, I advise you to send a blog message
to my son, who will provide you with pricing information.
But make your contact as quickly as possible,
for the manufacturer is being swamped with orders...
and they're forced to hire a new team of hobgoblins.

Faster than we thought

An Australian climate scientist has just made a sobering statement: We never thought the Great Barrier Reef was going to die completely by the 2030s. If that’s true, it’s a lot faster than we thought. He reveals above all that alleged thinking on this theme has been badly wrong.

Click here to access a grim story on this calamity in The Guardian. One of their innocent readers suggested that Australians should be taxed to cover the costs of protecting the coral. That's a bit like saying that Aussies should have their heads read for not looking into this tragedy earlier on... and for persisting in believing, among certain "experts", that it's no more than a hoax.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

USA has invented some new shit for Daesh

Here's the entry to the headquarters of the National Security Agency in Fort Meade (Maryland). For years, the agency has been listening to Daesh militants. From now on, the NSA's military counterpart, Cyber Command, will be handling this intelligence gathering.

US cyberweapons will be used against Daesh in the hope of disrupting the ability of Daesh to spread its messages, attract new adherents, circulate orders from commanders and pay its fighters. For the first time ever, the Obama administration has admitted that it has the ability to create and use such cyber attacks.

Even our familiar friends Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are learning how to detect Daesh messages and then waylay them.

Our enemy’s name

Click here for a Wikipedia article on the entity that is often known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Here in France, we don’t like that name, for two clear reasons:

• The terrorist entity in question is definitely not what we generally think of as a state.

• Furthermore, that barbarian terrorist entity cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be designated as Islamic.

In France, we have therefore decided to designate that entity by the term Daesh. This is simply a translation into Arabic of the letters ISIL

People who persist in referring to Daesh as an Islamic state can rightly be accused of aiding this terrorist organization inadvertently by giving it a pleasant (?) name that those barbarian murderers never deserved.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wrapped her thighs around a hot tube

Ladies have the right (like men, for that matter) to choose the kind of hot tube around which they would like to spread their thighs. And we have no right to interfere with their tastes. But this Belgian cyclo-cross rider, Femke van den Driessche, went a little too far when she decided that her chosen tube should contain an electric battery, so that it powered her pedaling.

She was caught red-handed—or I might say red-thighed—and made to face a trial for cheating before the Union Cycliste Internationale. She was promptly stripped of her European title, fined 20,000 Swiss francs, and kicked out of the sport fo six years, which will give her ample time to cool down.

Bad bugger back on French soil

France's most-hated man, the 26-year-old terrorist Salah Abdeslam, is back on French soil, no doubt permanently. He was captured on 18 March 2016 at Molenbeek (Brussels).

As far as I can gather (which is never very far in this kind of context), the evil creature has been deposited in a particularly tough prison, Fleury-Mérogis, south of Paris. From this afternoon on, in the context of his new residence in France, the ugly pile of shit should wither away rapidly into oblivion. It is unlikely that Abdeslam will provide the world with any significant information.

Meanwhile, the moronic terrorist will be defended by a highly-reputed and courageous French lawyer, Frank Berton.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Handling terrorist idiots in Australia

Ever since the Lindt Café affair in Sydney, I've been shocked by the non-professional level of the men in charge. Recall that the 38-year-old woman Katrina Dawson was cut down, not by the crazy terrorist, but by ricochets from bullets of the NSW police force. Only today, the police officer in charge declared that he "had a gut feeling something was seriously wrong but still expected it to end peacefully". To my mind, policemen should not rely on "gut feeling". This nice fellow in blue deserves to lose his job, and be replaced by a more competent, tougher and highly-trained professional.

Australia has just offered a gigantic submarine contract to France. Why doesn't Australia ask France to give them technical assistance in the professional training of Australia's future anti-terrorist police and snipers? France is pretty good in that field. This problem should be handled rapidly, before the risk of having idiotic terrorists infiltrate the docks where Australia's future submarines are to be built. Don't remain at the level of last-minute "gut feelings".

Excellent decision, Australia!

"La France est reconnaissante de la confiance que lui témoigne l’Australie et fière de l’excellence technologique dont ses entreprises ont su faire preuve dans cette compétition de haut niveau. Ce nouveau succès sera créateur d’emplois et de développement en France comme en Australie", s'est félicité François Hollande.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Australian crocodile enters a camper's tent

An Australian family, on a fishing trip in the Northern Territory, set up their camp about 15 metres from a creek in the Daly region, a couple of hours away from Katherine. In the early hours of the warm morning, a 19-year-old member of the family was awoken by the presence of an animal tugging at his leg. He soon realized that he had been attacked by a saltwater crocodile, which was trying to drag him out of his tent.

The fellow succeeded in using his other leg to kick the animal away. The following morning, his family drove the fellow to Katherine, to receive medical attention for his wounded lower leg. He was psychologically shocked, because people don't normally imagine that they might receive the nocturnal visit of a crocodile inside a tent. A safety campaign tries to warn people that they should be "crocwise", and a video on this question uses local Aboriginal language. The organizers will now need to define the precise meaning of the expression "crocodile wisdom".

Sunday, April 24, 2016

My green mate at Gamone

Tineke took these lovely photos of my mate a few days ago.

Click to enlarge

Although he has been around for quite some time,
I'm ashamed to admit that I  haven't really given him a name yet...
but I'm keen on Bill the Lizard from Alice in Wonderland.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Australian river on fire

The muddy bed of the Condamine River in Queensland is a source of methane gas, and it's easy to light up. Many observers believe that the exceptional presence of this gas is due to fracking operations that are being carried out nearby.

Click here to see a video made by an on-the-spot witness.
The NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham who made this video is particularly excited,  partly because he almost set himself on fire.

Data supplied kindly by my Australian friend Jan Brown.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Australian newspaper refuses to believe facts about problems of the Great Barrier Reef

Click here to access a shocking piece of bad journalism. Queensland's Courier Mail simply refuses to face scientific facts concerning the disastrous coral bleaching that has hit the Great Barrier Reef. This is an appalling example of idiotic "thinking" in Australia. Unfortunately, there is so much intellectual mindlessness and stupidity of this kind in Australia that I'm not convinced that the nation will survive for long.

Did Australia take notice of my advice of 2008 about the superior qualities of French submarines?

In my blog post of January 21, 2008 entitled Expensive, aesthetic and nasty [click here], I made an out-of-the-way suggestion: If Australia's armed forces wish to purchase a new fleet of excellent submarines, why don't they examine what France has to offer? At the same time that I made those remarks publicly in my blog, I got into direct contact with Ross Babbage, chairman of the Kokoda Foundation in Canberra. He's the man who actually signed the Kokoda paper #4 of April 2007, which was the main source of the media articles that had presented this submarine affair to the public, as explained in my article of 26 December 2007 entitled Australia's submarines [click here]. Ross Babbage reacted kindly by sending me (airmail to France) a complimentary copy of his report, along with helpful explanations that clarified the situation considerably.

French Barracuda submarine

For the moment, I don't know whether Australia has reached a decision on this question. But I heard yesterday that France is highly placed.

Hypnotic space image

Bubble nebula viewed by Hubble

Click here

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince has left for another planet

Petit Prince de Saint-Exupéry
Ce dessin au style enfantin est l'œuvre

cover of New Yorker magazine, Purple Rain

Looking forward to the elimination of Daesh

Jean-Yves Le Drian, French minister of defence, has just made a reassuring radio statement on the possible elimination of Daesh in the not-too-distant future.

« Je constate que Daesh recule significativement. Je pense que depuis l’occupation par Daesh de la Syrie et de l’Irak, depuis la tentative d’attaque sur Bagdad en juin 2014, Daesh a perdu entre 30 et 40 % de son territoire. »
The international coalition opposed to Daesh, including the US and France, aims to liberate Mosoul (Irak) and Rakka (Syria) before the end of the year.