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Wednesday, 17 October 2018 Dereel Images for 17 October 2018
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Catch-up day
Topic: general Link here

I try to make this diary as transparent as possible when reporting in it; I describe other things, but not the diary. That's not always possible, of course: it takes time, and today was particularly bad, since I had both Monday's flower photos and yesterday's trip to Melbourne to document.

It took me all day. It would probably even take an hour to read: if I can estimate correctly, it's worth about 15 pages of print. Is it worth it? Yes, I think so, not for now, but for later, and probably only for me.

Not my Prime Minister
Topic: politics, language, opinion Link here

Decades ago I learnt Malay—I thought. Recently I visited Malay grammar and discovered things that I had never really understood: apart from prefixes and suffixes to extend nouns, it also has infixes.

And today I'm reminded of that when I hear the name of the Australian Prime Minister de jour: Scott Morrison. He already has the distinction of being the only Australian Prime Minister whom I can't recognize at sight. I still can't:

But recently he has come out with statements that blow my mind. He suggested that Australia might be open to follow Donald Trump's stupid ideas and move the embassy to Jerusalem, and also reject the JCPOA. As a non-signatory, Australia can't do more in the case of the JCPOA.

But what absolute stupidity! Does the man have a brain? There I'm reminded of infixes: the infix is “is”, and the main word is “Moron”.

Discussing this on IRC, the opinion was that he wanted to sway the results of the Wentworth by-election this coming weekend. It seems that 13% of the 100,000 odd electors are of Jewish background, and this might help them win the election.

Win the election, lose the plot. How many Muslims will be infuriated by this statement? I'm hearing them already. There's a Federal election coming up soon. When? We follow the British system where the Prime Minister can decide on a date that seems propitious, but various analysts think it'll be some time round May. 2.6% of Australians are Muslims (compared to only 0.4% for Jews, for what difference that makes). If their leaders get up and condemn Morrison's party for being anti-Muslim, as they're almost certain to do, it will have a much stronger effect on the Federal election.

I would be fully in agreement; since the current Government came to power in 2013, I can't see any good things that they have done. I'm sure that they're there, but none of them have benefited me. On the other hand, the National Broadband Network has fared badly during their tenure, and their continued violation of human rights, such as the Nauru Prison Camp, leave a bad taste in my mouth. About the only thing that speaks in their favour is the opposition doesn't seem to be much better.

For once, my opinions aren't that different from the mainstream, as this article, this one and this one show. Sadly, Australia's image abroad is projected by the likes of Morrison.

Thursday, 18 October 2018 Dereel → Ballarat → Dereel Images for 18 October 2018
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Dentist again
Topic: health Link here

Off to Ballarat again today to have the filling replace that had been identified last week. It seems that it was related to the tooth I had extracted two years ago: the filling was adjacent and now subject to more pressure. Hopefully the new one will hold better.

Somehow I didn't find much else to do in town. Sometimes those 30 km seem amazingly far.

Analytical scales
Topic: food and drink, general, opinion Link here

At school and university I used various analytical balances, some of the most complicated machines I had encountered. If I recall correctly, the ones at school had an accuracy of 0.01 g, while the master's balance had an accuracy of 0.001 g. They looked something like this:

In each case, weighing was a slow business. You couldn't wait for the scale to stop swinging—that would have taken several minutes, and you needed to add or remove weights several times—so you had to measure the sweep of the indicator to estimate the mid point.

Then about 14 years ago I bought some digital scales for brewing. Up to 50 g, in increments of 0.01 g, and only US $46.42. That's the same resolution as the balances we had at school. I was so impressed that I didn't bother to mention it in my diary.

But that balance seems to be showing the effects of time. It no longer wants to run on rechargeable batteries, and it's only a matter of time before it no longer wants to work with non-rechargeable batteries.

So I ordered a new one, which arrived today. Up to 100 g in 0.001 g increments! That matches the master's balance at school. And that for AUD $23.09, currently less than half the cost of the old one:

It required calibrating, but after that confirmed the weight every time to within 1 mg. I wonder if the scale is as linear as it should be. About the only real issue is that the thing is so tiny that it's difficult to read the display when there's something on it.

Soil examination
Topic: gardening, opinion Link here

So what's wrong with my soil? I've bought a soil pH meter to check the most obvious problem. And Bingo!

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pH 4.1! That's about as acid as it can get. No wonder the birch died.

Problem: that was the soil round the birch that has survived. Round the dead one I got a reading of 5.2, still not good, but much better than anywhere else I measured with the exception of the pile of topsoil that I have. And the Paulownia kawakamii also has a reading of pH 4.0. No wonder it isn't growing.

So is that the only issue? Clearly I need some lime, but will that be enough? Is the soil maybe even worse further down? That would explain why the biggest tree died first. And it doesn't explain why the Camellia japonica is also looking so sick. There the pH is round 5.0, not that bad for Camellias. It's not even clear that it's a good idea to lime it.

This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.

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