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The next 15%

It dawned on me the other day that more than 15% of 2012 had already passed. This year seems to be racing away with all the grace and predicatbiity of a round of double Gloucester cheese careering down a hill. Of course this sensation reflects the volume of activity, most of it loads of fun and the next couple of months are no exception. I've just attended the Australian Science Communcators national conference, a very successful event attended by a bevy of terribly talented colleagues from a wide range of disciplines.

Next is the Adelaide Fringe. This is my third consecutive Fringe, but this time I return not as a performer, but as the director of 'Faraday's Candle', produced by re-science and performed at the Science Exchange.

After that it's 'Pre-Coital' at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. We're pretty excited to be sharing the Kelvin Club with 'The Peer Revue', with special preview shows on 28 March and a short season after that. If history if any guide, audiences, performers and I are in for a couple of very entertaining months - join us! 

Swiss Army Orifice

A gull's butt. Photo by Eliya.Perhaps the grass is always greener on the other side of the evolutionary tree. How often do we wish we could fly, or breathe underwater, or run faster, or change our skin colour to match the décor? We seem to spend comparatively less time recognising the joys of opposable thumbs, self-awareness and bipedalism. Well if that’s the way it is, so be it. Here’s another impressive feature – in this case an organ – shared by many vertebrates, but not us. I give you the cloaca.

Actually I think the phrase “I give you the cloaca” has great potential, either as a compliment (keep reading) or an insult (keep reading). More . . .

The Man From Sexy River

Some years ago it was my pleasure to appear on a Science in the Pub panel, moderated by Paul Willis ('Catalyst' and RiAus) and Bernie Hobbs ('New Inventors', ABC). The panel also featured Prof. Jenny Graves (ANU) and was held at King O'Malley's pub in Canberra. Panelists at Science in the Pub gigs are required to present a poem based on the theme of the evening. This event's theme was the science of sex (I had recently performed 'Pre-Coital' at the Australian Science Festival), so this was my offering. Apologies to Banjo Paterson. 

Chip and Moo, Discovering Muscles in 2012

Chip and Moo training for Mr NaturalAre you feeling natural? Are you perhaps feeling very natural, but somehow still not satisfied? Are you looking for a greater natural challenge. If this sounds like you, the Mr Natural Body Building Competition might be just what you’re after. If, on the other hand this sounds a like an utter tool-fest that desperately needs to be ridiculed, rest easy. Chip and Moo are back, planning an all-new assault on the Mr Natural 2012 title. The boys were disappointed with their 2010 “Somewhat Commended” award and have redoubled their efforts, including aromatherapy, hypnotherapy and micro-massage. You can read about Chip and Moo's previous efforts at blackforestradio.com and follow their progress at chipandmoo.com - guaranteed to improve your self-esteem.

Time, it is a-changin'

Image by AZRainmanEarly in 2012, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will meet in Geneva to talk about time. Specifically they will be considering a proposal to change the way we keep time, away from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and towards the more precise time kept by hundreds of atomic clocks around the world. Why are they considering this? Simply because determining “clock” time by the passing of the sun over any point of the Earth’s surface is inaccurate.

Evolution has tuned us into the rising and setting of the sun and it's tempting to assume that the Earth (and its daily rotation) is constant. It’s not. More . . .