Thursday, July 31, 2014

Get your skin checked regularly for melonomas

I visited my local GP recently when I was recuperating from my broken shoulder.  He also examined my back and said I should get a dark patch of skin checked as it had a darker spot in the centre.

I visited Dr Segal, a dermatologist in Camberwell, who agree it should be removed.  He excised it a week later after I returned from a short holiday in Queensland.  I look at the piece of skin - it was slightly smaller than a 20c piece and had a circle of darker pigmentation about 10mm round with darker spot in the middle.

Four days later I returned to have the dressing changed. Dr Segal informed me that it was a melanoma (skin cancer) about 0.4mm deep, which meant that it was detected early.

Four days later I got the dressing changed again and Dr Segal said that the melonoma showed signs of regression - my body's immune system had been fighting the tumour and it may have been bigger.  He recommended that more surrounding skin and tissue be removed as a precaution -a "wide clearance".

He took more out at about 7 days after the first excision.  The local anaesthetic blocks the pain but once in wore off I certainly felt sore for a couple of days.

The second excision was also sent to pathology and came back clear, so it would seem there will be no further action required.

Skin cancer (Melanoma) is scary - there is no blood test for it, and if they go undetected and spread throughout the body then its virtually a death sentence.

Here's a photo of the second scar.

My back has not been exposed to sun much for the last couple of decades, but I did get sunburnt occasionally during my childhood.

If you don't get your skin checked by your GP or a dermatologist, consider doing so.

I am also now taking Vitamin B3 (Nicotanimide) tablets as they can act to block the immuno-suppression effect that UVA and UVB has on the skin, thereby possibly preventing melanomas forming.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Victorian state election priority issues

Here is my list of priority issues for the 2014 Victorian state election

  • The East West Link tunnel road project should not proceed.
  • Public transport network plans for 2014-2020
  • Funds allocated to building a safe and comprehensive cycling network segregated from cars - 
  • Cycling network plans for 2014-2020 - aiming to provide a connected safe bike route to within 5km of every Melbourne resident.

  • Logging in Victoria's native forests should cease.
  • The Great Forest National Park to be proclaimed.
  • A complete overhaul of our train network - and new lines built to the airport, Rowville and Doncaster
  • State secondary school system needs more resources and funds.
  • 7 star efficiency rating for buildings - commercial and residences
  • Energy plan to increase renewable energy production to 80% of total demand by 2020, including investment is solar and wind power and local energy storage capacity

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My email to the 39 Senators who voted for the Carbon Tax Repeal

You recently voted against Australia's carbon tax.

Please do not compromise Australia's RET.

The RET is a very important and effective mechanism for transitioning Australia towards zero emissions clean energy.

The RET has only contributed 8% to electricity price increases from 2007/08 to the present.

The Carbon Tax only contributed 16%.

Over this same period distributor costs and charges have contributed 70% to electricity price increases

Investment in renewable energy has risen $5 billion per year.
Renewable energy capacity has almost doubled from 2001 to 2012.
86% of Australians think that Australia needs more renewable energy.
71% of Australians support the RET
90% of Australians want more electricity from solar
80% of Australians want more electricity from wind.

Overall the RET comprises only 3% of the total price of electricity bills.

Please support meaningful action on climate change and transitioning Australia to a new economy with clean energy and associated local industries and jobs.

Total Electricty cost increase 2007/08 to present
Wholesale costs 55 5%
Distributor costs & charges 746 70.4%
Carbon Price 172 16.2%
RET 87 8.2%

You can send your own email to the 39 Senators here:


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Is Tony Abbott assembling the apparatus of a fascist state?

Is Tony Abbott assembling the apparatus of a fascist state?

I see some worrying trends, such as:

  • Tell very big lies, such as "I am a conservationist" and "Loggers are conservationists"
  • Backflip on several critical election commitments.
  • Tell further lies such as "I have not told lies, I have not broken election commitments"
  • Pretend there is a "budget emergency" when there isn't - and use this to justify bad policies such as GP CoPayments and dramatically increasing the cost of tertiary education and student HECs debts

  • Criticise the ABC for having a "left-wing bias"
  • Insert Janet Albrechtson  - a trenchant critic of the ABC - onto the ABC and SBS Boards
  • Demonise asylum seekers who attempt to enter Australia by boat, equate them with terrorists, deny them their human rights under the UN Convention for Refugees and incarcerate them in "offshore processing centres" for indefinite periods.  Keep saying that all this is a "border protection issue"
  • Support corporate fossil fuel interests and encourage ongoing carbon pollution despite clear scientific evidence and consensus that carbon emissions are causing global warming
  • Attack and undermine renewable energy projects - with more lies such as "the RET is responsible for electricity prices rises"
While these developments are still a long way from a fascist state, there does seems to be a direction towards this.

Against this trend is the curious Federal push by Abbott to "eliminate red and green tape" and "hand back powers to the (Australian) States"

According to Wikipedia, the characteristics of a fascist state are:
  • Radical authoritarian nationalism
  • Combining more typically right-wing positions with elements of left-wing politics
  • Opposition to liberalism, Marxism, and traditional conservatism. 
  • Unify the nation through an authoritarian state that promoted the mass mobilization of the national community
  • Leadership that initiates a revolutionary political movement aiming to reorganize the nation along principles according to fascist ideology.
  • The veneration of the state
  • Devotion to a strong leader
  • An emphasis on ultra-nationalism and militarism. 
  • Fascism views political violence, war, and imperialism as a means to achieve national rejuvenation,and it asserts that stronger nations have the right to expand their territory by displacing weaker nations.
  • Replaced socialism's focus on class conflict with a focus on conflict between nations and races.
  • A mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky to secure national self-sufficiency and independence through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.
  • Ideological dishonesty
  • Emphasizes direct action, including supporting the legitimacy of political violence, as a core part of its politics
Fascism maybe an old term, usually used pejoratively by political opponents, that maybe no longer relevant in today's world.  Hopefully this is the case.

More on this to follow.