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  Monday, 31 July 2006

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"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work:  You don't give up."
Anne Lamott

7:15:25 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 30 July 2006

Below is the latest article by Dr. Robert Anderson on Depleted Urainium. Some of the links and references within contain some pretty disturbing information and images. If this sort of this makes you queezy.... suck it up and take a look anyway. This stuff is pure f**king evil and the first step in stopping the madness is for each and every one of us to open our eyes.


Adding to the horrors of the current offensive into Lebanon, with Afghanistan close to anarchy and Iraq drifting into civil war, Bush is now rushing depleted uranium (DU) bombs to Israel. This supports their colossal act of homicide and will increase further global contamination by radioactive DU particles.

Laser guided GBU-28 bunker penetration bombs and much of the tank ammunition, such as M829 A1 shells, have DU penetrators built into them. What is even more galling is the likelihood that Rakon NZ probably manufactured the software to guide these obscene weapons.[i]

Although UN reports have stated that the use of the DU weapons is in violation of numerous laws and UN conventions, its use continues. As Dr Doug Rokke, ex-director of the Pentagon's DU project, said, "We must do what is right for the citizens of the world - ban DU."

The silence of most of the media is deafening over this increasing menace to our global atmosphere. Thousands of horrendous genetic deformities in Kosovar, Afghan and Iraqi children - both immediately apparent and left as a future legacy - are virtually ignored. And increasing numbers of US war veterans find they are also now having deformed and mentally damaged children.[ii] All this despite Pentagon assurances that DU is harmless.[iii]

The dangers of radiation damage from both nuclear plants and weaponry have been well documented since the first nuclear power plants began operation.[iv] Gagged from getting their message out to the public, scientists resorted to writing books, like Professor Ernest Sternglass's Secret Fallout.[v]

The millions of kilograms of depleted uranium in storage are a by-product of plants that produce enriched uranium. What better way to use it up than in weapons? Almost twice as dense as lead, with pyrophoric properties, DU burns its way through the toughest armour plate like a warm knife through butter. Converting its kinetic energy to heat, it burns at 3000oC to 5000oC. At these temperatures, the depleted uranium vaporises to form an ultra-fine ceramic dust [vi] which rises into the atmosphere and eventually into the troposphere. These particles hitch a ride to wherever the winds carry them. Like the debris from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the particles drift as a poisonous radioactive gas to fall with rain and snow onto whichever country they settle over.

Thousands of kilograms of DU penetrators were vaporised in the Balkans, Afghanistan, both Gulf Wars and now in Lebanon, thus adding to the toxic load our atmosphere must carry. Thanks to US efforts, the Iraqi and Afghan population is now free to live in a radioactive homeland. When will this madness stop? For years, we have fought to maintain a test ban treaty after scientists discovered the inevitable increases in neonatal deaths and early childhood deformities [vii] which followed nuclear tests.

Constant denials and cover-ups are made by the nuclear industry which maintains spurious "safety levels." Many renowned independent scientists have pointed out that there is no "safe level" of radiation. [viii] While ingested uranium can be excreted from the human body, inhaled particles cannot. When inhaled, it settles into the lowest parts of the human lung to irradiate the surrounding tissue for ever. [ix] Cancer can be triggered by just one alpha particle. One gram of uranium - the size of a full stop in this sentence - emits 12,000 alpha particles per second into the surrounding tissues. Once inhaled, depleted-uranium particles irradiate the internal organs and do irreparable damage. DU-related genetic damage is happening to people of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Courageous scientists - e.g. Professors George Wald and Ernest Sternglass, and many others - help keep alive the debate on the health effects of low-level radiation, a debate that the military, the nuclear power industry and indentured scientists have tried to bury. Without media coverage, how are the public to know that their world and that of their children and grandchildren [x] is inexorably being poisoned by radioactive weapons? According to the United Nations, an estimated 50,000 deformed children [xi] have been born to veterans who were directly sprayed with Agent Orange or exposed through contaminated food and water. How many more must we accept from DU contamination?

One study of Gulf War veterans found that 67% of their children, conceived after they returned from war, were born with severe illnesses, missing eyes, blood infections, respiratory problems and fused fingers. [xii] Scientist, Dr Rosalie Bertell, maintains: "Desert Storm veterans, along with the people of Iraq and Kuwait, are victims of one of the latest military experiments on human beings. I believe that the ignorance was culpable and criminal."

Rather than being ashamed that a local magazine, [xiii] Uncensored, was more willing than they to publish the truth, major media outlets deluded themselves into believing that the story need not be covered. It was "old news." The average New Zealander knows nothing about depleted uranium, any that do most likely saw reports on DU's remarkable armour-piercing abilities. Its deadly long-term effects on people and the environment were never mentioned. Why should oligarchs such as Tony Blair and George Bush continue to ruin Earth's environment? Even Britain's Peers have requested that Blair be stripped of his power to go to war without vote. [xiv] Must we now bear witness to even more childhood cancers and deformities, in Lebanese children? Israel's onslaught in Lebanon to cripple Hizbollah has so far claimed 355 lives, mostly women and children, and this figure increases daily.

As Albert Einstein said: "The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." Isn't it time our media spoke out for all our sakes?

Dr Robert G Anderson

Member Union of Concerned Scientists


Robert has taught physics and nuclear medicine for two decades at tertiary level and is now spending time publishing books and articles on the environment and social responsibility. His immediate concern is that the use of depleted uranium weapons must cease if we are to avoid increasing global contamination.


[i] Government bombs out over Rakon., 15 June 06: The government's green light to Rakon' export of military grade oscillators sets a dangerous precedent.

[ii] Congenital defects in Iraqi children and those of US Gulf War veterans are identical,

[iii] Pentagon Hides DU Dangers to Deny Medical Care to Vets,

[iv] Lea, D.E., 1962 Actions of radiations on living cells. London Cambridge University Press.

[v] Sternglass E.J. Secret Fallout, McGraw-Hill Book Company

[vi] These particles are approaching a gas and pass through the finest filters available.

[vii] Sternglass E.J. June 1969 Can the infants survive?Bulletin of the Atomic scientists 25:26 also

Sternglass E.J. June 1963 Cancer: relation of prenatal radiation to development of the disease in childhood. Science 140:1102-1104.

[viii] Medical Consequences of Depleted Uranium. Dr H Caldicott.,

[ix] DU has a half-life of 4.5 billion years - it's there forever.

[x] Silent Genocide Depleted Uranium (DU)

[xi] US Vets Join Vietnamese Agent Orange Victims,


[xiii] Uncensored


7:51:42 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 29 July 2006

It was a typical mid-winter Nelson day here; clear, clam, and crisp in the shade. The harbour was like a mirror. The perfect day for a kayak. Devon and I paddled out to Haul-ashore island which sits at Nelson harbour entrance to find a geo-cache hidden out there. Quite co-incidently today was the annual 'blessing of the fleet' so the harbour was filled with all manner of craft. An auspicious start to our kayaking season. We got back just as it was getting dark and I couldn't feel my fingers and toes for the cold. After changing into some warm dry clothes I enjoyed this sunset from under the palm tree at the end of Akersten St.

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7:38:33 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 28 July 2006

I stopped along the Nelson waterfront last night to snap a few shots of the failing light. Our local landmark, Fifeshire Rock is supporting more than just bird life these days. Somehow the tenacity of nature has allowed a tree to start growing on the top of the rock. A seed, probably delivered there by bird poop, has taken root and seems to be growing quite well.

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8:05:39 AM    Comment []

  Sunday, 23 July 2006

Gusty southwest winds across the Wakapuaka sand flats this afternoon brought most of Nelson's kite buggying community out of the wood work... all 5 of us! I decided about midday to take my buggy and kites out to dodge the mud and puddles out there. I don't mind getting wet and muddy when it is that much fun. I'd been hooning around for a couple of hours when I spotted another kite take to the air down by the sand flats entrance. It was Marty's Venom. I haven't seen him since an afternoon on Rabbit Island beach back in late summer. A little while later Roy's blue and white c-quad appeared (haven't seen him in ages either), then Ted and Tim showed up about 3.30pm. For the rest of the afternoon we chased and raced each other all over the place until it started to get dark. I think we were all blowing out the winter cobwebs. Ended up cold, tired, wet.... and happy.

I just had to stop at "the Glen" on the way home to sit on the boulder bank and watch the dramatic sunset. I am now fully ready to face another week. If only every weekend could come together like this...

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9:58:57 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 22 July 2006

Just when I thought I'd seen every injustice man could inflict on his fellow man... now in LA it is illegal to give food to a homeless person in a public place. This makes me ashamed to be a part of the human race.

11:36:45 PM    Comment []

He's finally done it. Perrin, (aka terminator, aka sand-sifter) of Kiteworks has broken the 100 kilometers per hour speed barrier on a kite buggy. Interestingly it wasn't some hot new buggy design that he did it on, but rather the classic Peter Lynn 5-wheeler (with extended side rails and a wide back axle). In his own words....

Hi there
Here is my personal top speed in a buggy - 101 KPH 62 MPH
On the 03032006 I finally broke the 100 kph barrier after years of trying.
I did it using a Peter Lynn Comp Buggy with upgraded 32mm extended side frames, a 1.4m giga strong axle and a 5 wheel kit.
Wheels were alloy rims with treaded tyres
Buggy mass is 35kg, driver mass is 70kg and I carried 40kg ballast
The kite was a 12m Naish Shockwave hard wired to the buggy frame
The beach was Muriwai, New Zealand .Soft, damp, black iron sand with a 2km run in 25-40 knots cross onshore (south west)
Most of the runs that day were.

You're a legend mate. I wonder if this is going to be like the four minute mile; now that physological barrier of 100kph is gone will we see this record broken again and again?

9:34:34 AM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 18 July 2006

The Nelson Peace Group is shocked at the disproportionate amount of force used by the Israeli military against Palestine in Gaza over recent months and now Lebanon over the last few days.

We formally call on Helen Clark and the New Zealand Government to state our country's disapproval, in the strongest terms possible to the Israeli Government, thereby supporting the European Union. We support our Government withdrawing all ties and support of Israel immediately. Israel has failed to implement international law, including humanitarian law, and UN resolutions concerning Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and now continues this same behaviour into Lebanon.

The capture of one Israeli soldier by Palestine and two soldiers by Hezbollah does not justify this excessive use of military power against innocent civilians and blatant targeting of infrastructure such as power, roading, airport and apartment complexes.

We believe a humanitarian crisis has is unfolding in Lebanon as well as Gaza from which women, children and an entire civil society may never recover.

At the same time, we do not condone the actions of both Palestine and Hezbollah in retaliation against innocent Israeli people. All violent actions must cease in the whole region, including those of legitimate protest.

Nelson Peace Group Secretary, Anne FitzSimon, says "We are sickened by the disproportionate level of violence by Israel with the complete disregard of any peace process in the Middle East". Ms FitzSimon says "we believe all violent actions must cease by all sides in the Middle East immediately".

On Wed 19 July, the public are welcome to join Nelson Peace Group outside the Nelson City Council offices on Trafalgar St at 12 noon, walk up Trafalgar St to the Church Steps, where that Group will hold a candle vigil until 1pm. A letter to Helen Clark will be available to sign by attendees.

6:40:02 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 16 July 2006

This is classic. This small, sixteen-page pamphlet is produced to put inside the postage-paid, business-reply envelopes that come with junk mail offers.

(Of course the other thing to do with those business-reply envelopes is to put your own address label over the original address and use the corporations pre-paid postage for your own mail.)

11:01:05 PM    Comment []

"What we normally call 'power', authoritarian top-down power, is actually anti-power, merely an active blocking of aliveness. The only way not to use it in a life-negating way is not to use it at all, a soldier who refuses to shoot, an executive who refuses to profit, a commander who tells people to do what they want. And this will get you thrown instantly out of your position. See? The power was never yours." - Ran Prieur

10:47:31 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 15 July 2006

I'm having a go at bread making. I've never tried to bake bread before so I'm going to teach myself. I did a search or two, read a few recipes and decided on this one. Trouble is, like all of them, the instructions assume your using a modern electric or gas oven, not and old woodstove like me. Its just a simple sourdough. I've had a yeast culture going for about a week now. Interestingly I didn't need to buy any yeast, but rather I just combined flour and warm water, sat it in a warm place (sunny window sill during the day, and on the bricks surrounding the woodstove at night), and a culture begin out of thin air. Couldn't be that difficult, people have been doing this for centuries before you could buy yeast at a supermarket.

I made the dough this morning and now its sitting beside the fire rising. At least I hope its rising. They say it can take one hour or several hours depending of the culture. I can't help checking it every 20 minutes.

If all goes well I'll have a nice loaf of fresh sourdough (and the smell throughout the house) this afternoon sometime. I think half the trick will be getting the woodstove at the right temperature at the right time. I'll keep you posted...
It worked out ok. Smelt great cooking and tasted pretty good too.

12:00:50 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 11 July 2006

"Environmental stickers don't mean shit when they are stuck to CARS!" - Bumper sticker on the Sport Utility Bike That Ate Detroit.

Take a standard bicycle, add a Free Radical kit from Xtracycle, a Stokemonkey Human Electic Hybrid Drive, and optional extras like airhorn, full suspension leather saddle, handlebars and footpegs for passengers, and a box for extra battery packs, and you get this. Put together to replace a car this has got to be the ultimate machine for a world without affordable fossil fuels.

From the bikes owner:

Here's My Story and I'm Sticking To It

I've found an alternative to using a car in everday life. I'm over 60 years old... if this works for me, it will work for just about anybody.

I work as Home Care Nurse in the hills of San Francisco. I put in 25 to 40 miles a day. I haul about 30 lbs of gear.

I like:
Clean air.
Exercise with daily living (no gym fees!)

Freedom from:
oil changes/plugs/tuneups/valve adjustment
car insurance/registration/DMV lines
Endless Oil War.

I think one of these should be government issue for every man, woman and child, who chooses to live without owning a car. It would be a start anyway... (they could just use my share of the funding for new roads to pay for mine). I think what appeals to me most about this beastie is that it illustrates beautifully that the end of cheap fossil fuels does not mean we have to go back to the stone age. There are new ways forward... first, we have to imagine them. Here's another... the optibike.

(btw. the inventor of the Stokemonkey, Cleverchimp, also has a pretty cool blog which I think you'll enjoy.)

8:57:24 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 10 July 2006

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10:39:33 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 9 July 2006

We've had a gusty SW wind for the last three days. The sand flats are just dry enough to make kite buggying possible, but just damp enough to make the powerslides on the slick muddy surface humongous fun. I was out there till dusk yesterday afternoon...

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Todays weather was identical. I even used the same kites, starting with a stack of excaliburs, then onto the 3 meter blade as the gusts smoothed out around 3pm, then finally the 5.5m pepper as the sun went down. Having three other buggys to race around with this afternoon made it even better. It was the scheduled Nelson Kite Club get-together; four of us braved the cold. It was one of the best little buggy sessions of the year, so far... and I needed it to shake those winter blues.

Four kites, four kite buggy pilots, and a stiff sou-wester...

(Dave doing some stunt riding... intentional, of course ;)

9:36:10 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 8 July 2006

"We may go to the moon, but that's not very far. The greatest distance we have to cover still lies within us.", Charles de Gaulle

8:20:28 PM    Comment []

7:34:20 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 7 July 2006

2:11:47 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 2 July 2006

Profile for NatureB0Y

I've had a busy weekend geocaching. Got 7 all up, including one 'first to find'.

Friday after work I shot out to the Riwaka Resurgence (some off you may remember my photographic excursions here before). Its an amazing peaceful place and also very icy at the moment. I was first to find a new cache that was just put there last week and scored a little pocket compass for my trouble ( and the glory of being FTF of course).

On Saturday afternoon I caught a ride with a friend who needed to make a trip to the west coast. I scouted out 6 caches of which we found three on the way. One at the top of the spooners range (another favourite haunt of mine), on the other side of that hill near an old railway tunnel, and one in the dark at the spectacular Ariki falls (the only waterfalls on the whole Buller river).

This afternoon Devon and I took the dogs (Kaycee and Sasha) to find three caches in the hills behind Marsden Valley. They were called "the Gutbusters"; a series of three caches each containing the co-ordinates of the next. The track certainly suited the name. I busted my guts. There were parts of the track where I was on all fours. The view made it all worth while though, and the path down was a bit easier than the goat track we climbed up (and we found all three caches).

8:19:43 PM    Comment []

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7:40:51 PM    Comment []

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