Daily Archives: December 23, 2011

Sydney – coldest summer in fifty years

3news.co.nz | Dec 22, 2011

By Rachel Morton

Sydney is experiencing its coldest start to a summer in fifty years.

 Normally at this time of year the beaches should be packed, but instead people are rugging up and trying to stay out of the rain.

Sydney’s Bondi Beach is usually crowded during summer but is currently almost deserted.

Holiday-goers say the weather is the reason they’re not on the beach.

“We’re from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland so we’re not used to this kind of weather,” say a visiting couple.

Up to forty thousand people can crowd Bondi at any one time but this summer the life guards are almost redundant.

“Yeah it’s definitely quieter when it’s raining, we’ve got the guys just back in the towers charging up the batteries,” says one of the life guards.

It’s all thanks to a la nina weather pattern.


Coldest December in SLO since ’71? Probably

During a la nina stronger winds blow from the southeast and bring moisture to Australia, which boosts the amount of cloud cover and rainfall for cities such as Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin.

It’s not just beachgoers who’re disappointed. The weather is also affecting retail.

Coca-Cola says soft drink sales are weak and Vincenzo Leonetti says that in 40 years of selling gelato this is the quietest he’s seen.

“Gelato is down fifty percent on this time of year, maybe more. I’ve never seen this in my memory, never,” says Mr Lianetti.

The Australian National Retailers Association says discretionary spending is down and it is fashion retailers who are hurting the most. Cold rainy weather is simply not enticing shoppers in to buy board-shorts and bikinis.

Swedish research professor: Norway attack appears to be state-sponsored

“We have discussed the right-wing extremist Israeli and Judeo-Christian side of Breivik’s network, Israel’s interest in disciplining Norway, and Israel’s celebration of bomb attacks. In this respect, Breivik’s attack appears to resemble a new king David Hotel attack: July 22nd,” he writes.

Swedish prof ‘insinuates’ Israel tie to Breivik attack

thelocal.se | Dec 14, 2011

A Swedish academic has come under fire in Norway after writing an article suggesting that Israel played a part in the July 22nd massacre carried out by Anders Behring Breivik that claimed 77 lives.

Swedish-born Ola Tunander is a research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), a research institute where he has spent most of his career since receiving his PhD from Linköping University in 1989.

But a recent article authored by Tunander in which he seeks to discover what might have driven Brevik to set off a car bomb outside government offices in Norway and gun down 69 people at a summer camp for young Labour Party supporters, has prompted the head of PRIO to distance himself from the piece.

PRIO director Kristian Berg Harpviken told Norwegian magazine Minerva that Tunander’s article left him with a feeling of “considerable unease”.

Harpviken was also dismayed with what he viewed as a serious lapse in judgment on behalf of Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift, a multidisciplinary peer review journal, for agreeing to publish the contentious text in its latest issue.

In his article, Tunander reaches the conclusion that terrorist acts of such magnitude are seldom possible without the involvement of state forces, “and we can’t rule out that being the case this time too.”

In the midst of a web of alternative theories, Tunander lays out a “simple chronology” detailing the fractious diplomatic relationship between Norway and Israel in the months before the massacre, with Oslo indicating it would be willing to recognize a Palestinian state.

On two occasions, Tunander notes the significance of the date of the attacks.

First, he travels back to 1973, when members of the Israeli spy agency Mossad were arrested on July 22nd after a botched operation in which they assassinated the wrong person on Norwegian soil.

He also calls to mind the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by Zionist paramilitary group Irgun, which took place on July 22nd 1946.

“We have discussed the right-wing extremist Israeli and Judeo-Christian side of Breivik’s network, Israel’s interest in disciplining Norway, and Israel’s celebration of bomb attacks. In this respect, Breivik’s attack appears to resemble a new king David Hotel attack: July 22nd,” he writes.

Tunander told Norwegian news agency NTB it was unfair to conclude from his article, as for example Norwegian writer Øyvind Strømmen has done, that he wished to link Israel to the worst atrocity in Norway’s peacetime history.

“Why he wishes to interpret the article that way is something he’ll have to answer himself,” said Tunander.

Writing in Minerva, Strømmen said there was little doubt as to the intentions of the 63-year-old academic.

“Does he insinuate that Israel was behind July 22nd, or was in some way involved? The answer, unfortunately, is yes,” he writes.

Bracelet reveals amazing craftsman’s skill from 7500BC (so good it couldn’t be bettered today)

Polished skills: The obsidian bracelet contains remarkable detail

Daily Mail | Dec 22, 2011

By Ted Thornhill

A 9,500-year-old bracelet has been analysed using the very latest computers – and the results show that it is so intricate even today’s craftsmen would struggle to improve it.

Researchers from the Institut Français d’Etudes Anatoliennes in Istanbul and Laboratoire de Tribologie et de Dynamiques des Systèmes studied the bracelet’s surface and its micro-topographic features revealing the astounding technical expertise of the maker.

The bracelet is obsidian – which means it’s made from volcanic glass – and the researchers analysis of it sheds new light on Neolithic societies, which remain highly mysterious.

Discovered in 1995 at the site of Asıklı Höyük in Turkey, it was analysed by software designed to characterise the ‘orange peel effect’ on car bodywork.

This process revealed that the bracelet – 10cm in diameter – was made and polished using highly specialised manufacturing techniques.

In fact, the surface was polished to a degree equal to that of today’s telescope lenses.

The bracelet is the oldest known example of an obsidian item, common during the Neolithic period.

The obsidian craft reached its peak in the seventh and sixth millennia BC with the production of all kinds of ornamental objects, including mirrors and vessels.

Neolithic people – or those leaving in what’s sometimes termed as the New Stone Age – were essentially skilled farmers, who could also turn their hand to the manufacture of various ornaments.

The result of the study is published in the December 2011 issue of Journal of Archaeological Science.