Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yet another collapse at Pompeii!

ROME — Less than a month after Pompeii’s so-called House of Gladiators collapsed into rubble, portions of a garden wall at the nearby House of the Moralist fell down on Tuesday, prompting new calls to better safeguard the city buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D.

Antonio Varone, Pompeii’s director of excavations, said the house – which actually consists of two adjacent abodes that belonged to two families – was in no danger.

The wall, which bordered an unexcavated area and was shored up earlier this year, had been completely rebuilt after the United States bombing of the Naples area in World War II, according to the culture ministry. Mr. Varone told the news agency ANSA that the wall had most likely succumbed to the “incredible, incessant torrential rains” that have washed over central Italy in recent days.

“These atmospheric phenomena are so unusual that they’ve even surpassed the protection that we have set into place,” he said. Pompeii officials were monitoring the areas most at risk, he said.

Demands that the Italian government take better care of its fragile archaeological sites grew after the collapse in early November of the Schola Armaturarum, whose walls were decorated with frescoes of military themes. Political opponents of the government have called for the resignation of the culture minister, Sandro Bondi, and a confidence vote is expected in December.

On Tuesday, Tsao Cevoli, president of Italy’s National Association of Archaeologists, said that the collapse of the wall was further “proof of the incompetence with which Minister Bondi and this government has handled the situation at Pompeii,” ANSA reported.

Monday, November 29, 2010

An unusual patient!

Mount Isa is without a Paediatrician and my Kyle is helping out with the bubs of the bush. However, he wasn't quite prepared for this patient - brought in by the local school teacher on the Qld & NT Border.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spice Temple


Friday, November 26, 2010

This is a thought provoking post from Bek!

Hothouse kids wilt

Stephen Lunn From: The Australian September 01, 2008 12:00AM

"HE was one of three kids, the middle one as I recall. He was 9, and as well as school, each week he was learning the piano, playing in cricket, football and basketball teams depending on the season, doing tennis lessons and attending cubs.

"When I asked why he did it all, he answered 'You'd better ask mum'."

Early childhood expert Kay Margetts from the University of Melbourne is recalling a recent session with a boy. It reinforces her concern that parents are too often putting their children so front and centre of their own lives that their youngsters' achievements become their only measure of success.

"It really was clear from the boy's words that his life was being imposed on him rather than him having any real choice," Margetts says.

"It's motivated by parents thinking a child engaging in lots of activity, and the parent being involved in taking them to and fro, is a sign of good parenting. That they're somehow providing their child with an advantage that will benefit them in later life."

There are parallel worries. First, that this overwhelmingly child-centred family life is leading to a lack of imagination and independence in children. How often do children wake up on the weekend and the first thing they say to their parents is "What are we going to do today?".

"Sometimes these children's lives become so crowded they end up with no time to just veg out, to fiddle with Lego or toys, to give their minds and bodies a rest, to do what they want to do, to not 'be on' or perform all the time," Margetts says.

"And where is that time to just sit and hang out with your kids rather than be doing things with them all the time?"

Second, while parents seem so keen for their children to participate in different activities they desperately fear seeing their child fail. And in trying to cushion them against life's losses and psychological bumps, the parents are serving merely to lower their children's resilience to failure and loss in laterlife.

A recent article in Britain's The Sunday Times cited the example of a production of Snow White at a primary school in Japan where there were 25 Snow Whites, no dwarfs and no wicked witch, as the parents were worried about the effect on their children of one child being picked out for the leading role. It's the same notion as a prize in every layer of pass the parcel at children's parties, rather than one prize in the middle.

US academic Joseph Epstein has dubbed this relatively new and inordinately tight focus on the needs of children and their place at the centre of a family as a "kindergarchy".

"Children have gone from background to foreground in domestic life with more attention centred on them, their upbringing (and) their small accomplishments," the recently retired lecturer at Northwestern University wrote in the US magazine The Weekly Standard.

"Parents seem little more than indentured servants."

Melbourne-based author and barrister Hilary Bonney and husband Ray Gibson, also a barrister, have worked to shield their twin seven-year-old girls Hannah and Audrey from this activity obsession.

"I know of little children who do not have a night off, every night after school they are attending structured, expensive goal-based activities and classes," Bonney says. "I cannot take my own children around to play with them because they are always busy, sometimes with two classes on the one night.

"After living in Fiji for two years I really noticed this phenomenon when I returned to Melbourne. It is a product of an affluent society that parents feel the need to compete about how many special activities their children are doing. It doesn't mean your children are necessarily getting a better childhood because they are so busy. Children need time to go outside and play with a stick.

"There is simply too much emphasis on doing and not enough on children being. I had a no-activities policy until my girls were 7 1/2. I wanted them to get used to the first tiring year of school without adding further stress into the mix. In the last term they have just started playing basketball and that happens one night a week. That is enough forthem.

"I make sure we have space in our lives to hang around at home or to go to the park if the sun starts shining."

Don Edgar, an internationally known expert on family trends and co-author with his wife and fellow academic Patricia of an upcoming book The New Child: In Search of Smarter Grown Ups says if a child complains about being bored "they should be told to go outside and play or pull out a drawer and find old things to play with anew, or just to enjoy reading or thinking to themselves for achange".

"Kids today are not given enough contemplative, imaginative free time, partly because of the lack of open outdoor space, but also because parents think they have to manage their kids' time, terrified their little darlings might become bored," Edgar says.

Of course the experts don't discount entirely the value of organised sports and activities. It teaches children about how to work within a team, gives them an understanding of how to cope with winning and losing, and many enjoy the competitive element. As children get older they may be able to handle more activities, but finding the balance between organised recreation and pure play is where parents must really takestock.

Kent University sociologist Frank Furedi tells The Sunday Times that some parents are looking to make themselves feel better by encouraging children to undertake all sorts of activities and then praising them for even mediocre performances.

"It's a way of reassuring ourselves that our children are going to be insulated from pain and adversity," he says. "We tell children they are wonderful for tying their shoelaces or getting 50 per cent in an exam. But really it's our way of flattering ourselves that we're far more sensitive to children than people were in the past."

Edgar agrees, pointing to new US research by Stanford University academic Carol Dweck that shows parents can actually impede their child's progress by constantly telling them how wonderful they are.

"Dweck finds that kids who are always told how smart they are, who are praised for every little thing, fail to try. They don't put in the effort needed to learn new things because they think they should be able to do it automatically because they are 'smart'," Edgar says.

"Instead, she shows that kids praised for their actual effort are more likely to succeed than the 'smart' kid always being told how good they are."

He says schools should heed the danger, and that "individual mastery and effort should be the goals (of education), not just test results ... to satisfy some sort of school league table".

Kathy Walker, one of Australia's leading education consultants, doesn't accept Epstein's notion of a kindergarchy, but does believe we "are living in paradoxical times".

"On the one hand we're rushing and hurrying children far too much and expecting more than we should of them. On the other hand, many parents with the best of intention are becoming more and more afraid of being the parent and more wanting to be a peer or a friend," Walker says.

She says the school or kindergarten car park has a lot to answer for, with parents' competitiveness about their children's activities a real issue.

"There is a myth out there in parentland that the more your kids do, the better and more successful they will be as adults. In fact it may just be the opposite is the case, with kids doing too much and ending up not being able to play to their strengths," Walker says.

Edgar takes Epstein's kindergarchy on board, adding that it may extend well beyond early childhood. "Kids have been exploited as little consumers, they have power in the marketplace and parents have been duped into thinking that indulgence is the way togo."

He says parents shouldn't be completely blamed for this indulgence, because having kids older, and having fewer of them, makes it "natural to want the best for your preciousfew".

"And work demands mean spare time with the kids is hard to get, so there is a lot of compensation going on."

Walker, who is often asked by parents about how to build resilience in children, says a key piece of advice is not to hand out praise and affirmation for every little thing.

"We have to be careful about telling kids how fantastic they are for setting the table, and giving them gold stars for making their beds or bringing their dirty plate from the table to the kitchen sink. What we should be saying in those circumstances is simply thank you, because it's something they should be doing without false praise."

Walker agrees the no-losers scenario of the Snow White play is becoming more and more prevalent in modern society.

"For instance, I've seen parents having to negotiate with siblings to give them something special on their brother or sister's birthday so they don't feel left out. There are times when children have to learn how to deal with the fact they aren't the ones in the spotlight that day. It's part of growing up," she says.

Margetts agrees. "There is a concern that if we are always praising children and giving them what they want they aren't learning how to regulate their behaviour in the face of adversity, they aren't learning how to cope with disappointment, they aren't learning how to cope with conflict."

Parents have a difficult path to tread to build resilience in their children. As Edgar says, "they need to be authoritative, set limits and give firm guidelines if genuine self-development is to result".

"Mum and dad as servant is not the model today's kids need. They need emotional and moral guidance, a sense of respect for others, and room to become capable, responsible citizens in their own right."

Stephen Lunn is The Australian's social affairs writer

Never work with children or animals!

Well that's what they say in show biz!!!

I should have listened. Jenny and Brenna were so good that everybody at the Canberra Conference though that I was very old and ordinary and that they were brilliant.

But wow they were good. I was very proud of them.

And.... I got the better room + the food was really good! Best French Toast ever!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

‘What Have the Middle Ages Ever Done For Us?’

Jenny Huang (Year 11), Brenna Harding (Year 8) & I will be in Canberra on Thursday & Friday talking at a symposium on the Middle Ages.


Wish us luck!!! lol

So there will be no class for 12HX2 before school on Friday.

Welcome back Myrtis!

Scientists and archaeologists have managed to recreate the face of an 11-year-old Athenian girl, 'Myrtis', from her skull and teeth found in an ancient cemetery of the city.

Myrtis’s is a sad story. The little girl seems to have died of typhoid fever, possibly as part of the great plague that swept through Athens during the Peloponnesian war in the second half of the 5th century BC. Her face, on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, will be used to front a UN Millennium Project campaign as a reminder of the eternal threat of child mortality.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

For Antonietta!

Never let it be said that I am a sore loser.

But... we'll be back!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Roman gladiators' house collapses

This was picked up by special correspondent Sophia

Posted Sun Nov 7, 2010 1:23pm AEDT

The 2,000-year-old House of the Gladiators in the ruins of ancient Pompeii has collapsed, sparking fresh debate on whether the Italian government is doing enough to safeguard a world treasure.

The stone house, on the main street of the famous archaeological site and measuring about 80 square metres, collapsed just after dawn while Pompeii was closed to visitors, officials said.

Custodians discovered the collapse when they opened the UNESCO World Heritage site for the day.

The building was damaged by bombs during World War II and was restored in the late 1940s. Officials speculated that the collapse may have been caused by heavy rains.

The structure was believed to be where gladiators gathered and trained and used as a club house before going to battle in a nearby amphitheatre in the city that was destroyed by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Known officially by its Latin name "Schola Armaturarum Juventus Pompeiani," the structure was not open to visitors but was visible from the outside as tourists walked along one of the ancient city's main streets.

Its walls were decorated with frescoes of military themes.

Measures were being taken to thwart further collapse, officials said.

Decay, garbage and looting

Art historians and residents have complained for years that the archaeological sites at Pompeii, among the world's most important, were in a state of decay and needed better maintenance.

Two years ago the Italian government declared a state of emergency for Pompeii. It lasted for about a year and allowed for extra funds and special measures but critics have said the special intervention was badly managed.

Opposition politicians were quick to criticise the government of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, particularly culture minister Sandro Bondi, for the site's degradation.

Archaeologists and art historians have long complained about the poor upkeep of Pompeii, dogged by lack of investment, mismanagement, litter and looting.

Bogus tour guides, illegal parking attendants and stray dogs also plague visitors.

Some 2.5 million tourists visit Pompeii each year, making it one of Italy's most popular attractions, and many have expressed shock at the site's decay.

Two-thirds of the 66-hectare town, home to some 13,000 people in the Roman era, have been uncovered since serious excavations began some 260 years ago.

The remaining third is still buried and many modern buildings have been constructed over it.

Wallabies won again!!!! Another good week!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg loved a good joke but discovered during the First World War that these were not commonly found in East Prussia, where he had made his military career, and that worldwide appreciation of German humour was at a very low ebb in the 1920s.

When he became President of the Weimar Republic in 1925 one of his first actions was to issue a decree establishing a government department called the Humorabteilung under the command of a powerful official, the Staatswitzmeister, responsible for organising training courses for aspiring comedians and taking measures to raise the general standard of German jokes.

This had moderate success in the following years until 1934, when Hindenburg died and Adolf Hitler came to power. None of the Nazi leaders had any sense of humour at all (Julius Streicher published a comic newspaper for some years but the cartoons were whimsical rather than funny). The Humorabteilung was closed down, the post of Staatswitzmeister was abolished, the Third Reich was declared to be a Lachenfrei state and jokes of any kind were forbidden.

After the Second World War glumness prevailed throughout Germany and very little laughter was heard for some years. Then, in 1949, Konrad Adenauer became Chancellor of the Federal Republic of West Germany at the age of 79. He had been a popular stand-up comedian in Berlin nightclubs in the 1920s ("History is the sum total of things that could have been avoided” was one of his quips, but it sounded better in German and anyway it was the way he told it). Under his leadership a Lustspielhaus was set up in all major cities and the bierkellers echoed with Teutonic chortling once more.

Today, of course, Germany has regained its place among the top joke-making nations of Europe, and every German institution or company has its Lachenb├╝ro with a qualified Witzleiter in charge, turning out a stream of comedy which in quality and scope has not been seen since the days of the Hohenzollerns. Here, for example, is a contribution by the Bayerische Werke to the jollity:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We had a good HEX Day today!

2011 HEX went to the Museum of Sydney, the Mint & the Police and Justice Museum for some inspiration!

The people at the Police and Justice let us go into the Loft - where they keep all their "secret" stuff!! lol Well, the stuff that they are working on and haven't released to the public yet.

At the MOS we looked at the Plague (Yuk!!!) in Sydney. Again good fun, except for the rats.

The only thing that I wasn't happy about was Jennifer Lawless telling everyone that she wanted them to write like Elton and not like Jenkins!!! Mmmmmmmmmm

Yes I know, I know.... why didn't we do anything kool like that?? Sorry people in 2010, but the museums are now getting their act together and offering some good stuff. Last year's program wasn't up to this!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It is now official! Worst HEX Question Ever!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am up to six HEX teachers including Mr Reis & myself, and we all think that the historical communication question was the WORST question ever!