Tuesday 11 June 2013

Finally some good news

We had the day that we all work for at Seabird Rescue on Tuesday this week, a turtle release.
You can see in the photo Kath and Helga on the latter's point of departure for the ocean (Helga is the one with the flippers).
I am aware that there is a thing called sympathy burnout or awareness overload, a phenomon referring to the overwhelming amount of causes that need to be fought for, but which caring people just don't have the time and/or resources to fight for.
So I'll just quote few stats.
We see 60-100 sea turtles a year at our hospital in Ballina, half of those die.
This is not through lack of care of course, but to quote Dr Mark Flint from University of Queensland, "we still understand so little about the functioning of the [sea turtle's] digestive tract".
This was evidenced by a story Mark told when he visited our hospital.
A turtle was brought to them for care and swam around in the holding tank for a year, without eating, then died.
Upon necropsy fresh sea grass was found in the animal's crop.
Did the turtle shut down her digestive tract for a year? 
Was she living on these resources in her tract by digesting them slowly?
Did she have a secret sea grass pusher that she bought said herbage from in shifty fashion down some alley when the UQ staff weren't watching?
We just don't know.
Flippancy aside we confront this issue with every turtle that arrives in the hospital.
The reptilian metabolism in very slow, this is good in one way as it takes them a long time to die (we estimate that some turtles may have been floating for a year, gradually becoming too weak to swim, before drifting ashore), but bad in that it takes them a long time to recover.
Also we can't operate on the gut of a living turtle.
Sometimes we know there is plastic inside, usually from finding small bits of it in the faeces, but all we can do is hope that they pass this damaging matter as soon as possible.
It is guestimated that we see 0.001% of turtles who are in trouble and are lucky enough to wash ashore near us at Ballina, and then are lucky enough to be spotted by a beach user, and then are lucky enough that the beach user knows to call us.
Helga's release is therefore a joyous moment for us all, particularly the hospital staff who feed, clean, medicate and keep the stats on the turtles in the tanks.
This one turtle is such a vanishingly small stat, but makes us happy I can tell you.
If you would like to donate or join Seabird Rescue you can do it online by following this link, www.seabirdrescue.org
By the way, we do turtles and birds equally, but haven't come up with a name that combines the two without being cumbersome eg, Australian Sea Turtle and Seabird Rescue.
This was best put drily by my brother who asked if we ever killed any turtles by taking them to a headland and throwing them off.
NO, we can tell the difference.
Elsewhere, I have started a petition to get rid of promos during TV shows.
Sign the petition
This may seem like a trivial thing, but when I thought about it, I only watch commercial TV with my mute button on a hair trigger, and this is a most invasive form of advertising.
Additionally, if we can get the commercial networks to behave on this it gives us a better chance when dealing with more serious infractions eg letting Alan Jones and Kyle Sandilands talk.
If you'd like to raise the blood pressure of Barry Daley the Programming Director at Channel Ten, click the picture to sign or email him direct at barry.daley@sca.com.au
Next, do you know what vampire energy is?
It is not as the name suggests ravening appliances that come to life at night an nip you on the neck while sleeping, but then again in a way it is.
It refers to all the energy consumed by appliances that aren't doing anything, the little red light on your set top box and TV are examples of vampire energy.
Wikipedia states: "In Britain in 2006 standby modes on electronic devices accounted for 8% of all British domestic power consumption.[5] A similar study in France in 2000 found that standby power accounted for 7% of total residential consumption.[6]"
My power bill is $144 per quarter, and using the French stat, $10.08 of my power bill is for things that aren't turned on.
My phone gives me a message "Battery full. Unplug charger at socket to save power."
In my ignorance I used to just take the phone off the cord and think the power was off, but this curious photo showed me I was wrong.
I was lying in bed reading one night, one silent night.
With the chilly winter (for us, those in my home town Bathurst I can hear yelling 'pansy' from here), I have turned off my fridge to save power.
I have mentioned in another post that things are so quiet where I live that sometimes the only noise I can hear is the fridge, well this night with the fridge off I gradually became aware of a high pitched whining seeping into the lower range of my hearing.
At first I thought it was a mozzie, but no.
Then I thought it was my tinnitus(ringing in the ears), but it wasn't that either.
I turned my head and realised it was my phone charger, still plugged in, but with no phone attached.
My engineering friend Antony gave me the technical reason, a charger is a mini-transformer and the whine I heard was one coil trying to induce charge in the other.
So now we all know, chargers plugged in while not actually charging a phone are consuming energy, a small amount for sure, but consider this rough maths.
The power bill for my home is $566 a year, if the 22 million Australians live in five million homes, then the power bill for Australian homes per year is ~$2.9 billion, and this doesn't include commercial and industrial.
Thus every year Australians spend $203 million dollars, and emit 10% of our greenhouse emissions, on power for things not in use.
So enough, this post may be titled "Finally some good news", but on looking back over it I found I managed to moan and preach for 90% of it.
It's genius in it's way.

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