Fairy in combat gym boots…

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Mushroom Experiment: Part II

The mushrooms have grown!

Tiny little ones appear after our return from Hamilton Island….

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They are bigger by the time we are back from Adelaide…

And now they are huge!

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Literature and literacy

Very interestingly, two of the future fiction books I have read over the last few months seem to be predict a massive decline in literacy in the future. Neither is actually set on Earth, but both have Earth-like societies which reflect on possibilities about our future. In The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, in the world of Orbus, dying from environmental damage, the majority of people have lost the ability to read, and books are an anachronism. Similarly in  Anathem by Neal Stephenson which I have recently started reading, much of the population never learns to read but instead relies on moving symbols, kinograms, for communication. Reading and books are primarily confined to the cloistered world of the "maths" – monk like disciplines of scholars who survive independent of external, "secular" society.

This is interesting for a few reasons. Our world seems to have recently increased its reliance on the written world, particularly with the rise and dominance of computers and information technology. An inability to access or understand what is available in written form every day would seem likely to leave individuals way behind. The written word is possibly more important now in all its multitude of forms than it ever has been. And yet….the recent survey of  adult literacy in Australia showed that there had been virtually no improvement in the overall levels of literacy and particularly mid-range levels of literacy in almost ten years. And then you watch Jamie's Ministry of Food  and see the way that individuals are disadvantaged in all sorts of way – health, finances, jobs, social inclusion generally – because they struggle to read a recipe. Increasingly literacy is a key to wealth and participation within society, and we still can't crack the way of ensuring that everyone achieves these goals.

So perhaps Winterson and Stephenson are not so far off the mark, perhaps society will move past the literate stage and perhaps the ability to read will itself become a symbol or marker of status increasingly. I guess it has always been thus, and perhaps will continue to be – unless we can find really effective public policy responses which goes beyond compulsory testing which just teaches children to beat the test….

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The small boys play croquet…..

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…and fall in love with Stephanie at Beth and Jono's wedding.

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Pink sunglasses

I believe that I am super cool

These sunglasses I swiped from some unsuspecting three year old girl even have flowers. Pink flowers!

Super-fly!

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Hamilton Island – or how to be a supportive partner without really trying

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So after my plane was delayed for four hours in Brisbane, I made it to Hamilton Island, home of palm trees, in-pool cocktails, golf carts and weird corporate/economic arrangements. Yes, you know you are not like other people when one of the things you find yourself pondering for the majority of your visit is the corporate structure of the Island and the way it manages to avoid competition issues….

But enough of that. James was attending and presenting at the Sports Medicine Australia annual conference and I was tagging along….without children.

So I swam, read my book by the pool, drank gin and tonic by the pool and cocktails in the pool, ate lots, snorkelled, walked along the beach, met and hung out with cool people, watched the sun set (just) and generally enjoyed not being a parent for a few days!

Corrinne (one of my new friends) and I even managed to hitch a ride in one of the ubiquitous golf carts, leaving the others to walk down the hill.

I am hoping that there will be further conferences in exotic places where I can be academic spouse and enjoy the sunshine, alcohol and good company!

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Serenity is…..

…sitting naked in a wading pool playing with water while your brothers and father run around madly shooting each other with water pistols.

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