Saturday, February 14, 2009

Conservation, Crispy Koalas, and Common Sense

I learned, reading Herald-on-Sunday on, that Australia has been engaged in the sort of well-intentioned 'no fires here' sort of conservation that may be helping southern California's annual wildfires along.

Although fire is a part of the natural cycles, it's hard for some to believe that something so hot and harsh can be quite, well, nice. The New Zealand article pointed out that, before the Europeans came, Australian "Aborigines used to regularly light fires to burn away fire fuel and allow plants to regenerate, and this helped control wildfire when it did break out...." (

It's hard to say whether controlled burns, in wet seasons, would have removed enough fuel to make a difference. I rather hope someone in Australia is thinking about that.

There does seem to be rather sincere attention being paid to the warning system (or lack thereof) in Victoria.
"Aborigines?" Am I Allowed to Say That?
I assume that people who read this blog understand English: But I don't expect visitors to keep up with the latest politically correct terms, or know what every group feels every other group should be called.

For example, I call that territory between India and China "Tibet," I would write "Norway" instead of "Norge," and I spell "America" without a "k."

So, when referring to people who lived in Australia before that Botany Bay thing, I write "Australian Aborigines." It's technically accurate, and there's a fair chance that most readers will understand what I mean.

I could, to be on the safe side, write "Anangu, Koori, Mulba, Murri, Nunga, Nyoongah, Wongi, Yammagi, Yolngu, Yuin, or chaps-who-live-in-Australia-and-certainly-aren't-British-but-at-least-they're-not-Irish" - but that takes a long time to read. So, at least for the time being, I'm sticking with "Australian Aborigine."

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.