Group photos and the smart phone shuffle


In the Philippines no social occasion is complete without a group photo. In a restaurant, a passing waiter is called to take the photo. In a public area one of the group might take the photo, or often someone passing by is asked. These days  everyone has a smart phone … Continue reading

Barbara Ziymack – an Unlikely Millionaire


This post includes a download link to a short biography of my great grandmother Barbara Ziymack. It’s a rags-to-riches story that contains elements of great strength in the face of difficulties and also great misfortune, sadness and, I suspect, bitterness and disappointment. You can download the mini-biography here, or continue … Continue reading

Dene Hollow – the story of a Mosman mansion

'Dene Hollow' Mosman

The subtitle of this post could have been “Almost Rich”. It tells the story of a mansion bought by my great-grandmother in about 1909. Here’s the quick story. You can read the full story here. My great grandmother Barbara Herring was the granddaughter of a convict transported to Port Jackson (Sydney) … Continue reading

A cartoonist’s worst nightmare – Abbott gone


As a number of people have said, for comedians and cartoonists Tony Abbott was the gift that just kept on giving. Perhaps my favourite cartoonist is The Guardian’s First Dog on the Moon. Thanks to Tony Abbott he’s had more material than he could cope with over the past two years. … Continue reading

Regression to the mean, publication bias and confirmation bias


You’ve had a cold, and someone suggested drinking an extract from a new wonder plant. The cold got better. You’ve Googled it and lots of people have noticed the same thing, so you’re telling all your friends about it. Well, you’ve probably just experienced regression to the mean and publication bias. There … Continue reading

Tony Abbott – flag count competition – new record

Tony Abbott with 10 flags

You might have noticed some social media and press commentary on the number of flags appearing behind Tony Abbott at his press conferences and prime ministerial announcements. One site, Eclectic Owl, is reporting a pole count surge with a recent sighting of eight flags. This seems quite significant after an average … Continue reading