Tag Archives: Personal Experience

My April Fool’s Science Page Article for 2005

Ice, Ice, Baby…

Tiger Ice Sculpture

The new fashion in diets is the “Chill Diet”.  Its inventor, Elynn Neger[1], theorises that our primate ancestors didn’t know fire, and so didn’t cook their food.  So it is more natural – and healthy – for humans to eat raw foods, and drink nothing but water.  As well, it is a fact that the human body has to work harder to warm up cold foods, so that kilojoules are burnt as the body converts the cold or cool food to body temperature. If you plan to follow Dr Neger’s diet, then all food should be consumed at room temperature, or better yet, chilled.

Dr Neger also recommends cold baths, and in cold climates, short walks in the snow whilst naked or lightly dressed.  Her goal is have her converts burn their extra weight away by making their bodies work hard at temperature regulation.

As always, you should use your commonsense before commencing a new diet.  I know for a fact that Dr Neger is a fraud and a quack.



Dr Elynn Neger was born in the Sixties, and can remember a time when ‘Star Trek’ was Prime Time television.  She managed to survive both the “My Little Pony” and “Cabbage Patch Kid” fads by being too old.  She is not dead yet.

She is a profession troublemaker.

At university, she had a reputation for supporting causes simply to join in the heated debate.  Since obtaining her questionable doctorate in Science (in S.F.A.), she has developed several diets which I would pause to recommend.  Her most current diet is the “Chill Diet”, as mentioned above.


Concept of the Month

The April Fool

All Fool’s Day developed as a celebration of the first day of Spring.  Once upon a time, the New Year started on the first day of the European spring.  When the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, changing the date to the first of January. Poor communications meant that that some places were still celebrating the unofficial date for many years, and were considered ‘fools’ the general public.  This evolved into the tradition festival of playing pranks or practical jokes.


[1] Please consider this name carefully, taking into account the time of year.

Update from 2005: Weight management is a huge industry worldwide, there are going to be scammers and snake oil salesmen trying to make a quick buck as well. Many years ago, I wrote this ‘quack’ diet up as an April Fool’s joke for my Science Page. About 18 months later, I found it on a ‘serious’ diet page, listed as a proper diet! I contacted the page administrators immediately, and they did take it down. However, it did give me an insight into how easily some people can be fooled by pseudo-scientific language.

However, since I wrote this article, the Ice Diet has become an actual thing!

The Science of the Ice Diet



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Filed under Humour, Personal experience, Science Articles, Science Page, Uncategorized

From my Facebook page

I wrote a long-winded post on Facebook, and suddenly realised that I should share this to the blog.

Rocket for SCIENCE

Reading ‘The Martian’ to understand the contrast between modern Science Fiction to the old school ‘hard’ science in fiction of ‘A for Andromeda’. I suddenly realise that there is a good reason why my mother hates Science Fiction, since she would have first encountered the over-technical ‘gosh, gee, SCIENCE!’ of the Forties and Fifties before the revolution of the Sixties caused by writers more interested in how people react to science than just the science. So many bad stereotypes.

At least ‘A for Andromeda’ tries to break away from cliches of the era and gives the women characters equal billing as protagonists and antagonists.

Yes, this is a sweeping generalisation. I do know that there are some very beautiful Science Fiction books written before the 1960s, that have fully developed characters and made sensitive observations of how science and technology could change lives. But they were the outliers. If you read the pulps from the Forties, there were rife with testosterone poisoning, but then, WWII probably influenced the tone of the era. It was an era of heroes fighting against impossible odds.

‘The Martian’ is all about fighting impossible odds. But the heroism is low-key. It is the humanity of our protagonist that defines him. Genre writing has moved away from being restricted by its genre and is moving into the realm of mainstream literature.

Yet, I’m still happy to sit down and watch ‘Rogue One’, which is all about explosions and white hats against black hats.


Filed under Opinion Piece, Personal experience, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

International Women’s Day 2107

I was asked today why I had posted an article on modern feminism on my Facebook Steampunk community page. What makes this comment even harder to understand is that today is International Women’s Day, a day that celebrates the achievements of that half of the human race that spent a lot of history being ignored and suppressed. Some things never change, such as the studied ignorance of how the Suffragettes and Suffragists fought for women’s rights. It wasn’t until I was at university that this historical topic was discussed.

The Australian school curriculum doesn’t like to delve into the stickier and nastier parts of history. Take my schooling. If you studied Modern History in your senior years of high school, it was all about the the Great Depression and the Two World Wars of the Twentieth Century. If you studied Ancient History, its all about the Greeks and Romans, with a little bit of British Medieval Kings and the Feudal System for a laugh. There wasn’t much mention of women’s roles in history, unless you were Caligula’s sister-wife. During my childhood, the only mention of suffragettes I heard was in Disney’s version of Mary Poppins.

So, why is modern Feminism relevant to Steampunk? Without the Victorian Women’s Movement, there would be no Feminism. The Victorian era created social turbulence due to industrialisation; to the sudden flowering of the sciences; and the burgeoning of social reforms that saw women and children gaining their rights, the end of slavery in America, and the formation of organisations like the RSPCA. Feminism owes it to the Suffragettes to remember their battles, losses and, victories.

So, my reply? “Feminism. Suffragettes. … And I will post what I like on my own damn page.”




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Monsters Among Us -an anthology

Monsters Among Us


An anthology I currently feature in…

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Filed under Personal experience, The Writing Life, Uncategorized

Just how is my Steampunk novel progressing?

You might be wondering what has been happening, since I have been ‘missing in action’ for most of this month. The start of the year was made more interesting by a family emergency, with me toddling off to the family compound along with most of my close family. The second half of January was spent looking for a new rental home, and then moving. We picked the hottest week of the year (so far) to move.

With moving, we must play the ‘will we have an Internet connection?’ bingo. It took us two weeks to get reconnected this time, because we moved into a brand spanking new house and switches needed permission to be flicked. So, when we got our connection on Monday, I was excited. However, for the week leading up to reconnection, I spent time editing and pruning my Steampunk novel (and playing a game of Solitaire or two).
I’ve had a change of heart with one of my antagonists. He is going to be more of an ambiguous villain, wanting to follow the master plan, but also wanting to please and impress my protagonist, Alice. I know, I know, I seem to keep changing major part of the novel and it seems to be dragging on forever. After all, I am not aiming to write great ‘L’ Literature; instead, I want to supply a decent Steampunk read. It is just that I really do want this novel to be the very best that it can be.

With a severe editing, I have 118000 words approximately. This is excellent, since I was aiming for a 120,000 word length. I don’t think I need to add much more to the body of the story, only to the final couple of chapters. I can see where I have a few more scenes that I need to cull. It is starting to look close to a final draft.
The plot and characters and settings are all complementing each other, without one aspect overpowering the others. The story has a good balance between action, dialogue and narration. I’ve worked hard to make my characters interesting and relatable. There is lots of shiny, shiny science. (So SHINY!) I’ve worked hard to stay away from stereotypes and clichés.
As well, in the past month I had a very kind rejection of my nonfiction book (too intellectual for their target audience!). So now it gets another polish and sent off to market again.
   So … did you miss me?


Filed under Personal experience, Steampunk Work-in-Progress, Uncategorized

Starting 2017 on a Steampunk High


A snipped image from my Facebook page dedicated to all things Steampunk.

I run a Facebook site called Steampunk Sunday, Queensland, Australia, dedicated to the world-wide community of Steampunk Enthusiasts. The site originally was a place to share all the interesting information and images I was discovering as I did research for my Steampunk novel. It grew along with my enthusiasm for the Steampunk genre, as my heart and mind gradually became completely ‘punked’. It is now a community of like-minded enthusiasts who love the Steampunk lifestyle, subculture, literary genre, and cosplay.

I love Steampunk for many reasons. It combines my love of science with my love of history. Most Steampunk cosplayers, tinkerers, crafty people, and artists recycle, up-cycle, reuse, and makeover clothing and items that would have ended up in the junk pile. In this era of disappearing resources, this is a fine achievement, as well as testing the creativity of many excellent Enthusiasts. And I love shiny things.

Steampunk Sunday has been a labour of love and passion. And – in the last week – it has gone from a weekly total of 4000 post reaches in a week to over 73,000. Over 150 people have ‘Liked’ the site in this past week; a jump of nearly ten percent. So Steampunk Sunday has started the year on an intense ‘high’. It is as if I suddenly tapped into all the Steampunk Enthusiasts in the world, all at once (a dream come true). I like to think I am helping people find their tribe.



The Many Faces of Steampunk Sunday


Filed under Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Sunday, Uncategorized

Why I like Australian Authors


You might think the easy answer is because I am Australian. But that is only a very small part of the complete answer. I don’t think there is another writing community in the entire world that is as supportive – for both successful writers, emerging writers, baby writers and wannabees  – as the Australian writing community. It isn’t a network of competing, parochial individuals, it is a proper community that opens its arms to anyone with a love of books and authors.

I personally know of many successful Australian authors who bend over backwards to be helpful and encouraging to the newbies. Of course, many writers hold courses or offer services for which you pay cash; writers need to eat and pay rent. And yet, I can’t think of the number of times some lovely person has given me advice or support just because they are kind and thoughtful: Jennifer Fallon, Angela Slatter, Michael Pryor, Ged Maybury, Richard Harland, Gillian Polack, Pamela Freeman, Jason Nahrung, Kylie Chan, Marianne de Pierres, Michael Gerard Bauer, Trent Jamieson, Scott Westerfeld, and the list could go on and on. There are just too many people to mention … isn’t that a lovely thought.

Australian authors write some of the most beautiful books, the best books, the books that linger in your heart and mind years after you have read them. The books you reread to visit with old friends. The books you read to make your heart beat faster and bring a chill to your spine. Books with memorable characters that make you laugh and cry. These authors, in any other country, would be too famous to mingle with us lesser mortals. (Have I mentioned I nearly had kittens the first time I met Jack Dann?) In Australia, they sit down and chat over a coffee.

Remember to appreciate Australian writers and authors. Respect them for the treasures they truly are. Buy their books, for yourself or as presents. Recommend their books to friends. Because that is exactly what they are doing!



Filed under Australian Author, Personal experience, The Writing Life, Uncategorized