The dystopian future, or the dystopian past

While out and about today shooting video and images for the Ballarat Tramway Museum’s Horse Tram day, Mad Max came visiting the Lake Wendouree precinct.

Found at the Lake Wendouree precinct this afternoon
The MFP cruised through the Lake Wendouree precinct today – January 22, 2017
Found at the Lake Wendouree precinct this afternoon
The MFP cruised through the Lake Wendouree precinct today – January 22, 2017

I’m stoked that I managed to get these two shots. I’d just finished packing up my gear when I saw this coming down the road. Great catch. The car was immaculately presented and sounded just as fantastic.

Mid Summer Photography

While being eaten by bugs and bitten by Mosquitos is never fun, occasionally you get the chance to capture some great photographs.

Enjoy this small gallery of photos from late 2016.


Site update – New project pages created

I’ve added a new section for Electronics & I.T. projects. Currently there are two pages underneath that main heading:

  • Arduino,
  • Odroid, and
  • Raspberry Pi

As of today there are no Arduino projects, they are coming soon. In the meantime I’ve begun to add pages for the first Raspberry Pi project that I’m working on – A Windows Active Directory Domain Controller using Linux and SAMBA.

There are additional pages for tools and tips also and these are available from the GO main menu item. Let me know if you try any of these projects. I’ll keep them updated and add new pages as I finish the steps throughout the project.

Honouring Ballarat’s Vietnam Veterans 2016

It’s been a long haul for many ANZAC Vietnam veterans. Returning from serving their country in a foreign land, after fighting and dying for reasons not their own. On their return many found themselves anathema to the people they had fought for and served. Little support on the home front and less from the government who’d sent them overseas saw sickness and depression take its toll on otherwise healthy soldiers. It was not until 1987, some 15 years after the last of our troops returned from Vietnam that they were given a parade and the recognition of having fought for Australia at the government’s behest. They struggled to gain the respect of returned service organisations as well.

As we rapidly approach the 50th remembrance of the Battle of Long Tan (August 18), possibly Vietnam ANZAC’s greatest moment in that conflict I was very proud of our daughter and others in her school leadership team for representing  their school at this important event. To all Vietnam Veterans, and veterans in general; thank you for your service, it is not forgotten nor taken for granted.

Lest we forget.



Other sites of interest

Mars in Opposition – and helping NASA release 1000 new images

Every 26 months, Mars is in “opposition” with the Sun. This means that the Sun is on one side of the earth with Mars on the other. Which means that scientists have a direct connection (not quite line of site but close) with NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) allowing for larger data transfers to occur. This month the MRO orbiter sent over 1000 new images. One such is shown below:

Depression with Terraced Margins Northwest of Nicholson Crater

The ‘High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment‘ website has all the images available and in the public domain.

The MRO has sent data back from our planetary neighbour since 2005. Launched to look for signs of water on Mars the MRO has been sending back amazing high-resolution photographs from the surface that will help the process of mapping the planet.

New Scale Model Article – The Junkyard Dog


There are two reasons for this post. Firstly I’m partway through the build of a 1:48th scale F-111E fighter-bomber. Secondly I’m also working on an edX course from the University of Queensland – UQx’s Write101x! English Grammar and Style. Who doesn’t want to write and use the English language with more flair?


Act in Haste, repent at Leisure is an aphorism. An aphorism is a pithy observation containing a general truth. Thus the story of my F-111E Boneyard Build – The Junkyard Dog – begins. It all started at the Modellers of Ballarat annual show on a cool April day a couple of years ago. Involving spare cash, a vague idea over-percolated in the back of my brain and an unloved F-111E kit in 1:48th scale sitting on someone’s pile of kits to trade.

The Kit

First off, this model kit is neither good nor bad. The kit has build issues that in hindsight the model makers should have overcome to make a more buildable kit. All other issues aside the kit does a reasonable job of representing the real aircraft. During my research on the aircraft I’ve learned that there are many aftermarket parts available to doll the old girl way up should you want to do just that. My intention was to build the kit straight out of the box; giving me some time away from building and weathering railway models. Opening the box I noted no parts broken and that all the sprues were intact. This is always a good sign for a second-hand kit. The kit instructions were straightforward and the model appeared to be easy to build.

Photo 1: The kit box (image courtesy of


Starting the build

I started the build process by putting extra weight in the nose, using round fishing weights hammered to fit and attached with superglue, to make sure that the model would not drag its tail and leave the nose in the air. After putting in the wheel well and cockpit I glued the two nose halves together. My next step was to test fit the canopy. It was here where the original plan went out the window. Sun Tzu said that no plan survives first contact with the enemy and as I sat contemplating what next, I knew was taking enemy fire.


You can read more of the article here, and

You can read more about the course from edX here.

Science Update – Earth-Moon system is two planets combined…


According to new research released by UCLA on January 29 the moon and the earth are made of the same stuff. Now you might not think that this is ground-breaking (dare I say earth-shattering) news, yet it is.

Many scientists thought the Earth collided with Theia (pronounced THAY-eh), a protoplanet, at an angle of 45 degrees or more in a powerful side-swipe (simulated in this 2012 YouTube video).

What the new data makes plain is that the earth and the moon are made from the same stuff.  This was identified through oxygen’s chemical signature revealed in seven analysed rocks brought to the Earth from the moon by the Apollo 12, 15 and 17 missions, as well as six volcanic rocks from the Earth’s mantle — five from Hawaii and one from Arizona.

Edward Young, lead author of the new study and a UCLA professor of geochemistry and cosmochemistry, and his team used the latest technology and techniques to make extraordinarily precise and careful measurements, and verified them with UCLA’s new mass spectrometer.

The fact that oxygen in rocks on the Earth and our moon share chemical signatures was very telling, Young said. Had Earth and Theia collided in a glancing side blow, the vast majority of the moon would have been made mainly of Theia, and the Earth and moon should have different oxygen isotopes. A head-on collision, however, likely would have resulted in similar chemical composition of both Earth and the moon.

You can read more about this cool discovery by heading over to:

  1. UCLA,
  2. the journal Science


Rememberance Day 2015 – Lest We Forget

I attended my first Remembrance Day Service (the 11th day of the 11th month) in 40 years today. Our Daughter “The Cap’n” along with her Co-Captain represented their High School College at Ballarat’s memorial service at the Ballarat Cenotaph this morning. We are very proud of the Cap’n’s achievements. I’m glad that I could be there to film her first official engagement – the laying of a wreath.

My Dad left few mementos of his military service in World War 2. There are some photos that I’ve found since his passing. One with what I can only assume are the senior officers and NCO’s of his battalion; the other with the NCO’s. A third shows my Dad and several other men, but I know nothing about any of the photos other than my Dad is in them.

My Dad was deeply traumatised by his war experience. This was not uncommon and his life path, whatever it was going to be before his military service, was not the same after the war ended. A series of troubled incidents and lifelong PTSD were the result.

I see these photos presented below and I see a young man realising that war is not the grand personal adventure he thought it would be. Yet there is camaraderie there to, with that hint brief of a smile. I know that my Dad lied, like many before him to ‘join up’. He felt that it was his duty to save his country. Image 1 below shows my Dad as a well-bred, fresh-faced young man, markedly younger that the rest along with the other leaders of A Company (hence the sign). My Dad is the second from left in the back row.

Officers & Senior NCOs - Torres Strait Island Light Infantry Battalion WW2 - Year Unknown_WEB_READY
Image 1:  A Company, Torres Straight Light Infantry Battalion – Officers & NCOs – Torres Strait – Island Unknown, Date Unknown

In this second photo, Dad is with the NCO cohort (I believe that this is still A Company) my Dad being the man on the far right.

Senior NCOs - Torres Strait Island Light Infantry Battalion WW2 - Year Unknown_WEB_READY
Image 2:  Senior NCOs – Torres Strait Island Light Infantry Battalion WW2 – Year Unknown, Location Unknown

My Dad never talked about, or shared any of his experiences from World War 2. Except for brief and often horrifying glimpses, he never shared ‘his war’. It coloured everything he did in later life and I lived with the grumpiness, mood swings and anger for all of my life. I loved him and am proud of the service he gave for his country. He did all of this straight out of High School without hesitation. I do not know if I would have done the same were I in his place. He came from a privileged background he’d say.

I often wondered as a child while we watched the Sydney ANZAC Day marches on the television why he never wanted to take part? I He gave little away about his feelings but said that he did not want to go, yet every year he watched the march.

I always wondered why a winner of a Military Medal (MM) would not be proud of his achievements and want to share in the company of old comrades. Older now I understand that the memories were probably too much for him and brought back the horrors of the war for him and were too much for him to relive.

For my father, your father, grandfather, uncle, cousins, brothers, sons, daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts grandmothers and friends: today of all days, Lest We Forget. Let us hope that the folly we call the clash of arms will never be our normal state of being. That a life lived in peace, prosperity, tolerance and love can come to us all.

For those in uniform, on the land, in the air, on and under the sea – thank you for your service.

A request for information

Dad's Memorial - Rookwood Cemetary - Sydney NSW - 2015
Image 3:  My Dad’s memorial plaque – Rookwood Cemetary – Sydney NSW – Copyright Andrew Martin 2015

While I have some photos of my Dad during his time in the military as a young soldier I really know nothing of him, his life and that of the other servicemen in these photos during this time. If you have any information on these men, and their service would you please drop a note to:

Any information that you can give would be greatly appreciated.


There some really good resources coming online and available for you to look at about the grand experiment that was the Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion:

Nation building activities need not be above ground

I’ve said to anyone who will listen for the last 10 years that the future for Australia is bleak without water security. But there is little drive to have water security on the agenda. I was pleasantly surprised today after reading this item on Ballarat’s ‘The Courier’ website.

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth; also the flattest continent on the planet. Our nation’s interior has one of the lowest average rainfalls in the world with three-quarters of the land arid or semi-arid. The variation in our rainfall occurs through a complex series of interactions between the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans and the temperatures and currents flowing through them.

Dorothea McKellar put it best in her Poem ‘My Country’:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

You can read the full work on her memorial website; It’s a stirring read.

Ensuring Australia’s water security has taken on a greater weight in recent years as the effects of global climate change have come to the fore. While we are getting more rain overall, that rain often falls in areas where there is little to no catchment for later release, and much is lost to evaporation.

Water is life. Ensuring that we have water where we need it, when we need it is vital to our long-term survival as a nation and to ensure food security not only for ourselves but for our overseas customers.

By building a water infrastructure, smart use of renewable energy (we have a very high number of days with sunshine by global comparison), and the storage of both water and renewable energy we can secure our future, allow for diversified growth around the nation and ensure that towns, people and the country as a whole benefits from the investment made.

Now it’s time to get the politicians on board. Time to get the politicians to look beyond the next news cycle, the next election to plan the longer term survival of our nation and its people. We feed a huge amount of people in and out of the country. Having water security, ensures food security and regional security for the long-term and ensure a peaceful and happy home life too. It is time to get this major infrastructure project under way.