Month: July 2019

  • Keeping the wolf from the door is difficult for father of four

    FAMILY MAN: Michael Brown says finding a place to rent in Orange when you’re on a low income is tough. Photo: PHIL BLATCHSINGLE father of four Michael Brown admits his life is a jugging act.
    Shanghai night field

    If he’s not scheduling his children’s homework, playtime and sleep he’s budgeting to ensure he’s got enough money left from his Centrelink payments to feed and house his family.

    “There’s always food on the table,” he said.

    “I always make sure they have enough fruit and vegetables but I can’t remember the last time I gave them lollies or ice-cream.”

    Mr Brown isn’t surprised by the results of Anglicare’s latest study that shows affordable housing in Orange is hard to find.

    He currently rents a large house close to Calare Public School and feels grateful to have it.

    When he first started renting he was still living with his ex-fiancee and doubts he would have been considered as a tenant otherwise.

    “I know if I had to move, as a single dad with four kids, a lot of agents would say no to me even though I’ve got a good rental record,” he said.

    “I think because I’m a man a bit of sexism also comes into it, people think guys aren’t as tidy and neat as females.”

    Mr Brown said he thinks most people would he shocked at how hard life is for low-income families.

    “If I had four normal kids I’d be in trouble, but I’ve got four of the best behaved kids you could have,” he said.

    Mr Brown’s children range in age from one to six, and despite seeing their mothers regularly, they spend the majority of their time with him.

    “I’ve got a lot of systems in place and I’m regimented, I make sure I’ve got one-on-one time with each child.

    “Time management is the biggest thing for me.”

    According to Mr Brown the welfare of his children always comes first, and he’ll go without food himself to ensure they’re got what they need.

    “I feel lucky I’ve got them.”

    Mr Brown said he doesn’t rely on help from charities but was grateful Anglicare’s no interest loan helped him buy a new fridge when his old one broke down.

    Source: Central Western Daily

  • Airbnb nightmare as couple’s home is trashed in Calgary

    Star and Mark King in their trashed home. Photo: Screengrab, Calgary Herald video A screenshot of Star King’s Instagram account showing the damage to her home.
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    A screenshot of Star King’s Instagram account showing the damage to her home.

    A couple who rented out their house on popular accommodation site Airbnb returned to find it had been trashed, in what Canadian police described as a “drug-induced orgy”.

    Mark and Star King said they were almost knocked over by the fumes when they walked into their home, in Sage Hill, north-west Calgary, after a weekend away.

    They were then confronted with the extent of the destruction, which was devastating, the couple told the Calgary Herald.

    Their furniture had been destroyed, smashed glass littered the floor, and piles of cigarette butts, food and rubbish were strewn throughout the house.

    The toilet was flooded and mustard, mayonnaise and sauce were smeared across the walls and floors.

    Cigarettes had been stubbed out on the alcohol-soaked furniture, while upstairs, the couple found bras, underwear and condoms lying around. Police said body fluids – including urine, semen and vomit – were found throughout the home.

    Mrs King also found a chicken bone in one of her shoes.

    “Chicken thighs in our shoes? It’s just unbelievable,” Mr King told Global News in Canada.

    “The violation, the lies, the pretense of what it was for and then the complete disrespect.”

    It will cost between $C50,000 and $C75,000 ($52,000 and $77,000) to fix the two-storey house, which the couple bought in 2010.

    Mr King said he and his wife believed they were renting out the house to a man in his 40s who had contacted them through the short-term rental site. The man claimed that he and three other adults were visiting Calgary for a family wedding.

    The Kings handed over their keys on Saturday and went to stay with Mr King’s parents, hoping to make a bit of extra money.

    But, that night, the Kings’ neighbours reported that guests started arriving at the house, before a party bus pulled up and more guests piled out.

    About 100 people crammed into the house, prompting numerous noise complaints to police during the weekend.

    A neighbour contacted the Kings on Monday morning to ask if everything was all right, alerting them to the destruction in their home.

    The Kings drove home to find the police were already there, responding to reports of a break-in.

    “When we came in, one of the police said, ‘This isn’t a party, this was a drug-induced orgy,’ ” Mr King said.

    The police had also told them a hazardous materials crew would have to enter the house before they could start cleaning up.

    Constable Attila Horvath, from the Calgary Police Service, said he had “never seen anything like it” in his nine years of policing.

    “You could see that there was significant damage to the house, especially in the living room,” he said.

    “It was almost anger; I couldn’t believe that someone could do that in three days to another person’s home.”

    Police said the man who rented the Kings’ house could face charges of mischief over $C5000.

    Jakob Kerr, a spokesman for Airbnb, told the Calgary Herald that the organisation had a $US1 million ($1.25 million) host damage guarantee, and had offered the Kings cleaning services and accommodation while their house was fixed.

    “We have zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour and our team is working quickly to make this right,” he said.

    “We have banned this guest from Airbnb, and our trust and safety team will offer its full assistance to law enforcement in any investigation of this incident. We have been in very close contact with these hosts and we are working quickly to reimburse them under our $1 million host guarantee, which covers a host’s property in the rare event of damages.

    “Over 35 million guests have stayed on Airbnb, and property damage is extremely rare.”

    Fairfax Media

  • Physicist Dr Gordon Troup on the science of brewing the perfect cup of coffee

    Dr Gordon Troup is a researcher from Monash Uni who is on a quest to make the perfect coffee. Photo: Justin McManusSome people take their coffee so seriously it becomes a science. Eighty-three-year-old Gordon Troup is one of those people. But don’t call him a coffee snob. For him, it’s purely professional.
    Shanghai night field

    The physicist from Monash University has spent 28 years studying the beloved bean in his quest to nail what makes the perfect cup of coffee.

    His work begins early in the production process – long before the barista grinds the beans.

    Using an electron paramagnetic resonance machine to study the free radicals and antioxidants contained in the intact beans, Dr Troup was able to analyse the chemical composition of the arabica bean during various stages of the roasting process.

    With his Melbourne University collaborator Simon Drew, Dr Troup discovered a third family of free radicals in arabica coffee beans that hadn’t been previously identified. Unlike the other two groups, these free radicals survived the roasting process.

    “That’s interesting because it tells us that there is something else going on here that is different,” he said.

    Of the three families of free radicals in the coffee bean, one is present from germination but is destroyed in the early stages of roasting. The second is destroyed at medium temperatures during the roasting process while the third survives.

    Dr Troup said the information, outlined a paper published in the journal Plos One this month, would benefit large and small-scale roasters who are ever-keen to understand the bean.

    “It tells you something more about the chemical reactions that are going on and that helps in the roasting process because it means you have a full picture,” he said.

    Dr Troup said wine and coffee shared similar chemicals and like wine, the flavour could be altered by blending different varieties. Arabica coffee is considered bitter and often blended with other varieties.

    “But to do this, you first need an understanding of what is happening at a chemical level,” he said.

    Dr Troup was one of the first scientists in the world to discover and isolate the free radicals in coffee in 1988.

    Native to Ethiopia, the arabica coffee bean is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated.

    The study was co-funded by Italian coffee roasting company Illycaffè, who approached Dr Troup in 2012 to conduct the research. Italian researchers Luciano Navarini and Furio Liverani were co-authors on the Plos One paper.   

  • Wycliff Palu, Jacques Potgieter reunite in NSW Waratahs blockbuster against Brumbies

    The Waratahs are mustering their big guns to break a four-year drought in Canberra on Friday night.
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    Damaging forwards Wycliff Palu and Jacques Potgieter will reunite in the NSW back row for the first time since round nine as the defending champions prepare to take on Australian conference leaders the Brumbies.

    Palu played off the bench against the Rebels last week and Potgieter did the same against the Hurricanes the week prior, leaving them fresh for a pivotal match in the Waratahs’ campaign to make the finals.

    They are the only two changes to the NSW starting line up, with coach Michael Cheika leaving the front row and back line unchanged from last week’s nail biter against Melbourne.

    The Brumbies, meanwhile, have welcomed back Wallabies Ben Alexander and Sam Carter to the pack.

    The Canberra side are still without Test halves Nic White and Matt Toomua, with Michael Dowsett and Christian Lealiifano reprising the combination for a second week.

    Australian conference bragging rights are up for grabs in the clash, with seven rounds left in the regular season. The Brumbies are automatic qualifiers as the log stands now, while the Waratahs sit in seventh place, just outside the crucial top six. Crucially, they have a game in hand, while the Brumbies have a second bye in round 15.

    Waratahs: Israel Folau, Peter Betham, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Rob Horne, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Jacques Potgieter, Dave Dennis (c), Will Skelton, Sekope Kepu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Mitch Chapman, Stephen Hoiles, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Matt Carraro (one to be omitted).

    Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Robbie Coleman, Joe Tomane, Christian Lealiifano, Michael Dowsett, Ita Vaea, David Pocock, Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Jordan Smiler, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore (c), JP Smith. Res: Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Ruan Smith, Blake Enever, Jarrad Butler, Joe Powell, James Dargaville, Nigel Ah Wong. 

  • Matthew Gardiner turns to social media as AFP probes role in overseas conflict

    Matthew Gardiner has taken to Twitter following his return to Australia. Photo: ABCSenior Labor figure leaves to fight against Islamic StateMatthew Gardiner arrested at Darwin airport
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    Matthew Gardiner stunned his Labor Party colleagues around the country when he secretly disappeared from his Darwin home in January to fight against Islamic State.

    Among his thousands of social media posts prior to January, there had never been a single mention of overseas conflicts or the Islamic State terror group.

    He seemed more concerned with campaigning for union members, heckling the Northern Territory’s Liberal politicians and posting happy snaps of his three sons, aged between three and 11.

    Since returning home earlier this month, the 43-year-old former president of the NT’s Labor party branch has remained silent due to the Australian Federal Police’s investigation into his involvement in overseas conflict.

    However, his tweets have offered an insight into his new-found political views and his reasons for going to a war zone to allegedly support Kurdish groups proscribed by the Australian government as terrorist organisations.

    He has been tweeting regularly since April, hinting that he travelled to Syria because he felt a moral obligation to help those being killed by Islamic State. Posts suggest he considered himself a hero or a warrior for doing so.

    Among a series of motivational quotes he posted was one from Martin Luther King, Jr: pic.twitterm/EPnS2jb0Pu— Matthew Gardiner (@mjgardiner513) April 28, 2015

    He references the duty to “stand between the innocent and harm” and “stand between [the] enemy and all that he loves or holds sacred”.

    Mr Gardiner, a former soldier who says he served 10 years in the military, had no known links to Kurdistan but befriended a Kurdish woman on Facebook and de-friended most others shortly before he left. Unfortunately I’m still under AFP investigation for suspected terrorist activity for supporting YPG/ YPJ #4corners— Matthew Gardiner (@mjgardiner513) April 27, 2015

    He appears to have returned to Australia a changed man, expressing his admiration for the Kurdish militia units, YPG and YPJ, and his frustration that Australians who want to fight with the Kurds are treated like criminals.

    He said the Kurds are “fighting for their lives” and those who help them, like Australian ex-soldier Ashley Johnston, are “heroes”.

    Another motivational quote he posted on Twitter said: “I’d rather live one day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep”.

    In another, he posted: “Better it is to die in battle with honor, than to live in shame because you did not defend your people”. Australia is the only country in the world that has outlawed fighting with the YPG/ YPJ against Daesh #4corners— Matthew Gardiner (@mjgardiner513) April 27, 2015

    Foreign incursion laws prevent Australians from supporting or participating in overseas conflicts, including the Kurds’ battle for autonomy within Syria and Islamic State’s battle in Syria and Iraq to establish a caliphate.

    YPG and YPJ are considered part of the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, which is classified by the Australian government as a terrorist organisation.

    His tweets do not say that he fought with the group, only suggesting that he “supported” and “helped” them.

    In response to an ABC program on Kurdish fighters, he tweeted:  Why is the law written so if an Australian helps the kurds they are treated as criminals? #4corners— Matthew Gardiner (@mjgardiner513) April 27, 2015

    He said he would be the “test case” for whether Australians will be prosecuted for fighting back against Islamic State.

    Mr Gardiner did not respond to Fairfax Media’s requests for comment.

    He was suspended by the Labor Party when he left Australia and the AFP’s investigation is ongoing.