Bunker bulldust day 120

Dutch sailing ships 1

Isn’t that a lovely shot? It could be a Flemish artist painting. It’s the fleet of Dutch sail ships which are still active, but in fear of loss to bankruptcy due to lack of business. Picture: The Guardian

A real winter’s day today, a bit of sun early but lots of good rain and clouds now at 2.30pm. Not cold, but quite humid. And now steady soaking rain at 3.10pm. Lovely.


I’ve just been reading an advisory notice from CHOICE about this brand of hand sanitiser:

Screenshot_2020-07-16 Mosaic Brands hand sanitiser fails the lab test CHOICE

Although the label says 70% alcohol, tests show that it only contains 23%. Does the company apologise and withdraw it from sale? Nope. They dodge and twist, prevaricate and dissemble. Pressure from Choice seems to be working.

In their article, they warn against hand sanitisers that don’t evaporate, don’t smell like alcohol and leave your hands feeling greasy. Guess what I’ve got:


Both these fit that description – they don’t smell like alcohol, they don’t evaporate and they leave my hands so greasy that I have to wash them off under the tap. I don’t really want to use them. The left one came from my pharmacy and the turquoise one came from Aldi. Will I complain? I don’t know. The labels say 70% alcohol but without a test, who’s to say.

I think I’ll see if they fit another test – do they burn, as alcohol should. Tune in for the next exciting episode.


To me this dodgy sanitiser is just another example of dirty business from companies we were urged to trust by former PM John Howard in the 1990s when enterprise bargaining was the thing. He told us we could better negotiate 1-on-1 with our employers rather than collectively through our unions. Hah! Time and time again in this present time, employers are engaging in “wage theft”, underpaying employees any chance they get, defying awards, withholding pay unlawfully, dismissing employees without their entitlements, putting out faulty products as in this case, you name it, businesses are doing it.

Obviously not all companies and businesses are doing the wrong thing, but neither were the scores, hundreds of unions. You never heard about the good unions such as the APESMA, now known as Professionals Australia and it includes:

  • Association of Professional Engineers Australia (APEA);
  • Professional Scientists Australia (PSA)
  • Professional Pharmacists Australia (PPA)
  • Professionals Managers Australia (PMA)
  • Professional Architects Australia (PAA)
  • IT Professionals Australia (ITPA)
  • Collieries’ Staff and Officials Association (CSOA)
  • Translators and Interpreters Australia
  • Local Government Engineers Australia (LGEA)
  • Professionals Contractors and Consultants Australia

These are all “unions” by definition, yet according to Liberal Party ideology, they are all bad by association. It’s pathetic. Right wing blind ideology, pure and simple.

My union was the PREI when I joined it in the early ’70s, the Professional Radio and Electronics Institute. In the amalgamations of the ’80s, it became the CPSU, TCA (Technical, Communications and Aviation) Division. I hated that CPSU acronym. Communist Party of the Soviet Union! Surely they could have chosen a better name, but we were stuck with it. I was involved in union affairs then and I’ll never forget the warmth of my reception in the Perth and Sydney offices. The union people were great.



I love electronics! This is a complete video camera with wi-fi transmitter and battery glued to the back of a beetle. It weighs 0,25g so the beetle wouldn’t even know it was there. The camera can even pan under control from a smart phone app. Fantastic.


That reminds me, I said a couple of weeks ago that I had uninstalled the government’s CovidSafe app from my phone as it was said to be ineffective and insecure.

Well, I’ve since read that it’s been quite extensively revised and should now be safe enough, so I’ve reinstalled it again. Although for a program that we’re assured doesn’t track our movements, why does it ask permission for our phone’s location data when you install it?


It’s remarkable how WA is so free of the fear and restrictions of Victoria and NSW, and the rest of the world due to this virus. We really are an island-within-an-island as long as our borders are closed. But although I don’t fear the virus (much), I do fear for the future. It looks as if this isolation will last a very long time, I mean years. It’s very hard on small businesses in this state.

On the other hand, maybe this could be the push this state needs to develop more industries and manufacturing. We have all the resources we need, especially cheap power both from solar and wind, and natural gas from the North West Shelf. Sure, gas is getting a bad press for its potential methane leakage, but these are problems that can be solved.

We have a large skilled workforce itching to get suitable work. Money is available at the lowest interest rates ever. All it needs is some courage and good ideas, and there’s no lack of the latter.



I’m about half way through the Einstein biography I mentioned a few postings ago. The author is Walter Isaacson, publisher Simon and Schuster. All I can say is wow! This is so well written, yet so detailed and well researched. Everything is footnoted. He must have spent years putting it together.

The amazing thing is, as well as being a good writer, he goes into quite a deep level of the physics and seems to have a good understanding of the subjects he’s writing about. You can’t gloss over Einstein’s work (and the other amazing physicists and mathematicians of the time). If you want to talk about relativity, space-time, unified field theory, tensor calculus and quantum mechanics, you’d better know your subject or you’ll be dismissed as trivial. This author knows the subjects. I am so impressed.

I’m up to the early 1930s with Einstein arguing strongly and with conviction against quantum theory. It’s strange that a man who had to fight against sceptics who questioned and campaigned against relativity (time is not constant, clocks run slower, measuring rods get shorter etc) himself became a sceptic of this new theory that was also so hard to accept if you believed in a constant universe. I’m only half way into a 550 page book but I believe he never accepted quantum theory to his grave, even though all the great minds know its truth, however bizarre it is. Great book, recommended, although you’d better like physics. It could be monumentally boring.



Isn’t that magnificent? The Statue of Liberty Nebula. © Martin Pugh

It’s a finalist in the Royal Observatory Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition Astronomy Photographer of the Year This is just one of many beautiful photos. Have a look.