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Willis's Walkabouts Newsletter 76, February 2015 — Kakadu Plan & More

The comment period for the Kakadu Draft Plan of Management has been extended to 13 February. If you haven't already done so, see below and make your comment.

If you click only one link in this newsletter, make it the first one in Non Linear Warfare by Media. This is one of the most thought provoking video clips I've ever seen.

I had far too much for one newsletter, especially when I wanted to get this out in time for you to make a Kakadu comment — if you haven't done so already. I hope to have another newsletter out in March.

Note. The NY Times allows non-subscribers to look at ten free articles each month. I've got more links than that in this newsletter so I've marked them with a red asterisk (*) so that you can choose which are of most interest to you.

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In this issue

The Kakadu Draft Plan of Management

The comment period for the Kakadu Draft Plan of Management has been extended until 13 February. You can download a copy at the Kakadu Draft Management Plan page. If you scroll down the page, you will find information about how to make a comment as well as summary sheets about different parts of the plan.

One thing that some people forget which affects every single thing to do with the park is that Kakadu is Aboriginal land.Even if you read nothing else, please have a look at the Summary of the draft 6th management plan. It's only six pages and should give you a good feel for some of the issues facing the park.

Kakadu is in Trouble

I read the whole 282 pages of the Draft. I talked to several well-informed people and read some more. Budget cuts have made it impossible for park management to do everything that they should be doing. I didn't know just how bad it was until I read that the IUCN (International Union for conservation of Nature) has classified Kakadu (as well as the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland Wet Tropics) as World Heritage areas of 'significant concern'. That's only one step away from being listed as 'in danger'. That's a damning indictment of how Australia funds and manages its protected areas.

Doing my research gave me time to think and reflect. One of the comments in my own submission is, "I have been doing extended bushwalks in the stone country since 1974. There would be few, if any, people now alive who have spent more time there. I have seen many changes over the years, generally for the worse."

There would be few, if any, people now alive who have spent more time in the Kakadu stone country than I have. That's a sobering thought. I'm proud that I can say that but can't help but wonder how much longer I'll be able to continue. It's sad that none of the Aboriginal traditional owners know the area as well as I do. Fortunately, they do know other areas much better.

Please have your say. Please feel free to have a look at my own submission for ideas. You may well disagree with some of what I had to say, but not making a comment tells the authorities either that you are happy with everything in the plan or that you don't care. If the government doesn't have some indication that people really do care about Kakadu, the funding cuts will continue and the park will continue to deteriorate.

While bushwalking does get a mention in several places, there will be much more of direct relevance to bushwalkers when the Draft Bushwalking Strategy is finally released. I will have something about that as soon as I can after the release.

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Now through April — Only 3 Trips Left

I have a limited number of guides. In most cases, if a trip doesn't have bookings three months out, it will be cancelled.

Note. The $300 for six day specials referred to in the last newsletter will not run before late April and probably not for some time after that. I still don't have dates. I do have a list of interested people. If you'd like to go on it, please send me an email.

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Willis's Walkabouts on Facebook

Did you know that there is a Willis's Walkabouts Facebook Page? I've been updating it more often recently than I have in the last couple of years. There is a link to it on the bottom of most of our web pages.

If you'd like to keep up to date with what we've been doing, it's worth a look. Like us or become a friend if you are on Facebook and you should be notified of updates as they happen.

Interesting note. My last post was about the Kakadu Draft Plan of Management. Facebook wouldn't let me promote it because there was too much text.

More than Facebook

You can also now find us on the official Kakadu National Park website. To see our listing, scroll down to 'Nature and Bushwalking tours', then click on 'show tours'.

Memories. The photo on the park website was the best I could find. Those of you who were walking with us between five and eleven years ago might recognise one of the people in the photo and remember the sad story that goes with it.

Wild magazine has a newly revamped website and we're there. Not only are we there, there is a lot of interesting information about bushwalking as well. the new site is well worth a browse.

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Your Health

In no particular order, here are a few articles I found interesting. Pick and choose the ones that interest you.

My Health

It appears that I have non-acid mucosal reflux. What I took to be some sort of post nasal drip appears to be some sort of reflux coming up and eating away at my vocal chords. (At least that's what the doctors who put a camera up my nose and down into my throat said they saw.

Normal reflux medications have little or no effect. Rather than list each and every one of the many things I've tried, I thought I'd put this out and see if someone can come up with something I haven't thought of or managed to read about yet.

Any ideas?

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It's There — Why Can't People Find It?

I regularly have people contact me sayng that they can't find something on the Willis's Walkabouts website. Why?

There are hundreds of pages on the website. Trying to click through them to find something in particular could take a very long time. Even I can occasionally have trouble if I try that. But I know better. I can see the invisible button on the top menu. It says Search. It's one of the least visited yet potentially most useful pages on the website.

If someone has any ideas on how I can get more people to use it, please let me know.

If you have used it and failed to find what you were looking for, please tell me what you typed in and what you hoped to find. If I don't know what's going wrong, I can't fix it.

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The War that No-one Talks About — You Could Be a Target

Be warned. The link here will take you to a 44 page PDF. It may take a while to download. The article I've taken the quotes from covers the first 28½ pages.

The Consequences of the Economic Peace

If you have put money away to help your retirement, the article is talking about how governments around the world are doing their best to destroy the value of what you put away. The Consequences of Economic Peace is one of the best articles I've read for a long time. But 'economic peace' may not be with us much longer as places like Japan and the EU do the best to lower the value of their currencies. I've seen it described as a currency war — but that's a subject for another newsletter.

If you prefer to watch and hear a similar presentation (38 minutes) done by the author of this article, watch The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

If you get tired of reading the whole article, scroll down to the very end and click the final video link. It has parallels to the text but is something very different. I could hardly watch it to the end.

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Mobile Phones

Warning All Android Phone Owners

Malicious Software Said to Spread on Android Phones *
"Lookout, a security company, says it has been tracking malware that over the last two years has become more sophisticated as it hit millions of devices."
As smart phones become ever more powerful and able to do more things, it is inevitable that the problem of malware will get worse.

A Sad Comment On Our Society

I'll start with a quote from the article. "A park ranger in Washington State told me about a group of kids trying to get a fix on 500-year-old trees at the lower elevation of Mount Rainier. They could not fully fathom what they were experiencing, he said, until they could filter it through their phones — as pictures or Wikipedia definitions. Nature deficit disorder, so called, is a symptom of being connected to everything, while being unable to connect to anything."

Being connected to everything, while being unable to connect to anything. I don't believe that a society where that becomes the norm is capable of surviving in the longer term.

Grand Tour of the Self * describes "the latest and most obnoxious tool in the kit of digital narcissism." It's one of the more thought provoking articles I've read in recent months.

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Willis's Walkabouts Disappearing Dry Season Trips

Disappearing Trips

As mentioned in an earlier sections, I have a limited number of guides few of whom can take off to lead a trip at short notice. In most cases, I have to cancel a trip three months out if it doesn't have bookings and two months out if it doesn't have enough bookings to run.

I dislike cancelling trips which have bookings. I am willing to run a trip at a small loss to keep faith with people who book well in advance. Sadly, I can't afford to run a trip at a big loss so sometimes I have no choice. Unless more bookings come in, some of the May departures may disappear before the next newsletter comes out.

Definite departures.

Other trips with bookings.

All still need at least two more bookings to become definite departures.

The Latest Info

I update the Availability and Specials page as often as possible when another trip gets bookings or becomes a definite departure.

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Education — Teacher Quality

As I said in my last newsletter, I was a teacher for nearly 20 years. I taught in three countries. Toward Better Teachers * is from America, but I think it applies just as well here. The blurb that went with the link said, "In a new book and an interview, the former head of the nation's largest school system confronts teacher performance."

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WW Overseas Trips

While the Australian dollar has dropped quite a bit compared to the American dollar, it has actually gone up against some other currencies. With oil prices down, airfares may start dropping. This might turn out to be a very good year for overseas trips to some countries.

The first two trips below already have bookings.

Note. None of the discounts which apply to our Australian trips apply to any of our overseas trips.

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Drones and Flight Control


I've had articles about drones in a number of earlier newsletters. Prices keep dropping while more and more people are buying them. Here are some stories about where we are today. If this is today, what will it be like in five years time?

Remote Flight Control

The last newsletter had an article about the possible use of pilotless passenger aircraft. That may still be years into the future but Directing Planes, by Remote Control * shows that similar changes to air traffic control are already here.
"Officials from dozens of countries have made their way to remote Sweden to look at technology that many expect will eventually transform the way air traffic is managed worldwide."

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Technology that Affects or Could Affect You

Two of the headings are the same as in the last newsletter, but the stories are new.

A 'Democratic' Government Seizing Your Money

The last newsletter had an article about police or other government authorities unjustifiably seizing peoples' assets. This shows just how bad it is.
Police Use Department Wish List When Deciding Which Assets to Seize *
"Police officers and prosecutors give tips on civil asset forfeiture, the practice allowing the government, without ever filing a criminal charge, to seize property believed to have ties to crime, in seminars across the country."
I don't think it's as bad here in Australia, but what is the law? What can legally happen?

Big Brother is Watching

Report Reveals Wider Tracking of Mail in U.S. *
"The Postal Service approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies to secretly track the mail of ordinary Americans for use in criminal and national security investigations."
Do we have any idea how much this is done in Australia? Do we have any way to find out?

Where Do You Get Your News?

How Facebook Is Changing the Way Its Users Consume Journalism *
"Facebook uses mathematical formulas to predict what its users might want to read on the site, from which, a study says, about 30 percent of adults in America get their news."
To me that suggests that ever more people will hear the news they want to hear rather than something that reflects the whole of what's happening.

In Britain, government pressure has led to some publications self-censoring. British Newspaper Has Advantages in Battle With Government Over Secrets *
"The Guardian's global presence means that some of the tactics that might intimidate other British journalists have less effect on it."
That might be a reason to look to sources that are definitely not influenced by government policy if you want to find out what's really going on.


Infrastructure advances in the rest-of-the-world will blow your mind.
The article shows how the US is falling behind compared to much of the world when it comes to investment in infrastructure. I don't think Australia is quite as bad, but it's not good.

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Non Linear Warfare by Media

I thought about putting this in with another section, but decided that it needed a section of its own — and then I found something else that fits better here than anywhere else.

Non Linear Warfare by Media is a short segment put together by documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis. The person who sent the link said, "The message is terrifying and the content provocative. In short, how it ever made it onto the BBC is beyond me."

It may not be quite as bad in Australia, but, make no mistake, that's the direction in which we are heading.

World War I Began With a Lie

The lie that started World War One
Using lies for political ends has been done since mankind first had wars. World War One shaped almost everything which followed. According to the article, it began with a lie.

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Fun Bits to Finish

Do you ride a bicycle? If so, and you didn't click the final link in The War that No One Talks About, you really ought to have a look at Radwanderung, a five minute video clip of a bicycle ride. Believe me, it's worth a look!

A tale of two brains — the difference between men and women. All your questions answered in a 13½ minute video.

Live in the Perth area? You might be interested in an art exhibition called 'Way to Walcott' by Lynne Boladeras which is on 6-11 February 2015 at the Kidogo Art House, Bathers Beach. Fremantle. These paintings showcase many of the areas we visit on some of our trips.

If you didn't catch it above in the section on drones, you might still want to have a look at a Halloween prank that used a drone.

If you didn't catch it in the section about our overseas trips, you really ought to watch A Pussycat That Likes Swimming. It's two minutes of the most amazing video footage I've seen.

The most amazing fireworks display I've seen. The Chinese are not only the inventors of fireworks they are still the masters.

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News About This Newsletter


Before I finish one newsletter, I'm already working on the next. I often find that I've got too many interesting things for a single newsletter. I'm also always looking for other interesting items I can add. I'm particularly interested in environmental issues, especially those which might affect bushwalking as well as in the technology which is shaping our lives. As I said in the last several newsletters, Suggestions welcome.

Sending the newsletter

While I now send most of the newsletters using MailChimp, I still send about 200 newsletters using a program which is hosted on the same server that hosts our website. In both cases, the newsletters are sent from walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au. This is the contact address on our website. If you would like to continue to receive these newsletters, please include this address in your "friends list" so that it isn't blocked.

For some reason, some servers block the newsletters no matter what you try and do. I send these in small groups from my normal email. It's not a simple problem. If anyone thinks they might have an idea how to overcome the problem, I'd love to hear from you.

Emails sent to walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au are currently automatically forwarded to rrwillis at internode.on.net. If you want to send an email to that address, replace the word "at" with the symbol @. I am trying not to put that address any place where it can be harvested by spam bots.

We don't want to add to the mass of email spam. If you don't want our newsletter, please send us an email and let us know. We'll then delete your name from our newsletter list.

Our email address is walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au.

Note. Both MailChimp and the other program we use to send some of these newsletters have an automatic delete at the bottom. Clicking that link will delete you from the mailing list on the server but it will not delete you from our main database. One of the programs will not allow the auto delete to send me an email notifying me that a deletion has been made. If you want to be sure that you are removed from all further mailings, please send an email to walkabout@bushwalkingholidays.com.au

If you know someone you think would enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to them. The more people who get it, the more likely it is that I'll be able to run the trips which might interest you.

Best wishes to you all. And please, if you haven't done so already, put in a submission, no matter how short it is, to the Kakadu Draft Plan of Management.
Russell Willis

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