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Willis's Walkabouts Newsletter 95, March 2018 — Last Chance

Never before have we made so many changes to the program in such a short time. With so many changes, I decided that I needed to get a newsletter out while there was still a chance to join us. If it hadn't been for Cyclone Marcus, this newsletter would have gone out almost a week ago.

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In this issue

WW 2018 — Big Changes Since January

See our discount page for our normal discounts.

See our PDF trip list for the list prices on every trip we offer.

Last Chance!

A new record! With more charters (two of which are now open to others) then we've ever had before, we had to cancel a number of the originally scheduled trips and make other changes to fit the new ones in. This is your last chance to book the following. Some are almost full. Others need more bookings or we will have to cancel them.

Other Trips Through July

The following are the only other trips still available before the end of July.

August Onwards

All trips still on our trip list are still available. The following already have bookings.

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Your Health

Too Much Sitting is Bad for You

The Business Case for Reducing Sedentary Work Practices notes that "people who sit for more than 11 hours a day have a 40 per cent increased risk of death in the next three years compared with people who sit for less than four hours"

For the scientific details, see Sitting Time and Mortality. I've been spending far too much of my off time in front of a computer. Time I did other things.


Your Eyes

Or more realistically, the eyes of the coming generations. 'Tsunami of myopia': Beware of too much close-range screen time
"We have four million short-sighted people in Australia at the moment, but by the year 2050 we're looking at 22 million."

Health Care

Australia follows America in a lot of ways, the first two articles below show what can happen.

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WW Overseas

Ready to Run


We have now finalised three trips and have draft notes for two more.

Possible — Could You Be Interested?

In addition to the trips above, we hope to offer one or both of the following. We've had people ask about both of them, but need more interest before working out the full details.

If you think you might be interested in any of our overseas trips, please email us and let us know. We need to start working now to make them happen. There is no point in doing all the work if there is no potential interest.

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

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Artificial Intelligence

As China Marches Forward on A.I., the White House Is Silent *
"Last summer, China unveiled a plan to become the world's leader in artificial intelligence, challenging the longtime role of the United States."

In the last issue, I had a link to an article suggesting that the fear of artificial intelligence was overblown. Here's a Ted Talk with a somewhat different opinion.

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Sugar — The Truth

The Conversation recently ran a four part series on sugar. Everything you need to know and maybe a bit more. I've added an interesting final link from The Conversation and one from the NY Times.

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A variety of interesting articles, at least one of which could be very useful.

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The Dangers of Tech

Almost everyone should be able to find something they didn't know in this section. Almost all of it was new to me.


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The TPP is Back

Corporate profits are more important than people — at least that's what the government seems to think.

The TPP is going ahead, and not everyone in Australia is happy
"It will also go ahead with its most controversial element, the Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) rule, intact. The ISDS will make it easier for multinational corporations to sue governments if they introduce policies perceived to harm those corporations' business interests."

It could get worse as explained in Why the affordability of pharmaceuticals in Australia could rely on Donald Trump

I had a lot to say about the TPP in previous issues of this newsletter. If you'd like to revisit those, here are the links.
  • Newsletter 69, 'Your Health'
  • Newsletter 70, last item in the 'Your Health' section.
  • Newsletter 71, Trans Pacific Partnership Update
  • Newsletter 78, Trans Pacific Partnership
  • Newsletter 79, Trans Pacific Partnership — Yet More
  • Trans Pacific Partnership — The Saga Continues

For better or worse, we elect the government. If that government signs a treaty which allows foreign corporations to sue for loss of profit, the government has failed the Australian people.

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Thoughts on Our Society

Here is a small collection of stories about how the world is changing. They are all stories that should make you think.

Aging Society

These two stories are from Japan but they show the general direction in which developed countries are moving.

Three more to make you think

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I was recently quoted in an article theSydney Morning Herald Good Weekend magazine. 'There'll be no park to preserve': Australia's fuming wildfire-control debate

From the article, "Aboriginal-owned Arnhem Land, which borders Kakadu, is seen as doing much better." There are some who would disagree. David Bowman, now at the University of Tasmania, had been going back to the same patch in Arnhem Land doing a long term study. On his last visit last year, he told me that the only way he could find some of the metal tags that had been on some of the trees at his study site was with a metal detector. They were buried in ash.

I did a trip into Kakadu at the end of February accompanied by two Darwin locals. One of them made a comment about the lack of small lizards compared to backyards around Darwin or a couple of private places we'd just visited. Once that was pointed out, it was terribly obvious. Years ago, you couldn't sit down anywhere on a walk without seeing little lizards everywhere.

I managed to miss an important meeting about Kakadu fire management last month but hope to get more info at a later date. I've got several more bits of information but didn't have time to sort through them properly before sending this newsletter. More next time.

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The arctic is warming faster than anywhere else. Warming there can disrupt weather patterns and bring unseasonally cold weather further south but there is no doubt that things are getting hotter overall.


Sea level is rising faster in some places than others. I don't recall a tide of more than 7.99 m any time in my first 30 years in Darwin. We've already had four this year. Watching the waves crashing on to a footpath with no storm to push them higher, I could only wonder what it would have been like if we'd had a cyclone a the same time.

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

I recently read a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson. Well worth the read. Here are a couple of quotes from the Good Reads Review (click 'more' to see the full review.)

"He tells it like it is — a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let's-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up."

"Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better."

And a quote from the book, "everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.
Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life, and to tear it out is not only impossible, but destructive: attempting to tear it out unravels everything else with it. To try to avoid pain is to give too many fucks about pain. In contrast, if you're able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable."

I particularly liked the references to scientific studies to back up some of his ideas. Well worth the read.

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Our Website

The change should be almost invisible, but we have moved our website from the standard "http://" to the secure "https://".

Everything we've checked seemed OK, but if you find a problem, please let us know.

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Photos, Videos & Just for Fun



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News About This Newsletter

Restricted websites. 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. The Washington Post and The Economist both have limits but I'm not sure what the current limits is so I've marked Washington Post and Economist articles with a double red asterisk (**).

Next Newsletter — April? May? Depends a bit on how fast things change with our trips and how much time I have to work on it.

As always, I've already got a few things ready. Hopefully, I can get a bit of feedback about some of the things in this newsletter to include in the next one. As I've often said, 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. (MailChimp Free only allows 2000. The commercial version costs too much for an extra 200 people.) 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 all.
I hope you enjoy reading the newsletter as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Russell Willis

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