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Willis's Walkabouts Newsletter 94, January 2018 — Going, Going ....

Feedback request. While I do get some wonderful feedback on these newsletters, it would be a great deal of help if I had more. See News About this Newsletter for how you can help. Thank you.

My favourites.
  • 2017 — A Year to Celebrate
  • Our Coming Trips — Going, Going ....
    Why I'm pleased that we're unlikely to be able to run all listed trips even if people want to do them.
  • Sleep and Health
    Not getting enough sleep could be doing you permanent damage.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins of AI Predictions
    It's long but it's also the best article I've read about the coming impact of artificial intelligence.
  • Storm chaser braves 2017's wild year of US weather — in pictures
    This has to be one of the best collections of weather photos I've ever seen.

Restricted content. Articles marked * or ** are on restricted websites Click for more info.

. Willis's Walkabouts logo

In this issue

2017 — A Year to Celebrate

Bad news sells, good news doesn't.

Why 2017 was a year to celebrate highlights some of the good things that happened last year. If you're really curious, it links to a longer list. Here is one of the most surprising.

"Rates of violent crime and property crime have dropped by around 50% in the United States since 1990, yet a majority of people still believe they have gotten worse." As I said at the start, bad news sells, good news doesn't.

The NY Times recently ran a story, Crime in New York City Plunges to a Level Not Seen Since the 1950s * — that's certainly not the perception most people have of crime today.

New Scientist recently ran a similar article Is positive thinking the way to save the planet? It seems that good news can nudge people to do more while bad news makes them do less.

What A Time To Be Alive explains how "normal Americans now 'live better than John D. Rockefeller did' at a time when he was the richest man in the world." In many ways, I think we're even better off in Australia.

What really matters

This short video was sent to me by a friend. There is a lesson there for us all — if we choose to accept it.

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Our Coming Trips — Going, Going ....

February - March

Only one trip remains available. When I didn't get the additional bookings I needed to run any of the February trips mentioned in the last newsletter I created a new, shorter one. Kakadu Light Special: 11-18 February

Definite departure. This is the easiest way to experience bushwalking in the Wet without having to carry a full pack for more than a few km on couple of days. Rather than give up, I decided to run the trip for myself and a friend. If someone else wants to come along even better. The trip lists for $600 but I'll take $150 off for anyone who books and quotes this newsletter. Special conditions apply to this trip. See the trip notes, link above, for additional information.

1-13 April

Only two trips remain available.

April — Going, Going ....

We can't run a trip without sufficient notice. Including the two trips mentioned above, we have five April departures listed in our 2018-19 program. Any of those trips which doesn't have the bookings we need to guarantee departure by 1 February will have to be cancelled.

May Onwards

The following trips all have bookings.

Charters and the Program

We have a limited number of guides and a limited number of vehicles. We have had more people ask about special charter trips this year than any time in the past ten. We can't run all the charters and all those listed in our 2018-19 program. We will run any trip which has the bookings to run before we confirm an overlapping charter. We will do our best to run any trip which has bookings which overlaps a charter. All other trips can drop off the list whenever we confirm a charter.

Getting in early not only saves you money, it makes it more likely that you'll be able to book the trip you want.

The Biggest Discount of All

I am getting no younger. For me to do a major expedition, I could use a very strong, very fit, experienced bushwalker to act as a 'packhorse', carrying an extra heavy load in return for a big discount. At this point, I'm not sure which trip or trips it would be, but the Charnley is certainly one possibility. Please email me for more information.

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Sleep and Health

Sleep and Alzheimers

New Scientist recently ran an article Wake-up call: How a lack of sleep can cause Alzheimers
"Even a single night of poor sleep can cause changes in the brain implicated in Alzheimer’s. Are you getting enough shut-eye, asks sleep scientist Matthew Walker."

That article linked to another, Top tips to get a better night’s sleep and improve your health

I've seen what happens to people with dementia. It's not pretty. One of my former guides does not even remember his own name. I highly recommend both articles.

It's not just Alzheimers.

Sleep deprivation like alcohol refers to a study that shows "Sleep deprivation disrupts brain cell communication in much the same way as alcohol. Exhausted neurons respond more slowly than usual and take longer to transmit weaker signals, a study found."

Worth thinking about next time you consider driving when really tired.

The Conversation had a recent piece, Why getting enough sleep should be on your list of New Year’s resolutions
"If you need an alarm to get up in the morning, you’re probably not getting enough sleep."
Have a read. Look at some of the links. It's amazing just how many things are affected by lack of sleep.

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One third of all the food produced each year gets lost or wasted.

That's a damning statistic. New Scientist recently ran an article called The real clean food: How to eat well for yourself and the planet. Many of the statistics are based on the UK but I doubt that Australia is much better. "The surprising truth is, it’s easy to make a difference – without becoming a fanatic."

Click the link above, have a read and see what you think. Or take the shortcut and check out the one minute video that came with the article. A diet that's good for you and the planet — it's easier than you think

Gluten intolerant? — Maybe not

Gluten intolerance: Dietitians and scientists close in on the true culprit
"A 2017 study at Oslo University Hospital found that people with self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity were more likely to develop digestive issues after eating specially formulated muesli bars containing a fermentable sugar called fructan, not gluten."

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Reviewing Willis's Walkabouts

Many Thanks!

Since the last newsletter, many people have given us good reviews on Google and Facebook. If you have never done one of our trips, you might want to have a read and see what others think.

If you have done and enjoyed one or more of our trips but haven't done a review, maybe you'd like to add your comments.

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The Next Generation

Regular readers of this newsletter will know that I disagree with many current western parenting practices. I'm not the only one. "New ways of child-rearing can leave many as kidults, ill-prepared to enter a complicated, adult world.

New Scientist recently reviewed two books making that point Time to get under-involved with the kids Want more info? See the Amazon pages

There isn't a lot we can do but our Kakadu Family Walks are an attempt to give people a chance to get their children more in touch with the natural world.

A Few More Stories About What's Happening with the Next Generation

Curious Kids

From The Conversation What follows is their explanation.

In 2017, we did an experiment: what if we invited kids to send in questions and asked academic experts to answer them? We were flooded with questions, ranging from the astonishingly cute to the deeply weird, and so Curious Kids was born.

In this series, we ask experts to write in a way that their young questioner will understand — and that's what makes these articles a joy for all to read. The thing I love most about Curious Kids, though, is the way children think of questions that I wouldn't dream up in a thousand years. Why don’t cats wear shoes? Does space go on forever? Do worms have tongues?

Today, we’re bringing you some of our corkers from Curious Kids. I hope they inspire young readers in your life, and inspire you to walk through the world with a sense of wonder and awe.

Curious Kids 2017

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The War Over Season's Greetings

I recently came across an article which began, "GPF sent out a greeting to our readers that said "Happy Holidays and a Joyful New Year.” We received several polite emails asking that, in the future, we say “Merry Christmas and a Joyful New Year." It is Christmas; I am a Jew with a Christian wife; therefore, I am quite used to the Merry-ness of Christmas. But decades before I married her, I was frequently greeted with Merry Christmas and understood that it was a statement of goodwill and did not imply an imminent pogrom, nor contempt for Judaism. It was non-controversial."

"It has become controversial of late, and it is proper that it should be. It is the question of a secular and religious society, a question that is present throughout the world."

We live in changing times. The full article, The War Over Season's Greetings is well worth a read.

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Unless you are retired or close to it, your future at work is likely to change. Here are a number of things to think about.

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Points to Ponder

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

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Cycling in Australia

Two stories to make you think.

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Cyber Attack Follow Up — Protect Yourself

5 New Year's Resolutions to Protect Your Technology *
The cybersecurity nightmares of 2017 highlight the need to protect yourself. Here are some resolutions for living a safer digital life this new year.


The US election hack, fake news, data theft: the cyber security lessons from 2017

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I had stories about what I consider excessive burning in two recent newsletters.

I've recently come across two more studies which show the magnitude of the problem.

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Bushwalking Tips

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Photos, Videos & Just for Fun



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News About This Newsletter

Feedback — A Comment and My Reply

"Comment While I sometimes click on your links to interesting articles, I would prefer to only receive information about Willis's Walkabouts and information and links relevant to bushwalking and nature conservation."

Reply. "The newsletter, it was never intended just as a business promotion. There are a fair number of people who click lots of the links. I've tried to make it obvious as to which sections refer to the business. If you think I could do that better, please let me know how. Otherwise, it's too hard to start separate mailing lists.

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 — February? March? Depends a bit on how fast things change with our trips.

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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