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December 2006

Vale the baiji

The International Year of the Dolphin begins on a poignant note. Last month, the Yangtze Freshwater Dolphin - the baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) - was declared to be almost certainly extinct.

A victim of the long-term poisoning of the Yangtze River.

The baiji is the first species of cetacean to have become extinct in modern times, and it's the first large mammal to disappear as the direct result of man's pillage of the Earth's natural resources.

Saddam Hussein 1937-2006

Saddam Hussein was killed today. He was put to death by hanging at the direction of the Iraqi Government following a trial for one of his lesser alleged crimes against humanity. His death means that other, even more serious, charges against him will never be brought to account - notably the use of chemical weapons against Kurds in 1988. Likewise, the complicity of governments friendly to Iraq prior to the 1990 invasion of Kuwait will be more difficult to explore.

I can never understand how, if the taking of human life is such a heinous crime, the punishment can be the taking of human life. I have no sympathy for Saddam Hussein over his actions across the past forty years. But he should have been locked away for the term of his natural life.

A Christmas Carol Playlist blogshop

Many of the albums featuring songs I have listed in the A Christmas Carol Playlist series can be purchased through

I have set up a section in my blogshop where the CDs can be purchased. Take a look at my Christmas Blogshop. I earn a commission on any sales made via my website, and seeing as I intend to ensure my websites pay their own way in 2007, I would appreciate your support :-)

Melbourne Day Three: Numbers galore

190: The approximate number of overs left unplayed when the Melbourne Test finished two and a bit days early.

244,351: The cumulative number of spectators at the MCG over the three days of the Test, an average of 81450 per day. The record cumulative crowd for a Test in Australia was 350,534 for the MCG Test against England in 1936-37, a six-day Test thus averaging a mere 58422 per day.

Midwinter-Midwinter points after Test Four

I'll write more about the Melbourne Test on what should have been either Day Four or Day Five, but for now here are my votes for Day Three of the Melbourne Test, ie, the day that Australia thwacked England by an innings.

Three points: Brett Lee; two points: Shane Warne; one point: Stuart Clark.

With one Test remaining, we have a clear leader. No prizes for guessing who...

Not a Lincoln, just a Ford

Ever since rejecting the petty, power-mongering King George III of England during the war for independence, Americans have seemed to miss having royals to coddle. But whenever we give kingly treatment to a president upon his death, we cheat history.

- Editorial on the death of Gerald R.Ford, Boulder Daily Camera, 28.12.06

The memorial tour for the 38th US President will roll over the next few days. With Ford being an Episcopalian by religion, the Episcopal News Service has details on his funeral and his Episcopalian background.