January 14, 2009
The first British baby born from an embryo screened to ensure she was free from a genetic risk of breast cancer has been delivered.
The use of this technology is controversial but I understand why propsective parents might choose to use it.
Our sons had degenerative brain disorders the cause of which was never determined but which was almost certainly genetic.
Neither passed any of the developmental milestones which left them with multihandicaps. Tom lived just 20 weeks and Dan died 10 days after his fifth birthday unable to do anything more by himself when he died than he could when he was born.
We decided the one in four risk of having another baby with the same condition was too great.
Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) wasn’t available 20 years ago and given no-one knew what to test for wouldn’t have been an option anyway. But if we could have used it we almost certainly would have.
January 14, 2009
Our first trip to Argentina was in 1997 when the peso was pegged to the $US.
When we returned in 2003 the peso had been floated and was worth about 33 US cents and about 50 NZ cents.
There aren’t many countries where our dollar is worth more than the local currency so we enjoyed the bargains – good wine for about $NZ10 a bottle, quality leather shoes and bags for less than half what we’d pay here and similarly low cost restaurant meals.
Prices and the difference between our dollar and the peso hadn’t changed much when we returned in 2005 and 2007 but when we went back last month our dollar had fallen and Argentinean prices had risen.
Because of that I was suprised to read that the offical inflation rate had fallen to 7.2%, the lowest level since 2004.
However, I read on and found:
Independent economists have suggested that true inflation was at least 20 percent, but that officials underestimated it to save money on inflation-linked bonds.
That independent assessment is a truer reflection of what we saw than the official version.
Wine and leather cost more than they had last time we were there, although they were high quality and good value and Argentina is still not an expensive place for travellers. But life is more difficult for locals with the prices of fuel and every day goods in supermarkets much higher than we remembered from previous visits.
January 14, 2009
They’re advertising it as The Best Job In The World and it certainly sounds alluring – six months in paradise being paid $6000 a week and all you have to do is a weekly blog with video updates and photos:
The Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef is a newly created position. There are a few minor tasks that need to be taken care of, but the most important duty is to report back to Tourism Queensland (and the world) and let us know what’s taking place on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
The successful applicant will be paid $150,000 and get a rent-free three bedroom house for six months for such arduous duties as:
Explore and report back
There’s so much to see and do, so you’ll have plenty to write about in your weekly blog. And with so much life above and below the water, you’re sure to capture some entertaining moments for your video diary and photo gallery. To keep you busy, Tourism Queensland will organise a schedule of travel and events on the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. Your schedule could include sampling a new luxury spa treatment at qualia on Hamilton Island, trying out new snorkelling gear on Heron Island, or bushwalking on Hinchinbrook Island.
Feed the fish
There are over 1,500 species of fish living in the Great Barrier Reef. Don’t worry – you won’t need to feed them all.
Clean the pool
The pool has an automatic filter, but if you happen to see a stray leaf floating on the surface it’s a great excuse to dive in and enjoy a few laps.
Collect the mail
You’ll have some time on your hands, so why not join the aerial postal service for a day? It’s a great opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the reef and islands.
It’s a real job but it’s also a ploy to increase tourism in Queensland and if the interest generated counts, it’s already been successful.
I got on to the sotry via the ODT but it took me several attempts before I got on to the website. This could be a result of the traffic its getting – it crashed yesterday after it was overloaded by hits from Britain.