Extended Leave


Hi all – I’m on a period of extended leave and during this time I’ll be doing a bit of travelling and having a break obviously.I don’t expect to be back Blogging until the start of September. Enjoy the break – I know I will.

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El Shaddai (Jess Bauer)


This is a clip of a young singer called Jess Bauer that I came across – really enjoyed it.

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Christianophobia & Homophobia


Does Christianophobia actually exist? The word itself means ‘fear of Christians.’ Therefore someone who is described as a ‘Christianophobe,’ would be someone who has a fear of Christians. But that is not what the word has (or words have) come to mean in modern parlance.

I am sure that somewhere, out there, there are people who have a genuine fear of Christians for whatever reasons, whether real or imagined. Generally speaking most people have no reason to fear genuine Christians, except perhaps for the very realisation that they expose their lives for what they really are and are a powerful reminder to them of the threat of eternity and what that may mean for them in their future existence. However they pose very little in the way of actual threat to them in their everyday existence and so there is no real basis for an actual fear of Christians themselves.

What is really displayed is not ‘Christianophobia,’ but a deep seated hatred of Christians and therefore a twisting of what the word now means. Christianophobia has now come to mean that very thing, a hatred of Christians and it is displayed in all manner of opposition to Christians and their way of life, their beliefs, and even their existence. It is brutally seen in the actual persecution of Christians and in many places around the world in discrimination against them, in the imprisonment of them, in their torture of them and ultimately in their martyrdom of them. It is what historically has been known as persecution.

One of the current ways to oppress Christians and it is a way that is gaining momentum around the world, particularly in Western countries, is via homosexuality. Now that I have mentioned homosexuality such opposers to Christianity would have already started beating on their war drums and are more-than-likely breathing out their hatred towards me and what I stand for. I have probably already been charged with ‘homophobia’ and of being a ‘homophobe.’ And all this, most likely, with no knowledge of what I actually believe, stand for or practice.

I have been friends with gay people, been very close to some gay people and lived and worked among gay people. I have had very normal conversations and relationships with gay people (all without fear of gay people). I have loved gay people. Some gay people have been very dear to me and dare I say more dear to me then some Christian people that I know. Yet I am still regarded as a homophobe by the politically correct.

Let me be clear though, I have not embraced the gay lifestyle nor have I accepted it as being a way of living acceptable to Biblical standards or Biblical Christianity.

Homophobia of course means ‘a fear of homosexuals’ and a homophobe is someone who ‘has a fear of homosexuals.’ Again, I am sure that for whatever reason there are those who have some actual fear of homosexuals and homosexuality, but let me say there are very few genuine Christians that do. To say Christians in general have a spirit of homophobia is completely false and it is a falsehood that supporters of gay rights love to cast into the face of Christians as a way of shutting down any form of rational debate. It is a way to silence opposition to their agenda, as though that should automatically end the argument, it being politically incorrect to have any other belief or conviction that is contrary to popular opinion.

So in popular parlance it has become the norm to refer to homophobia as hating homosexuals and homophobes as those who have a hatred of homosexuals. This of course is a popular term to throw in the face of Christians because true Christianity doesn’t bow in the face of political correctness and the will of the majority. So Christians are termed bigots for having a different view to gay rights and homosexuality in general.

Interestingly, it is these very champions of gay rights who display a bigoted approach to their dealings with people who have a different view to themselves. It is they who are actually intolerant towards others who have a differing view to their own and who want to force their views onto others, while actually accusing Christians of being what they themselves are actually delivering. It is an argument flawed with hypocrisy and double standards, not that they would reasonably consider such a possibility for they are after all in the ascendancy.

Let me also be clear that there are indeed those who go by the name Christian that do in fact hate gay people and without knowing the hearts of such people, let me suggest that those attending Westboro Baptist Church would seem to be an obvious, in-your-face example of such. Such displays are not a true reflection of Christianity toward gay people.

And may I also say, seeking to embrace the political correctness and pragmatism of our day, by denying what the Bible teaches concerning homosexuality and embracing the modern movement of gay rights is not a true reflection of Biblical Christianity either.

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Evernote for Windows


My favorite web application/piece of software, Evernote, has received an overhaul for Windows.

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Explainer: what is eczema and what can you do about it?


Rodney Sinclair, University of Melbourne

Eczema is a genetic disorder with an environmental trigger, which affects one in three people at some time in their life.


Alila Medical Media/Shutterstock

People with eczema essentially have sensitive skin that is easily irritated. The irritation produces dryness by disrupting the function of the external waterproof skin barrier, allowing water to leave the skin.

The main gene associated with eczema – or atopic dermatitis, as it’s known clinically – is filaggrin. Filaggrin mutations reduce the ability of the skin to withstand environmental insults and to repair itself after injury.

Disruption to the skin barrier allows allergens to enter the deeper layers of the skin and activate the immune system.

How the immune system reacts to these allergens determines the severity of the skin inflammation and the duration of the disruption to the skin barrier function.

What can you do about it?

If you or someone in your family has suffered with severe eczema, you’ve probably tried all sorts of remedies to alleviate the itching. Here are five tips to calm your skin:

1) Avoid things that irritate the skin. No matter how wonderful a hot shower feels on itchy skin, it actually aggravates eczema. Keep showers to five minutes or less and use luke-warm water.

Wash with water alone: no soap, no soap substitute, no soap-free wash and definitely no bubble bath. Just water.

2) Avoid overheating. Heat makes the itch worse, irrespective of the cause. Turn the heating down to 18 to 20 degrees Celsius (64 to 68 degrees Farenheit) and put on an extra layer of clothing.

Take the doona off your bed and sleep under good old-fashioned cotton blankets. Overheating at night leads to scratching in your sleep. If there is blood on your sheets in the morning, that is a sure sign your bed is too hot at night.

Apply moisturiser frequently and liberally.
Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.

3) Take a bleach bath. This is a simple method to reduce the bacteria on the surface of your skin. For a full tub of water, use half a cup of bleach. Never apply bleach directly to the skin. (More safety tips and instructions are available here.)

If the eczema is weeping, oozing or has honey-coloured crusts, there is almost always golden staph on the skin surface aggravating the eczema. Bleach baths are a good alternative to antibiotics.

4) Use lots and lots of moisturiser. To fix eczema you will also need to restore the skin barrier. That requires frequent and liberal use of moisturiser, including after the eczema appears to have cleared up.

There are lots of moisturisers on the market. Trial and error is the best way to find the right moisturiser for your skin. Keep in mind that if you use a light one, you need to reapply it more often than a heavy one.

While tablets can help stop the inflammation, in general that’s not enough to stop the eczema.

5) Use your topical corticosteroid creams as directed. Additives reduce the skin thinning that can occur with prolonged use of potent topical steroids. Your dermatologist is the best person to advise you on this.

Emerging therapies

Researchers are investigating whether a new class of drugs, called biologics, could help manage severe eczema.

Biologics show promise but they’re still several years away.
Quayside/Shutterstock

Biologics try to block critical steps within certain pathways, which can terminate inflammation.

Biologics are most commonly produced from bacteria or yeast cultures. Specific genes are inserted into bacteria and yeast that have been inactivated so they are no longer dangerous to humans.

Production of biologics in this way is slow, low-volume, high-tech and expensive. Consequently, biologics can cost tens of thousands of dollars per patient per year.

A number of clinical research trials are underway to test these agents. People with severe eczema, which is not adequately controlled with current treatments, may consider enrolling to participate in a research trial.

It will still take three to five years for the results of these trials to be fully assessed and to know whether biologic agents are safe and effective in the management of eczema. If they are, they could revolutionise the management of severe eczema.

The Conversation

Rodney Sinclair, Professor of Dermatology, University of Melbourne

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


So this has been the scourge of my adult life really – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I first fell ill with it in late 1989 – early 1990. It is a dreadful illness. The link below is to an article that takes a look at this affliction.

For more visit:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/15/it-was-like-being-buried-alive-victim-of-chronic-fatigue-syndrome

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Jason Bourne


The Jason Bourne series of movies are among my favourites, so news of another movie in the series is great for me. Looking forward to it. It also has another of my favourite actors in it by the look of it – Tommy Lee Jones.

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Health Check: what happens to your body when you’re dehydrated?


Toby Mündel, Massey University

Water is essential for human life. It accounts for for 50-70% of our body weight and is crucial for most bodily functions.

Any deficit in normal body water – through dehydration, sickness, exercise or heat stress – can make us feel rotten. First we feel thirsty and fatigued, and may develop a mild headache. This eventually gives way to grumpiness, and mental and physical decline.

We continually lose water via our breath, urine, faeces and skin. Most healthy people regulate their body’s water level remarkably well via eating and drinking, and are guided by appetite and thirst. But this is more difficult for infants, the sick, the elderly, athletes, and those with strenuous physical occupations, especially in the heat.

What happens when you dehydrate?

By the time you feel thirsty your body is already dehydrated; our thirst mechanism lags behind our actual level of hydration.

Research shows that as little as 1% dehydration negatively affects your mood, attention, memory and motor coordination. Data in humans is lacking and contradictory, but it appears that brain tissue fluid decreases with dehydration, thus reducing brain volume and temporarily affecting cell function.

As you “lose” body water without replacing it, your blood becomes more concentrated and, at a point, this triggers your kidneys to retain water. The result: you urinate less.

The thicker and more concentrated your blood becomes, the harder it is for your cardiovascular system to compensate by increasing heart rate to maintain blood pressure.

When your dehydrated body is “pushed” – such as when exercising or faced with heat stress – the risk of exhaustion or collapse increases. This can cause you to faint, for instance, when you stand up too quickly.

Thirsty?
Joi Ito/Flickr, CC BY

Less water also hampers the body’s attempts at regulating temperature, which can cause hyperthermia (a body temperature greatly above normal).

At a cellular level, “shrinkage” occurs as water is effectively borrowed to maintain other stores, such as the blood. The brain senses this and triggers an increased sensation of thirst.

How much should I drink?

Normal water needs range drastically due to a number of factors, such as body composition, metabolism, diet, climate and clothing.

Surprisingly, the first official recommendation about water intake was made as recently as 2004. According to the Institute of Medicine, the adequate water intake for adult men and women is 3.7 and 2.7 litres per day, respectively.

Around 80% of total daily water should be obtained from any beverage (including water, caffeinated drinks and alcohol!) and the remaining 20% from food.

But of course, this is just a rough guide. Here’s how to monitor your own hydration:

  1. Track your body weight and stay within 1% of your normal baseline. You can work out your baseline by averaging your weight (just out of bed, before breakfast) on three consecutive mornings.

  2. Monitor your urine. You should be urinating regularly (more than three to four times per day) and it should be a pale straw or light yellow colour without strong odour. If less frequent, darker colour or too pungent, then drink more fluids.

  3. Be conscious about drinking enough fluids. Your fluid consumption should prevent the perception of thirst.

The Conversation

Toby Mündel, Senior Lecturer, School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Australian Songs for Australia Day


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Australia Day


There is no-one that loves Australia as much as me. I am Australian and I love this country. It is the best country on earth. However, celebrating Australia Day is something I become more uncomfortable with each year. Why? Because there is a significant portion of our population who have their nose rubbed in it every year on this day – this day that marks the anniversary that their land was invaded by Europeans – this day that conveniently forgets that this country wasn’t settled/pioneered on and from that day, for it was already settled by other nations – this day that marked the beginning of countless atrocities against the traditional owners of this land. Yes, I am Australian and so are they, so please remember our original Australian patriots on this day. Perhaps a change of day in the future should be considered? Just a thought.

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