Wednesday, December 31, 2014


As I write this it is the last day of 2014 and 2015 is only a few hours away!

When I was a pre-teen, my two brothers and I would talk about how old we'd be in years that seemed an eternity in the future. When we were younger years like 1985 and 1990 seemed to be almost impossibly reachable. And, ages like 20 and 30 seemed so incredibly old! Well, the three of us have passed these 'really old' ages with flying colours! And, we are still definitely not old.

And, here we are now on the cusp of 2015...a number and year my brothers and I never discussed because it would have seemed too scifi futuristic! But, I catch myself as I write this sentence...maybe one of my brothers thought about it, although he did not talk about it...he was into scifi!

Time, when I was younger did pass slowly. Sometimes ploddingly slowly. A half hour Math class with a certain dreadful teacher seemed like more than an eternity!

I am not sure when time seemed to hasten its speed, but it does now almost fly.

An interesting, and possibly worrying, thing is that I have noticed today's young school-age children talking about how fast time flies for them. My children, when they were younger, certainly mentioned it. They'd say things like,  'This week has flown' or 'This year has gone so fast'. I never said things like that until I was an adult!

Perhaps the languidness of time-past is something to think about and possibly aspire too; time to think, notice things, doing something like throwing a ball up against a wall...again and again, to do nothing [not even watch tv!]. Seemingly purposeless activity, in hindsight, definitely has benefits.

Wishing all of you a wonderful and prosperous New Year
hoping you get time to do nothing every now and then!


The photo above is my dining room.

The three paintings hanging on the wall are all 2014 ones. Left to right : New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone?, Surrendering Horizon and Beacon. The painting leaning up against the wall at the end of the dining table is Beyond Yesterday .

I took this photo to show my paintings in a domestic environment. I think they look good...even against a you-beaut 1970s timber clad wall! [I did not clad the came with the house.] I have grown to appreciate the cladding for many reasons; it does not show the dirt, it is a fantastic acoustic buffer for noise from the tv etc, I can bang nails in anywhere [I don't...I am actually thoughtful about this], it seems warmer in winter!

The photo shows the paintings off in a way that cannot be shown when I post them below.

Paintings in a dining room help stimulate vibrant dinner-time/party conversation!

AND, I've made a 'gallery' on my website of 20 paintings that would look great in a dining room setting. Not only would they look terrific, they'd also spark inspirational and stimulating conversations. You can view the gallery For Your Dining Room HERE

Here's what I mean!!!!
Firstly, chatter about exoplanets, Goldilocks zones around distant stars, future human travel [even vacations!] to these planets could then lead to......

 New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? Oil on linen 70 x 102 cm

...conversations about the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life and its importance in 21st century stories and connections, to the past and future. Like a beacon, the tree-of-life guides us. After a bit of chatter about beacons and the sea, beacons as metaphor...the conversation could then...
 Beacon Oil on linen 91 x 102 cm

.... lead to ideas about propelling landscape beyond Earth by surrendering concepts of  horizon to the cosmos. Questions about new perspectives of Earth and humanity might stimulate previously un-thought of possibilities for solving environmental issues...and more. And, after a bit of chatter about politics, natural disasters, global warming and climate change, the conversation could lead to.....
 Surrendering Horizon Oil on linen 100 x 150 cm

...discussions about time! Is there a possibility of beyond yesterday?

And....I'll leave the rest of the conversation to you..................................!
Beyond Yesterday Oil on linen 80 x 55 cm


Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Greener Pastures: Goldilocks, Billy Goats Gruff and Exoplanets Oil on linen 60 x 60 cm 2014

Greener Pastures
Billy Goats Gruff
The story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff  was read to me when I was little. Lots of fables and stories were read to me by my Mum. Some I remember really well and some I don't. Billy Goats Gruff  is one that I remember. Three goats see greener pastures on the other side of a bridge. They have greedily eaten all the food on their side, so they decide to be brave and cross the bridge. But a hungry and wicked troll lives under the bridge, ready to attack anyone who wants to pass over. The troll is tricked into letting the two smaller goats cross, but attacks the third and larger goat, who is very strong and manages to toss the troll into the water. The three goats apparently live happily ever after.


I wonder if they did.

What if they were greedy again and ate all the food in their new pastures? If others could peacefully cross the bridge, did the goats share? If others successfully joined the goats did they develop systems to sustain the green pastures of food?

Goldilocks and Potential Earth-Like Planets
In recent years astronomers have found a number of potential Earth-like planets in other solar systems. Yes, possibly humans could survive on these planets! That's once we work out how to get there! 

Another old story, also read to me by my Mum, is often used to metaphorically describe these newly discovered potentially habitable planets. This story is Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Goldilocks goes for a walk in the forest and discovers a quaint little cottage. The owners, Papa, Mama and Baby Bear, have gone for a walk and left their breakfast porridge to cool down. Even though no-one is home Goldilocks enters the cottage. She discovers the bowls of porridge. She tries each one, Papa Bear's is too hot, Mama Bear's is too cold, but Baby Bear's porridge is just right. Goldilocks goes onto try the bears' chairs and beds too and is found by the bears sleeping in Baby bear's 'just right' bed.

Astronomers and cosmologists describe potentially habitable planets as existing in the 'Goldilocks Zone' of stars...that's not too hot nor too cold, it's 'just right'! Thus, maybe there is water and all sorts of other things that would please our hearts, lungs and stomachs! Some of these planets have even been described as possibly being super-habitable ie: even more abundant than Earth. Please read my earlier post called New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? for more ideas and links on super-habitability...and even plain ordinary habitability!
New World Habitability - Vacation Anyone? oil on linen 70 x 102 cm 2014

Obviously our Earth exists in the 'Goldilocks Zone' of our sun. It's been 'just right' for a long time! Can it last? Well no...because the demise of our Sun in around 4 billion years will obviously have serious implications for the entire solar system! But, what can we do in the meantime?

Just as the Billy Goats gruff spied greener pastures we humans think we may have too. However, there are two BUTS. One is, are we like the goats and greedily consuming our way through Earth's natural resources, thus hastening the need to find another 'home', before we are really ready to conquer the quest of getting there? And, the second BUT is - the 'bridge' we need to 'cross' is outstandingly more convoluted and difficult than the one the goats had to cross! Time and space are incredibly complex issues....


New Painting Above Greener Pastures
The green circle could be a planet...maybe another habitable planet, but possibly even Earth? The green circle pulses against the red and hot surrounding environment which suggests a few things ranging from danger, to passion, to potency, fertility, heat, fire...across time and space....the 'bridge'.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Risk Gouache on Paper 30 x 42 cm 2010 [SOLD]

In my last post In Between Things - Interstellar Even I wrote about various issues including existential risk ie: risk associated with the survival of humanity and/or the planet. Yep, so major risks like climate change, nuclear threat, advanced artificial intelligence, biological [natural and human-made] threats, collisions with meteors, aberrant individuals or groups, and lots more.

I am re-reading astronomer and cosmologist Lord Martin Rees's fascinating 2003 book Our Final Century. This book, written nearly 15 years ago, lists and explains many of the risks associated with the potential demise of humanity and/or the planet. Whilst a sombre topic, Rees writes in a manner that does not propel you into the depths of depression! Rather, the reader is informed in a way which enlightens through awareness. Since Rees wrote Our Final Century research centres examining existential risk have been set up at Cambridge UniversityOxford University and in the US [out of MIT]. I wrote about these centres in my last post.

Also, in my last post In Between Things - Interstellar Even I wrote about the new film Interstellar, suggesting that the underlying theme of the movie, is the fear of existential risk. Briefly...the story...humanity has reached a point where Earth has been depleted so severely that food sources cannot be sustained. It is apparent that to survive, humanity has to leave to find another home. I won't extrapolate here...there's more in my last post. You must see this film...I loved it.
New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? Oil on linen 70 x 102 cm 2014

I have just been on a week's holiday to Noosa; a fabulous beach holiday! On a wet afternoon my youngest daughter and I went to see the new Hunger Games movie Mockingjay Part 1. This is the third instalment of a four part movie set. I saw the first Hunger Games, but not the second. I wrote about the first one on this Blog in August 2013 in a post called Flick Of A Switch: A Post About Two Films The two films I write about are the Hunger Games and Elysium. Both films reveal the desperation of humanity's divide into the haves and have-nots. I felt particularly depressed after seeing The Hunger Games.

Mockingjay Part 1 continues with the theme of the battle between the haves and have-nots. However, it seems the divide is narrowing, with battles won, hidden ammunitions stored, defections from the fashionista 'have' camp to the battle-ready 'have-not' one, plus the agreement of the heroine Katniss to be the Mockingjay! Despite, all this seemingly positive news, I did not enjoy the film. The sinister undercurrent of depravity was still evident. It left me with a feeling that humanity will continue to create divides, thus enabling conflict to flourish. This navel gazing means that existential risk will come from ignorance, game-playing, creating more weapons of destruction in the name of seeking 'peace', making heroes and heroines from war rather than discovery, enlightenment, collaboration.

After seeing the film my daughter and I had a discussion about existential risk.

Ye gads Mum!!!, was the expression on her face!

But, I asked her a question...

'Darling, what do you think is the most severe risk to humanity's survival?'

She answered:

All Of Us Gouache on paper 15 x 21 cm 2012

  • I encourage you to read this short article Are We Living In The Hunger Games written by Melinda Edwards  [Law Professor and now, Managing Director of MeWise Pty Ltd, an international, conflict-resolution skills training company].
  • My previous post Team Humanity might interest you.
  • And, another earlier post Risky Business

RISK Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm
My painting Risk [top] Here is a quote from my earlier post for this painting.

RISK, gouache on paper ,30 x 42 cm is painted with little $ signs to question 'value'. The underground water, the river depression and the rain falling from the sky are all $ signs. The word RISK is also painted with $ signs. These are red to make an almost SOS or DANGER statement.

Thursday, December 04, 2014


In Between Things Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2014
Those of you are 'up with' current movies will know that 'interstellar', in this blog's title, is reference to the mega movie Interstellar. I saw it a few days ago and loved it. I had read various commentaries about the film, some expansive in praise and others critical of the science. Why the latter? Well, the criticism was to be expected because prior to the movie's release there was a lot of promotion about the science that informed much of the story and how it was depicted.
In my opinion we should not get too up-tight about whether the film portrays science 100% realistically/accurately or not. Why? Because it's a movie created to entertain by telling a is not a documentary! The same kind of criticisms were levelled at the 2013 film Gravity And, as Gravity's director Alphonso Cuaron said, It is not a documentary. It is a piece of fiction.  Please read my previous post about the film Gravity, Something About Space

Having said we should not get too up-tight about the science in Interstellar, there are some very interesting links to science. The most fascinating, to me, is the collaboration with theoretical physicist Kip Thorne. Thorne, the directors, special effects people etc collaborated on creating a visual depiction of a black hole. The resulting simulation has apparently provided real scientific insight into these mysterious cosmic entities. 

Various other aspects of the film have scientific links. Examples include theories about time travel, depictions of relativity, theories about worm holes, gravity and more.


I propose that the overarching science-linked element of Interstellar is existential risk. The fear of humanity's demise drives the film, its story, the relationships between people, and the introduction of plausible scientific theories, as well as those that may seem more fanciful. The fear of existential risk is gaining attention from some very smart people who have set up research centres to study the issue from various perspectives and disciplines. These centres include The Centre For The Study Of Existential Risk at Cambridge University and the Future of Life Institute in the USA founded by physicist Max Tegmark and Skype founder Jaan Tallinn, who is also a founder of the Centre For The Study Of Existential Risk. The latter research centre proposes a "new science of existential risk", to encompass a inter and cross disciplinary approach.

Interstellar and the Future
At the beginning of Interstellar the audience is introduced to the characters, living at some time in the future. It is apparent that feeding people is becoming increasingly problematic. This is due to eroded soils and diseased crops. These are obviously the outcomes of an abused environment and a corrosive atmosphere. Both have passed the stage of redemption. Humanity has to leave Earth to survive.

The hero of the movie is introduced to us as a farmer. As a farmer's daughter, I loved that the hero was a farmer! However, it soon becomes apparent that he is also an engineer, and a former astronaut from a past period when space research was funded ie: he is a rare breed! So, we have the farmer figure who represents the provider of food [the last bastion of survival], the engineer who can make and fix things, and the astronaut who can possibly save humanity...all rolled into one super hero! Ultimately he is a super... very practical hero! 


It is the practical part, coupled with the existential risk, that interests me.

Steve Fuller [Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology Department of Sociology University of Warwick] made some interesting remarks in a podcast Significant Other Beings on Australia's Radio National's Philosopher's Zone. He commented that he thought potentially catastrophic events would not necessarily wipe out everybody or everything. He gave the example of the internet failing. Whilst some would suffer from multiple systems failure etc there would be others whose lives would not be affected at all or to a great degree. These, I imagine, would be those people living in less 'developed' countries and societies. Their practical skills of survival would be the envy of those whose practical dexterities had been eroded by a reliance on technology. So, the lesson is to ensure we are dexterous both technologically as well as in 'hands on' manner. Then, we could be super heros and heroines too...maybe?😁

In a previous post called Waiting For The Beeps I write about practical skills ie: a young driver backing a car she did not drive often into a wall because she was waiting for the warning beeps. But the car did not have a warning system. The fact that looking out the window did not occur to her is a sign of a worrying trend. 

In Between Things Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm - Painting 

So, to my new painting...another of my cosmic landscapes...the word interstellar means occurring or situated between the stars. So, when a space craft goes interstellar it leaves our solar system to travel beyond into the space of other travel or go in between things.

In between things could mean anything from travelling between objects of all sizes to the tantalising dimensions of time. And, that's what my painting is!