Archive for March, 2019

James Brown to dance his way back into Melbourne City line up

These days it’s quite common for footballers of any code to use pilates, yoga and core exercises to strengthen muscle and improve their flexibility – not to mention their mental discipline.

Ballet dancing as a fitness tool is, however, not such a familiar program.

But such was the scale of Melbourne City midfielder James Brown’s foot problem, and so difficult was it for the talented 26-year-old to speed his recovery, that he turned to the barre for assistance. He might share the same name as the Godfather of Soul, but Brown eschewed funk for a spot of “flic flac”.

While coach John van ‘t Schip does not expect Brown to be completely familiar with ballet terms like “en avante” or “en arriere”, he will certainly expect him to be “en pointe” when he makes his return to first team action for the first time in almost a year on Friday night when City take on Wellington Phoenix.

Brown has shown remarkable mental strength and determination to get his injury ravaged body back to the sort of condition it needs to be to play top level domestic soccer, while van ‘t Schip has shown great patience and belief in a player whose whole career has been dogged by the question of how good he could have been had he not constantly succumbed to injury.

Brown, one of the handful of indigenous players to have made a mark in the A-League, turned 26 earlier this month: time, if not running out for the former Gold Coast United and Newcastle Jets attacking midfielder, is passing quickly.

His coach does not expect him to start against the Phoenix, but if he is needed van ‘t Schip is sure he is ready enough now to play his part.

Brown and another victim of long term injury, young striker Marc Marino, are both included in the travelling squad which headed across to New Zealand on Thursday morning. Also in is Anthony Caceres, back from a second suspension having received two red cards in the two games he has started for City since joining the Melbourne club from Central Coast in the January window.

Marino has been out all season after requiring surgery for a knee injury he picked up in a pre-season friendly in the winter but, like Brown, has done enough to convince van ‘t Schip that he is ready to play some part in City’s run in to the race for the Premiership.

Wade Dekker and Steve Kuzmanowski are the two who were in the squad for the 4-1 win over Central Coast who have been left out to make way for the newcomers.

“Both boys have been training for weeks now and deserve a chance to be with the team. James can be a player coming in from the bench as we used Kuz, he can play in three or four positions, Marino is more specific (as a striker).

“I am not doing it to lift (their) morale, they have worked hard and they deserve to get an opportunity. Both are now to a level they can have a role with the team.

“James had a very difficult to treat injury. Mentally it was not an easy period for him. There was a moment when everyone was doubting what was going to happen. But if we need him to do something up front we have seen that he is training well.”

Brown’s last games were in March of 2015: he scored the only goal of City’s 1-0 away win against Sydney, but a week later he went down after half an hour in the home match against Brisbane and has not been seen since.

“He is over it mentally, he is happy, he is feeling great, he is running, he doesn’t have any problems physically. Things happen, other players get an opportunity, if someone doesn’t take it another one gets a chance,” his coach said.

Competition for places will only hot up over the next few weeks as more City players regain fitness. Connor Chapman, the centre back who has been out for more than two months, is expected to be back in contention for a squad place next week, while Harry Novillo, on a club suspension after a domestic incident made the news pages, will also be available for the next home match against Sydney FC.

Jack Clisby retains his spot in the squad because of the versatility he offers as he can play as a left back as well as a central defender, hence the lack of urgency about recalling veteran injury prone defender Aaron Hughes.

Van ‘t Schip is set to continue with the successful left sided combination of Michael Zullo and Ben Garuccio against a Nix team he feels should not be written off just yet.

“Wellington is always a strange game for us. We have won there 5-0, lost there 5-1, had a draw. It’s always very difficult. We know they didn’t have a lot of home games in their own stadium and they will have five home gams in the last seven and they will try to make something of their season,” said van ‘t Schip, who regards Ernie Merrick’s team as very threatening going forward but one who can be fragile if they concede goals.

He is also wary of the threat posed by his countryman, Roly Bonevacia.

“He is important for Wellington. He had a great first year, a big impact on Wellington’s game… this year the same….but this year they don’t have Nathan Burns and that was a big strength of theirs.”

Van ‘t Schip has impressed on Caceres the need to tailor his game and avoid any more unnecessary dismissals.

“I have spoken to him about the way he has to approach the game, he has to be a bit more careful. But I think two of the four fouls he made were not yellow yards. The way he is playing now is different to what he was used to at Central Coast. He has to be more careful when he comes in.”

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40 hot gifs for a 40-degree day

Looking for some more tips on how to deal with the heat today? And you want them in gif form? Say no more!

Stay cool, like this very cool sloth.

Don’t forget to wipe away the sweat.

Always keep it classy.

Catch a wave, if you can.

Heading to the beach is definitely not the worst idea.

But don’t forget your water safety.

And be safe around dangerous rocks.

Share an ice-cream with your mates.

Dress appropriately for the weather.

And remember to wear a hat at all times.

Sunscreen is an absolute must.

Enjoy a beverage by the pool.

No, really. Enjoy a beverage by a pool.

Did we mention enjoying a beverage by the pool?

Go for a drive and feel the wind in your damn photogenic hair.

Try some of nature’s ice block–the watermelon.

You can even share it with your friends.

Tell somebody you know how hot it is.

Tell somebody you don’t know how hot it is.

Just tell everybody how hot it is.

Become a fan of fans.

Airflow + ice = cool air.

No, really, make friends with your nearest fan.

Try not to sweat too much.

But if you have to sweat, at least do it somewhere others are doing it.

So you don’t look weird, of course.

Don’t get dehydrated –keep water close by.

Drink as much of it as you can.

And deserts are practically ruled out.

Don’t leave your pets to sweat, either.

If you go outside, try to stand in the shade.

Ideally, though, just stay inside.

Because it’s hot out there…and bright.

And your pale skin just isn’t equipped to deal.

Beware of heat exhaustion.

Exhaustion can lead to confusion.

But above all, remember it could be worse –it’s 40 degrees here but over 4000 degrees on the surface of the sun.

5500 degrees to be accurate.

So really…the best advice…

…is to just relax.

Hawkesbury Gazette

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Giant one-tonne ‘fatberg’ pulled from drain | photos

Part of the one-tonne wet wipes cluster removed from sewer pipes at the pumping station in Eleebana. Photo: Hunter Water

Wet wipes vs toilet paper:See how well toilet paper breaks down when compared to wet wipes. Video: SMH

Enormous clusters of wet wipes are creating “fatbergs” that are clogging up sewer pipes across NSW, including a one-tonne cluster that blew out a pumping station near LakeMacquarie.

Three-quarters of the one-tonne cluster of sewage and wet wipes was removed with specialised equipment from the station at Eleebana.

But the rest, 300 kilograms, was removed by hand, one bucket at a time, according to Hunter Water Corporation spokesman Nick Kaiser.

“Wet wipes are responsible for around 80 per cent of all sewer blockages in Hunter Water’s system,” Mr Kaiser said.

“These can cost thousands of dollars to repair and if they occur in people’s private plumbing that cost is worn by the customer.”

Giant one-tonne ‘fatberg’ pulled from drain | photos Sydney Water workers at the Shellharbour sewage pumping station cleaning out a blockage of wet wipes. A spokesman said such clean-outs happen on a regular basis.

Sydney Water workers at the Shellharbour sewage pumping station cleaning out a blockage of wet wipes.

Sydney Water workers at the Shellharbour sewage pumping station cleaning out a blockage of wet wipes.

Wet wipes may say they’re flushable but they’re not. Photo: Sydney Water

TweetFacebookIt is a problem worldwide with wet wipes advertised as flushable taking years to break down and sometimes mixing with fats and oils to form “fatbergs”.

“Only human waste and toilet paper should ever be flushed down the toilet,” Mr Kaiser said.

A survey of consumers in the Illawarra region found one in four Illawarra residents flushed wet wipes down the toilet, which can clog up pipes and block toilets. One resident said he had been hit with a $16,000 plumbing bill.

The Water Services Association of Australia estimated wet wipes are costing water utilities $15 million per year.

According to a Sydney Water spokesman, wet wipes are clogging up the sewerage systems in the Illawarra on a “constant basis”, requiring regular removal.

Across the network, the wipes can combine with items like fats and oils to create “fatbergs” – which lead to environmental damage when the blockages create sewage overflows into creeks, rivers and beaches.

When people read “flushable” they believe that means the product will break down, but the spokesman said this wasn’t the case.

“The issue is certainly that wet wipes don’t break down like toilet paper,” he said.

“Toilet paper breaks down almost immediately when flushed. Independent tests undertaken by Choice showed that the wet wipes hadn’t broken down in any way during a 21-hour testing period.”

Last year Choice gave Kleenex a Shonky Award for its flushable wipes.

Each year, Sydney Water removes 500 tonnes of wipes from the network across the Illawarra, Blue Mountains and Sydney every year at a cost of $8 million per year.

“Many customers have told us that based on the flushablelabelling of wipes they thought it was OK to flush, only to be hit with expensive plumbing bills,” Sydney Water’s service delivery general manager Eric de Rooy said.

Sydney Water recommended ignoring the “flushable” claim on the packaging.

“Our message to customers is simple,” Mr de Rooy said.

“Keep wipes out of pipes – bin it, don’t flush it.”

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Senate medical marijuana move “terrific”: Maitland mum

THE RIGHT TO HEAL: Sam Aulton has long championed the legalisation of medicinal cannabis. Photo by Cath Bowen.This week the Senate paved the way for medicinal cannabis to be legally grown in Australia and no one could be happier than Horseshoe Bend womanSam Aulton.

The Senate made changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act on Wednesday to create a national body that can issue licenses to growers and regulate local crops of medicinal marijuana.

In the fight to prolong her life against terminal cancer, Ms Aulton said she turned to cannabis oil in the hope it would ease her pain and boost her immune system.

But the drug’s status as a prohibited substance meant she was forced to source it illegally.

Her desperate quest for treatment almost cost her life.

“I knew I had to reach a medicinal point of one gram a day for 60 days,” she said.

“I pushed myself to that point but I knew something was wrong.”

Ms Aulton said the source she relied on for cannabis oil was selling acontaminated product.

But it was one she needed to consume in large quantities.

“My source used butane [to extract the oil].I was ingesting it.

“I spent four months eating poison and I haven’t walked since.”

Ms Aulton said she had recently secured a more reliable source for cannabis oiland had already noticedthe benefits of returning to the treatment.

“Last year I had collapsed lungs, I was close to death,” she said.

“But I’ve started to rebuild.I feel better, stronger.”

Health Minister Sussan Ley said the Department of Health and Therapeutic goods was well advanced in considering downgrading cannabisto a controlled substancein the same category as morphine.

Ms Aulton said the most significant benefit of the legislation would be a regulated, safe and reliable medicine.

She also said she was happy patients would no longer have to hide or become criminals as they tried to improve or prolong their lives.

“I don’t want any fear of telling people they should take it,” Ms Aulton said.

“You see stories every day on Facebook about kids with epilepsy benefiting from it and I just think ‘why the hell not?’.”

Ms Aulton said preventing the use of medicinal marijuana was an injustice.

“We’re not trying to profit from it, we’re just trying to survive,” she said.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale said the changes were an important first step to legalising medicinal marijuana. However he said more work was needed to deal with how doctors would prescribe the drug and how it would be distributed.

Vacy industrial hemp farmer Bob Doyle said he supported the move but had no plans to plant a medicinal crop.

“I fully support what they’re trying to do,” he said.

“But we want people to know we’ve got industrial hemp, not medical.”

Mr Doyle grows hemp plants with low THC levels, which makesthem ideal for clothing, construction and insulation purposes while beingineffective as a medical or recreational drug.

Bob Doyle on his hemp farm in February 2015. Picture: Stuart Scott.

But he saidthat didn’t stop confused people “trying” his crop.

“We had a crop at Hinton. People just couldn’t help themselves.

“Everyone told them all they’d get was a headache but they had to try it.”

While Mr Doyle said the regulations and practicalities of medical marijuana crops would still need to be hashed out.

And while he reiterated his support for other growers to pursue the growth of medical crops in the Hunter Valley, he said issues like cross-pollination withlow THC hemp farmsand security would need to be addressed.

“Medical crops in the Hunter Valley would need to be grown in greenhouses or away from other crops,” Mr Doylesaid.

“I suspect the areas we’re talking about would be quite small and highly policed.

“But these issues are not insurmountable.”

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Meet the new emoji revamping the Like button

Facebook has launched five new emoji buttons – Angry, Sad, Wow, Haha and Love.Scroll down for the videoTIP: If the new emoji buttons aren’t appearing on your phone, completely close the app and then try again.

If you’ve ever awkwardly hit the thumbs-up “Like” button on a Facebook post with not-so-good news, you’ll be relieved to hear the social media giant has rolledout five alternatives.

Five new emoji buttons – angry, sad, wow, haha and love – were launched worldwide on Wednesday.

The traditional “Like” button still appears at the bottom of posts, but if the user holds down the button on a smartphone, the five emoji options will be revealed.

To create “Reactions”, Facebook researchers began grouping the most common types of responses to posts. For example, “haha” and “omg so funny” were grouped under the laughter category.

They whittled down the categories to six, but later culled the “Yay” as it wasn’t universally understood.

Facebook also added animation to clarify the meaning of the emojis, making some bounce and change expression.

The Reactions were first road-tested by users in Spain and Ireland. It was later rolled out to Chile, the Philippines, Portugal, and Colombia.

As Facebook’s 1.6 billion users – who hit the “Like” button 6 billion times a day – adjust to the change, advertisers will likely be assessing how to best convert the new flood of user data into sales and revenue.

At present, the value generated just by the “Like” button for Facebook is “priceless”, Brian Blau, an analyst at Gartner, told Bloomberg. By collecting more granular data about users’ sentiments, Facebook will be able to better target its ads and also improve the News Feed algorithm in order to surface more relevant posts.

Associate Professor David Glance, director of Centre for Software Practice at the University of Western Australia said the “Like” button had been problematic for advertisers because it didn’t cover the subtleties.

“The degree of reaction is now captured and that’s an important feature. It enables advertisers to be incredibly sophisticated about how they post their ads, refining them constantly,” he said.

“The buttons, combined with your profile, demographic, your read habits and other information all now goes into the mix.”

Mark Cameron, chief executive of strategic digital consultancy Working Three, said Facebook’s business model was underpinned by ultra-targeted advertising and its goal was to create “complex psychometric profiles of users”.

“Knowing all the brands, pages, people and posts someone “Likes” gives Facebook an amazing view of each of its users – adding an additional level of behavioural interactivity allows this to get even more sophisticated,” he said in acolumn for BRW.

“It is very easy to imagine a world where someone, after seeing the post about a friend’s parent passing away, hits a button that expresses “I’m sorry” and is then is presented with an ad for flowers delivery.”

Facebook made a profit of $US3.7 billion ($5.2 billion) in 2015, up 25 per cent from a year earlier, itslatest quarterly earnings report shows. Revenue grew by 43 per cent to $US17.9 billion.

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