Ethics of sports fans

It’s new ethics topic day, and this week the younger kids are doing the topic of Sports Fans. There are questions about how sports fans should behave, and whether it’s okay to follow teams just because they win more, or if you should be loyal to your home team, and about athletes being role models, and other stuff like that.

The weather is still chilly like winter, though should warm up a bit as the week goes by. I took Scully for a walk up to the local shops and had sushi for lunch for the first time in ages.

On the way back, I dropped in on a furniture store nearby, one that specialises in ergonomic furniture for back posture. My current desk stool is breaking and I ned a replacement. I got it at this same shop many years ago, and it’s been brilliant. The base is convex, so it doesn’t sit still on the floor – it constantly wobbles and you need to use your core muscles to sit steadily. And there’s no backrest, so it’s impossible to slouch. It’s been great for my posture and I wanted a similar replacement. I tried looking on their website on the weekend, but all the wobble stools that I found were too tall – the lowest adjusted height was significantly higher than my current stool. So I wanted to ask in the showroom if they had anything else that might suit me.

And when I went in I found one of these, a Leo Perching Stool. I tried it out and adjusted the height, and it was perfect. And feels really good. Maybe even better than my current old stool. The guy there told me it came in a wide range of colours and I could select them from the website and order it to be picked up from the store, to avoid delivery fees. So I came home and found it on their website and ordered one.

It came with a range of fabric types and colours. One of the types was a premium fabric, and it said it would add the premium charge at the shipping stage. I selected a premium fabric and went to the checkout to see what the extra cost would be… and it didn’t add anything! I liked the colour I’d selected, so I purchased it with that. Hopefully I’ll get it with the premium fabric at no extra cost! 😀

OOPS! I saved a draft of this post on Tuesday night, and then neglected to actually post it. But that gives me time on Wednesday morning to add this photo I took yesterday of a kookaburra.

Kookaburra by phone

Yes, that’s with my phone. Sometimes kookaburras are tame enough to get within a metre or so.

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A new ethics class for older kids

I mentioned the other day that I was thinking of starting a new ethics and critical thinking class on Outschool for older kids. Today I put together a class description and submitted the class to Outschool for approval. I expect it should be approved pretty quickly.

With the class description I included topics for the first four planned classes:

  • Crime and Punishment
  • Free Will and Determinism
  • How to Rig an Election
  • The Meaning of Life

Pretty ambitious, but I think I can pull it off! Assuming it’s approved, I’ll start scheduling classes to begin after Christmas, and leave them until then so new students can find the classes and enrol.

Here’s a photo of an Australian brushturkey that I managed to get extremely close to with my phone the other day.

Brushturkey close up

There’s one of these (a different one to the photo) currently guarding a nest mound near my place. Whenever I walk past, it chases me, trying to drive me away, until about 25 metres from the nest. It’s very protective and chases everyone away, although it’s not aggressive and backs off if you approach it. Soon the chicks will hatch and it will abandon them to their fates. They’re really curious birds.

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Relaxing Sunday back home

After our short trip away, today was a day of resting at home to recover! We slept in a bit and got up leisurely.

After breakfast, my first task of the day was to wash the car, to remove all the road grime from the trip to the country, and also vacuum out the interior to get rid of all the grass and stones and other debris that had accumulated. I did a comprehensive clean, detailing, wash, and wax, which took a good couple of hours.

THat led right up to lunch time, and I was hungry after my morning of work. We took a walk with Scully to our favourite bakery at Naremburn, and when we got there we were reminded that today was a special street fair day at the small set of shops there. There was a small market set up with about a dozen stalls, and live music, and all the food places had several tables out for people to sit and eat. There were a lot more people around than normal, obviously, and there was a nice buzz of activity. But it wasn’t too big – there were really only probably under 100 people there at any time.

Back home I worked on some Irregular Webcomic! strips for the coming week, and uploaded some bird photos from the trip to Orange. These are the ones from the Coogal Parklands walk that we did on Wednesday.

Pacific black duck:

Pacific black duck

Superb fairywren, juvenile male:

Superb fairywren, juvenile male

Sulphur-crested cockatoos:

Sulphur-crested cockatoos

Australian king parrot, male:

Australian king-parrot, male

Crimson rosella:

Crimson rosella

Grey fantail (really hard to catch in a photo, since it’s always moving around):

Grey fantail

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Trekking north for a day

Today my wife had a day off work, and my only ethics class was from 9am, so I was done by 10 o’clock. We decided to take advantage by going out for the day. We took Scully and we drove up to the northern beaches suburbs, as far as Avalon Beach, almost an hour’s drive.

There we stopped at Oliver’s Pies to get some lunch. We took them across the road to the large park there to let Scully run around while we ate, and after finishing I tossed a ball for her to chase for a while. Then we went for a walk. I wanted to do a path through Bangalley Headland Reserve, and we walked a few blocks to where the track started, but we discovered that dogs were prohibited on the track. So unfortunately we had to return to the car.

Instead, we decided to go to the shopping centre at Avalon and sit at a cafe for a bit so my wife could get some coffee. I got a nutty chocolate treat as well while there, and we discussed what else to do. We decided to stop off at Warriewood Wetlands on the way home, which is a great spot to walk around and spot birds. I had my camera with me, and managed to get a few shots, although we were walking rather than waiting patiently for opportunities.

Willie wagtail:

Willie wagtail

Australasian grebe:

Australasian grebe

Dusky moorhen:

Dusky moorhen

We also saw Eurasian coots, superb fairywrens, silvereyes, Pacific black ducks, and we heard plenty of bell miners, but those guys are almost impossible to spot.

In other news, I got a minor scrape on my left hand while cooking dinner and put a band-aid on it. Then later while washing up, I didn’t want to get my left hand wet, so I swapped hands and held the pots in my left hand while scrubbing them with the dishcloth in my right hand. This felt so weird and uncoordinated! I was curious and asked my friends on our group chat what hands they use to wash dishes, and they all said that they normally hold the item in their left hand and scrub it with the right. My wife said the same thing.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve discovered that I do something the opposite way to other right-handed people. I use my left hand to eat finger food (I just confirmed my friends use their right hands). I know I ride push scooters and skateboards the same way as left-handed people. I tie my shoelaces using a mirror image sequence of moves to right-handed people I’ve watched. But I consider myself right-handed. I write with my right hand, I throw right-handed, I play sports like tennis, cricket, golf right handed.

I was just now searching casually on Google for if this is a known thing – right-handed people doing a whole bunch of things in a left-handed way. And it turns out there’s a term for it! Cross-dominance! I’d never heard of this before, but yes, that’s me. Huh. So I just learnt a thing about myself.

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Monday the long workday

I start work at 8am on Monday, teaching two online classes in a row, an hour break, and then another one. Then I can relax and have some lunch. I took Scully for a walk, a longish one today, around the loop that takes us past the harbour shore.

While doing this, I did a bird count on eBird. Normally on this sort of walk I can spot about 11 or 12 different species, but today was especially bird-laden. There were two little black cormorants sitting on the marina, next to an Australian wood duck. These are two of the less common species that I spot around the area, so they helped bulk up the species count. They were too far away to get decent photos using my phone. But a bit further along there was a white-faced heron standing on a rock in the water below the footbridge:

White-faced heron

Further along I spotted two tawny frogmouths!

Tawny frogmouths

These guys are quite rare to spot, as they are very well camouflaged and tricky to see during the day. I know they’re around in the area, but I’ve only seen them a few times before. Since I now had my phone ready to photograph birds, I caught a pied currawong as well.

Pied currawong

These are common and easily spotted in the area, but I managed to get fairly close. And then a bit further on I spotted a laughing kookaburra within range of photos too:

Laughing kookaburra

Anyway, I managed to tally 16 different species on this walk, which is a very high number.

Tonight I had tutoring work at the university for image processing. Tonight’s lecture was about the fundamentals of machine learning and probability theory in that context. It was a pretty easy one, relative to the others in the course.

And now I’m home and watching the live NASA TV feed of what will hopefully be the Artermis I launch, which was originally scheduled for 10:33 pm my time. Currently holding and trying to resolve an engine issue…

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