Tag Archives: cute

Friday in Five: Vivid edition!

27 May

Got five minutes? Or maybe even ten? Here are some of the spectacular and wonderful things I’ve loved this week, brought to you from Sydney.

Awww of the week

o-BABY-GIRAFFE-facebookI spent the day at Taronga Zoo on Sydney Harbour and overdosed on cute! Penguins, wombats, sea-lions, meerkats… but still, the cutest sight of the week has to be the baby giraffe born at Taronga’s Western Plains zoo. How’s this for cute? (Also, kind of messy, but you’ll get past that!)

Song of the week

Gurrumul and KellyThis has been out for a few months now, but I’ve only just discovered it. Legendary Australian songwriter Paul Kelly joins equally legendary and soulful Australian indigenous singer Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, who sings in the Yolngu language, in an exquisite rendering of Amazing Grace. Close your eyes and breathe it in.

Quote of the week

Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Person of the week

nicholas negroponteIn the work I do when I’m not writing romance, I have the privilege of quite often hearing wonderful insights and ideas from amazing people. This week was one of those weeks when I was surrounded by ideas, courtesy of the World Business Forum Sydney. The best of them was from a man I’ve admired for a very long time – Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT’s Media Lab and also the One Laptop Per Child project, which influenced provision of over 50 million – that’s million – laptops to help educate the world’s poorest children.

Negroponte has had lots of amazing ideas over the years, but the one I loved this week was this: “connect the last billion people” by establishing a constellation of low earth-orbiting satellites, beyond the jurisdiction of any country. Why? Because access to the internet should be a human right and a civic responsibility, and if you assume that kids are our most precious natural resource and that education is the key to developing that resource for the good of everybody, then it just. Makes. Sense.

Negroponte costs such an initiative at $10 billion – that’s billion. That’s a lot of money. That amount of money would fund the US’s operations in Afghanistan for… oh, around five weeks. It would fund Australia’s illegal detention of 25 asylum seekers for a full year. So, you know… priorities.

Views of the week

Finally, here are the Vivid views I promised! I took a harbour dinner cruise with Vagabond Cruises and between scoffing canapes and quaffing bubbles managed to snap a few of the views I loved best. Hope you enjoy the Vivid colour and magic!

What have you loved this week? Drop me a line!

Gracie x

Are koalas really as cute as they look?

2 Apr

One of my favourite bloggers, Servetus, asked after my last post if koalas really are as cute as they look. And yes, they really are. At least as cute as puppies, certainly as cute as kittens. Watch this koala joey’s first photo shoot for a cuteness overload!

Sadly, they’re a lot more vulnerable than those domestic pets, despite their cute factor and their popularity as Australia’s national symbol. koala sleepingThey’re wild animals, generally nocturnal, very curious and often surprisingly trusting of humans. It used to be very rare to see a koala in a suburban environment, but increasingly as their habitat is destroyed by urban encroachment, we’re seeing them during the daytime seeking help – usually needing water. Here a young male has wandered into a suburban backyard and gets a drink from a kind stranger.

It’s not only urbanisation that’s threatening them. Along with many native Australian animals, they suffer severely during our summer bushfire seasons. Photos from this video were seen around the world after Australia’s 2009 bushfires. Again, a koala is desperately needing water, and puts up with being petted for the sake of a drink.

Domestic dogs are a threat. Cars are a threat. Backyard swimming pools are a threat (in my suburb, homeowners with swimming pools are installing ropes just under the lips of their pools, so koalas who fall in after seeking a drink have a way of climbing out again). Chlamydia is ravaging many koala populations, causing blindness and infertility.

koala bathIn rural areas, cattle are a threat. Young male koalas, particularly, are attacked by cows which herd and trample them as they attempt to move between trees. This photo went viral in Australia under the heading “Koala takes a bath”, until it was pointed out the koala was probably trapped between the water trough and the cows behind it. Unlike roos, they’re fairly slow moving and can’t get themselves out of trouble in a hurry, particularly on open ground.

Sorry, this is all very grim! The question was their cuteness, but it’s hard to talk about how beautiful they are without despairing over how endangered they are. Back to the cute!

Their fur is just as soft as it looks, even on full-grown adults. They have very sharp claws, and have been known to climb human “tkoala mum and joeyrees” standing too still watching them. And they’re often not terribly nice to each other, either. This pair fought like children over a favourite tree. The crying you hear in the video isn’t how we usually know koalas are about. More often, they sound like this (and usually in the depths of the night!).

Their feeding habits also appear to be changing. It used to be believed they only ate leaves from a very limited range of eucalypt species, but researchers are now discovering they’re also eating insects as well as from a much wider variety of tree species – whether this is an adaptation to their changing environment or simply a new discovery of longstanding behaviour, we’re not really sure.

Their smell is unmistakeable, thanks to their eucalyptus diet, but unlike possums, it’s not particularly unpleasant. In fact, there’s nothing nicer, really, than bushwalking through a eucalyptus forest and sniffing that koala aroma on the breeze!

So yes, they are absolutely as cute as they look. Come on down and visit, Servetus, and I’ll introduce you!

Gracie x

 

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