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Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2015

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This essay is most of all about understanding; what we can know and what we think we do know. It is an outline originally written for my children and I have tried to avoid jargon or to assume the reader's in-depth familiarity with any of the subjects I touch on. I began it in 1997 when my youngest was still a small child and parts are still written in language I used with her then. I hope this makes it clear and easy to understand for my children and anyone else.


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Travel

Malta

 

 

Almost everyone in Australia knows someone who hailed directly from Malta or is the child of Maltese parents. There are about a quarter as many Maltese Australians as there are Maltese Maltese so it is an interesting place to visit; where almost every cab driver or waiter announces that he or she has relatives in Sydney or Melbourne.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Merry Christmas

[Turn on your sound...]

 

 

What!   Don't I mean happy festive season? 

No I don't. 

I'm more than content with Christmas this uniquely Australian blend of cultural traditions celebrated in the heat of summer.  I'm happy for school kids to perform in nativity plays.  I'm happy to go to Church with friends and family.  And I'm happy to play Christmas Carols at home and sometimes sing them with others in a park or around a table. 

Like many Australians I'm an immigrant. When I arrived in 1948 with my parents I had no choice in the matter. But since then I've tried living overseas and now I'm free to leave at any time I like. Yet I choose to live in Australia because I have come to like and be a part of our way of life.  Celebrating Christmas as we do is uniquely Australian.

So I'm inclined to say to new arrivals or to local killjoys who object:

"Try embracing our chosen country's rather unique traditions and ways. You may come to love them as I have.  Celebrating Christmas doesn't stop us holding our own religious beliefs or from remembering and integrating our previous cultural traditions as well."

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Opinions and Philosophy

The Chemistry of Life

 

What you should know

Most of us already know: that an atom is the smallest division of matter that can take part in a chemical reaction; that a molecule is a structure of two or more atoms; and that life on Earth is based on organic molecules: defined as those molecules that contain carbon, often in combination with hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, and may include other elements like sodium, calcium, phosphorous and iron.  

Organic molecules can be extremely large.  Familiar extremely large organic molecules include plastics like polyethylene and many proteins, like spider web.

Chromosomes are structures within the cells of animals and plants consisting of very large molecules of  DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid).   DNA stores and replicates information. It encodes the genes used by all complex living organisms on Earth to reproduce and function. 

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