Learning Science

20 07 2015

There have been many theories on why people are not accepting science as fact, some of the theories are quite complex, such as the one about having a religious center in our brains, which might be true, but would you consider this?

Go back to when you were a child, do you recall singing Silent Night, or Away in a manger, at a very young age?

Do you then remember getting to your teens, and falling in love with songs that contained religious themes? Songs that called out to angels, or spoke of divine intervention bringing two lovers together?

Now in contrast, how many songs about science do you remember?

I’m sure you’ll have to think hard about this, and although you may identify a few, how many were you passionate about? how many did you fall in love with?

I think having more songs about science, which even small children will understand, is what’s needed to get more kids away from religion and into fact based science.

But producing songs which people will remember, songs that become ear-worms like Stock, Aitken and Waterman productions, such as “Never Gonna Give You Up” as an example, is essential.

Wolfie Rankin.


13 07 2012

I think if a psychologist asked me to choose a word which goes with school, I would say “Bullying”.

And I think almost everyone I’ve spoken to about school, especially high-school would say the same thing, I think I’ve only ever spoken to one person who said that their high-school life was ok, it’s a shame that is remarkable.

Teachers in primary school used to warn about television numbing the mind, while reading was obviously better, but this was often nonsense. I found that a lot of the shows I watched broadened my mind quite a lot. “Why is it so?”, “The curiosity show”, “Towards and Beyond 2000”, “In the wild with Harry Butler” to name just a few.

And I feel that personally, if left to my own devices, I would have had much the same education, short of a few practical lessons, as I would have if I had gone to school.

And in some ways I feel I have learnt more since leaving school, than I did while I was there.

And the bullying was something I didn’t need.

I have thought about a question from time to time, What would I choose if I must have…

Seven years of school or six months of cancer treatments (Which I have had), and I’m really not sure which I’d rather go through.

The pain runs very deep for both, but one is over quickly.

The last year of school for me was year 10 at Footscray High School, a year I was repeating, not surprisingly because I simply didn’t care anymore, I’d get up, go to school, fear for my life from 9am till 3:10pm and then go home to where it was safe.

I never did homework, as soon as I was home, that was it.

Mum didn’t push me, it wasn’t as though she didn’t care, she did, quite a lot, but knew that school and I were like oil and water.

Then one day I’d had enough, I faked an argument with my Dad who was taking me to school in his truck, and I told him I’d rather walk to school… well I walked home instead and laid on the roof of the garage until the day was over.

The funny thing was that Mum and Dad were called to school by the co-ordinator, She wanted to tell my parents that I really wasn’t doing very well and I wouldn’t get a high enough grade to finish the year and go onto the next.

Except when they called for me over the P.A. Well… I wasn’t there, was I?

The next day I had a chat with the co-ordinator, she wasn’t upset with me, She knew that I’d given up, She knew that I was now completely ignoring the maths teacher and reading novels instead, she wanted me to go out into the world and give it all I had.

Up till that time, I’d considered her harsh and formidable, but in actual fact, she was a genuinely caring person.

I remember that last walk across the playing field, that hop over the fence, and that final journey home, school and I were now, forever separated, and I could finally begin to grow.


Considering religion and kids

25 05 2011

Religion, like McDonalds, believes in getting to kids early, in order to subdue their minds to their way of thinking.

I met a teacher online some time ago who said that it was harder to get students to think for themselves rather than simply learn, and I think he’s right, so many of us will refer to a book, and point something out and say “The author says this, therefore it’s true” and it might not be, there are cases where a book has been printed, and a mistake has been found, and fixed in the next edition… but that last book with the incorrect item in it could remain in the family or school library for years.

Not so much of a problem if you’re getting your information online, but it still pays to check your facts, whether you’re a scientist or journalist, or just a random person looking for important information which needs to be accurate.

I think we should teach kids, at a very young age that facts are important, and not to believe it just because an adult told you so, which kids often do, and grownups will often do too.

I would like to walk into a class where there are very young kids and draw two circles on the blackboard, one pink and one blue, To point at the pink circle and say “this circle is the blue one”, with a strong tone in my voice, seemingly very sure of my own facts and importance.

Now kids would immediately see that I was wrong.

I wonder how long it would take for me to be corrected?

Then I would ask, if nobody said anything, “What’s wrong with what I just said?”

The plan would then be to say that sometimes people are not always right, sometimes they seem to know what they’re talking about, but sometimes, we can still be wrong, and this is the nature of people.

Sometimes kids are wrong, grownups can be wrong, the police, politicians, priests… and sometimes books can be wrong too, it’s very important to think for yourself and not be told “this is how things are”, to have an open, questioning mind is a very good thing to have. Some people don’t want you to have an open and questioning mind because it upsets them… and I’d like you to think about why that might be.

Then I’d wave and leave, and hope that I’ve planted a seed.


The Radio Works

7 02 2011

I have been trying to piece together some of my personal history, and usually that’s not difficult, a little Googling usually reveals a few interesting sites which fill in vague memories, but oddly enough, not this time… in fact a whole chunk of my life seems, according to the internet, like it didn’t happen.

After I left High School, I attended a Radio School, Since I wanted to be one of those strange people who lock themselves up in a little room all night and tell funnies between playing records… which isn’t much different to what I do now.

Civilians might be interested to learn that there are schools for this, which is probably not much further up the rung from Clown school… They teach useful things like how to yak into a microphone without spitting on it, and advanced knob-twiddling.

We were taught how to read serious news with a serious news voice. and also how to write adverts, make them into something that plays for exactly thirty seconds and put them on carts.

Carts, for the kids born this century, are a bizarre audio cassette thing that never need rewinding, I never did understand how that was possible, Yes I know the tape was looped on the inside, but my wolf brain couldn’t understand how.

So anyway, I joined this radio school, called The Radio Works, which was near HSV7 in Coventry Street, South Melbourne. I spent about three years there. About two years into my education, we moved to South Yarra.

My Classmates, who I mostly new by first name only, included Barry, who emigrated from England, Kevin, who was with the RAAF at the time and would often come dressed in uniform, Bethany Lee, Who was the voice of Val Morgan cinema advertising during the 80’s… anyone who had seen a movie in Melbourne during that decade had heard her voice. And Fiona, Who had aspirations of having a music program, but found, much to her own dissatisfaction, that She was a great news reader… She eventually landed a job with Macquarie News in the late 80’s.

Now here’s the problem.

When I Google, I find little or no information about any of this, it’s almost like I’m in an episode of The Twilight Zone where I had actually been drugged for the entire time and have only imagined that part of my life.

There is next to nothing on Chris Heaney of 3XY (Our Teacher), But there is some suggestion that he worked with 3AW for a while here in Melbourne, I know that he was originally from South Australia, but there’s bugger all on the internet about him.

And It’s curious that despite 3XY being a big name in 70’s and 80’s rock radio in Melbourne, that there is almost no information on wikipedia about it, only after its transitional stage when it was renamed and beyond. Why was so
much history glossed over.

Chris took the class for a look one night, and I remember that Shirl was on the air, Yes, That bloke from Skyhooks, He was with someone else, whose name escapes me, sorry. I remember that some girls came in that night and handed Shirl a big bunch of flowers, I think it might have been his Birthday. Later He came out and chatted to us, He was charming and very down to earth… but I froze because I was such a shy little flower at the time… hard to believe, I know.

Steve Dale was the other teacher at the school, he was working with FOX FM at the time, I really liked Steve, He was a very easy-going bloke, I think He’s still on FM radio in Melbourne today.

It strikes me as odd that these guys have very little trace online, at least I can’t find much, most media people seem to have a webpage, an account with linked in, or at least a Facebook page… although, there were quite a lot of Facebook users called Chris (Christopher) Heaney… It would be useful if we could adjust our search for Facebook users by locality, Haven’t they considered that?

There’s nothing on The Radio Works, when I google it, I’m directed to my own blogs and webpages where I had made mention of it, it’s as if the school never existed, but I did in fact go there and I learnt all I needed to know about knob twiddling, and when it is and isn’t appropriate.

I’m sure someone must know something about the School, or know one of the students, or indeed was a student themselves back in the class of 1986.

So, If you know anything, anything at all, I’d love to hear from you, Please leave a comment below.



* Not the actress, Bethany Lee, from Australian TV.

Update: I just found that 3XY has a Facebook page. ­čÖé

Losing my Religion

4 07 2010

Earlier today I came across a youtube video about brainwashing kids to believe evolution is wrong, dinosaurs didn’t exist and an idiot who thought that teaching her kids religious nonsense was “simply a lot easier and made more sense”.

Mum battled with getting me to believe, Mum grew up among family members who were in the Salvos, in fact a few of our family were in the local Salvo band.

Though she was an interesting case, although she believed in God, she never went to church, at least in my memory, and I’m not sure why.

Mum had been a churchgoer earlier on, and was even a Sunday School teacher for a while, My sister also attended sunday school.

About as much as I can recall of religion when I was growing up, were those awful US evangelists on television on a sunday. In the 70s, it was law for Aussie TV to have several hours of religious content… but this was thankfully dropped in later decades.

Mum was strange though in that whenever a nature program came on, which spoke of evolution, she never criticised it. Though she’d point her finger at me at times and yell “You’re a bloody heathen, just like your bloody Father”. Whenever I was “bad” I was always my Fathers Son or just like the other side of the Family.

We had religious instruction at primary school in the 70’s, but suddenly for whatever reason it was not required anymore, whether this was a change of government or school views, I’m not sure.

I remember some kid dobbing me into the pastor (or whatever he was) telling him that I didn’t believe in God, the fellow had a word with me but I don’t remember anything he said and it didn’t matter anyway, the words ran off me like rain from a ducks back.

The class was strange, My feelings now was that it was a bit like being taught facts and figures and then having a class dedicated to elves and fairies (which may have been more fun).

I always found religion sombre and dreary, it may have been different if I’d been bought up in the US with one of those soulful black choirs, whose music I could feel on the inside… maybe I would have gone on to enjoy music more for the experience, but the religion would have gone just the same.

During the 80s, Mum pushed me into Sunday School, so I had to stand there and sing like a goose and read parts of the bible and pray, She’d glare at me and growl “It won’t hurt you to go” when I’d protest, so instead of laying in bed like a teenage boy with a hardon and a dirty mind should, I was forced to get up an have Jesus forced down my throat, sometimes I wondered if Mum had noticed a few of my urges and was hoping she could squash them back down before I became a total animal with a few threatening words about the man upstairs.

Sometimes I though Mum was in it for the freebies, this church was extremely generous at picnics and I do admit the food was good, and oddly they weren’t too pushy with the whole God thing.

But I think it gave me a whole pile of guilt about my feelings and who I was which ontop of what I already carried around, was something I simply didn’t need.

I briefly toyed with religion myself during the 90’s when I became interested in Chinese Medicine, Shiatsu massage, Natural medicine, Native American beliefs and Reiki (which I was told was the same sort of healing power that Jesus used). I was great at reiki and shiatsu, people loved receiving a massage from me, and it was the sort of quiet hobby I needed at the time.

I became quite a spiritual person, around that time. it was my hippy phase, but without the drugs, booze and the free love.

But I got over it and moved on, and became a volunteer at Melbourne Zoo just shortly before a lot of bad stuff began to happen in my life, including the death of my Father, My wonderful Dog and the discovery of why I had been sick for so long.

Mum came to see me in hospital shortly after the removal of my rectal cancer, which was a six-hour operation. She inspected my wrist band with my name, number, home address and religion on it, and saw that it read “No religion”.

She questioned me on that, and told me that I’m Protestant, I looked at her and said “No I’m not, I don’t even know what that means”, I think she was a little surprised that I’d say… all my life I had not been religious, sometimes I said I believed merely to keep my peace with her, but I never was and this was my moment.. She wasn’t upset with me, she was just grateful that I was still alive.

Mum would sing while she was in the kitchen, she often only knew a few phrases of songs, but it was enough for her. sometimes it was a tune from the 40s, something from theatre or the pictures, sometimes a song that came out during the war… sometimes it was a Hymn.

She loved to watch “Songs of praise” but would get quite upset and angry when an old tune that she loved was “all hepped up”, sometimes she’d fight it by trying to sing louder than the television, in the old style… if looks could kill.

But a few weeks short of her passing, it was odd to hear her singing REMs “Losing my religion”. to me, that seemed to indicate that her God had left her and she didn’t care anymore, perhaps she had accepted that I was right after all.


The video which was mentioned in the story.

The fall of sport.

8 06 2010

When I was at school, I would much rather read a book in a quiet space, or listen to music or sit in our garden and play with my animals.

I didn’t like cars, dad bought me a few beauts, but they were always pushed aside, I prefered plush animals.

I liked to dream, I had a vivid imagination and liked to fill my head with new ideas, I wanted to know how things worked, the tv and the radio, I loved electronic things and we didn’t have much of it in the early 70’s. at school I had apparently drifted off into a dream so deeply that even when the teacher called my name over and over, I did not respond at all.

A lot of kids didn’t like me, I was often bullied at school and as a result had no respect for the place, school to me seemed to me like a place where my thoughts and ideas were shut away and kind of cramped up, I resented it. That’s not to say that I never had any friends, I did indeed, good ones, and I still know a few of them today.

What I hated most about school was sports, I never wanted to play them… I could dream up new games in my head, why did we only ever have a choice of games that were so rule driven, no wonder I liked Calvin and Hobbs so much… Calvin made up all his games, in much the same way that I had, and they were enough for me.

I didn’t understand why I had to go outside and sit in the hot sun and suffer.

When the time came for me to whack the ball with a bat, I’d deliberately miss it so that I’d be out as fast as possible, so they decided to make me score the game… that was fine in theory, but I’d find myself daydreaming, and besides, I never really knew when anyone scored anything or how much it was worth… football, cricket, whatever it was, would soon drift into a blur as I sat under a bush, trying hard not to be seen and examining a casemoth.

One day we were all piled into a bus and taken to some god forsaken park to watch ponytailed girls leap over hurdles, it was a hot day and many of us had no lunch with us, I relied on the canteen… there were no drinks either, except for a tap leaking over in the corner that one of the other non-playing boys had found. if it hadn’t been for that, then I wouldn’t have had a drink all day. I didn’t watch any of the proceedings and had no idea what it was about, I didn’t care… and neither did many of the others which I sat around and chatted with.

Our school had this idiotic idea that once a year we would do a hike around the area, I had already walked to school and would possibly walk home, I didn’t need this, I would walk pretty far to and from school… Dad tried to take me as often as possible but wasn’t always available, and I’d walk around the school when we were having lunch, I wasn’t lacking in excercise
and nor was I a big fat kid, I was as thin as a rake.

One year I tried to escape the marathon walk and cut through a route which wasn’t in the plan, and almost got away with it… if it wasn’t for some meddling kids *shakes fist*, so the following year I came up with something good. Several of my friends climbed a tree and one idiot who caught us, and we layed there on the roof until the others all returned, the plan went like clockwork, the evasion worked perfectly, I felt like a king!

I was unable to express myself as well as I can now, I wished that I’d had this power then, “Where’s your uniform?” the PE teacher would ask, a skinny, beady blue-eyed, ferret faced little bastard. I wished I could have said, “I didn’t bring a uniform because for one thing I don’t have one and for another you can jam your PE classes up your tight little arsehole” but I was too afraid.

One day the teacher had had enough and sent us, myself and two others, to the principals office. We sat there and I watched
the other two, they were literally shaking in their boots, I wasn’t, I didn’t feel that seeing a man in his office was that terrible, I had been in the office before… but only to deliver coffee to a man who shook as though he had parkinsons, word was that his nerves had gone, and soon after he had retired. We had a new man now, one that got things done.

One of the boys said, “Once I was in there and he did this with his eyes” and performed an action where the man lifted his head from his desk, eyes shut, and then snapped them open at this fellow. He said that he was in agony because it had shocked him but also made him want to laugh like mad, which he tried with all his might to not do.

That did it for me, what if I laughed?

So after some minutes passed, I went into his office, and he asked me why I don’t play sports, and I told him that I didn’t like sports… I scanned the posters behind him, they were full off boys kicking balls and blonde girls with ponytails leaping over hurdles… I don’t really remember the discussion, but it didn’t really go anywhere, and I was released.

I really don’t know if sport is supposed to be fun or it’s just a madness or an alternate religion.

The newspapers and current affairs programs will worry about how fat our kids are getting, diabetes on the rise and all they want to do is sit and play wheir computer games inside, instead of going out in the sun and kicking a ball with their mates, breaking their bones, a hamstring, having their eyes gouged, snapping a collarbone or a rib or two… you know, healthy stuff, well it must be healthy, they keep saying it is.

I detest sports, I suppose I would have been ok with it had it been an option for me to do or not do, like be online and write as I am doing now, but it was shoved and ground into my face far too many times.

Imagine being someone who’s boss had the worst pornographic calendars on his wall and you had to see it everyday, I feel a bit like that.

My cousin is a bulldogs supporter, she’s already taught one of the kids to yell out “BULLDOGS!” and has got them dressed in “cute” red white and blue clothing, which to me is nothing short of brainwashing.

The situation makes me sick, poor kid, I hope she gets to an age where she can fight it off… alas she’s just gained a brother and he, at only a few days old, already owns his own set of cute bulldogs gear.

When someone dies, they will talk about how the person may have been a top surgeon and saved many lives, or how they’d done some other great deed and then “And they were a huge collingwood supporter” and then the hearts all flutter “oh he was a collingwood supporter, must have been a lovely man”.

Dear God, He was a surgeon, he’s saved 300 lives, does that mean NOTHING to you?

Fuck sport, just fuck it.