Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Criminal, sad, and disturbing

Lost teen's 7 emergency calls prove futile: Australia promises overhaul of emergency response after hiker's death

In 2006, David Iredale died of thirst in 100-degree heat after becoming lost in the Australian bush and repeatedly calling 000--their version of 911--and getting recorded messages or operators who insisted on a street address before they could dispatch an ambulance or helicopter. In addition, the calls kept dropping because he was in a gorge.
The operators "lacked empathy" because they were too preoccupied with the computer, [coroner Carl Milovanovich] said. Operators should be trained to override the computer and to recognize signs of illness or distress in callers.

Let's hope they make the system better.

More from Australia...

Australia to shoot 6,000 kangaroos: Killings intended to protect plants and insects; conservationists outraged
The kangaroo slaughter follows a recent government environmental report that the common eastern gray kangaroos are too numerous in Canberra's parkland and grassland, eating scarce native grass which is the habitat of endangered insects such as golden gun moths and perunga grasshoppers.

The kangaroo overpopulation is also threatening endangered reptiles, the grassland earless dragon and the striped legless lizard, the report said.

Kangaroos are slaughtered to control population throughout Australia, but government agencies have been reluctant to kill the beloved national symbol around Canberra in the past 20 years because of public outcry.

And still more... (*You may not want to read if you're arachnophobic, and certainly don't go visiting the links*)

Giant Spiders Invade Australian Outback Town
Scores of eastern tarantulas, which are known as “bird-eating spiders” and can grow larger than the palm of a man’s hand, have begun crawling out from gardens and venturing into public spaces in Bowen, a coastal town about 700 miles northwest of Brisbane....

While not deadly like other Australian spiders, the eastern tarantulas are venomous and can grow up to 6cm (2.4in) long with a leg span of 16cm (6.3in). Despite their common name, they do not eat birds, but can kill a dog with one bite, and make a human very sick.

They are also known as whistling or barking spiders for the hissing noise they emit when they are disturbed or aggravated at close range.

They creep me out, and I *like* spiders.

My, Australia's been in the news quite a bit this week!

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