After leaving Canberra in 1997 to live and work briefly in New Zealand, travel to North America, Europe and Singapore, and spend a few months in Tasmania looking for work, J. and I ended up… back in Canberra, where we spent the next two years.

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21 October 2023 · Memory

World Wira

Continuing my sweep through past photos, here are two trips to the Malay Peninsula in 1998. The first was a stop in Singapore on our way back to Australia from Europe, to visit my brother and sister-in-law, who had moved there from Hong Kong a year or so before. It was our first sight of its glittering skyscrapers and overly orderly lifestyle, and a chance to sample ais kacang (tasty) and durian (not to my taste). While we were there we took in the Jurong Bird Park, Singapore Zoo and the Botanic Gardens, most of which we would revisit in later years. We also caught some of the Thaipusam festival, in which Hindu devotees wore elaborate wire frames hoisted on their shoulders and attached to skewers pierced through their bodies.

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21 October 2023 · Memory

Pterosaur Ptakeoff

Pterosaurs could inform the next generation of flight.

The plastic-eating bacteria that could change the world. Ditch your plastic cutting boards.

The Spanish city that has been restricting cars for 24 years.

A cheap piece of tape increases phone and laptop battery life by ten percent.

Tricking AI into solving security puzzles.

A breakthrough in chronic fatigue research.

Why we live as long as we do.

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18 October 2023 · Weblog

Far From Bretagne

A couple of years ago I became obsessed with making cheesecake—specifically, baked cheesecake—to the point where my family thought I liked nothing else and made me one for my birthday. Lately I’ve become similarly obsessed with Far Breton, a classic French dessert, partway between custard and cake, made with prunes or raisins soaked in Armagnac, brandy, rum, tea or water. I remembered it fondly from visits to France, and was reminded of it a few months ago at a school fair where one of the parents had made some for a cake stall, but didn’t even know its name until I searched for “French prune custard cake” and found some recipes.

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17 October 2023 · Food


On my thirtieth birthday I was up in the air, in more ways than one: between jobs, between homes, and flying between North America and Europe, on the next leg of our round-the-world trip that began in New Zealand and moved on to California, the Pacific Northwest and Alberta. J. and I landed in Stockholm in the final hours of my birthday, in the middle of the Northern winter, to stay for a few days with friends from my Ph.D. days.

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7 October 2023 · Memory

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