Tsunami of fire

Trains. In downtown cities. We don’t think of them being akin to a bomb. Yet this is what happened in Lac Megantic in Quebec, Canada, in July 2013. A freight train, full of tankers, rolled unattended and derailed, exploding. 47 people died, thousands made homeless and most of the CBD of Lac Megantic was destroyed […]

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What would Gene Hackman do?

Gene Hackman is one of my favourite actors. Many of his movies are favourites, but two come to mind one wet weekend late last year, The Conversation, and Enemy of the State. In both Hackman plays paranoid surveillance type characters, obsessed with privacy. Both are thrillers, where Hackman is at odds with the powers that […]

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Needle in a haystack

Last year I read Patrick Meier’s Digital Humanitarians. The book focuses on the rapid rise of the use of technology and mapping to improve the information available to humanitarians. It is an interesting read, particularly for this digital skeptic. When the Queensland Police successfully used facebook and twitter, our industry erupted with OMGism, it was […]

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What we know now

Over the past 7 years, as many would know, I have been involved in the University of Melbourne’s Beyond Bushfires research project (I’m even called an Honorary Fellow!). It has been an extraordinary experience for me, pushing me well out of my comfort zone, and having to learn a whole new language. I became involved […]

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It’s not often you get to enjoy the company of one of the world’s great minds in the area of Post Traumatic Stress. Yesterday I, and many of my colleagues, were able to revel in 3hours of post traumatic stress heaven (if there is such a thing), with Dr Patricia Watson, one of the gurus […]

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Songs of Calamity

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down, Of the big lake they called ‘gitche gumee’ The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead, when the skies of November turn gloomy. So, opens one of the great disaster songs, Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald . This is something I […]

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Roof of the world

Gotta get it all done before Christmas is a refrain that I hear so often. Never sure why, because as far as I can tell, the world isn’t going to end on the 26th December. It’s probably so people can go into their break feeling like they have left nothing behind. Working in this industry, […]

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