August 26th, 2008


Heroes come in all shapes and sizes

There is *always* hope ...

A TEENAGE Iraqi girl wearing a vest packed with explosives who turned herself in rather than go through with a suicide bombing has told police and media she was drugged and forced by relatives to don the explosives.

The girl, identified only as Rania, aged 15, surrendered to police on Sunday in Baquba, capital of Iraq's restive Diyala province where Sunni Arab al-Qaeda militants are waging war on US and Iraqi forces.

She still wearing the vest when she called to police to get it off her.

"Reports are that she approached the IPs (Iraqi police) saying she had the vest on and didn't want to go through with it," US military spokesman Lieutenant Commander David Russell said.

"If she was forced to put on the vest or if she did it voluntarily, that is still being reviewed.",23599,24242621-401,00.html

Sometimes I suck at being a scientist!

Today we were out in the field, testing a new methodology a colleague has been designing. It was cool, easy to use and has instant applications and help for me and some stuff I am working on. Also, I realised that this job has helped me get far more familiar with Perth and a bunch of (southern) suburbs that I never knew existed or where they were before this year.

I'm also crap at navigation using maps, mostly. Or maybe some days I am really crap at it and today was one. Specially since I was a bit talkative. I got the role of navigator taken off me not far down the freeway. And then, I get a bit excited by the accuracy of aerial photography.

M: See that tree?
*M points to a tree on the aerial map*
Me: Yep.
M: That's that tree there.
*M points out the window to the tree next to the car*
Me: Oooh!! I love that!
M: Thought you would.

But the bit about me being sucky at being a scientist? I'm a wetlands specialist and I hate snakes!!! (And spiders) So that means I am less than enthusiastic about traipsing through wetlands. Like today:

M: What are you doing over there?
Me: I can see from here!
M: What's wrong with over here?
*M is ankle deep in grasses and stuff*
Me: There might be snakes!
M: It's too cold for snakes. Come over here!
Me: No. I can see from here.
M: They'll bite me first. Come over here!
*Me hesitating*
M: Come stand here! The ground is better here!

Ugh. Had to wade through long grass and stand on unstable ground made up of logs and pressed down leaf litter and whatever. Ugh. Was worth it when I got there and yes, the ground was better, but still! She laughed at me though. And said that she was like me when she started - now she just boulders on through whatever to see something interesting. And! We *might* have spotted a fox whilst we were looking at the wetland. And we definitely saw signs of quenda there, which was very cool.

J: I'm not sure if it was a dog or a fox.
Me: I'm blogging it as Big Foot but I think it might have been a fox.

At one of the sites we visited there was evidence that kids had been using it for motorcross or similar. And we sort of wandered around and J thought it was really eerie because you couldn't really tell if it was kids cubby houses/forts or where homeless people might sleep - with like, old carpets and things. And she was terrified we were going to stumble onto a dead body. I made a mental note to not ever go out on field trips alone.