References – Part 4: Down Under

47: Shangri-La

Hitchhiking back to Melbourne

Many readers, particularly those in Australia, will note that Kinglake, where I stayed with Anna and Will, was the site of some of the most destructive bush fires in modern Australian history, in 2009, three years after I visited them.

Tragically, Will and Anna’s beautiful home was destroyed in those fires. However, to my great relief, they and their family survived, shaken but unharmed. Will has been kind enough to let me post his account of that experience on The Jolly Pilgrim website, to fill readers in on what happened. Will’s account of the Kinglake fires can be read here.

The nicest places to live statistics came from the website of the UN Human Development Index (accessed 5 January 2006). The up-do-date rankings can be found there now.


48: Australian Intercity

The American casualties in Iraq statistics were taken from iCasualties.
The American casualties in Somalia were taken from the US Department of Defence, Personnel & Procurement Reports and Data Files.


Musings – Anything That Can Go Wrong

The population of Newtown was taken from the Australian Bureau of Statistics: Census of Population and Housing, 2001.

The killer plans its next move

The date for Newtown’s establishment as a Sydney suburb is from The Book of Sydney Suburbs, by Frances Pollon.


51: Kill All Bees

I don’t recall where I got the number for average deaths per year in the US as a result of bears, spiders, sharks and bees. It may or may not have been straight from this site by a history blogger who goes by the moniker ‘BP’, or some other site which sourced it. I spent quite a lot of time looking in vain for the equivalent numbers for Australia, but couldn’t find them. Nonetheless I’m sure readers will agree that the US ones give a sobering indication of the death-dealing powers of the terrifying creatures we call bees.

See that site for below a fuller list. Apparently, the animal which caused the most human deaths in the USA is actually the deer – indirectly through car accidents. I didn’t know wolves ever killed people, but according to these statistics they kill one person every 10 years. I’m glad I didn’t know that when I was camped on that moor in Turkey.


52: Australian Medical Infrastructure

The per capita annual health expenditure numbers come from the World Health Organisation. At the time of writing the figures for 2009 were available. I’ve listed them below (along with the percentage improvements since the numbers in The Jolly Pilgrim):

Australia: $3,867 (22% improvement)
Croatia: $668 (53% improvement)
Cambodia: $42 (69% improvement)


54: Degrees of Separation

As with the figures quoted in Parts 1 and 3, the details of NASA’s New Horizons mission to Jupiter can be found here, and a timetable of the mission here.

The significance of the Jupiter encounter was to significantly speed up the probe, so it reaches Pluto several years earlier. For the interest of non-physicists, the way such ‘slingshot’ manoeuvres work is that the probe approaches Jupiter travelling in the same direction as the planet (picking up speed as it goes) then, after swinging round the giant planet’s gravity well, shoots off in the opposite direction to Jupiter’s travel (then losing speed, as Jupiter’s gravity pulls it back). However, it pick’s up more speed on the way in than it loses on the way out, because it’s closer to the centre of the gas giant’s gravity well for a shorter period when travelling in the opposite direction.


55: Goth Shift

Oliver Reed’s heart attack (while filming the movie Gladiator) came after a night of hard drinking in which he allegedly consumed three bottles of rum. He was 61 years old. Here is the reportage.


56: Going Hard

The 19 missing foreign athletes were reported at the time on Australian TV news. I don’t know how many were subsequently found.


Australian cultural experiences


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