A License to Build

According to recent  data released by the Bureau of Statistics, Australian homes are officially the biggest in the world and growing. At 215 square metres, the average size of Australian homes is larger than the US (202 square metres) and almost three times larger than Britain (76 square metres). The consensus is that this is not a gold medal we should be proud of. Bigger homes means using more resources and potential to produce more greenhouse emissions, as well as urban sprawl and added strains on transport and infrastructure. Angus Kell, from the building advisory service to the Australian Institute of Architects, spoke to Crossfire about the possibility of regulating the size of homes.

While researching this story a few figures jumped out. Firstly, that households on average have 2.56 people, 1 in every 3.5 homes have 4 or more bedrooms, and 8 percent of houses are considered dwellings, or holiday homes. By our calculations thats an awful lot of empty beds. So we have a concern here not only of a lack of resources, but also a lack of affordable housing and also under utilised housing. Crossfire put some of these questions to Associate Professor Vivienne Milligan, who is involved in the City Futures Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

On Crossfire last week one of the discussion points was why we feel the need to build such large homes here in Australia, and further research has revealed that Australians apparently have larger home because we are competitive. We measure our successes by the number of material things we own, not by how much we save.

Let us know what your thoughts are on this below. What do you think about the possibility of regulating the size of new homes?

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New ADHD Guidelines

More than 350,000 children and adolescents in Australia are estimated to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). For some time now there has been a lack of evidence based information available to medical professionals and parents. There is a need for clear and concise recommendations to be made available to those affected by the condition. The federal government commissioned a review of the guidelines and the recommendations drafted by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Guidelines working group were released early due to one its members being investigated in the US. Professor David Forbes chaired the working group, and explained the need for new guidelines and what some of the significant changes are.

To view the new guidelines follow the link below to the National Health and Medical Research Council website

http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/adhd_draft.htm

White Ribbon Day 2009

For White Ribbon Day in the Shoalhaven nine hundred men will gather at the Entertainment Centre to stand together to send a message. Ray Carrall of the YWCA is hoping bringing men together will further strengthen the message of White Ribbon Day – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Ray Carrall took the time to explain the motivation of the day and the issue of domestic violence with Crossfire.

The heat can kill your pet

Sunday’s heat wave was a taste of what to expect of this coming summer. Forty degree days are likely to be common through the holiday season.

A heat wave can kill a dog. Heat exhaustion can overcome an animal easily and quickly so it is important owners take the necessary steps to protect the animal from over heating.

RSPCA NSW Chief Veterinarian Magdoline Awad explained for Crossfire how quickly the situation can become fatal and how to prevent it.

Signs of heat stroke: Incessant panting, fatigue, vomiting

Keeping the pets cool: Provide pets with a cool, shaded area, adequate ventilation and air flow, provide fresh water, bring animals indoors, do not exercise animals in hot conditions.

Do not leave your dog in a vehicle.

Media140

In a world where silly words such as twitter, blogs, widgets, iPhones RSS feeds, flicker, and you tube are becoming increasingly important, the professional and newly termed citizen journalist seemingly has no choice but to keep up with the growing trends of social media. Instantaneity is the key and if you don’t have the right tools or knowledge, you can be left very far behind. In the words of journalist Julie Possetti, at last week’s media 140 conference “the social media phenomenon is a revolution not a war.” For those of you who don’t know, the two day Media140 conference was held at ABC headquarters last week and created a domain for the media industry and citizen journalists to debate and learn about the virtues of social media. It appears that the world has already being taken over by YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, flicker and iPhones and now the media industry has a choice of falling behind or embracing the new technologies and applications. As I sat in a room where everyone was twittering, blogging and emailing, I began to realise that my humble pen and notebook was outdated. And that my mobile, which allows me to merely text and call people, was going to need a massive upgrade if I was going to mix in with the best of them. The jury is still out on weather or not social media is going enrich the quality of journalism or diminish it, but for now I’m choosing to embrace it and take comfort in the fact that at one point in history, the humble telephone was considered to be taking technology and communication too far.

So join the debate, do you think the world of social media and technology has gone too far? Or is it a case of if ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Coffee Addiction

If you share Crossfire’s passion for coffee you might want to read this. It explains why we get headaches if we haven’t had our double shot lattes by 10am

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2009/10/19/2718261.htm

Community reaches out to bored teenagers

Berkely has been in the spotlight recently after a staggering 96 grassfires were lit in the area in just 10 weeks. Authorities suspect bored teenagers are responsible for the fires and local residents have had enough. The newly formed Lake Illawarra Northern Communties Group held their second meeting last week. Crossfire spoke to organizer Bob McKellar to find out how it went.

It seems lack of community engagement and activities is often linked to a high rate of teenage crime. Do you think local teenagers with nothing to do are being forced into dangerous activities? Or should they be able to make their own choices about whether or not they want to vent their energy into something more constructive?