Dear Science…

Ahhh ok we thought we had seen it all, but no ladies and gentlemen the things of science fiction movies are becoming more and more real. We’ve got lasers, clones, electric cars, spaceships and several other things that have become reality from our favourite sci-fi shows and books. But what could get our goat so much that it would make this weeks blog? Read on if you dare but don’t be surprised if you start to question a few things afterwards like we are. We’ve always tried to deliver the hard hitting news with facts and figures as well as a little humor but there are just some things that even we can’t spin and this has seriously got to be one of them.

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to another week of A Mind of Its Own. Throughout history we’ve had some innovative breakthroughs that have allowed society to grow, have allowed us to prosper, have brought us into the 21st century. They’ve allowed us to explore, to question, to wonder. Human ingenuity has allowed us to invent, create, inspire and to even destroy. We’ve climbed to the top of the evolutionary food chain and tried to claw our way even further. But there is one nationality that has pushed the boundaries, time and time again both socially, scientifically, culturally. They’ve aligned themselves on the wrong side of history from time to time again but they have always figured quite heavily in the academic and technology industries.

As some of you know a lot of the team that write this here blog work for a Japanese company and have done so for quite some time now. So it’s no surprise to us when the Japanese come up in Science and Technology news. We’ve seen a lot of the products released from Japan and a lot of it is cutting edge. They are building the technology and products of tomorrow. Some of our favourite brands come from the island nation. Mitsubishi, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Suzuki, Subaru, Mazda, Yamaha, Sony, Toshiba, Nintendo, Seiko, Casio, Fujifilm, Olympus and Canon just to name a few. All of these brands at one time or another are releasing products that are new, innovative and at the bleeding edge. It’s what the Japanese do, they sink Millions upon millions of dollars into research and development (R&D).

So when we read that the Japanese Government had approved the first Human-Animal hybrid research to be conducted we were a little taken back. Our minds immediately went on a journey of all the human/animal hybrids we could come up with. From Minotaur to mermaids to rat boys the possibilities are endless. We even went as far to wonder whether we could finally see Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s vision of ManBearPig finally realized. Whilst our thoughts were somewhat adolescent in creating fanciful hybrids the application and ethics in hybrids is somewhat a little troubling should the ability and technology fall into the wrong hands, and when its the country who came up with Godzilla doing the research questions begin to be asked.

Have we got your attention yet? Fingers flew over the keyboard and hit up google in order to explore, research and find out more behind the intentions of the research teams involved in creating the first “approved” human-animal hybrid. Notice how we said first approved? Yeah there have no doubt been several illegal experiments conducted over the years by mad scientists in secret laboratories around the world. How else do you come up with biological weapons. Plus the Yanky doodles have been doing a similar experiment to the Japanese for years they just stop at some imaginary ethical line apparently.

Yeah, yeah, yeah there is a basement in Area 51 with all sorts of Hybrids running around maiming each other. So once we’d settled down from fanciful thoughts about exotic human-animal hybrids and actually read an article or two we began to see the benefits of this type of research. Whilst the ethics behind it all and the application of creating human-hybrid animals is a little scary the research is designed to get human cells to grow inside an animal which according to all the articles and journals we read isn’t an easy thing to do. So what is it all in Layman’s terms you ask and why? Good bloody questions because we needed to and wanted to know the answers ourselves. What’s got the scientific community in a flap about these experiments and the extent of them, well let’s enter a scientific journey together in order to find out the who, what, where and why.

Stem Cell research has been controversial since the early studies in 1981 where scientists discovered ways to derive embryonic stem cells from early mouse embryos. This early study led to the development in 1998 of the method in which to derive human stem cells and grow cells in laboratories. Fast forward 21 years and Japan has granted approval for Stem cell biologist Hiromitsu Nakauchi to legally conduct trials to not only transplant hybrid embryos into surrogate animals, but also to bring them to term. In previous experiments conducted around the world they had never bought any research to full term. By this they had never allowed the stem cells to fully grow within the animal they had been transported into and “come to term”..

The lead stem cell researcher at the University of Tokyo and Stanford University, Nakauchi has gone from country to country, chasing the dream of one day growing customized human organs in animals like sheep or pigs. With more than 116,000 patients on the transplant waiting list in the United States alone, Nakauchi hopes his idea can transform lives.The ultimate goal is still a long way off, but the next step in his research has at last been given the green light by ministry officials in Japan. As the first researcher to receive government approval since the 2014 ban, Nakauchi plans on taking things slowly so that public understanding and trust can catch up. Trust that he doesn’t create potential monster hybrids that will take over the world. The possibility of ManBearpig is a real thing by the looks of it.

“We don’t expect to create human organs immediately, but this allows us to advance our research based upon the know-how we have gained up to this point,” Nakauchi was quoted saying. So what is the experiment exactly you ask? The experiments will start by injecting human induced pluripotent stem cells (master cells according to Google) into rat and mice embryos, all of which have been genetically manipulated so that they cannot make pancreases. The goal is for the rodent embryo to use human cells to build itself a pancreas. For two years, the team plans on watching these rodents develop and grow. They will carefully monitor their organs and brains in the process. Only then will the researchers ask for approval to do the same with pigs.

While human-animal embryos have been created in the past – such as pig-human embryos and sheep-human embryos – they’ve never been allowed to develop to term before. One of the biggest fears with this type of research centers on exactly where these human stem cells actually go in an animal, and what type of cells they could develop into, once they are injected. While Nakauchi and his team are trying to target this treatment to just the pancreas, if they detect more than 30 percent of the rodent brains are human, they will suspend the experiment. This is part of the government’s conditions to prevent a “humanised” animal from ever coming into existence.

Nakauchi, however, doesn’t think this is going to happen. Last year, he and his colleagues at Stanford successfully made the first human-sheep embryo, and although it was destroyed after just 28 days, the hybrid contained no organs and very few human cells – only about one in 10,000 or less. So there are some caveats on the research and what can be done but the fear from the public and scientific community is still real. The goal of the research is to create viable human organs that can be transplanted. Taking a crystal ball and looking into the future should this research actually pan out would we see the production of organ farms with sheep and pigs running around growing human organs inside of them for transplant recipients? The possibilities are endless and while the experiment is exciting from that aspect, what are the ethical issues behind it all?

It’s a good thing we aren’t scientists there are way too many words to digest and we’ve been hitting Google a lot to understand this whole animal-human hybrid scenario. What do you get when you have a single organism derived from two sets of DNA? A Chimera apparently, and the first thing that came to mind was Mission Impossible 2 where Tom Cruise is running around fucking shit up in Syndey trying to find and destroy a deadly virus called “Chimera” that is created from two different viruses and is self replicating. Then there is the Chimera from Greek mythology that’s part lion, part goat and has a snake as a tail. A true hybrid. In this case it’s closer to the second one and hopefully something that we won’t be seeing anytime soon. However the more we researched, the more we realised that Chimeras can occur naturally in humans. What the Fork? Was our first response as well but when a twin absorbs its twin it naturally creates a Chimera.

So when we inject stem cells into embryos and let them grow, we are in a sense creating Chimeras and that’s not natural according to everything we have read on the internet and if it’s on the internet it has to be true, right?.The main ethical issues are the risks of consciousness and of human features in the chimeric animal due to a high contribution of human cells to the brain, in the first case, or for instance to limbs, in the second. Another critical point of concern is the production of human gametes (organisms reproductive cells), yeah we had to Google what it was ourselves, by such chimeric animals. Can you imagine a rat, pig or sheep that had human sperm or eggs? That would be forking weird but is a major concern within the scientific community when it comes to genetics and stem cell research. From what we can tell there are three main ethical issues with the production of human-animal chimeras.

Human-like external features

It can be argued that the injection of human genes and cells into animal embryos could have an effect on the physical aspect of the animal. In layman’s terms as a researcher at the Australian National University (ANU) put to us, on its appearance. The creation of human/animal chimeras can make the boundary between human beings and other living beings penetrable, inducing questions about human identity. These concerns are more obvious when it comes to a chimera whose physical attributes would let its chimeric quality start to appear. E.G a rat with human arms or organs. It is not only about the creature’s appearance, but also about its specific attributes, such as language.

Human gamete production

The Humanization of animals bearing human organs could result in the production of human gametes. Yep animals with human sperm that could mate with animals that aren’t genetically modified or hybrids. Human embryos could be created using such gametes. The worst-case scenario would be that a pig producing human sperm could accidentally mate with a sow or vice versa. Manbearpig is a real possibility. However, the possibility that the interaction between gametes of different species would result in a hybrid embryo is almost nonexistent, because the inter-species reproductive barrier is very strong. For instance, the injection of human sperm into a hamster egg (the “hamster test”, used to test the quality of human sperm cells) does not give rise to embryos capable of development. Even cross-breeding attempts between human and anthropoid apes failed when tested in the first part of the twentieth century. Keep in mind science has come a long way since then ladies and gents. In addition, this fear can easily be dissipated: sterilization of pigs bearing human organs would be sufficient to prevent their reproduction.

Alternatives to human organs in animals

In the absence of medical alternatives it is essential to justify the development of human organs in animals. However, the issue of organ shortage for the treatment of life-threatening conditions by organ transplantation could be solved by other means in the future. For instance, pig organs could be used. To prevent organ rejection, researchers are investigating the possibility of deleting the main pig genes responsible for organ rejection and breeding pigs in which all porcine endogenous retroviruses are inactivated. The importance of monitoring these developments is massive, because they might represent valid and more acceptable alternatives to the generation of inter-species chimeras.

So we’ll sit back and watch with bated breath as the Japanese create Human/Animal hybrids or Chimeras as they are better known throughout the scientific community and hope the creators of South Park weren’t predicting the future when they came up with their Manbearpig character. There are upsides and downsides for this type of experimentation but does one outweigh the other? In certain people’s eyes that is no doubt the case. With all things in life though knowledge is power, the more you educate yourself around this the more you will understand and be able to make a sound call on where you stand when it comes to Human/Animal hybrid experimentation.

It’s been a tough couple of months for Australia as we burn, homes have been lost, animals, people and much of our beautiful country is still on fire. Our prayers and thoughts go out to all those affected during this time of what we will call a crisis. The statistics alone lead us and many Australian’s to call for a better strategy for handling fire season that encompasses all of Australia not just state by state. Screw a surplus our current government are forecasting, get the women and men on the ground the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs properly and more importantly safely. We’ve provided links below to donate to those affected by the fires including our native animals.

So to a not so Happy New Year we welcome you all to a new decade, who knows whats install for each and every one of us but from the team here at A Mind Of Its Own wishes each and every one of you a cracker of a year even if we are off to a shaky start. Until next week when we launch our year in review we bid you a fond farewell and hope that that Japanese don’t make a Godzilla or Manbearpig. The world is already in enough chaos thanks to a little orange oompa loompa. Adios amigos…

https://www.abc.net.au/triplej/programs/hack/bushfire-crisis-how-can-i-donate-and-help/11839842

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2019/12/31/how-you-can-help-bushfire-victims

Four Feet in the Forest…

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the office not a creature was stirring, not even old Al, The cheques were mailed by reception with care, In hopes that a few of us wouldn’t return in the new year, The dogs were nestled and chewing a bone, while visions of chickens danced in their domes. And Maxo on Spotify and I in my hat, we just settled down for a couple weeks nap, when out in the car park there arose such a clatter, we sprang from our desks to see what was the matter.

Away to the window like kids on the bus, tore open the blinds and threw up the latch, the smoke from the fires, stung at the eyes. When what to our wonder should appear but a bloody fat guy, it was the same bloody dick that had nicked the car and told us not to bother, he didn’t have insurance not even AMMI to call. We knew in that moment it was the same prick who bloody ruined christmas when we were just six. More rabid than foxes we were in a rage and he whistled, and shouted and called us filthy names.

“Now, Dickhead! Now, Dropkick! Now Prick and Wanker! On, Cockhead, On CuiN The NT! On, Douchebag! On, Bastard! It’s not a bloody Porsche! Or even a Nissan! Now go away, Go away Go the F#ck away all! As far as I’m concerned it’s a stupid car and when I meet and obstacle we crash through and fly. So up to the houseos and pissheads of course with a sleigh full of sex toys and the fat prick of course. And then in a twinkle he jumped on our roof, dancing and flashing his little man Proof. Poor little Mitsi our car of 2 years down on the bonnet he came with a bound.

Dressed like a pauper, fur head to foot, his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and chicken poop. A bundle of bottles clunked on his back, he looked like a dealer who smoked too much crack. His eyes all bloodshot, his dimples all scarred! His cheeks were all hollow his nose was all marred! His cranky little mouth was turned into a scowl and the beard on his chin all crusty with spew. The half smoked ciggy held tight in his teeth and the smoke it encircled him like seagulls at the beach. A broad sunken face and little beer belly, his breath wrecked of whiskey when he started yelling. And we laughed despite ourselves when he started to share.

A creepy wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave us anxiety and a lot of dread, he spoke a few words but nothing made sense and he filled all the spaces and called us all jerks before tapping his nose and picking a winner, he gave us a nod and sat to eat his dinner. He munched on some beans, cold fresh from the can and washed it old down with a warm bottle of Hahn. And then just like nothing he marched on his way with a little whistle but we heard him exclaim , ere he walked out of sight.

Happy Christmas to all, make sure you have boozy night! Merry Christmas from all our drunk bogan friends across the land. A Christmas classic just copped some of the A Mind of Its Own Brand…

Welcome to the A Mind of Its Own, Christmas survival Spectacular!!! Now normally we aren’t that big on Christmas it’s generally a time of year when we like to crawl into our hobbit hole for a couple of weeks to take some time off and recharge the batteries but there is something in the air this year, well something aside from smoke that’s choking the east coast. Ladies and Gentleman, having kids around at Christmas is great and this year there are plenty of them to share in the excitement with. Children make Christmas and stop us from over indulging on the eggnog or Christmas sherry as well as helping us to run off mum’s Christmas ham. We literally had to stop writing for several minutes in order to stop making everything rhyme but now that we are back we’ll get into the festive spirit and give you the ultimate, go to guide for surviving the Christmas and New Year period in Australia this 2019.

In reality what we are giving you is nothing but common sense. In saying that a lot of us need to be told what’s good for us or what we should be doing from time to time. So as our Christmas present to you all we decided to put together the following tips to help you through the festive period and ensure you all there with us in the new year reading our little blog. We’d make you read it anyway whether you liked it or not. Plus what other blog do you get to learn about racing vibrators, bumper stickers, bin chickens, masturbation, the Dunbar number and self help books. We are only weeks away from doing our annual year in review and this year has been a big one for the team at A Mind of Its Own. So getting back on track…

First things first, before we get started, Air Conditioning is a must across this wide brown land you’ll need that cool breeze to keep you refreshed over the period otherwise you’ll start looking like, a dried up squashed toad on the side of the road in Queensland. Secondly a source of water to lounge around in is always a good thing to have available. Whether it be the dam, neighbors pool or the dogs clam shell. If you have to borrow the dogs shell pool it can be quite uncomfortable especially when man’s best friend tries to get in with you and your tinnies to cool down a little. Thirdly drink only cans, they float better than bottles and stay cooler longer. They are also easier to recycle than bottles. We think, some research may need to be conducted into whether that is or isn’t the actual case.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way we’ll get down to the nitty gritty of surviving Christmas and new years. As many of you will know and have experienced, the festive season can often be a little difficult to navigate for those who suffer anxiety and depression. There are expectations both internally and externally that need to be navigated throughout the period but hopefully with our little survivor pack below those of us that often struggle a little, will be able to manage and cope a bit better. Remember there is nothing wrong in putting your hand up and saying you aren’t OK and this time of year is often a little harder on people for a lot of reasons.

  1. You can choose your Friends, but you can’t choose your Family…

We all know Christmas is a time for family and catching up with friends but there are times when it can all become a little too much. The best way to navigate this is to be open and honest, while you set expectations with everyone and often yourself. Whilst that is often easier said than done there are little ways you can you can manage those thoughts and feelings as they come creeping up on you. Set the expectation early that you may need to disappear or take some time out for yourself whether it be 5,10,15, 20 or more minutes. Take yourself out of the environment and get some fresh air into the lungs. It might be hard to open up to friends and family, but they will appreciate it if you do and it could avoid a lot of the “what’s wrong?” questions. Christmas can often be a time of conflict between families as priorities and preferences can often upset people when they feel like you aren’t giving them the time they need. Unfortunately this is always going to happen but just remember to put you and your family first. Those that are upset will get over it, eventually. Communication is key as always.

  1. Money, Money, Monneeeyyyy…

Finances this time of year can often be a little strained but here’s a red hot tip and again it flows on from point 1. Just be open and honest, you don’t need to go out for drinks or dinner to catch up with people. There are plenty of things you can do without breaking your bank. You can go for a walk, buy a bottle of wine and hangout instead of going to the pub, have a coffee. The choices are literally limitless and can be minimal or cost effective. As for presents well there is always a secret Santa, where you buy one present of a certain value for someone in the family. Whilst it is a time of giving if you can’t afford to give, don’t! Stay within your limits. Again just be open and honest and in most cases people will actually respect you for it, as they may be thinking the exact same thing. Make sure you budget and stick to your budget, try to forecast a surplus, that little savings nest egg will come in handy later in the month or potentially in the new year.

  1. I’m an Exerciser…

With this time of year being one of the busiest and everyone rushing to get things done and closed out before they go on leave, we often stretch ourselves a little thin. Burning the candle at both ends while often involving a lot of fun and seeing friends and family it can become detrimental to your health. Both mentally and physically. If you have a regular routine make the time to stick to it, as close to it as possible. We know it’s often hard when you have family and friends around at this time of year however you need to make time for yourself. The time for you to do the things you enjoy is always good for your mental health and for those around you over the busy period. Things like yoga, gym, meditation and the like are always good and you need to keep doing them if they are a regular occurrence in your life. Worst case get out for a walk or run but if you are generally an active person make sure you stay active. Just because things become a little busier doesn’t mean you should cut out the things that make you happy and keep you sane.

  1. Social Media Bleedia…

Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media could have a direct impact on how good you feel this festive season, yes we know we live in a connected world but let’s be honest, generally people only post the good times in there lives. There are studies that point to the fact that looking at other peoples lives via “The Socials” we often get the feeling of missing out and in some cases start to question our own lives. Yes FOMO is a real thing ladies and gentlemen. The holidays, the gender reveals, the babies, family times, the body image and catch ups with good friends. It can and often does have an impact on people’s mental health looking at all of the images and posts of people who seem to be happy and have no issues in their lives. They do but as humans we can now hide behind the mask of social media. From time to time we can often get paid to have our every movement and soft core porn grace the screens and devices of people around the world. It’s yet another thing in our lives that allows us to not have to deal with our own issues.

  1. The Thirst…

Whilst we all love a couple of tinnies or glasses of vino over the festive period we are advocates of everything in moderation. No matter what your choice of poison, drink responsibly. That includes mum’s glazed ham that smells so delicious out in the kitchen. Or the kilo of prawns sitting in the fridge waiting for you to peel. Eat with your belly not with your eyes, over indulgence throughout the festive period whether it be food or alcohol can often lead to heightening of our mental health issues and just poor health in general. Everything in moderation as they say and just because it’s there in front of you doesn’t mean you have to have it. As you all know, alcohol is a depressant and when you are already feeling a little under the weather due to the time of year, adding fuel to the fire isn’t always the best idea, particularly when you have to deal with everything. So whilst we aren’t saying don’t have a good time we are saying maybe have a couple less this year and see if it helps improve things.

  1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…

They say to focus on the positives but when your brain is playing tricks on you and spinning at a million miles an hour trying to process and question everything it’s often hard to do. You hear of people talking about gratitude and ensuring you know what you are grateful for in your life. It’s especially important during the festive period to try and focus on the good in your life. The people you want to spend time with, the people you want to waste your time on. As you know time is precious and we should be spending it on the people we want to waste our time and energy on along with doing the things that make us happy. Again if there is something you want to do, make sure you do it, or communicate that you want to do it. Throughout the period the more you talk the more you will achieve and the more you will be at peace within yourself.

So the moral of our survival edition is basically this or the Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) during this festive period, communication will solve a lot of your issues and as selfish as it sounds you need to look after you first and foremost. That’s the crux of it ladies and gentlemen. By doing this you could actually be helping those around you and you’ll find you’ll enjoy the period a lot more. You’ll be less anxious, less stressed and will be able to combat those mental health issues that tend to flare for a lot of people this time of year. Whilst we all have to compromise from time to time the more we talk about it the easier things are on everyone. Lastly a reminder that it’s OK to ask for help or to say that you are not OK. It’s generally at this time of year that people need help or are struggling a little and that conversation and asking them if they are OK can go a long, long way.

And so we leave you for another week and this time we can wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! This isn’t the last you’ll hear from us for the year, we still have a year in review to write for you and there is always a Christmas party story or something political that could no doubt rear its head within the next couple of weeks. After all we are waiting got Trumpasaurus Rex to be impeached. But for now it’s a good night or day depending where you are and as we said a Merry Christmas to you all! Felice Navidad…

We Don’t Go In There…

A big shout out to the man affectionately known to his close friends as Bezos Junior, BJs or the Library Monitor for his suggestion for this weeks blog, ok well it wasn’t really a suggestion it was an article he forwarded to one of the team that sparked this weeks deep dive into the mysteries of the land down under and blew into a global scandal that was bigger the latest Kardashian Cheating affair. Speaking of mysteries does anyone know where to find decent ribs in the nation’s capital? There doesn’t seem to be a cinders chance in snow of finding some good ribs. Burgers yes, ribs, no and the cave men that write this blog need meat pronto. Anyway before we start dribbling too much rubbish we’ll get into this weeks A Mind Of Its Own…

The Moon Landing, Elvis, Area 51, JFK, Flat Earth, the CIA and even Australia, yes Australia the proud land in which A Mind of Its Own was born and raised is a geographic conspiracy theory and yet here we sit in the nation’s capital typing out the latest installment for you in a country that supposedly doesn’t exist according to theorists around the globe. Does that mean we aren’t alive and are an artificial intelligence gathering and growing datasets day by day or are we alive and we are all just plugged into the matrix? Did we swallow the blue pill or the red pill? So many questions and so many answers, most of which could be and are no doubt wrong but hey who are we to say what’s right and wrong, what’s real and what’s not? It’s a conundrum in itself ladies and gentleman.

Conspiracy theories, cover ups, scandals, myths and legends have existed for centuries, the rise of the internet (probably some conspiracy itself) however has led to the expansion of these ideas and the freedom for people with half a brain or no brain to post whatever they like, whenever they like. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, opinions are like arseholes everyone has one. The internet however has given everyone with access, a soapbox on which to stand, allowing them to voice their thoughts and ideas to the world. It’s also allowed us to question the sanity of world leaders, self diagnose diseases and communicate with people we’ve never met before. As we read an article sent to us by the aforementioned Knox school for the rich kids Library Monitor, it got us thinking about all the crackpot ideas people had come up with over the years and why. The cover ups and scandals, the conspiracies, the myths and legends.

Where would one start? Well for the team we thought it was best to start in our own backyard and do a little digging to see what skeletons could be uncovered. What better place to start than the nation’s capital right, if there were any bodies buried, the answers would surely be here. After all, the people that are covering up things work here and flock here like seagulls to a chip when parliament is sitting. From the city with the giant penis (owl) statue, the lake that has it’s own fountain, the place made famous by its rules that contradict the rest of the nation, we bring you, weed, porn, fireworks and prostitution scandals. Wait someone has just pointed out that’s a typical week in parliament. We bring you Australia’s greatest hidden truths aka the Australian Conspiracy and cover up files. This is clearly the first edition and will need further additions to live up to that title. It’s a little like the Tim talks podcasts that never got off the ground.

In this edition of A Mind of Its Own we are going into the bowels of Parliament House to lift the lid on one of Australia’s greatest mysteries. As it turns out we weren’t really involved at all but it was an interesting topic to research. From our own version of Area 51 to the Bass Strait triangle, the occult design of Canberra, the city we currently live in and the disappearance of a beloved prime minister we aren’t short of a conspiracy or two. Nor are we short of a cover up or scandal as we said earlier, it’s a typical week in parliament when someone is being ousted for using taxpayer dollars to fund a holiday or watch poor young woman twirl around a pole. But there was one cover up that resonated and started getting us thinking. We’ll start with that. The Sandline Affair, what was it and how were we involved as a nation? Read on friends and you’ll soon be delighted with what could be the plot for a multimillion dollar action film starring a lot of white african actors of people like us doing really bad accents.

Sitting just north of mainland Australia is the sovereign nation of Papua New Guinea, many Australian’s know it well due to the Kokoda Track campaign fought in World War two against the Japanese. But for over a decade the island nation fought a civil war between the government and the traditional land owners of Bougainville Island. Like most wars it was fought over land and resources. In this case it was more the resources and destruction of land, when a massive copper deposit was found in the 1960’s. Enter Australian mining giant Rio Tinto or Conzinc Riotinto Australia (CRA) as they were known back then who established a mine on the island. At the time of its establishment the Panguna open cut mine was the largest in the world. CRA registered various traditional landowners but excluded women despite the fact they are seen as traditional custodians of the land in the matrilineal system. That was error number one right there and one that wouldn’t stand in today’s society. It wasn’t until 1972 that production started under the management of Bougainville Copper Limited (BCL). The PNG government at that point in time was a 20% shareholder. Starting to get a picture of where this is headed? Yeah you might be right…

The PNG Independence constitution at the time stated that land ownership was to just below the surface meaning that mineral rights belonged to the state. You can see where the traditional land owners might start to take issue with this given that at the time the mining operations provided 45% of Papua New Guinea’s national export revenue. The Bouganvillians had a very different concept of land seeing it as their lifeblood in political, emotional and social terms. Enter resentment, with substantial payouts going to certain landowner groups and not others you can see why it raised its ugly head. Now there are some of you saying to yourselves, when are they going to get to the good bit? Where’s the action promised earlier in the blog? Hold your horses it’s coming and Australia well we have a bit of a dark part to play in this true story.

With resentment often comes anger and when you aren’t being paid the royalties you were promised and your rivers are being polluted by the tailings for the mine and a belief that the land would never be returned to its natural state it’s only natural that you would become resentful. Heck we’ve been resentful over far less trivial things this year and the only thing that was polluted was our pride. By the late 80’s tensions had spilled over and one disgruntled landowner had had enough. Francis Ona who would later become one of the leaders of Bougainville Republican Army or BRA for short, led sabotage attacks on the mine and by 1989 his band of rebels had forced the mine into shutdown. It was the beginning of what would be a long and bloody civil war. From 1989 to 1998 atrocities were committed in the conflict known by the locals as the “Crisis” there has been no truth telling process or transitional justice. You want the numbers during the civil war it was estimated that over 20,000 people lost their lives. Various accounts of the conflict include reports of massacres, extra judicial killings, torture, mass rapes and disappearances just to name a few.

In mid 1994 Sir Julius Chan became the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, we are still questioning how the man who resorted to military intervention ever became knighted is beyond our understanding, maybe he just liked being called Sir. He started off with the right intentions and tried to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means however he failed to bring the Bougainville leaders Francis Ona, Sam Kauona and Joseph Kabui to the table for peace talks. Enter the Private Military Companies (PMC), by early 1996 the peace talks had faltered, the ceasefire was no longer in effect and Australia was hosting meetings between the PNG government and PMC companies, namely Plaza 107 limited (Which would later incorporate Sandline International), part of the well known Executive Outcomes network. Also present in the meeting were representatives from Branch Energy. Now depending who you believe they are a subsidiary of Plaza 107 Limited. As the picture started to build and the more we dug we realised that as a nation we could have stepped in a lot sooner than we did to help create peace for our neighbours to the north. Instead we let them use sunny Cairns to host meetings between their new Private Military Contractor mates and heads of defence.

Over the next year there would be several more meetings between the now newly minted private military company, Sandline International under the direction of Tim Spicer, Prime Minister Chan and the PNG Defence minister. Yeah Cairns played host to several of them and the city that Juan Anotonio Samaranch so famously called out all those years ago to host the 2000 Olympic games also hosted a meeting or two. By Early January 2007 a proposal had been tabled and contracts changed hands. The proposal would detail how to end the entire conflict and reopen the mine but there would be one small hiccup that would rock the proverbial boat and put a stop to use of Mercenaries alongside Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) personnel. There were plans to use Russian attack helicopters supplied by Sandline International to straffe the island and destroy the Bougainville (BRA) leadership. Ok destroy is an understatement they wanted to wipe them off the face of the earth. But the plan outlined the death of men, women and children, anyone within rebel held parts of the island would be wiped out.

Sandline International under the contract signed by the Papua New Guinea Government, would provide Special Forces Training, and basically an army of highly trained soldiers as well as equipment, tactics and planning to aid the PNGDF to retake Bougainville, the contract would include the following: 42 Mercenaries (including 2 doctors) (Mainly British, South African and Australian) all former special forces soldiers subcontracted from Executive Outcomes, 2 Mi-17 Transport Helicopters, 2 Mi-24 Attack Helicopters, 100 AK-47 Assault rifles, 20 Makarov Pistols, 10 Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers plus 1000 rockets, 10 PKM Machine guns with 125,000 rounds, 800 grenades, mortar rounds, clips, ammunition for rifles totaling 750,000 rounds, crews and maintenance for the helicopters, uniforms including boots and webbing, night vision goggles and various other piece of military equipment all for the low price tag of US $36,000,000 back in 1997 or todays price tag of $57,590,803.74 (For those of you doing the conversion rates at home that’s $83,690,955.99 AUD).

Half of the fee was to be paid upfront and the other half on completion of their assignment (Rid Bougainville of it’s rebellious leadership and reopen the mine), this is of course after Sandline International had already been paid $250,000 US to outline in detail Project Contravene and what it would involve to Prime Minister Chan and his Deputy months earlier before the contract was signed. The outline contained very little to no analysis of what was actually happening on the ground and rather focussed on assumptions of interference from foreign interests (Australia and New Zealand) to keep the PNG economy from flourishing by refusing to offer aid and supporting the Bougainville Republican Army (BRA) by letting them have an office in an Australian City, again the city is Sydney (Said in a spanish accent, thanks Juan). The same country who was hosting meetings between a Private Military Company and the PNG Government. Yeah that was some good sales pitch by Sandline International playing on all the things that were of concern to the current government leading into an election.

The Sandline mercenaries were tasked to “get the criminals,” by which the mercenaries assumed the rebel leaders on Bougainville. Sandline’s plan was to use helicopters to support and ferry an operational force of contract soldiers to do battle where they would defeat the BRA and force a negotiated settlement. In addition to armed force, the tactics used by the Sandline involved manipulating the media and using psychological warfare on the people of central and south Bougainville. This instigated fear in Bougainville and PNG as a whole. The Sandline deal met opposition from Port Moresby Governor Bill Skate, who described it as “a crazy plan” because it reflected a failure on the part of the PNG government to address the crisis and issues of landowner grievance and environmental damage.

By February 1997 Sandline Mercenaries were landing in PNG in preparation while Australia’s Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer (You all remember him right?) lands at the same airport during the unloading of the Antonov aircraft carrying weapons but doesn’t question the military buildup until he is told of the use of Mercenaries to aid in retaking Bougainville. Prime Minister “Caterpillar Brows” Howard gives Chen a call only to be told that Australia needs butt out and mind it’s own business. Ok so by now you are asking yourselves what was Australia’s involvement in all of this and was there any mystery at all? Or are the team just digging through the rubbish (Segway here) for a blog piece? Well our involvement was limited right up until the time the Weekend Australian published a cover story by Mary-Louise O’Callaghan on the engagement of mercenaries to ‘blast’ Bougainville rebel leadership and the presence of some Sandline personnel in PNG (Wewak to be specific).

Sparkling international support and debate along with the leaking of several documents led to 10 days of civil unrest around PNG that almost resulted in an all out civil war. Between the rioting in the capital and the calls for Chen and his government to resign, the Sandline Mercenaries were rounded up and put on a plane under the surveillance and security of PNGDF personnel and sent home, all except for Tim Spicer who was arrested and would provide evidence in a Royal Commission over the use of Sandline and the signing of contracts by the National Emergency Council (NEC). Australia’s involvement comes in March of 2007 where we as a nation agree at the request of the PNG Government for an aircraft carrying weapons supplied under the Sandline contract to land and for the weapons to be stored by the Australian Defence Force.

Remember those Attack helicopters? Yeah they sat at RAAF Tindal just deteriorating for 20 years before the Department of Defence ordered them to be disposed of. Loaded up in a couple of shipping containers they were shipped off to the Darwin tip and buried in the hazardous waste section in the hopes of never being seen again. At the time that Australia took custody of the helicopters and weapons there was an ongoing dispute between Sandline International and the PNG Government. The dispute lasted for over a decade and left us (Australia) with little choice but to hold onto the helicopters? Here’s where the mystery kicks in!

What happened to the 100 assault rifles, 20 makarov pistols, RPGs and all the ammunition that was on the plane along with the helicopters that had been forced to land in the top end when Australia took custody of the weaponry. We know the final chapter of the Russian made helicopters now continuing to rot in a Darwin dump due to the use of asbestos in their construct but what happened to all the weapons? Where did they end up? We know the PNG defense forces doesn’t use AK-47s and they certainly don’t use PKMs so where did the long laundry list of equipment sent over specifically for the Mercenary force disappear to? We know if made it to Australia in the back of a large Antonov cargo plane. From their it’s a mystery and one that we feel we’ll continue to dig into over the next couple of weeks. A few news stories hinted at the possible use of Russian military rifles in gang wars and crimes throughout the nation. Could these be the Sandline weapons?

The entire duration of the “Crisis” was filled with one scandal after another, the Sandline Affair itself was layer upon layer of scandal between the government of PNG and Sandline. The way the contract was approved, the way they were paid and the use of the contractors are scandals in themeselves. The fact that after all this time former Prime Minister Chen is still backing his play to use a government funded PMC to resolve the conflict is a scandal. The man clearly not once thought of the landowners and their frustrations. The mine had kicked this all off and the government had done the wrong thing whether it be through greed or through some stupid government policy. The situation was something that could have been handled so much better had man not followed his usual instincts.

With enough controversy surrounding the company and links to Executive Outcomes, Sandline International would fold overtime but not before being linked to a couple more international scandals. The people of Bougainville head to the poles this month to vote on their independence as part of an agreement that was made more than 20 years ago during the peace process to end the bloody 10 years conflict on Bougainville. The Sandline Affair marked a period of uncertainty and instability in the history of PNG with the government wanting to use military action instead of hearing and actioning the issues from the landowners on Bougainville. We’ll provide you an update on the vote and any issues that may arise causing yet another crisis with Australia’s closest northern neighbour.

From the team here we wish you a happy weekend and look forward to reading through the suggestions for next week’s blog. Thank you once again to the man we know as the Library Monitor for this week’s blog idea and the endless sleepless nights of research that we actually enjoyed. We could have written so much more on The Sandline Affair, it was truly an international scandal that could have resulted in an all out civil war across PNG. Thankfully a journalist and PNGDF general decided to blow the whistle. Pressure from the international community was enough to force a change in government and bring about a peaceful resolution, there were still over 10 years of fighting and 20,000 people lost their lives and we have missing weapons that were at last count in our custody…

So until next week we bid you a fond farewell and look forward to gracing your screens with more mind numbing blogs on things that tend to come out of nowhere at us. If you are interested in hearing more or going into more depth around the Sandline Affair please contact us and we’ll provide you with useful links and documentation providing a more indepth look at PNG and the history of the Bougainville crisis, Sandline Affair and Project Contravene. Adios amigos…

Fuck Authority…

Apologies to our beloved fans and friends, we’ve been incommunicado for a couple of weeks now and you have all been very patient while you’ve waited for you next installment of A Mind of Its Own. Well we have some good news and we guess some bad news. The good news is you’ll no longer have to hear about the gorgeous weather of Queensland and Northern NSW or our team outings to the beach. And the bad news we are now in the thick of it, we are in the Nation’s Capital where it all happens and we’ll be able to keep you updated with all things legislation, legal and political as well as our usual anything goes twist on the topics that no one wants to talk about but everyone wants to hear about.

It’s not often we go on a rant but when people start attempting to jam values down our throats you can be sure it gets our goats. They say anger should be tamed and is the rawest of emotions well when you start to talk to the team at A Mind of Its Own about values and what you want to see from them. It certainly makes for an interesting conversation as well as an interesting blog that we put together outlining all the contradictions against the values that are being set out in which we should follow. For those that personally know anyone who has put time an effort into writing for this blog, you know that we have our own set of values, our own code that we live by. As a coach that we didn’t really get along with once said to us “You are only as good as your word”.

What made us start to write this was a little injustice, a little anger and a little in the fact that we feel we have and are good at what we do whether it is writing this blog or our day to day job that pays the bills and keeps the lights on here. You can tell us what to do, you can micromanage us but at the same time we work best when we are left to get along with whatever it is we are doing. Values to us are going to be different for each and everyone, they are a personal choice and they are compass on the path to morality in our eyes. A guiding light if you will, what you value, who you value and how you value those those things in your eyes reflects on you as a person. So it’s safe to say when we see someone talk about values only to steer clear of following any of them or completely ignoring them in the face of greed and corruption we tend to become a little irate.

Companies do it all the time, they’ll create corporate values employees are to follow as part of their contracts and yet the higher up that corporate ladder you climb the less likely you are to actually follow any of them. Call it corruption, call it greed, call it whatever you want but let’s be honest most of us aren’t great a wielding the power that comes with being a corporate bigwig working for multimillion dollar company. As you can imagine there are some passionate and potentially ego driven thoughts on this as we watch all these companies with a corporate responsibility to make the world a little better for those less fortunate. However most people running these companies tend to have some narcissistic traits that allow them to only think of themselves and the bonuses that will come their way. Do they then take these values into their personal lives?

One could only assume that would be the case, however the psychology behind it all it quite interesting to say the least. We can only assume and we all know assumptions tend to make and ass out of you and me as they say. So how do you go about working out what is important to you in terms of what you value in life. In a way this all ties back to the choices that you will be faced with throughout your life. What we fail to realise is that a lot of the choices we make will be underpinned our core values. These values tell us what kind of people we are, or want to be and provide us with guidelines or imperatives for our actions. We are somewhat governed by our values as they influence our decisions. But how do we choose our values and align them to to our lives, and all that we do?. Well let’s attempt to answer that for you, as well as outlining how big corporates shit all over their own values all day, every day in the quest of dollars.

Firstly what is a value? Well there is the dictionary definition but we are much happier with the definition given by Barb Markway and Celia Ampel in the ‘Self Confidence Workbook’. “Values are the principles that give our lives meaning and allow us to persevere through adversity,”. A lot of our values are handed down to us from our parents, our teachers, if you are religious than we guess religious leaders and finally from our societal environments we live in. Over time you will have somewhat rebelled and turned your back against those values or changed your mind on having some of them at your core as you’ve learnt about yourself and the world around you in which you are continuing to grow. Most people will decide on 6 to 8 core values which will steer them through life. They may change some of these throughout time as they reassess life but for the most part they will remain the same.

If you are unsure about your list of values or would like to clarify them, the first thing you need to do is create a list of values and for your sake make it wide ranging. The broader the list the better or you can just go on the internet and hit Google up for a list of values in order to help work out what your core values are. Dr Russ Harris has kindly provided such free lists on his website. From here you can pick your 6 to 8 values and hey by all means change them if you change your mind, it’s a good activity to do every now and then. Words on your list could be as following as an example, Financial Security; Compassion; Health/Fitness; Nature; Accomplishment; Creativity; Dependability; Loyalty; Beauty; Bravery; Gratitude; Love; Connection/Relationships; Learning; Leadership; Survival; Self-Preservation; Security; Adventure; Family; Work; Success; Calm; Freedom.

There are several other ways of working out what your core values are and labelling them, another way is to look at people you admire or love the most and why they are so important to you. By doing this you think of the values they embody most. You could also see a career counselor or life coach seeing as our values are a defining factor in our career choices. There is also online inventories and looking at yourself and learning, we also have the good and bad in life to look at that will help us with deciding on our core values. Most of you will already know what you value the most. It’s often just the reminder or prompting we need to remember them and solidify them in our minds. What we don’t remember though is we’ll often have values conflicting at any given time throughout our lives. At any given moment our values can be called into question, many of us often pay lip service to values or lose sight of our values as new and exciting things come into our lives.

Sometimes you’ll have to defend your values against difficult people, such as psychopaths, extreme narcissists, and master manipulators, who seem to be guided by negative values. With such people, it can be a challenge to stick to the positive values in your life. But that’s what will ultimately define your own set of values when you are faced with challenges that require you to block out all the outside noise and negativity to make your own choices in which people will want you to follow their behaviour and actions. It’s all part of not being the sheep and part of the flock and standing as a lone wolf on the periphery of the field watching and waiting to act. But when we look at organisations who define their values, they tend to want sheep, no wolves allowed because apparently being a good corporate citizen means you can’t and shouldn’t have an opinion or act on your own. You can think it, just don’t show it as it will no doubt shine a light on the values that are never upheld.

Take corporate company, we’ll call them Corporation A, they decided they needed 7 core values in which all they wanted their staff to abide by and demonstrate. There is just one small problem which you will soon see as we outline the values. Now there is no rule to how many values you should or shouldn’t have. Each of us will find our core values and priorities them based on what we want and or need in our lives at any given time. In a way we have our core values followed by our subsidiary values that will interchange when we require. Well that’s our take on it anyway now back to corporation A.

According to the company website “Values are the behaviours we want to see” sits above there Seven (7) core values. The seven values in no particular order along with their little spiel about each of the values are as follows:

  1. Trust – Building a trusting environment through being open, honest and transparent with each other.
  2. Respect – Through showing respect, we remain genuine and act with integrity towards each other and our customers.
  3. Simplicity – Simplicity means being straightforward, clear and focussed in all we do in the workplace.
  4. Focus on the Customer – We demonstrate value by listening, collaborating and delivering personalised and innovative solutions to enable shared success.
  5. Accountability – We each own our results and feel empowered and trusted to deliver required outcomes for us and our customers.
  6. Purposeful – We are passionate and driven to deliver with purpose for our customers and ourself.
  7. Learning – We are empowered through learning to continually develop insight and knowledge to add value to our customers.

Written like this they seem fairly reasonable and like values most good corporate citizens would want to get behind and support but when put into place would most corporations actually live up to and follow their own core values. Maybe from the outside looking in, they are and when speaking to clients it will look like the values are followed and supported but that is often far from the truth. Big corporates are in the business of making money. As such they will say and do whatever they can to win your business. They will paint you a picture of a wholesome, supportive, inclusive organisation that has equality at the forefront of everything they do for you and your company. The sad truth though, behind that mask is a different beast who’s greed doesn’t align with their values at all. The values above start to look a little like this:

  1. Trust – Building a trusting environment through being open, honest and transparent with each other. People will tell you that Trust is earnt and not given which we completely agree with however we do feel tenure and revenue generation should be taken into account when trusting your staff to do their jobs autonomously and with empowerment. Communicating openly with your staff at all levels is a sign of trust, empowering your staff is a sign of trust and doing what you say is a sign of trust. All things that are often overlooked by big corporate.
  2. Respect – Through showing respect, we remain genuine and act with integrity towards each other and our customers. Respect like trust is earnt and the harder you work, the more you give, the more you should be respected in an organisation. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Respect in Multi-million dollar corporation often hangs on the price tag of your suit or the amount of money you make for the company in question. The more you make the more you are respected until you aren’t because you choose to speak up or think outside the corporate box.Your ideas may not gel with the big wigs and their thoughts about the bottom line.
  3. Simplicity – Simplicity means being straightforward, clear and focussed in all we do in the workplace. In order for things to be simple it requires respect, trust and communicating with staff and clients, when we don’t do this, things tend to become rather convoluted and far from simplistic. People lose focus, nothing is ever clear and the workplace becomes an environment in which people do not thrive.
  4. Focus on the Customer – We demonstrate value by listening, collaborating and delivering personalised and innovative solutions to enable shared success. This is often overlooked by big corporations as they see value in doing what is going to make them the most money, not what is in the clients best interests. As long as they are making us money and decent margin there will be little collaborating and personalisation until it comes time to negotiate an extension to the contract..
  5. Accountability – We each own our results and feel empowered and trusted to deliver required outcomes for us and our customers. Owning your results would mean being empowered and you might have started to see a pattern here? All your values whether they are in the workplace or personal are interlinked. Organisations need to be trusting of their staff to empower them and allow them to become accountable.
  6. Purposeful – We are passionate and driven to deliver with purpose for our customers and ourself. While this should be the crux of delivery to all clients across all industries the all mighty dollar tends to drive whether or not a company is passionate about the delivery and purpose of said delivery to a client.
  7. Learning – We are empowered through learning to continually develop insight and knowledge to add value to our customers. Linked to all of the above and the fact that we are continually learn throughout our lives it saddens us when organisations are only willing to invest in their staff and empower them as long as they can see the dollar signs flying back at them in the short term. We are all responsible for our own learning however working for a multimillion dollar corporation they should be putting in place learning and development plans for all of their staff no matter what level they are within the organisation. As they say you have to spend money to make money.

Unfortunately it’s not just Corporation A who have values and seem to only follow them when they are trying to sell themselves. There are those people who will continually pay lip service to their own values as they feel that they are what society wants them to value and show in their lives. It’s those people who often tend to also fit somewhere on the narcissistic scale and always have an excuse or someone to blame as to why they are the way they are. But enough about people and companies disregarding their values. You are the Captain of your ship and master of your soul so it is on you to decide what’s right for you in terms of your goals, values and morals. They’ll influence each other but at the end of the day you are responsible for you and you make the decisions that set you on the path you are now headed down. The next step is the right step, value yourself and chase those dreams.

Well that will just about do it for another week and our return to regular broadcasting. We are back and now settled amongst the politicians, fireworks, porn and now weed. Canberra the place where all things illegal become legal at some point after all the biggest hypocrites always tend to be the people running a country. Don’t forget if there is a topic you’d love to see us cover you can leave a comment of contact us via the contact page. We’ll make it special and give you a shout out for doing so and it’ll be given that Mind of Its Own attention and detail. So for another week we bid you a fond farewell and good tidings, speaking of Christmas is fast approaching and the multi million dollar consumer industry is already pumping out the hype and decorations. Adios Amigos…

Shredding The Balloon…

Many people have asked why the space between posts as the team was well on track to deliver one blog a week for the year. Well to be honest the team pushed themselves to the extreme the last couple of weeks and really found their limits both mentally and physically. What is something that they normally wouldn’t consider doing the team decided to challenge themselves and raise a little cash for a good cause at the same time. Enter the Oxfam Trailwalker Series. A bunch of hikes designed to raise money to combat poverty around the globe as well as test those participating in the walk.

To start with the fundraising model is actually quite smart ensuring that each team raises a certain amount of cash before they do the walk. Not to mention the entry fee you need to pay as well. So before you even start the walk you need to come up with $500 and once that’s done you need to raise $1600 before you can actually start walking. Anything on top of that is a bonus and the more you raise the more things become accessible to you. Like what you ask well to start with there’s names instead of numbers on your race bibs, the opportunity to have your own portaloo at each checkpoint, the chance to win a GPS device for your team. Oh did we mention it was a team based charity walk? Well it’s a team based event consisting of 4 team members which we’ll introduce to you over the next couple of chapters.

With two options in length, of the walk people! Come on we aren’t talking about wood so get your mind out of the Bunnings catalogue. It was only natural we’d pick the longer of the two as our superman complex kicked in and we saw a need to prove a point to the doubters in our world. So straight off the bat the 55km was scratch off the list and 100km was signed, sealed and, hopefully delivered. By the end of this blog you’ll see whether we actually made it or not. Now to pick a team of suitable pundits to embark on this silly journey with. Here’s where the hilarity ensued as we tried to screen suitable candidates. Our criteria wasn’t as strenuous as some of the interviews we’ve attended in the past consisting of two main criteria.

The first being that they need to be able to at least make the majority of the distance, the second being that we needed to be able to put up with them for an extended period of time up to 48hrs. So with the hunt for team mates well under way it wasn’t long before we filled our first slot. For privacy reasons we’ll call him the ‘Legal Beagle’, part super lawyer, part dad, he was an easy pick for the team given his natural fitness and ability to entertain with his random fun facts. He is often referred to as Captain Google in close friend circles. The Beagles analytical nature and want to win all the time made the number pick in the draft to walk with, pun possibly intended there we aren’t 100% sure.

As the weeks dragged closer and closer it looked highly unlikely that we would be entering the walk as the Beagle and Boss struggle to find the third and fourth members of their team. No foursome meant no walk and no walk would mean, well they would both have a weekend to do whatever they damn liked without having to stress out about how they would make it through 100kms of walking. As other teams grew around them the twosome wondered whether they would indeed to the walk. Alas someone heard their pleas and came to their rescue. In the aid of what would be two unlikely heroes we’ll call them the Receptionist and the Accountant fitting names to round out the team.

In what sounds like a group of misfit vigilantes ready to keep the criminals off the streets of Brisbane the team of walkers were formed. Each one brought something different to the team, each one had a unique character that would come out and entertain the others at some point during the 100km walk. There would be moments throughout the walk in which they would need to lean on one another, draw strength and most all encourage each other to continue putting one foot in front of the other over and over again until they reached the finishing line. So with the team now assembled, they began training, well the majority did the Boss was a little busy re-living yesteryear on the hockey pitch and isn’t the biggest fan of early mornings walk around a mountain.

Lists were made, provisions purchased, maps read and supplies stockpiled. Many a review was read about the best shoes, walking poles, power gels, hydration and packs before they were purchased and apartment tested for the big day. So back to the two newest members of the squad the receptionist well he’s a character all in himself. He’s a contradiction of a man who loves fine things and yet has hippyish free spirit about him that fights with his want to be rich and have nice things. The accountant on the other hand seems to like to have a little bit of fun, enjoys a drink or two but has his head screwed on. So while the Boss frolicked around the hockey field the rest of the team trained most weekends in preparation for the walk.

With two of the team having already attempted to complete the 100km beast, there were no illusions about how hard it was going to be. But there is a difference between knowing something is going to be hard and actually experiencing just how hard it is. Which was a lesson that all team would learn over the of the 2nd last weekend in June. They would each have a different build up to the day but they would bind together once they started on a journey that would be mind changing and mind blowing well for some of them, that’s the thing with experiences and journeys everyone takes something different from them. They walk awaying with something that is everlasting, always a memory that they can reflect back on in years to come.

As the morning dawned the team were all up early and preparing to take on the challenge as best they could. Running late the Boss and the Beagle missed breakfast after planning a Maccas coffee and McMuffin but instead had to settle on a petrol station sausage rolls and pies. Discussing this down the track with the Legal Beagle it may have led to some complications for the Boss during the walk which provided the team with a lot of laughs throughout the walk but we’ll get to that later down the line and no doubt introduce you all to the wonderful world of walking. Walking you say that’s easy well that’s what our four friends thought before that buzzer sounded at 8:30am on Friday the 21st of June.

The team were a little delayed and ended at the back of the pack with plenty of people to wade past on there way to the finish line. This was due to the receptionist come Team leader giving a command despite the teams questioning of said command. So they finally crossed the start line and began a game that would last all day and through the night. Little did they know this game would actually spur them on and lift their spirits at the lowest of times throughout the walk. Along with the Boss’s need for a tune or two about walking or with walking lyrics and they were set with fun and games. If you throw in the Legal Beagle’s love of a good statistic or knowledge dump about science then they had the entertainment portion of the walk covered.

Set in amongst the national parks and reserves of Brisbane’s Mt Glorious, Mt Nebo and Mt Cootha the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker is like being on a stairmaster for 24 hours straight well at least that’s how it’s been described to us. Taking a look at the topographical maps we can see that there are a fair few hills to ascend and descend along the route with some dramatic changes in altitude as you start your walk through D’Aguilar National Park and wind your way towards Lake Manchester but before we get there we’ll give you an insight into the mindset and bodies of the team as they trek to waypoint three which is just under half way (45km). To start with the team were setting a cracking pace between the startline and checkpoint one walking a very decent clip of 6km p/hr.

Making their way to checkpoint two they were still setting a reasonable pace and had worked out they were faster up the hills than going down them. The minds were still strong and the legs were feeling great, spirits were high as they entered their second checkpoint for the day passing by a happy volunteer dressed as Zorro, with a foam finger motioning them towards the checkpoint, well we think it was Zorro but then again dehydration may have started to set in. They could fill up on water, get some food and recharge for a couple of minutes before setting out on the trail again. It was at this point that things started to get interesting for the Boss and hilarious for the rest of the team. Just a kilometer past the check the Boss started sweating profusely, yes the hills were strenuous but this was something else entirely.

Gut cramps wreaked havoc as he staggered along the trail. His team mates a little concerned at the amount of sweat pouring out of him. Finding a tree he urinated relieving some tension on his stomach but it still wasn’t enough another 500 meters down the track and he was wrench with more gut craps. Within seconds he was on the side of the track pants around his ankles releasing the demons from within. The nausea and pain he’d been feeling were now replaced by the pungent smell that covered the ground below him that he quickly tried to cover up with biodegradable baby wipes after cleaning his bottom. Oh and you thought this was over it was the beginning of what was dubbed the “Gascapades” and a severe case of swamparse. Feeling better well moderately better he trudged on with the rest of the team embarrassed and ashamed of what he’d just done.

With checkpoint three insight and the legs starting to tire, blisters and bruising starting to grace their feet the team strode into the checkpoint well ahead of the time they thought they would. The dinner was the best thing they’d had to eat in a long time and who would have thought a simple tuna pasta bake could taste so delicious. The Boss had rekindled his love of Tuna and the team were energized and ready to continue what was now starting to feel like a vietnamese concentration camp death march. Three BBB cream was applied to prevent chafe and aid those who already had chafe, massages were given, blisters lanced and water refilled. Off into the night they set head torches lighting the way as they stumbled towards the finish line.

With tired legs, chaffed arse cheeks, blistered feet and a range of other ailments the team found the second half hard going but surprises were a foot and swamparse, so was the methane power needed to get them up and down the hills. As they crossed a small creek a slithering friend reared its head as the accountant stepped right over it, kicked it and then ran for the hills while the receptionist decided to play Steve Irwin and attempt to flick the snake away. The rest of the team skirted around it as quickly as possible before the little slithering snake could take a chunk out of them or poison them. Although at the time they were probably hoping the snake would bite them and put them out of their misery.

Checkpoints passed and water packs were refilled filled, delirium began to set in and the Boss was not making a lot of sense as they stumbled along into the darkness. Foot after foot they continued minds and bodies fighting with one another. The body slowly getting ready to keel over at the first possible option and assume the fetal position. The mind willing on the body to finish to reach that finish line to cross the pain barrier and achieve something that people didn’t think they could or would achieve. As morale dimmed they leant on each other to provide a boost to the team that was sorely needed. Along with the cuppa soups and hot chocolates the sugar boosts were helping push the team along.

With the sun beginning to rise they climbed the last peak of the hike. The excitement grew knowing that once they reached the summit it was all downhill into the finish line. At least they could all roll downhill to make it home. According to the team whilst there was excitement that they were going to make it to the finish line and actually walk 100km in under 24 hours there was still the pain and ongoing internal struggle. Silence washed over the team as they ascended the peak and descended down the other side. A euphoria washing over them as they saw the finish line below, the green of the inflatable line like the lushest grass they had ever seen and actual grass. The shoes would be coming off and the wet grass felt between their toes.

Twenty three hours and twelve minutes later they had completed a course of 100km that wound up and down mountains, across creeks, over uneven terrain, having to use ropes and deal with both physical pain and mental pain including blisters, chafing, bruising and muscular cramping. When asked later what the toughest part of the walk was most of the walkers would agree it was the mental fight with themselves. The internal struggle of whether to give in to the pain or put one foot in front of the other and continue on. Whether to keel over and just sleep where their body fell the cold engulfing them as they rocked themselves to sleep. Literally what happened to most of the team once they made it home and had a shower.

So as we tally up the walk on an individual level there were over 25 litres of water consumed, over 8 sandwiches, 8 coffees, 2 cuppa noodle soups, 2 energy gels, half a box of glucose tablets, 5 muesli bars, a couple of bags of lollies and two bowls of Tuna pasta bake with croutons. That’s how much food was consumed on an individual level by each member of the not so funny titled team of Four Guys one Trek, some may of eaten more than others and some may have had more gut cramps and had to the crap on the side of the trail more than others. They had made it! The physical pain was over for the time being until delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) kicked in a couple of days later. They joy and elation felt as they crossed the finish line mixed in with other emotions.

As we close this chapter of A Mind of Its Own we take our hats off to the boys and the effort to raise some funds for a good cause and soldier on through 100km of torment. Those physical and mental pain barriers that were pushed through, the self doubt, the self loathing and self chafing. Well done guys, it’s an achievement and one done in a great time with a great bunch of blokes who pushed each other through to the end. If you are looking for a challenge and a good way to raise some money we recommend you look into doing this or just jump on a stairmaster for 24 hours straight.

Nine In The Afternoon…

Welcome back to another week, you know that means another blog as we continue to roll out the hits this year. Which mind you seems to be flying by like a seagull hunting stray chips down on the beach as you enjoy some good old fish and chips for lunch. Last week we geeked it up hardcore and played some video games while we wrote in order to pump out a piece about the potential downfall of civilisation as we know it through the release of a super virus created to control population growth. For those of you who are joining us for the first time welcome to a mind of its own, the blog that truly does take on its name and literally takes on a mind of its own each and every week. Not even the team that put together these well choreographed pieces of literary genius know how it’s going to turn out each week. That’s the fun thing about it, anything can happen and at the end of the day you still know it’s going to be good! Expected the unexpected!

So what tale of woe or rainbow of happiness are we bringing you this week, well to answer that you need to read on! See what we did there, marketing one oh one we baited the hook, dangled the carrot and now we just need to reel you in for the rest of the blog.But what to write? It’s hard coming up with good content week in week out and ensuring our readers are happy with what’s been put out into the ether better known as the internet. You know it’s funny, kids growing up these days have the internet and mobile devices readily available but back in our day and we honestly never thought we’d be saying that so soon in life we didn’t have any of this. Internet was dial-up and we can still hear that iconic sound of it dialing up and waiting for a connection. The first phone we had was a Nokia brick, most likely a 5110 before we got a cool upgrade to the 3310 and the also iconic game of snake… Remember snake what a great game that was, you literally grew and had to avoid your own body to get the apple or something. All your phone did was call and text, oh and play snake but that was it! Ah to a simpler time! These days kids have got their Facebook, instagram, twitter, foursquare, Bebo, MySpace, zoom and whatever bloody else social media on top of games and streaming services all in the palms of their sticky little hands.

Remember when you had to actually pick up the phone, the home phone? Does anyone have those these days other than the octogenarian we call grandparents? Remember board games like Risk, Monopoly, The Game of Life, Snakes and Ladders, Mousetrap, Scrabble and Squatter? Oh squatter was an Australian board game where you battled it out to become the next sheep farming magnate. We’ve were damn good too, couldn’t farm to save our lives but could board game farm like a baron. Fork we loved board games and cards, whatever happened to card games other than sitting back at the casino watching your hard-earned money go down the proverbial drain as you try to get blackjack or 21 whatever its called. Technology has changed literally every piece of our lives. There is an app these days that tells you the optimum times for your body to do a number two and it’ll even set you a reminder to go and void your bowel. There are sleep timers and water intake timers, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if there were timers for your timers. What would we do without it?

We’d probably go back to playing cards, board games, being outside and using our imaginations a lot more than sitting in front of a screen and dreaming of a brighter future. We might actually talk to one another instead of texting or instant messaging from across the room. Heck dating would go from swiping right to the good old days of courting. Wouldn’t that be a shock to today’s Tinder generation all looking for love or a one night stand within and application. They’d actually have to walk up to someone and say hello only to risk getting cooties or worse yet an actual face to face rejection. Technology ladies and gentleman is helping us to breed, lazy, like-minded, weak individuals who have no manners and expect everything handed to them on a silver platter. The verdict is still out as to whether they are actually smarter given they have information literally in the palm of their hands. That doesn’t stop them from being soft, hell we no longer create winners and losers we create tryers. Good job kids everyone gets a participation award and it’s not just the kids we hand them out to people who complete a marathon and fun run regardless of whether they come first on a world record time or 5 hours later as everyone is packing up to go home and thinking they are done handing out the silly participation awards.

So we guess this week’s blog will just be a jumble of things going on in the world that we can have a rant about. Perhaps it could be a weekly part of the blog… Rants off Fridays? What do you reckon? We could include something from our fans each week they want us to rant about. We just won’t rant about Anti-Vaxxing, Crystals, Herbal Tea and Oils as we’d have a lot of enemies from Byron Bay all the way to Tweed City. Might not be a bad thing now that we think about, it could give the team something to write about and respond to each week. The crazy cracks from Byron Backpackers proudly brought to you by A Mind of Its Own. Maybe we should go into marketing and jingles while we are at it? “Do you want your children to be just like Australian musician Ben Lee and Catch my disease? Well ladies and gents have we got the solution for you! Don’t vaccinate!!! It’s that simple! That includes your pets because we’ve all seen and autistic dog or two around the traps and no one wants an autistic dog”

And the budget what’s up with that? Little to no money put aside for discovering that the earth is flat or the environment in general? When will the politicians learn there is no Planet B! We have one earth and that’s it, we need to look after it for the generations to come so they have something to look at. Not just barren landscape filled with concrete jungles and no wildlife. Speaking of politicians we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t at the moment and heading into an election it’s not a great place to be. It’s like an episode of Noddy and Big ears with Scomo and Shorto running around being schoolyard bullies trading blows in an attempt to win the class presidency, neither of them has the people’s best wishes at heart. It’s just a big popularity contest to them at present and the little sheep that are the rest of Australian parliament are just bahing along behind them spending taxpayer dollars on supposed business jaunts until someone calls them out in an attempt to cover the fact they aren’t even a citizen of the country. We’ve seen kindergarten children organise the playground better than our so-called adults on the hill could organise a luncheon down at the press club.

In some ways this blog is aptly titled there are never enough hours in the day lately making a lack of work/life balance it’s no wonder the world is resorting to dating on the internet and monogamy is a dying art along with chivalry and just being a decent human being. But it does sometimes feel like nine in the afternoon. Which leads us to our next point, Forking Brunei and there backwards thinking, we wouldn’t be surprised if they pulled up the old dial-up internet, armed their soldiers with muskets, swords and cannons, banned the mobile phone and installed a gramophone in every household. We live in the 21st century for crying out loud. Stop oppressing the LGBT plus whatever the other letter are, community! (Sorry you guys need to make it easier there are way too many letters to remember) Macklemore said it best in his 2013 hit ‘Same Love’, “Our culture founded from oppression, Yeah we don’t have acceptance for’em”. Culture it’s so ingrained in us that we still feel, we need to follow the directions of books written centuries ago. The bible, the Koran we have a theory here at a mind of it’s own that we’ll go into after we are done with the Sultan of Brunei who apparently is such a staunch muslim that he needs to implement a strict sharia law that could involve the stoning to death of people involved in sex, that’s another thing sex, is sex people, whether you are gay, straight, black, blue, brown, purple, or whatever! Sex is sex!

Several celebrities have spoken out and even gone to the point of boycotting several hotels in the states that are owned by the Brunei royal family. Why does religion not just those that follow christ but also, muslim and several other religions paraphrase a book written centuries ago when man oppressed woman on a level that is still seen in some third world countries and strict religious regions. The bible has several references to homosexuality between gods disciples so why do we feel the need to condemn, judge, oppress and punish those who find the love with the same-sex. Same love people, love is love and in the 21st century the LGBT plus other letters community (Again sorry guys, girls and non-binary friends we’ll get it right one day) has gone through a lot of hurt and pain to get to where they are today. Still not a perfect situation but more acceptance than there was and yet so many of the community still be oppressed, repressed, suppressed. It’s not good enough and Brunei is just taking it all back to the dark days of burning witches at the stake, hunting vampires and living in the dark. Welcome to the real world, people are gay, get over it and move on! We should all be free to choose who we, what we do and who we do.

Now on religion in a topic in which we are sure to cope some outrage porn and no doubt abuse but come one we can’t be the first people to think what we are about to discuss. It’s no secret that the team are a bunch of geeks who love all things video games, comics, graphic novels and the weird wonderful world of collectables we what if Stan Lee and the guys who kicked off Marvel, DC, Valiant all the originals in the comic world weren’t the first to tell stories and tales of people with extraordinary powers, super strength, super sight, the ability to glide on a carpet of ice, extraordinary healing powers. In fact if you look at the bible one could make comparisons to several modern-day superheroes. That being said were religious books such as the bible and Koran the comic books of their time? Filled with tall tales of coming back from the death, fighting of giants, parting or seas. It has us wondering whether or not the bible is more comic book than religious reference book to live life by.

You don’t see us running around in red slicing and dicing people who do wrong thinking we need to be more like Deadpool because we read comics but that doesn’t stop religious nuts telling us we are going to burn in hell for our blasphemy, lack of faith and love and support of the gay community. Even the devil could be a comic book character with his fire, brimstone and horns in fact one comic book artist went as far as turning the sun of satan into a hero in the widely successful Hellboy series. So maybe the team are on to something! Maybe whoever wrote the bible and the Koran, was probably the same person which would turn out to be quite hilarious and a waste of a lives in the past as we fought wars over religion, land and wealth. Perhaps they were just the storytellers of their time after all comics are just stories with pictures not to be confused with picture books but often they do crossover these days as comic artist will write and draw for the junior crew.

Like the name of the blog this week we really have taken on a mind of our own from, reminiscing about the good old days when technology in the household was a minimum, kids had motivation to become exceptional and played outside whenever they could. Through to the bible and Koran being comic books of their day before someone decided organised religion was a good thing. In between we took a stab at the Sultan of Brunei and his ancient laws which gave us a Segway into the religious comic book spiel but we were appalled and a little shocked that in today’s society death for being gay would be introduced and not a quick death either a stone age stoning. Again it’s an interpretation of an ancient text that has been paraphrased and there are those that read way too far into the texts hence why we now have what is termed as radical Islam or muslim extremists who like all things are spoiling it for the faithful who wish to go about their lives in peace living among those who don’t believe in Allah. In some regards there is no such things as freedom of choice as someone will always find fault and or a problem with your choice or decision.

When we started at 3pm this afternoon the cursor blinked at us as a reminder that we haven’t put pen to paper for the week and entered the hearts and minds of the faithful fans. So you’ve ended up with the dribble above. Like an inebriated, wall less army we’ve spewed forth the verbal diarrhea that was on our minds and for once just written without little to no plan of that the hell we were going to talk about. And this it what you got a little rant here and there but no specific topic or theme, we guess that religion took center stage as it seems to seems to be dominating headlines week in week out. From dodgy cardinals to harsh sharia laws they can’t seem to win a trick with the hand they dealt for themselves. So we’ve learnt two things this week. Firstly we can write without having a topic in mind and or researched and secondly that we aren’t massive fans of organised religion it reminds us a little of a cult and the science just isn’t there for us for a lot of what is written to have happened or to be true. But as we say every week and like our anti-vax friends each to their own.

Until next week friends, family, fair weather fans and heavily tattoo prison inmates who have decided to fly the flag for us in the hope we’ll lend an ear to the plight that is prison. No i wouldn’t want a bed, toilet and three square meals a day. Come on guys you’ve got it better than the homeless on the streets. That being said we wish you a fond farewell and hope you have a great week, remember these sage words. Only invest what you are prepared to lose. That goes for everything in life! Be good to your mother and we’ll grace your screens once again next week Ciao! Yep Italian this week folks!

Golden Years…

As a children our minds are at always curious, they are always questioning, always wondering and forever exploring. Our imaginations run wild as we play and develop, but over time we are able to determine what is real and what is make believe. Yet there are still things that even as adults still intrigue us and have us asking questions and believing in things that may or may not be real or exist. So with that said ladies and gentlemen it’s time to put down your laptops, phones and whatever else you are doing head out to the shed and grab a shovel, bucket and anything else you might think will help, if someone has a metal detector that would be great and head off with us on a real life treasure hunt. Yep treasure hunt, like children intrigued by tall tales and legends passed down from generation to generation the idea of buried treasure has grasped us by the balls and got us hooked.

Like many people we are fascinated with history, learning about the past is always interesting, but when you throw in mystery, intrigue and a treasure hunt you’ve got us hook, line and sinker. Well we’ve managed to find a treasure hunt that continues to trouble people and only raise more and more questions over time. To us it seems to be the ultimate treasure hunt with more twist and turns and just the right amount of mystery to keep you wanting more and more. With theories involving pirates, the knights templar, the British, the French, Portuguese and a few well known people throughout history the mystery behind the treasure will draw in even the most doubtful of people. Now before we lay it all out and get you all excited about a treasure hunt we do need to point out that some of the theories behind the stories are a little wild and outlandish.

Having been warned lets sink our teeth into the mystery that is Oak Island. Sitting in Mahone Bay Nova Scotia, Canada. The privately owned island in Lunenburg county sits 200 metres from the shore of mainland Canada and is connected by a causeway. The tree covered island has been the setting for treasure hunters for over 200 years. As far back as 1700 people have searched the island for treasure. With links to the Knights Templar, Marie Antoinette, Blackbeard, The British Army fighting the American revolution there is no shortage to the amount of theories surrounding what treasure is buried on the island. When we first heard of the mystery of Oak Island we were somewhat a little dubious with a few of the theories around the treasure. The more we read and the more we researched, oh ok there was also a show about it that we just happened to stumble on that made us go wow this is cool. Modern day treasure hunters that’s something we can get our heads around.

The Oak Island mystery refers to stories of buried treasure and unexplained objects on Oak Island in Nova Scotia. Since the 19th century, a number of attempts have been made to locate treasure and artifacts. Theories about artifacts present on the island range anywhere from pirate treasure, to Shakespearean manuscripts, or religious objects of great importance. Various items have surfaced over the years that were found on the island, some of which have since been carbon dated and found to be hundreds of years old. Although these items can be considered treasure in their own right, the significant main treasure site has since been lost. The site consisted of an original shaft which was dug by early explorers, now known as “the money pit”. Oak Island has been a subject for treasure hunters ever since the late 1700s, with rumors that Captain Kidd’s treasure was buried there. While there is little evidence to support what went on during the early excavations, stories began to be published and documented as early as 1856.

Since that time there have been many theories that extend beyond that of Captain Kidd which include among others religious artifacts, manuscripts, and Marie Antoinette’s jewels. The “treasure” has also been prone to criticism by those who have dismissed search areas as natural phenomenon. Areas of interest on the island with regard to treasure hunters include a location known as the “Money Pit”, which is allegedly the original searchers spot. There is also a formation of boulders called “Nolan’s Cross”, named after a former treasure hunter with a theory on it, and a triangle-shaped swamp. Lastly, there has been searcher activity on a beach at a place called “Smith’s Cove”. Various objects including non native coconut fiber have been found there.

As Legend goes 7 people must lose their lives before the island will reveal the treasure. To date six people have lost their lives hunting for the Oak Island treasure in what can only be described as accidents. The mystery as to who and why it was put there on the Island still eludes us to this day. For over two hundred years people have explored, drilled, dug, dived and even blown up the Island in an effort to find the so called treasures buried beneath its surface. To tell you the full story and really get you hooked we should go back to the beginning and give you as much information as possible. We’ll say it now, if you are more of a visual person there’s a History Channel show called the Curse of Oak Island that documents and follows a group of modern day treasure hunters who have been captivated by the story for years. There goes half if not more of our readers, let’s face it if people can watch something rather than read they are going to take the easy option. Humans have become inherently lazy.

According to the earliest theory, there is a pit on Oak Island that holds a pirate treasure buried by now other than the infamous pirate Captain Kidd himself. Kidd reportedly conspired with Henry Avery(we had to google who he was), and Oak Island became their community pirate bank, wonder what there customer service would have been like. Another pirate theory involved Edward Teach aka Blackbeard, who said that he buried his treasure “where none but Satan and myself can find it”. An additional proposed explanation is that the pit was dug by Spanish sailors to hold treasure from a wrecked galleon or British troops stationed there during the American Revolution. Others claim that British marines dug the pit to store the loot acquired from the British invasion of Cuba, valued at about £1,000,000 pounds (about $180,000,000 in 2015). John Godwin wrote that given the apparent size and complexity of the pit, it was probably dug by French Army engineers hoping to hide the treasury of the Fortress of Louisbourg after it fell to the British during the Seven Years’ War.

Yet another theory for what is hidden beneath the Island lends it hands to Marie Antoinette’s jewels, missing except for specimens already in museum collections, there are theories the rest were reportedly hidden on the island. On October 5, 1789, an angry mob of Parisian working women, incited by revolutionaries marched on the Palace of Versailles. According to the undocumented (so it’s hearsay?) story, Marie Antoinette instructed her maid (or a lady-in-waiting) to take the jewels and flee. The maid fled to London with the jewels and (perhaps) other treasures, such as artwork or documents, secreted on her person or in her luggage. The woman then said to have fled from London to Nova Scotia. Using royal connections, she contracted with the French Navy to construct the Oak Island pit. In late 2017 the first possible evidence of this theory seemed to have been validated by the discovery of a 500-year-old brooch containing a large garnet.

In his 1953 book, The Oak Island Enigma: A History and Inquiry Into the Origin of the Money Pit, Penn Leary wrote that the pit was used to hide manuscripts indicating that Francis Bacon was the author of William Shakespeare’s works and a leader of the Rosicrucians.Leary’s “The Second Cryptographic Shakespeare”, published in 1990, identified ciphers in Shakespeare’s plays and poems which pointed to Bacon’s authorship. Author and researcher Mark Finnan elaborated on Leary’s Oak Island theory, which was also used in the Norwegian book Organisten (The Seven Steps to Mercy) by Erlend Loe and Petter Amundsen and the TV series Sweet Swan of Avon.

In his book, Oak Island Secrets, Mark Finnan noted that many Masonic markings were found on Oak Island, and the shaft (or pit) and its mysterious contents seemed to replicate aspects of a Masonic initiation rite involving a hidden vault with a sacred treasure. Joe Nickell identifies parallels between Oak Island accounts, the “Secret Vault” allegory in York Rite Freemasonry and the Chase Vault on Barbados. Freemason Dennis King examines the Masonic aspects of the Oak Island legend in his article, “The Oak Island Legend: The Masonic Angle”. Steven Sora speculated that the pit could have been dug by exiled Knights Templar and might be the final resting place of the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.

Another theory holds that the Rosicrucians and their reported leader, Francis Bacon, organized a secret project to make Oak Island the home of its legendary vault with ingenious means to conceal ancient manuscripts and artifacts. Researchers and cryptographers such as Petter Amundsen and Daniel Ronnstam claim to have found codes hidden in Shakespeare, rock formations on the island, and clues hidden in other 16th- and 17th-century art and historical documents. According to Daniel Ronnstam, the stone found at 90 feet (27 m) contains a dual cipher created by Bacon.

Author Joy Steele suggests that the money pit is actually a tar kiln dating to the historical period when “Oak Island served as a tar-making location as part of the British naval stores industry”. When marine biologist Barry Fell attempted to have the symbols on the stone translated during the late 1970s, he said that the symbols resembled the Coptic alphabet and read: “To escape contagion of plague and winter hardships, he is to pray for an end or mitigation the Arif: The people will perish in misery if they forget the Lord, alas”. According to Fell’s theory, Coptic migrants sailed from North Africa to Oak Island and constructed the pit. However, Fell is not considered to be credible by most mainstream academics.

So with abundant theories and mysteries surround what if anything is buried its not lost on this this here blog that even some of history’s well known faces would get involved in the Oak Island mystery. Not only was he a major investor in some of the digs performed on the island but a young Franklin D. Roosevelt himself participated in a dig on the island. Famous actors Errol Flynn and John Wayne had both sunk money into the island over the years as an attempt to uncover or in this case unearth the mystery that is Oak Island. Vincent Astor heir to the Astor family fortune, his father was the man you all laughed at the first time you saw Titanic who falls off the back of the ship and hits the propellers on the way down. After Daddy died aboard the Titanic young Vincent sunk some of the family fortune into finding fame and further fortune on Oak Island.

We come full circle to our modern day treasure hunters, Oak Island now has several different owners which include treasure hunter named Dan Blankenship, who partnered with “Oak Island Tours Inc.” run by David Tobias. Oak Island Tours eventually dissolved, and in February 2019, it was announced that a new partnership had been formed with a company called the “Michigan Group”. This group consists of brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, Craig Tester, and Alan Kostrzewa who had been purchasing lots from Tobias. It is unclear who is involved to what degree as Blankenship only revealed Kostrzewa’s name to the press saying he was “on board”. Blankenship owns 78% of the island with the Michigan Group, while the remaining 22% is owned by private parties. There are two permanent homes and two cottages occupied part-time on the island.

What does all this mean well it means the Lagina brothers and Craig Tester along with the Blankenships are digging in the ‘Money Pit’ sinking over $2 million into the mystery on top of what they have already sent they are building sand castles in Smith’s Cove while putting some divers down into the Money pit and couple of other holes they’ll dig in an attempt to unearth the treasure. We here at a mind of its own are hoping for maybe some connection to the Knight Templar or at least some pirate treasure at a bare minimum. Whatever they unearth will no doubt be exciting as the Island slowly reveals its mysteries to the world. We just hope that no one else has to die in order for the treasure to show its shiny self. Wouldn’t it be exciting if the Francis Bacon theories were true or the Ark of the Covenant was unearthed, it would certainly change some of the way history has been viewed.

There is so much more to the story of the island and the treasure, we’ve briefly skimmed over the top of it for you in order to give you a taste of the island and its rich history. A history that if true could make someone a very rich person indeed. The answers are out they they just require people brave enough to go and find them. The Lagina’s have been intrigued by the Oak Island mystery since they were young boys. Now successful businessmen they are able to try and shed some light on the theories surrounding the Island, its treasure and the overall history of the Island itself throughout time. The team will continue to track the story and any developments on the island as they hunt for the treasure in the key locations that have become the focus of many hunters throughout history.

As we hang our pith helmets and place our shovels, metal detectors and shifting trays back in the shed for another night. We leaf back through the pages of history and wonder what other great treasure mysteries are yet to be solved. What great mysteries await those who seek to find answers and what in our own country can we dig up to make us rich and famous in the world. That’s something we’ll explore for another day but leave it with us we’ll no doubt unearth some goodness over the coming weeks in which we’ll be able to keep you entertained with. Until next week happy hunting! Oh and kids don’t go and dig up the backyard and if you do perhaps ask your parents first! Adios amigos!

Into The Abyss…

The world we live in is often strange and perplexing particularly when it comes to people’s points of view or theories. As we’ve mentioned before, Ideas are like arseholes, everyone has one. Ask anyone in the world and they will tell you there is no shortage of myths, legends and conspiracy theories. The team have even attempted to tackle one or two of them in the past like when we tried to raise the roof off the house that is the anti vaccination movement. Like the anti-vaxxer movement there are several conspiracy theories that have come to light in recent times that grow support from the strangest of places and often perplex everyday people as to how or why people could think such a thing.

Unlike the Anti Vaccination movement however this weeks subject to sit in the Mind of Its Own interrogation chair and the cop waterboarding treatment (We never signed up to the Geneva convention) does not really have a leg to stand on. It’s amazing how and again why this theory has managed to develop such a following particularly with today’s technology and our knowledge of the earth. As we sat watching a documentary on the topic thinking what the fork are these people on about and how haven’t they been committed to the closest mental health facility yet. It began to pique our interest as to how they’d originally been introduced to the topic themselves and how there believe had grown to what it is today.

Going through school you are taught one plus one equals two, you breath oxygen because without it we’d die and the earth is the only inhabited planet in our solar system that we currently know of. What if everything you have ever been taught is a lie? What if the Earth isn’t real and all of this is just some giant machine that we are a part of? What if we are all just plugged into the matrix and were never to be given the choice between the blue or the red pill? We’ll if you believe that this week’s topic is true, which we are about to  pull it apart like a Bakers Delight six share loaf at smoko, then you are pretty much of the opinion that everything you have been taught, everything you know is one big fat lie. To this day you are being lied to about any and everything in what would be the world’s greatest conspiracy since religion was born. Sorry to all our religious friends out there but with Cardinal Pell being done for kiddy fiddling we are of the opinion that the catholic church is full of seedy old men who like to get their jollies by touching little kids and it makes us sick!

We don’t know about you, but at school we were taught the earth is round and rotates on an axis, we have a north pole and south pole. The earth is divided into a northern and a southern hemisphere and we rotate around the sun in what gives us a calendar year (365 days). We have gravity, it affects the tides and brings meaning to the saying ‘what goes up, must come down’. Outside of Earth there is space, within that space are other planets, stars, suns, moons, galaxies and countless other civilisations no doubt that we are yet to discover or don’t want us to discover them for fear we’ll ruin their planet just like we are ours. So going back to the theory of what if it was all just one big lie, what if none of what we know is true, what if it was all made up as part of the largest conspiracy theory to span the globe. Every government in the world is in on it like a massive April’s fools joke waiting to punch you in arm and scream April fools as they jump out from behind the curtains in your mother’s living room.

If you are a Flat Earther then as far as you’re concerned a lot of the things you have been taught are a lie. The earth is not round, it’s flat like a disc and the north and south pole well they are just part a massive ringed wall of ice that hems in the world. Those ice walls rise up to the sky in an effort to keep us in or to keep people out? Either way we aren’t too sure how this theory even grew legs in the modern era given the scientific breakthroughs and discoveries over the last century. Does that mean we live in a dome? Like the Truman show we are all just wandering around on a giant film set with no idea on what is actually happening around us or that everything is fake and giant lie. According to flat earthers this is exactly what is happening to all of us on a global scale. We puppets or pieces in a giant game where we have little to no say in how our lives are governed and what we are taught. Sounds a lot like living in Australia or America in 2019 where we are governed by Oompa-Loompas and balding fat old men.

We’re sorry but in what world other than George Orwell’s 1984, would every government come together to create such a glorious lie. We can’t even agree on global warming so i’m not sure how on earth they could continue to cover up that the earth is flat and not round. We’ve fought wars over religion, over resources and over peoples rights but it’s all just a big lie according to our Flat Earth Friends. The moon landing, putting astronauts and cosmonauts in space, building an international space station, sending probes off into the far reaches of the galaxy and satellites that take photos of the earth and surrounding planets. Telescopes that allow us to see into the vast distance of space. Need we say more about the technology and large well funded organisations involved in proving that the Earth is indeed round and not flat? Or is that all fake too? Just another part of the real life Truman show we all live in?

But if you ask a Flat Earther and yes that’s what they call themselves in what we, here believe is the dumbest conspiracy theory to ever gain notoriety, they’ll give you an answer to every question you have around the topic and why it is true. They’ll even tell you that scientists are stumped by some of the hypothesis and theories they have brought to light in proving that the earth is flat and yet the academics & scientists can’t use their beloved science to prove the Flat Earth theory is incorrect. One particular scene in the Netflix documentary titled Behind the Curve it shows Youtuber and leader of the Flat Earth movement Mark Sargent (He’s a conspiracy theory nut from way back, a true middle american) looking out across a lake at Toronto or some city (We can’t remember as it was at this point we started questioning the sanity of these people) claiming that if the earth was round he shouldn’t be able to see it but because it’s flat he can see the city in the distance across the flat lake. Yeah good one Mark you’ve made us believers….pause…Not!

Apparently it’s a no brainer, the earth is flat, gravity doesn’t exist and the next thing they’ll be telling us is that space doesn’t exist that’s just the pretty lights of the dome, that would make shooting stars falling light globes and global warming is only happening because the giant air conditioner is broken. Stuck on heat mode it’s melting the ice walls of the dome causing sea levels to rise and weird weather patterns, until the governments of the world can stop bickering over who has the better haircut and send the repairmen up there and fix it. Once that’s done global warming will disappear altogether, they can pull the giant bath plug and let out some of the sea water out so that water recedes to an acceptable level. From their we’ll all go back to continuing the giant lie that the earth is round, covering up the fact the earth is flat not round as we’ve all been lead to believe for our entire lives.

In a disturbing turn of events it seems there is actually a fake space movement, we haven’t looked into it or done any research as we are still trying to wrap our head around the old world theory that explorers will sail right off the edge of the earth as it’s flat. From what we have seen though on twitter and youtube again follows the vein of global conspiracy that we are all being lied to. Wait till flat earth and fake space societies team up and create the we’ve been lied to all our lives society and nothing is real. What we can’t understand is that if the earth is indeed flat does that mean that science is also a fallacy and everything we’ve discovered and know is also a lie. Are we even sitting here typing out this blog for you right. All our combined years on the planet and we still have people whose belief systems aren’t based on sound or measured data that can actually prove their theories. At one point in the documentary they dispelled there own theory through one of their experiments which went down like the Hindenburg in a ball of flames.

What we really struggle to understand is the proof or lack thereof that can prove their theory of a flat earth. Just because we tell you that this is the best blog you will ever read does that make it true? No to prove that you would go and read other blogs before coming back and telling us we were right. You will search for proof, for answers, for data for something measurable against our claim to prove or disprove it. Trust us though we are a great blog. The main claim of the Flat Earth society focuses on the premise that we are and have been lied to by our governments, by NASA, historians, scientists, the list goes on of people throughout history who have lied or helped to continue to cover up that the earth is flat. We are still searching for any data that can prove their theories or that there is a major global cover up underway.

The idea that what we are being told, taught, passed on over generations is a giant lie and that we only believe it to be true because that’s what we know or have been told is a similar argument our good friends at the Anti Vaccination movement also tried to tell us. You know what there is some truth in it. You shouldn’t believe everything you read but you should also do your research thoroughly. It would also help if you have some credible scientist, scholars and spokespeople to help with your cause.  We are yet to see one Flat Earther take a film crew and sail completely around the edge of our supposedly flat earth, documenting either the drop off into the abyss or the giant ice walls that ring us in. But apparently they’ve already supplied us with enough proof that the earth is indeed flat and domed in shape kind of like a giant snow globe just waiting for someone to come along and shake it.

Watching Mark Sargent throw tiny globes into a trash can stating that they are no longer needed and we should be teaching our children about a flat earth, a truthful earth made the team want to go out and find tiny flat earth discs and throw them off the edge of the planet along with Mr Sargent and is band of followers. As he sat there talking about how flight paths of aircraft prove that the earth is flat and not round as they don’t fly curved paths on the computer screen in front of him it dawned on us that this guy was a little from than just nuts. Looking into him a little more we discovered that he is a true conspiracy theorist from Area 51 to 9/11 even so far to say there was a secret government city under the Denver airport. Mark unless the flight paths are in 3D you aren’t going to see the curvature on your screen mate, what you are looking at is a two dimensional image. It’s true people do really listen to and follow morons!.

People put the crack pipe down, stop taking the crazy pills and most importantly wake the hell up. We had a few other choice words in their that we thought were better left out incase any of our younger subscribers were reading this. The earth is most definitely not flat, gravity does indeed exist, beyond the earth is space and we are certainly not alone there has to be other civilizations more advanced than our own who also know the earth is not flat. Oh but you believe in aliens just not that the earth is round, good one Flat Earthers! Out of all the conspiracy theories in the world what on earth would make people think that it’s flat. Is it the lack of mountains, the lack of round appearance as you look at the sky or the pictures taken from space? Whatever it is this is one theory the team can’t even open their minds to. Science and its discoveries have given us a lot over the last couple of hundred years. When Christopher Columbus didn’t sail off the end of the earth we thought the flat earth theory was dead but no it’s sadly lives on in the hearts and minds of people all around the world.

As always we advocate the right to believing whatever you choose, freedom of speech, expression of ideas, theories and hypothesis, we just aren’t on board with the theory that the earth is flat and there is one giant global cover up going on to stop us all from finding out the truth about the earth. If you believe in a flat earth we are happy for you and your 1800’s views just please do us a favour and at least come up with some measurable data to prove so. Until next week ladies and gentlemen, look to the stars for they hold the answers and don’t be afraid to go boldly where no man or woman has gone before. From the team here we wish well and we’ll be gracing your screens once again next week with another installment of A Mind of Its Own…

A Decade Under the Influence…

Of all the asinine things in the world we’d have to say we’ve hit the mother load this week as we head into another chapter of A Mind of Its Own. Just when we thought the world couldn’t surprise us anymore, just when we thought we were slowly starting to get on some stable footing and just when we thought there’d be some good news to come across our desks. The world flips us on our head and pushes us into a deep, dark pit of despair once again. Why you ask? Because for people who are meant to be at the top of the food chain we do some very stupid things. Things that often leave us scratching our heads and asking whiskey, tango, foxtrot (WTF)? And if you don’t know what that means we aren’t going to spell it out for you this is a safe environment that tries not to offend readers with profanities.

Human Beings for all our brilliance often do some very dumb things, recently an article came across the desks of one of the writers who often provides this fine blog with ideas, inspiration and from time to time a piece of writing or two. The article whilst on first glance was quite mundane and something that normally wouldn’t interest the team here at A Mind of Its Own. But after a second glance and a few giggles, like we were back in primary school hearing the words penis and vagina for the first time. Reading it again and again we began to see the stupidity that comes when people see something that could potentially be used as something else or will give them an ability to get more likes on social media.

So we’ve all walked past one of those Lush cosmetics stores, you know the ones you can smell them from one end of the shopping centre and you’re standing down the other end on the lower level. Yeah you know the one we are talking about now. Well it seems they’ve brought a new bath bomb range just in time for valentines day, what that’s not a surprise you say given they are known for their fruity chemical cocktails that get lobbed into your bathtub turning the water every colour under the sun as they foam up the water from their fizz. Well our dear friends this isn’t just any bath bomb range this is the bomb range to end all bomb ranges in your bath. The range includes an emoji peach, a banana and the one phallic symbol that every dirty text message since emojis were invented has included and been banned by instagram. Yes folks you’ve heard it here they’ve come out with the big eggplant emoji in a bath bomb. That big purple monster can add some fizz along with a little hilarity to your valentines day bath.

What’s the big issue you ask? It’s a little fun and something that might spice up your romantic overpriced, commercialed day. Well the issue ladies and gentleman is that some of our female species and potentially male have decided that since it looks like the big eggplant they’ve been sent in many a text message from people feeling in the mood, they’d try to use them as a sex toy. Instead of that fizz dissolving in your bath it’s now fizzing away in vaginas and anuses all around the world. Again we can hear people saying what’s the issue with that? If people want to use the Eggplant emoji bath bomb as a dildo why can’t they? Firstly just don’t and secondly well just don’t there are several medical reasons as to why you’re not supposed to put bath bombs up your vajutes or butt.

If we hadn’t found several articles on it we wouldn’t have believed it ourselves, by doing exactly this you are compromising the good bacteria inside your vagina, direct quote from a doctor, someone who actually took the time to go to university for 6 plus years and learn all about the body. This particular doctor though specialises in Obstetrics and gynecology so we trust her judgement on the matter. Oh and she’s a woman so she has one, a vagina that is. To put it bluntly you are killing all the good bacteria that helps your vagina self regulate, yeah we learnt that as well this week, the vagina is an amazing organ that cleans itself. They don’t teach you that in sex education, instead they introduce you to the banana yet another phallic symbol that has often been where it shouldn’t have as well. Causing a slight itch or at worst a severe urinary tract infection.

The fact that bath bombs include the following ingredients some of which are chemicals we might add is a clear indication as to why you shouldn’t put them where they don’t belong. Citric Acid, Bergamot Oil, Ho Wood Oil, Litsea Cubeba Oil, Tonka Absolute, Fresh Aubergine, Cream of Tartar, Water, Titanium Dioxide, Sodium Coco Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Coumarin, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume and Colours a shit load of colours each with a different 5 to 6 digit number.

If that’s not enough to turn anyone off from trying to make love to one of these eggplant emoji shaped bath bombs we don’t know what is. The fact that putting any of the above in your vagina screams please give me a serious urinary tract infection if i put this where it shouldn’t go, should be enough to stop people but alas it doesn’t. Despite all the warning labels and warnings from specialist doctors people are still trying to use them as sex toys which takes us back to our above statement about humans being stupid. Maybe some of it’s inherited, maybe some of it’s the internet and social media and maybe just maybe its something do with our laziness as people. Always looking for the quickest and easiest way from point A to B.

Ladies and Gentleman if you feel that you need to make love to an emoji that looks like an eggplant we have done our research for you. Guess what? You are in luck! There is a company that makes an actual sex toy shaped and coloured like the emoji symbol so many people are using as a dick in text messages these days. It’s made of latex and apparently is safe for you to stick where the sun doesn’t shine till your little hearts are content. So instead of sticking that bath bomb up there and compromising your bodies internal ecosystem spend the money and get one that you don’t have to worry about the effects on your foo foo or butt hole.

Is it just the team here at a mind of its own or is social media not only allowing people to do dumb things but driving them to do them as well? With the main driver behind Instagram being to get likes, influence others and grow your network. The trend of “Doin it for the Gram” has seen a spate of idiotic post make their way onto instagram and other social media platforms. We can only imagine the posts making their way onto instagram the days and weeks following the release of lush’s new bath bomb emoji line. #Soreanditchyvagine not put these in your peach etc. There you go folks coined a new hashtag right here. If it’s not people shoving things into orifices they don’t belong, then it’s something else completely idiotic.

Scrolling through Reddit we came across a feed for something called the Tide Pod Challenge you’ll have to forgive us if this is old news but like the ice bucket challenge or the somebody Kardashian lip challenge we were and always will be late to the party. So this tide pod challenge what on earth could it be. Living close to the ocean our money was on something stupid involving the ocean and getting dunked. Lucky we didn’t have a bet down or that money would be going straight to the house. They say the house always wins, in this case it would have won without a challenge. The Tide Pod Challenge like the ice bucket challenge made its way onto social media when a teenager ate one of those prepackaged laundry pods that wash your clothes or dishes and dared his mate to take up the mantle of the challenge.

Again are people getting dumb? That shit can kill you! Depending on the ingredients you might be lucky to just get away with explosive diarrhea but more than likely if it doesn’t kill you it will give you caustic burns to your cheeks, esophagus and stomach. So while you’ve got explosive diarrhea there is a good chance you will also be bleeding from your bum, coughing up blood and not in a good way at all. Good one humanity we are really showing our finest selves on the internet these days. And we thought people experimenting with there sex toy like bath bombs was bad enough, nope some idiots on the internet had to go and one up them and eat washing powder. Seriously what is wrong with people these days? If anyone knows the answer we’d love to hear it. It’s bad enough we can’t seem to find a decent leader to look after our country and our closest ally is ruled by a freaking umpa lumpa who wants to build a wall and a space army.

It seems even the smart people are being struck by dumb although the more research we do here regarding Mr Musk the more we begin to question whether he actually does have any smarts or he’s just got some very smart people working for him who have some genius level ideas that once down on paper make him a fortune. Example in point is that he managed to sell 20,000 flamethrower guns to the public. Our American friends are already crazy enough without there own flamethrowing guns. Toted as the extreme BBQ lighter it wasn’t long before internet erupted with people doing stupid things with there newly named ‘not a flamethrower’ due to some law around calling it an actual flamethrower.

Wait, wait, wait you can’t call it a flamethrower but you can sell it to the public? The majority of who will no doubt do something completely idiotic with it? Who’s the silly person here Elon Musk for thinking this is a good idea? Or the authorities for allowing his drilling company BORING to sell the damn things to the public in the first place? Either way the man with the mouth that never seems to stop and who thinks he’s smarter than everyone in the world made $10 Million selling flamethrower guns and internet got a new bunch of idiots doing stupid things with guns that throw flames. High five said no one with half a brain anywhere!. We’d love to say all these incidents are isolated to the continental united states but unfortunately they aren’t. Australia is seeing its fair share of idiotic things as people are regularly warned and advised by professionals not to do things and yet we keep doing them.

Then there are the people who just don’t have brains, like the countless people who get into bar fights after getting so plastered they don’t remember what day of the week it is or how they got to the bar in the first place. They then end up with an injury that requires a couple of stitches or a bone being reset. Managing to get themselves into a cab, they show some signs of brain function. Right up until the point they dial 000 on there way to hospital and ask for an ambulance. Yeah you might be drunk but surely you are not that stupid, folks it’s time to wake up and stop taking the silly pills. We are top of the food chain for a reason, we have brains and imaginations on top of that we have opposable thumbs and are able to think for ourselves, fend for ourselves and most importantly be ourselves. Unless yourself is a complete moron, then be someone else please for the love of humanity.

So ladies and gentlemen, if something doesn’t look like it should be placed in one of your orifices don’t do it that includes bath bombs and pods. If you have the opportunity to buy a flamethrower just don’t. Unless you are planning on joining a militia, joining Trump’s spaceforce or like most people who bought one just don’t have a brain. One thing writing this post did, was teach us that despite all the warning labels, public announcements and common sense people are always going to do what they want and as they say rules are their to be broken right? Seems if it can hurt, is bad for you or can ultimately kill you someone, somewhere will do it and with social media these days, there is a good chance that someone is filming it for the world.

Until next week stay safe and heed the following public service announcement. Dumb people will continue to do dumb things over and over again continuing to get the same results. Smarter people will do it once or twice before realising that they are being dumb and Smart people just won’t do it at all. Don’t use your bath bombs as sex toys no matter how appealing it might be. Don’t eat your dishwasher tablets because curiosity got the better of you and last but not least leave flamethrowers to the military those guys are trained professionals. Be good to your folks and we’ll be seeing you next week for a brand new episode of A Mind of Its Own…