One of the big things that really really hit you when you come to Australia is how dry it is. The nation is in the midst of a drought that has lasted more than 5 years in some places.

How do you deal with that?

On a practical, everyday level it involves doing things to minimize your domestic water usage, like take short showers, recycle grey water for the garden, install drip watering systems, rainwater tanks, extensive mulching, plant native species, etc.

The government also enforce restrictions such as not washing your car and limiting watering your garden to once a week.

So are all gardens dead and dying? To the contrary, a lot are looking beautiful right now.

A couple of good sites here and here provide some good points on what causes drought, as well as its impact on Australia. This one also looks at the drought situation in the U.S. but this article goes a long way to explaining the current global impact of drought.

Another thing I’ve noticed is how frightfully expensive houses are. Adelaide is one of the fastest growing housing markets in Australia – at least as for as appreciation of prices is concerned. This is despite interest rates rising in order to put a dampener on inflation.

The cause is hard to pin down, There have been a variety of influences at work over the past few years. For example, people have been investing in second (or third) homes – as individuals or part of investment companies; the economy has been growing steadily for the past ten years and so some people have had more to invest. There’s also been the resources boom, causing high demand in certain parts of the country.

The population growth is outstripping the rate at which new homes can be built. Also people want their own home. There are rarely medium or high density projects going up outside of the city centre (and there are a lot of them going up anyway – with the apartments getting snapped up by investors, rather than tenants) and the long term planning isn’t to develop regional residential centres based around shopping and business hubs.

Whatever the reason, I am even less likely to be buying a house here in the near future!

Znet had a couple of good articles, one about the possible implications of genetic testing for race, the other looking at how George Bush does actually kowtow to terrorists and the protagonists of genocide – namely in Turkey.

Also there was this delightful story of a maths text book in the U.S. being sent back after 109,263 errors were discovered in it!