Well, I never!

I read two things yesterday that blew me away.

I will start with the really cool one.

Australia’s first complete plesiosaur fossil has been discovered in outback Queensland!

Yep, I was a dinosaur nerd when I was in primary school.

Palaeontologists unearthed the complete fossil of the plesiosaur near the remote western Queensland town of McKinlay.

That’s a picture of them above, arranged around the enormous skeleton.

It is the first time in Australia that the head and body of an elasmosaur, a type of plesiosaur, has been found in one piece.

The dinosaur had flippers like a turtle and a long neck like a giraffe, with a tiny tail and a large body. Before it was reduced to bones it looked like the creature at the top of this blog post. And that’s it’s toothy-grinned skull above.

Queensland Museum palaeontological research assistant Christina Chiotakis told ABC News: “It is odd to think we are finding marine reptiles, turtles and fish in what is now essentially desert in outback Queensland, but back in the Cretaceous period [145- 66 million years ago] it was an inland sea.”

I am so dazzled and thrilled by it.

I am dazzled but not thrilled by a report that’s just been released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that shows one in 10 adults in 2020-21 were daily smokers.

One in 10!!!!!

I know literally two people who smoke. I thought it was a habit that was almost extinct like the dinosaurs.

But no.

I am stunned there are still so many people doing it when, as the ABS notes, tobacco smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of death and disease in Australia.

Smoking is estimated to kill almost 20,500 Australians a year (13% of all deaths) and was responsible for 8.6% of the total burden of disease in Australia in 2018. It is associated with an increased risk of a wide range of health conditions, including: heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, renal disease, eye disease and respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.

And it also literally stinks.

People in areas of most disadvantage were more likely to be current daily smokers (16.1%) than those in areas of least disadvantage (5.3%).

So the people who can afford it least are the ones doing it most.

That’s a shocker.

A 25-pack of cigarettes costs almost $50 these days, but they still puff.

On the positive side, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports the daily smoking rate has declined by half since 1991.

So the air was much more hazy back then. I am so old that people were still allowed to smoke at their desks when I first became a journalist.

And the smoking section on planes was literally the row of seats behind you.

I am very grateful that’s no longer the case.

OK, gotta go. The dogs are scratching madly at the laundry door and starting to bark. Damn them. Have a great day.

Song of the day: Peter Gabriel “Big time”

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