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The Sydney Morning Herald

If only the E-trakka could provide us with the really vital data - Tuesday's cup winner

Author: Doug Anderson
Date: 26/10/2005
Words: 607
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News and Features
Page: 23
The New Inventors

8pm, ABC: One of this week's neat ideas is bound to excite punters, dedicated followers of fashion and turf consultants as they prepare for the (insert sponsor's name) Melbourne Cup. E-trakka, the invention of former jockey Andrew Stuart, sits under a saddle blanket to monitor a horse's pulse and other vital data as it runs. The information is sent via a global positioning system to the trainer's computer and then to a monitor mounted between the nag's ears, giving the jockey a kind of tacho and speedometer display. Also tonight, the SunBall, an ingenious combination of a magnifying glass and a solar panel which harnesses the sun's energy more effectively. And a prosthetic facial control implant, devised for contestants on Strictly Ballroom, which holds those pre-set bovine grins perfectly in place, sends tempo data and heart-rate readings to the judges and displays the results on the female dancer's teeth.


8.30pm, Ten: Ten is billing tonight's episode as "must see television". Last week's instalment was just a run-of-the-mill, see-if-you-fancy instalment. So why must this chapter not be missed? Partly because of a "difficult" stroke patient but mostly because of the intense drama attending House's forthcoming date with Cameron. Rebellious viewers, responding to inner dissidence, will deliberately avoid the program to reinforce their sense of nonconformity. Given the dearth of palatable alternatives elsewhere, this may be something of a challenge.


8.30pm, SBS: Thinking in a narrow conduit. Most of us subscribe to set of beliefs we've either arrived at through contemplation, deduction or listening to Alan Jones. Some of the influences have been imposed by teachers, parents, role models and cultural arbiters, with many people arriving at their belief structure, locking down on it and refusing to entertain new ideas or alternative possibilities. Fair enough if the mindset is relatively benign. But what if it is not? What if it entails commitment to fanatical imperatives? In Pakistan the effervescent President, Pervez Musharraf, has announced a five-point plan to reform the country's madrassas - religious schools where Islamic principles are taught. And where, some intelligence sources suggest, fundamentalist teachings and adherence to mujahideen aims are inculcated. Chris Hammer tours Pakistan to look at the madrassa system and its capacity to breed militants. The program includes video footage of mujahideen warriors being trained by Pakistani military personnel and, in the presence of a former state intelligence chief, General Hameed Gul, swearing allegiance to the Taliban cause. Gul seems to think this is fair enough in view of America's efforts to undermine Islamic resistance to invasion or occupation - which are also focused at grassroots level. Hearts and minds stuff.


6.30pm, Ten: It's not often an aviation disaster is cause for rejoicing. But when Paul "Pegleg" Robinson invites Ramsay Street's residents aboard a '40s-themed joyflight, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the legendary Lassiters Bar - a venue synonymous with disasters of every conceivable kind - someone with a perverse sense of the theatrical places a bomb aboard the aircraft. So much for regional airport security! This is the plane crash we had to have. The only baffling element is that Ten hasn't initiated a competition for viewers to select - through SMS voting methods - which characters should survive and which should be eliminated - as in Big Brother meets Agatha Christie. All very well to approach the end of the ratings season with the annual disaster, but surely an avalanche of fake vomit and meringue, tumbling down Mount St Erinsborough would be a more appropriatecatastrophe.

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