Home' InDaily : September 23rd 2010 Contents 6 | Vol 21 No 8 September 2010
New system shortcuts campus obstacles
This resource will allow them to rehearse
their journey first, taking away a lot of
Brett Wilkinson, a lecturer in the School
of Computer Science, Engineering and
Maths, has been developing the system
over two years.
"We've mapped the entire campus,
pinpointing various important points --
lecture theatres, doors, security phones,
lifts, access toilets, emergency exits -- as
nodes," Mr Wilkinson said.
"We've then made a video between each
and every node, and assigned a 'cost' to
each segment between nodes," he said.
"Distance is the basic cost and we have
multipliers: stairs multiply the cost by
100; a slope by 50, and so on.
"Users enter the departure
and destination points and
the system calculates the
overall 'cost' in metres, selects
the shortest path and creates
a video and still images of the
The videos can be viewed and
downloaded to a computer and
Ms Williams said the system may
eventually include a voiceover to assist
people with vision impairment, and has
While millions of patients with
advanced disease are given oxygen
therapy to help them breathe more
easily, an international study led by
Flinders University's Professor David
Currow has found that roughly half of
them don't benefit from the
intervention. Among those who do
benefit, ordinary air and oxygen offer
equal benefit for those whose levels of
oxygen in the blood are normal.
The study of 240 patients in Australia, the
UK and the US found that while the
practice of giving oxygen to ease
breathing is widespread, it is not based
on rigorous scientific evidence.
The results of the research were
published in The Lancet.
Shortness of breath (also known as
dyspnea) is a common symptom in very
advanced stages of many diseases and
disorders when every effort has been
made to reverse underlying causes.
Clinical guidelines recommend oxygen
when blood oxygen levels fall so low that
a patient becomes hypoxic -- when there
isn't enough oxygen in the blood to keep
Just air may be better at the end of human life
vital functions going. But there are large
numbers of patients whose oxygen levels
haven't fallen into the critical zone who
still experience difficulty breathing and
feel they need help.
Patients in the trial received
either oxygen or room air for
one week to see if would help
ease their breathing. The
same percentage of patients
in both groups reported the
same degree of relief from
each treatment, leading to
the conclusion that
supplemental oxygen isn't
any more beneficial than the
delivery of air by the nose.
The results suggest that the same level of
relief might be achieved by using
something as simple as a small fan, a
solution that would be less cumbersome
for patients and less costly to the system.
"So while having air blow across your face
may be helpful, this study demonstrates
that for most people it is not the oxygen
itself that is making the difference,"
Professor Currow said.
"Studies like this can help inform our
decisions during palliative care, help in
health service planning and ultimately
enable us to give the patients that we
serve the best care possible at a time
when they need it most," he said.
Navigating around campus online
Questions raised over oxygen
An innovative online resource will soon
make negotiating Flinders University
The Wayfinding Project is an
initiative of the University's
Disability Service division and
is primarily aimed at helping
people with reduced mobility.
However, Disability Adviser Paula Williams
said that while the project addressed
legislative requirements and goals in the
University's Strategic Plan to improve
access for people with disability, the
resource would also benefit a wide range
of people who use and visit the campus.
"There are people who are just nervous
about coming to a new place for the first
time," Ms Williams said.
"And there are people who are coming to
the campus who don't have much time
to negotiate the campus which is spread
out and over different levels," she said.
"For some students, their disability is
anxiety and they can fear having to find a
new place at the start of each semester.
Vol 21 No 8 September 2010 | 7
Flinders adds to its repository of Labor leaders
Another Labor leader is giving his collected
personal papers to the Flinders University
Library's Special Collections, but the donor,
former SA Premier John Bannon, cautions
that a considerable amount of work
remains to be done before the resource is
ready for researchers.
Flinders already possesses collections left by
Federal Labor leader Dr HV Evatt and an
earlier State Premier, Don Dunstan.
Dunstan and Bannon's leadership of State
Labor covers a 25-year span from 1967
to 1992, with just a six month break in
1979 during Des Corcoran's premiership.
Dr Bannon, who has a PhD in history
from Flinders, said the collection includes
official documents and reports, personal
and public correspondence, briefings,
speeches and files of newspaper clippings
on public and political issues dating from
the early 1960s up until 2000.
The Bannon Collection, which will be housed
in the Central Library at Flinders, also contains
photographs, posters, cartoons and other
memorabilia, including an unsolicited portrait
of dubious artistic merit.
Dr Bannon and his wife Angela are in the process
of ordering and indexing the thousands of pages
of stored material to make it accessible to scholars.
Dr Bannon said his contribution dovetails
neatly with the existing holdings, as his
records extend back to his time as a
minister in the Dunstan government.
"The task we've embarked on is to collate and
classify all the documents, sorting out the
trivia and finding the gems," Dr Bannon said.
Detailed descriptions of the material are
being entered on a database that will be
searchable by topic and by year.
"This material is supplemented by more
official records held in the State Records Office,
and the idea would be for someone working
on a topic to cross-reference by moving from
one to the other," Dr Bannon said.
"A researcher could pick up my personal files
and find my handwritten notes or a record of a
telephone conversation to give a background
and a context to the official material."
Medlin and Murdoch letters a literary prize
There is a new and valuable addition to the
Flinders University Library's collection of
literary manuscripts: the correspondence
between Brian Medlin, Flinders foundation
Professor of Philosophy, and Iris Murdoch,
Oxford University Don and Booker Prize-
Medlin has been described as an
"internationally renowned philosopher
who was also a poet, bushman, drover,
horse breaker and photographer", who had
been arrested and imprisoned for his public
leadership of the campaign to stop the war
Special Collections Librarian, Dr Gillian
Dooley, whose PhD research included
the works of Iris Murdoch, said the
letters reflect an affectionate
relationship and are important as they
reveal both sides of their exchanges.
"While Murdoch was a prodigious
correspondent, spending up to four hours a
day writing letters, it appears she habitually
destroyed all letters she received," Dr
"We are fortunate to not only have 42
handwritten letters of Murdoch to Medlin,
but also Medlin's letters which survive in
electronic copies he kept," she said.
The pair met at Oxford University in the
early 1960s when Medlin was a Research
Fellow at New College.
Dr Dooley said they remained friends for
the remainder of her life but only met
"Murdoch and her husband, John Bayley,
visited Australia on a lecture tour in 1967.
They visited Adelaide, where she saw
Brian Medlin," she said.
The tour seems to have made little impact
on Murdoch's concept of Australia; nor did
the information and advice she sought
from Medlin for her novels.
"She kept asking Brian for help -- about
the way Australians spoke, the vernacular
-- but then she didn't actually seem to
take up any of his suggestions," said Dr
Dooley, who presented a paper on the
subject to the Iris Murdoch Society
Conference earlier this month at
Kingston University, London.
"I get the feeling that Murdoch got into
her own creative world. Even though her
intention might have been to have her
characters speak 'authentically', dialogue
wasn't her strong suit.
"It was the plot and what people were
thinking that were important."
Photo: © The Advertiser
John and Angela Bannon
Brian Medlin in late 1960s
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