Where are they going to sleep? Go west young man might be the cry but goodness knows where they are going to sleep when they get there.

According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures out this morning, the trend estimate for total number of dwelling units approved in Western Australia fell 4.3% in April and has fallen for nine months. The trend estimate for the number of private sector houses fell 3.0% in April and has fallen for 27 months.

Australia wide the trend is down as well.

Too warm to climb Everest. Himalayan Experience proudly claims to have the highest success rates of any commercial climbing expedition in the Himalaya have been guiding people to the summit of Mount Everest for 16 years. But the company will not be doing it this year. Its boss Russell Brice has declared that unprecedented warm temperatures have made climbing too dangerous because of unstable ice.

The company explains its no-climb decision on its blog:

  • Already at the beginning of the season, the Sherpas were saying that it was too warm when they were setting up base camp. They were working in T-shirts.
  • Our Sherpas continuously reported that the icefall is more dangerous and the ‘popcorn area’ is more active this year. They were not worried about taking the risk but they were very aware of the increased hazards.
  • In 2011, this risk of the looming seracs on the West Ridge was more acceptable as the debris fell into the Bergschrund, a deep crevasse between the glacier and the mountain. Then we were about 100m away from where debris was falling, however, this year the Bergschrund is filled and there is no protection at all. The route has dropped off and now we are only 25m to 30m away from debris, which is constantly covering the route.
  • We timed our guide Adrian, who is incredibly fast, and it took him 22 min from the beginning to the end of the danger zone. For the Sherpas carrying a heavy load it took 30min and most of our members took between 45min and one hour to walk underneath this dangerous cliff. In my opinion, this is far too long to be exposed to such a danger and when I see around 50 people moving underneath the cliff at one time, it scares me.
  • When we first arrived at base camp at the beginning of April, the crack in the ice block on the West Ridge was pretty small – now it is probably between 5 and 7 metres wide. This means that the pressure within the ice blocks is huge. So far, we only had small pieces come down, however, there is certainly the potential for a huge collapse, which could kill and injure a large number of people.
  • We have been recording the temperature at 2am when the Sherpas are usually leaving to go through the icefall. There have only been a few days when it was colder than -10 C, which is unusual and not really cold enough to be moving through the icefall
  • Now, it is only the beginning of May and lakes are forming at base camp. Today, on 8th May, it is as warm as it is normally at the end of the season and it will only get warmer, which means the danger in the icefall will increase.

Can’t tell a Donald from a Mickey. I proved yesterday in my snippets that I can’t tell a Donald from a Mickey (see Meski’s comment here) but surely Donald Trump is taking the mickey out of us with his continuing claim that Barack Obama was not really born in Hawaii.

Fair and Balanced. That’s the Fox News slogan. And here’s the Murdoch station’s recent fair and balanced review of Barack Obama’s time in office.

And you thought The Australian was unbalanced!

Some news and views noted along the way.