Thursday, 25 December 2008

The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard web font sizes

Gulp. Why is it that the things that make sense are foreheard slapping moments?

Sigh ... back to style sheet revamp basics.

Information Architects » Blog Archive » The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard
The 100% Easy-2-Read Standard

Most websites are crammed with small text that’s a pain to read. Why? There is no reason for squeezing so much information onto the screen. It’s just a stupid collective mistake that dates back to a time when screens were really, really small. So…

>> Read more here.

P.S.  Seasons Greetings and have a happy new year.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!

If you're feeling great today, you may end up inadvertently spreading the joy to someone you don't even know.

New research shows that in a social network, happiness spreads among people up to three degrees removed from one another. That means when you feel happy, a friend of a friend of a friend has a slightly higher likelihood of feeling happy too.

Happiness is contagious in social networks -

I can hear the conversation now ... "But Mom, research shows my facebook, myspace, youtube, twitter, blog and [insert other social media obsessions here] is good fo my health."

Sunday, 7 December 2008

India lands a craft on the moon

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, this little achievement seems to have slipped between the cracks, or is it a case of "no pictures - no coverage" deemed worthy?

BBC NEWS | South Asia | India sends probe on to the Moon

India's first unmanned lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan 1, has sent a probe on to the surface of the Moon.

Timeline: How Chandrayaan-1 reached the lunar orbit and then sent the moon impact probe (MIP) with the colours of the Indian national flag painted on its sides to the lunar surface.  Link >>

Friday, 28 November 2008

Fields of Fire - Cluster Bombs in Lebanon - Part 1

Fantastically, hideously, horribly, horrifyingly outrageous.

Lebanon is just the latest in a long line of troublesome targets to have been carpeted with these obscenities in the name of "defence", or just bloody minded retaliation.

How can any civil society permit the manufacture of and profit from these abominations, or their government to sanction and use these weapons of mass mutilation and death?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

The Monty Python Channel on YouTube

We know who you are ...

... no more of those crap quality videos you've been posting ...

... we're giving you the real thing ...

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Square Kilometre Array

Australia's getting (fingers crossed) a BIG telescope!  Woohoo! 

From the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator the Hon Kim Carr 11/11/08.

Australian square kilometre array industry consortium >> Press Release

The Commonwealth is totally committed to Australia’s SKA bid, and it’s not hard to understand why.

The SKA is a huge economic opportunity – a $2 billion opportunity – and we’d be foolish to ignore that.

But it is also a great scientific opportunity, a great innovation opportunity – an opportunity to revolutionise Australia’s technological capabilities and the world’s understanding of the universe.

This is a project to fire the imagination, and I have no doubt that your presence here says as much about your spirit of adventure as it does about taking care of business.

The SKA is one of the largest mega-science projects ever conceived:

• comparable to the Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva

• comparable to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor under construction in France.

It has ambitious scientific goals, ambitious technical requirements, and an ambitious lifespan.

Are the times right for this kind of ambition?

I think they are. ...

Australian square kilometre array industry consortium >> Press Release

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Automotive help and greenhouse gases

Why do I get the feeling that the media is just parrot reading the first couple of par's from the press release, and even then, not recognising and including the big WIIFM for the average Aussie car buyer interested in doing their bit for the environment?

A $10.5 million expansion of the LPG vehicle scheme, to start immediately, that doubles payments [from $1000 to $2000] to purchasers of new vehicles using LPG technology.

Didn't hear a peep about it.

And the second most important thing, well actually, the MOST IMPORTANT thing,  "A better-targeted, greener, $3.4 billion assistance program, the Automotive Transformation Scheme (ATS), running from 2011 to 2020", which was mentioned, but with no context for treehuggers like me.

I have to come online and go and look for it myself.  Is this what it means?   From the Automotive Review Final Report
The Australian car industry has announced a voluntary target of reducing fuel consumption of new petrol-engined passenger cars to 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres by 2010.
Is this what some of the ATS money will be spent on?  Who knows?  No context.

But speaking of the Final Report, here are some interesting tidbits ...

8. Environment

In 2006, road transport accounted for 68.9 million tonnes (or 12 percent) of Australia’s net greenhouse gas emissions.  This was 14.5 million tonnes (or 26.7 percent) higher than in 1990.

Passenger cars were the largest source of these emissions, contributing 42.6 million tonnes. This was 7.4 million tonnes (or 21 percent) higher than in 1990.[2]

Fuel consumption

The Australian car industry has announced a voluntary target of reducing fuel consumption of new petrol-engined passenger cars to 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres by 2010.

The average rate of fuel consumption across all Australian-registered vehicles in the year ended 31 October 2006 was 13.8 litres per 100 kilometres, which means the average of the vehicle fleet was less fuel efficient than for the year ended 31 October 2004, when it was 13.6 litres per 100 kilometres.

This can be explained by the growth in the sports utility market, which has largely offset
improvements in engine technology as far as fuel efficiency is concerned.[3] Given this trend, the voluntary 2010 target presents a very difficult challenge for the automotive industry.

Lowering levels of fuel consumption will assist Australian motorists with the rising costs of fuel. The Australian Conservation Foundation’s submission to the Review noted that, at a petrol price of $1.50 per litre, a 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres standard could save the average Australian driver around $1,000 on petrol each year.[4]

Given that at least 2 passenger vehicles on the Australian market are already performing at lower than 6.8l/100klm (Audi A6 range and Hyundai i30), this should be a doddle. And even if we don't - let's say we get to 7.5l/100klm, then it's still a huge improvement in performance, with the flow on benefits to local hip pockets, environmental ambience, health care budgets and you'd think, international sales.

Hey!  Maybe we'll even be able to sell cars to China.

But not a mention in the coverage by the mainstream broadcast media.  And they wonder why eyeballs are looking elsewhere and profit margins are falling.

Frankly, I think improving the fuel efficiency of the vehicle, coupled with tighter emissions standards,  is the way to go.  Satuaration public transport would be even better.  And tax the gas guzzlers!

But we (humanity collectively) are in the end game - 5 minutes to midnight, and given we don't seem to want to forego any of our luxuries anymore, instead we have to throw everything we can at reducing our emissions as quickly as possible to avoid catastrophic (i.e. extinction level event - ELE) global warming.

I guess this is a start, even if it is 10 years too late.

Additional Related Links:
  • California’s Motor Vehicle Global Warming Regulations >> Main Page
  • The Role of a Low Carbon Fuel Standard in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions >>White Paper
  • Gov. Schwarzenegger Signs Executive Order Establishing World's First Low Carbon Standard for Transportation Fuels >> Press Release
  • Emissions standards - Global (Wiki)

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

US Presidential election ... be careful what you wish for ...

How important to the rest of the world is this US Presidential election?

As I read this NZ Herald story online, the TV is on downstairs and we here in Australia have blanket live coverage of the US Presidential election results on four of the five free to air channels.

Tracey Barnett : Obama's dream will seal the deal - 05 Nov 2008 - NZ Herald: Opinion

I have been waiting for eight long, dark years to be able to write a column that can talk about what's right with America instead of what's wrong with America.

I need to wake up tomorrow morning and hear that the United States has chosen to create a better history.

Under the disastrous administration of George W. Bush, America has become a nation I can hardly recognise.  ...

The truth is, I am afraid. I am afraid to put so much hope in just one man. Since the day Barack Obama won the primary in Iowa, my secret threefold prayer has been: let him get the nomination, don't let him get shot and don't let him become Jimmy Carter once he's in office.

If an Obama presidency is smothered by the mess he will inherit (and the presidency could well be for whomever takes office next) at least he will have given us something America desperately craves today - the possibility of renewal. I believe they call that hope.

Well Tracey, I think that's how many of us outside the US are feeling too, and ... it's sounding like a landslide, with unprecedented turnouts at the polls, and punishment of the incumbent Republican administration; Republican state governors are losing en masse, the US House of Reps and Senate are both already shaping up as overwhelmingly Democrat dominated houses.

And therein lies the rub. So much hope, so much promise. Now they're going to have no-one to shift blame to.

Hit the ground running people, and fasten your seat belts folks - it's going to be an exciting ride!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

$1 a day to save the planet!

Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme: $1 a day to save planet Lenore Taylor, National correspondent | October 31, 2008

THE Rudd Government has moved to ease fears about the impact of its emissions trading scheme, releasing Treasury modelling showing the scheme is affordable, with households paying up to $7 a week more for electricity and gas, and no industries forced offshore.
>> Full story

Rudd Government launches Australia's Low Pollution Future - The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation >>Press Release  (links to PDF documents only.)

Apparently, we're not going to reduce greenhouse gases, we're going to reduce carbon emissions.  The methane and nitrous oxide* emissions can look after themselves.

(*No wonder we're all acting as silly as drunk ducks ready for the Christmas dinner chop.)

And you'd think with all the talk of emission trading schemes and the imperative to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, that a story about an electric car network for Australia - well, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, would get a bit more traction.

Plan for electric car network, Mex Cooper, October 23, 2008

Australia will become the third country in the world to have an electric car network in a bid to run the country's 15 million cars on batteries powered by green energy under a plan announced today.
Thanks to Kwoff for the heads up on the electric car.

AIM Emissions Trading Scheme Survey  1st July 2008

The Australian business sector is largely unprepared for the introduction of the Federal Government’s emissions trading scheme according to the findings of a new survey of top level executives conducted by the Australian Institute of Management.

Only 36 per cent of those surveyed were aware the Australian Government’s emissions trading scheme, the centrepiece of the nation’s greenhouse reduction efforts is to commence in 2010.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Dalai Lama losing faith on talks with China.

It's a sad day when the Dalai Lama has doubts that his approach can work.

Australia Tibet Council - Dalai Lama Signals Strategy Shift With China
In an unusually strong statement, the Dalai Lama made clear he has doubts that his existing conciliatory approach towards the Chinese government can work. The Tibetan leader, however, added that his “middle-way” approach has received support from increasing numbers of Chinese scholars and said he still holds faith in the Chinese people and has not given up on efforts to convince them. Several international media outlets misquoted the Dalai Lama as having said he’d “given up” on pressing the Chinese government on Tibet’s future.
Full story - Australia Tibet Council - Dalai Lama Signals Strategy Shift With China

Monday, 27 October 2008

Congratulations India!

October 21, 2008 will go down in the history books as a Red letter Day for India.

1. Indian Moon Launch
India Launches Unmanned Orbiter to Moon -

By SOMINI SENGUPTA, Published: October 21, 2008

NEW DELHI — India launched its first unmanned spacecraft to orbit the moon early Wednesday, part of an effort to assert its power in space and claim some of the business opportunities there.

The Indian mission is scheduled to last two years, prepare a three-dimensional atlas of the moon and prospect the lunar surface for natural resources, including uranium, a coveted fuel for nuclear power plants, according to the Indian Space Research Organization.

>> Full Story

2. Beats Australia at Cricket!

Zaheer inspires India to inflict heavy defeat on Australia, Tuesday October 21 2008 09.46 BST

India (469 and 314-3) beat Australia (268 and 195) by 320 runs!

"I've never seen anything like that," said India's stand-in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni when asked about Australia's performance. "Especially at one time in the first innings, they were 22 from 13 overs. I said to Rahul Dravid, 'look at the board, we won't see that again.'

>> Full Story

3. Reopens Kashmir border crossing with Pakistan closed since 1947!

India, Pakistan open trade route across Kashmir

San Jose Mercury News, USA.

The Associated Press: Article Launched: 10/21/2008 05:54:29 AM PDT

SALAMABAD, India—Trucks laden with fruit, honey, garments and spices crossed the heavily armed frontier in the Himalayan region of Kashmir on Tuesday as India and Pakistan opened a trade route between the two sides of the divided region for the first time in six decades. "I was 12 years old when I last saw baskets of fruits being packed to be sent to Rawalpindi," said Haji Abdul Ahad Bhat, a 74-year-old apple farmer from the Indian side, referring to a Pakistani city near the capital, Islamabad.

>> Full Story

DW-World: Asia News 21 October 2008 15.30 UTC >> Cite

India and Pakistan have started bilateral trade in the divided region of Kashmir for the first time in six decades.

A convoy of 13 trucks carrying mostly fruit left for Pakistani-administered Kashmir from the Indian-zone on Tuesday, while 14 trucks packed with Pakistani fruit made the journey in the opposite direction.

Calling it a historic event, the governor of Indian–administered Kashmir, N.N. Vohra said the move would help boost the economy in both parts of Kashmir. For his part, Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, the premier of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, said that he hoped the event would assist in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

The two South Asian rivals, which both claim Kashmir in full, have fought two wars over the territory since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

You See? Sometimes the news is good, we just have to be paying attention.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The economic crisis is petty

Thanks to Barry Brook over at Brave New Climate for the throw on this.  (Even the comments have interesting links.) » This Is What Denial Does

The economic crisis is petty by comparison to the nature crunch. But they have the same cause.

By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 14th October 2008

This is nothing. Well, nothing by comparison to what’s coming. The financial crisis for which we must now pay so heavily prefigures the real collapse, when humanity bumps against its ecological limits.

As we goggle at the fluttering financial figures, a different set of numbers passes us by. On Friday, Pavan Sukhdev, the Deutsche Bank economist leading a European study on ecosystems, reported that we are losing natural capital worth between $2 trillion and $5 trillion every year, as a result of deforestation alone(1).

The losses incurred so far by the financial sector amount to between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion. Sukhdev arrived at his figure by estimating the value of the services - such as locking up carbon and providing freshwater - that forests perform, and calculating the cost of either replacing them or living without them. The credit crunch is petty when compared to the nature crunch.

The two crises have the same cause. In both cases, those who exploit the resource have demanded impossible rates of return and invoked debts that can never be repaid. In both cases we denied the likely consequences. I used to believe that collective denial was peculiar to climate change. Now I know that it’s the first response to every impending dislocation

... » This Is What Denial Does

Thursday, 9 October 2008

How often do you say "Thank You"?

In this deceptively simple 3-minute talk, Laura Trice muses on the power of the magic words "thank you" -- to deepen a friendship, to repair a bond, to make sure another person knows what they mean to you. Try it. (Recorded February 2008 in Monterey, California. Duration: 03:34.)  (Thanks to

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Silver lining in the financial crisis cloud

So the US congress pulled its' finger out, or should I say, pork barrelled its way out of total financial melt down hysteria, and passed the "confidence restoration" $700 billion USD Wall Street bail out.

Because some people are saying that the banks have liquidity i.e. credit to lend; they just don't trust anyone anymore, not even each other.  Now there's confidence for you.

The people who loaned money like it was created out of thin air so they could loan it to anyone who asked for it, have now decided they don't trust each other, so the rest of us pay the price?

Whether the bail out, err ... liquidity confidence building,  actually does anything, remains to be seen in the reactions from the NZ and Asia openings tomorrow, what with Australia being closed for the (ironic smirk) Labour Day holiday long weekend.

Anyways, a different buzz seems to be happening now, with talk generally turning to funding "nation building" projects rather than credit bail outs, to avert another Great Depression scenario.

Some visionaries have long been talking about the green economy.  And now pundits seem to be jumping on the "green collar" jobs bandwagon, and the opportunities for transformation of the polluting sectors of the world economy into low carbon emission economic drivers.

More recently in the Australian industrial heartlands, we've seen union leaders finally get the message.

In the words of noted industrialist, Henry J Kaiser;"Problems are opportunities in work clothes".

And let's face it, right now we're (collectively) facing a couple of doozies!  The global warming crisis and the global financial crisis.

What an opportunity!

Links of interest:
But not from this mob .... (see also "Nation Building and the Future Economy", Address to the Infrastructure Association of Queensland, by Treasurer Wayne Swan 09/09/08)

Friday, 3 October 2008

US Vice Presidential debate: Biden and Palin

Caught the last 40 minutes of the debate live on SBS TV.

No major booboos to speak of from Sarah Palin, she appeared to acquit herself very well, even getting a few laughs, some smiles and joke or two between her and Joe Biden.

The debate seemed much more dynamic than the first Presidential debate, and Palins' minders certainly prepared her well.

She showed herself to be a quick study, and although she hasn't got the years of exposure to the legislative process that Biden or McCain have to call on, she was able to present the "John McCain maverick ticket" mantra with enough conviction and variety in delivery, that Republicans should be reassured that McCain made an inspired left field choice and that she's capable of doing the job; and Democratics should now be on notice that she's a contender.

Is she ready?  You betcha!  Even if the ticket doesn't win in November, I think there's every chance Sarah Palin will be in Washington soon enough, should she choose to do so.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Green makeoever to create jobs

I don't read the papers every day, not even online, but I reckon this got lost in the mainstream noise generated by the financial gurus running around like chooks with their heads cut off.  (Thanks to Kwoff for the heads up.)

Homes 'should get free green makeovers' |

By Cathy Alexander
September 21, 2008 03:25pm

UNIONS want a "green revolution" to sweep the country's homes, saving more than $400 on annual household electricity bills.

They have called on the Federal Government to pay for a mass retrofitting of homes to slash electricity use.

Homes would be kitted out with insulation, double glazing and smart appliances at a cost to the Government of $5500 apiece. ...

Not a bad start Sharon, but a solar hot water system and/or grid connect solar system as well, would be even better.

Monday, 29 September 2008

The view from here: US Presidential Election

After watching the first Presidential debate live*, thought some quickie links with the view from here, would be useful:

ABC News Tag: US Elections
ABC TV: Insiders: Meltdown a challenge for Obama and McCain
ABC TV: 7.30 Report:  Clarke and Dawe on Wall Street's Woes; (Satire, Humour: BRYAN DAWE: President Bush, thank you very much for your time; it's a great honour.  ...)
SBS TV: Insight, Jennie Brockie in America:  McCain & ObamaInsight transcript.  Interesting comments from would be voters.

JENNY BROCKIE: OK, anyone else like to join in here? What are you looking for? The people who are still deciding, what are you waiting for? Gentleman over here:

MAN: The thing I'm looking for is competence and competence is not experience, it's having the wisdom and the curiosity to consider an issue from all sides and then come up with the smart solution, not the ideological solution or not the sound-bite solution or not the politically expedient solution.

* Presidential Debate:

McCain would put a price freeze on to solve the financial crisis!?  That thinking went out the window even in the Shakey Isles with Rogernomics (wiki), back in the '80s!

Obama kept hitting the mark on the economy.  95% of tax payers would get a tax reduction.  Noticed he constantly referred to the "middle class".  Isn't there a "working class" in the US?  (Or do they still believe they're all "living the great American dream"?)

And while it's nice to keep the level of disagreement down, he said that McCain was "right" a few times too many times for my liking.

Number one rule of sales:  Don't mention/disparage the competition, but when you do, make sure you come back with an even stronger feature/advantage/benefit of your own product/service.  Obama may have kept to the rule, but all I heard was that McCain was right.

And just for another view altogether: Chrsitian Science Monitor Campaign 08How the US Presidential debate played overseas;

Pakistani political scientist Hasan Askari Rizvi is of two minds about Friday night’s presidential debate in the United States.  On one hand, he flinches at Barack Obama’s swashbuckling comments about taking out Al Qaeda leaders on Pakistani soil – with or without Pakistan’s consent. No policy could make him more unpopular in Pakistan, Mr. Rizvi says.

Then again, Rizvi acknowledges, he cannot rid himself of the idea that, despite his nuanced arguments Friday, Republican John McCain will be “George Bush III.” 

>Full Story here

Friday, 26 September 2008

Kevin 747, global financial crisis and climate change

UNunited Nations

So Kevin 747 (guess the honeymoon's well and truly over eh?) did his big thing at the UN today, by rabbiting on about the global financial crisis (thanks for nothing Fascists Inc.!) and how Australia's exemplary financial prudence would have prevented all this.

Kevin Rudd urges big economies to show leadership (The Australian 26 September 2008)

Instead of focusing on climate change or world poverty as part of the Millenium Development Goals established in 2000, the Prime Minister spent most of his time talking about expanding financial regulation beyond commercial banks and trying to protect families who borrow for their homes from the effect of excessive risk and financial greed.

And sign up to the "clean coal" bandwagon so we can solve the real crisis facing humankind. (Oh puuleeease! Well, at least Fossil Fuel Australia Inc. has announced they're paying for their own R&D.)

We're Doomed!  Doomed I tell you!  Doomed!

I saw Letterman's climate change rant on the Late Show back on the 9th or 10th?, and thought I'd post on it, but never got around to it (life and other distractions - ya know?), but it seems to have made a bit of a splash, evidenced by the number of blogs referring to it, so it seems redundant of me to do it now.

Anyways, got me looking back through my climate change posts, and lemme tell you, if I ruled the world, things would be different around here!


New blog of interest to me:  A Free Man's Life: a Canadian based blog with an American perspective other than that of the elephant* just south of the border!

*Pierre Trudeau: "Sleeping with an elephant".

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Salaam, Shalom, Shanti, Mir, Friede, Pax, Paz, Peace

The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations as an annual observance of global non-violence and ceasefire. Every year, people in all parts of the world honour peace in various ways on 21 September.

International Day of Peace, 21 September 2008

Salaam, Shalom, Shanti, Mir, Friede, Pax, Paz, Peace

Links of interest:

Roots & Shoots (Goodall Institute) Each year, in support of the United Nations International Day of Peace, Roots & Shoots members and friends come together to promote peace. All over the world, young people craft Giant Peace Dove Puppets from reused materials and fly the Doves in their communities. From the high peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to the low plains of Kansas, Peace Doves fly, held high by hopeful hands.

Peace is Hard ...

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Buddy can you spare a dime?

So I usually only post when the muse strikes. Sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's not, but it's been a week, so here are a few random blogs/sites, in no particular order, that I've stumbled across in the wake of the good ship "USS taxpayer funded bailout".

And the bloke who kicked it all off for me this morning, Michael Pascoe, with The story of the century

The Wall Street crash of 2008 is the financial story of the decade, Michael Pascoe writes, but don’t let it blind you to the much more important story of this century.


Not only is the USA sneezing, it has a very serious influenza, but the world hasn’t caught a cold and is still running along in quite reasonable health.

You’d never guess that from our hopelessly US-centric media, but global growth continues around the 4 per cent mark. The BRIC economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) will still invest about US$22 trillion in today's dollars on infrastructure over the next decade and never mind what the oil-rich Middle East states spend or the regional economies (such as Australia) that hang off the BRICs. China continues to build another Brisbane every month. ...

Is it too early to opine that the new economic disorder in the US is not good news for McPalin?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Economic Models as explained by Cows

A little light relief on Fathers Day.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship them.

Moo ....

North Coast Voices: 21 Economic Models explained with Cows - 2008 update

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Baza distractions

Usually a dreary, overcast, drizzly day, (which I'm sure the earth is very thankful for - drought and all that), offers me the opportunity to get some serious work done.

No excuse to keep looking out the office window at the sunshine and blue sky, wishing I was there instead of here; it's head down bum up, shoulder to the wheel and nose to grindstone (now where did that phrase come from?!). Well, that's the theory.

But today, try as I might, Mother Nature has other plans, and a Pacific Baza keeps grabbing my attention, gliding into my line of sight from my peripheral vision, as it catches all manner of frogs, spiders, tree snakes and other wee morsels, in the canopy of trees outside my window.

What a handsome looking bird! The crest, bright yellow eye and distinct chest barring really stand out against the gunmetal blue/grey plumage when viewed through binoculars, even if the magnificent rufous colouring is somewhat dulled by the damp conditions.

Whoops, gone again. Time to get back to it ....

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Wil Wheaton brings back sheepish memories

I've followed Wil Wheaton online for a few years now.

Today's post, WWdN: In Exile: pour it in my hand for a dime, apart from relating a current painful event, includes a funny from Youtube which reminded me of the time our family had a pet sheep that needed shearing.

Back in the sixties and seventies, it was common to have large enough suburban blocks, that you could have a vege garden, a couple of fruit trees, keep a few chooks and maybe even other assorted animals, like a pet sheep.

Sheep shearers on the other hand, weren't thatcommon in the city, especially during sheep shearing season around New Zealand and Australia, so it took a while to track one down.

When we did, if memory serves me correctly, the phone call went something like this:

Me: "We're looking for a shearer to shear our sheep, how much will it cost?"
Shearer: "How many sheep do you have?"
Me: "One".
Shearer: "One hundred sheep will be $x per sheep".
Me: "No, not one hundred sheep, just ONE sheep".
Shearer: long pause .... "Does it have a name?"

He did come around to our house to shear "Buttons", and I think, just to prove to all his mates in the shearing shed the following season, brought a friend along to watch.

He used traditional hand shearing blades, and took away a good load of wool to boot. Afterward, Buttons looked positively shorn, and was leaping around the yard as shorn sheep are wont to do. (See Sheep 201).

It probably still gets the shearer a good laugh around the sheds.

P.S. Commiserations Wil, hope the rib heals quickly.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Google is Creepy, or why we should be afraid of Google Streetview

Why we should be afraid of Google Streetview 11 August 2008, 2:30 PM (APCmag online)

by Richard Chirgwin

OPINION | Google's Streetview, just launched in Australia and Japan, is creeping a lot of people out. And it should. Something's just not right.

Away from the centre of the debate, out among people who aren't IT
experts, the adjective I've heard associated most often with StreetView
is “creepy” (and it tells you just how far Google has wandered from its
users – what company would not be terrified to be thought of in such

This article in its entirety generated a lot of comments, most from within the IT industry, and many poo pooing the idea that Joe Sixpack has anything to worry about from Google privacy wise, or that Google has anything to worry about from Joe Sixpacks' reaction to this new service.

Well, I work in the IT Industry, and I have to agree with Richard.

It doesn't matter what the technorati and IT mavens believe or think, it's what Joe Sixpack believes and thinks.

And if Joe Sixpack believes and thinks that Google Streetview is "creepy" and "something's not right", then you will begin to see Joe Sixpack thinking; "What else is Google doing or capable of doing, which will invade my privacy even more?"

"I won't use Google search anymore, I don't want to use Google maps anymore, I'm not using gmail anymore. I won't use other Google services, and I will not google anymore.

I'll find alternative providers who don't seem to be so indifferent to my fears."

It maybe that Google StreetView becomes the line in the sand in the personal vs public privacy* debate.

And in a time when entertainment media transforms "Who Dares Wins" into "The Fear Factor", the media generally, and politicians too, find it profitable to ramp up the aggro and feed on fear.

In times like these, if Google ignores the privacy fears of users or collateral targets, and doesn't quickly adapt to these concerns, then in my opinion, it's a poor business decision which will ultimately pave the way for new players.

Don't believe me? Lycos ... Alta Vista ... Infoseek ... Excite, anyone?

[Update 18/08/08: Check out Machinist over at for another OP ed. on Google Streetview creepiness.]

*Oooh, public privacy; now there's an oxymoron begging further wordage! ;-)

Friday, 15 August 2008

It's nice to know I'm not alone

I was going to post about Germaine Greer appearing on ABC TVs Q&A last night (one of the best so far, always has a lot to do with the calibre of the guests), but others have beaten me to it, so ....

OK, I could embed the cartoon here, but then you wouldn't visit the page and read all the comments, would you? (Thanks to Stilgherrian for the throw, it usually depends on whether I read your RSS or Andrew Bartlett's first! ;-)

Crikey - First Dog on the Moon - Why does everyone hate Germaine Greer?

Dare I say - the thinking man's pin-up girl?

Besides as MOH said, she is totally Australian; opinionated, rowdy, unimpressed by rank, wealth, possessions or any of those other modern yardsticks of "success", funny when she wants to be, and doesn't give a (Tawny) hoot about what other people think of her.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


Forest oaks' rich profusion of russet needles

proclaim fecundity, against the blue sky blue,

Grey fantails pirouette

Monday, 11 August 2008

Our carbon footprint - we're megawatt performers!

Our 1.1kW grid connect PV system ticked over the 1 megawatt hour of energy generated a month or so ago, a bit under a year after we installed it under the former Howard Government's solar rebate system.

Based on figures from DEUS (NSW), that means we've saved more than 1 tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from going into the atmosphere. Woo Hoo!

It hasn't reduced our power bill by that much, because our supplier has brought in a "daily connection" charge, so the excess we've produced above our household demand and fed back into the grid, is chewed up by that. (Thanks Morris, can't wait to see how our environmentally minded privatised electricity providers will handle the greenhouse challenge, and pass that cost along.)

Anyway, reducing our electricity bill wasn't the motivation for getting the system installed, we've always (as much as the budget would allow) factored in reducing* our carbon footprint in our lifestyle activities and choices, so this was more about doing our bit to save the planet, than saving money.

This year we installed a solar hot water system. It came online when we had unseasonal rain, so we had to fire up the booster for the first two weeks, but the offpeak meter has only ticked over 14kW or so since it was installed more than 4 weeks ago. It will be interesting to see how much more this will bring our household carbon footprint down.

So, all this got me wondering. Instead of building new coal fired or nuclear powered stations to satisfy "demand", how about we (collectively) reduce waste, improve efficiency and increase household market share of renewables to reach the 60%-90% greenhouse gas reduction target?

It cost about $13,000 to create a "point of use" 1.1kW power station on our roof. It produces about 1MW of power per year, sends some juice back to the grid, and forestalls about 1MW of greenhouse gas per year going into the atmosphere from our household activities.

There are approx. 1.6 million private dwellings in Victoria (VIC) and 6.6 million in Australia (2001 census: Separate house and Semi-detached, row/terrace etc.). The new coal fired power station mooted for VIC is going to cost a minimum of $150 million, apparently a nuke could cost USD$1B, ... can someone please do the math?

As the Stern Review and Garnaut Climate Change Review have already pointed out, the economic "ROI" bean counting, will soon be far outweighed by the environmental, social and economic costs of doing nothing.

The sooner we (collectively) start, the cheaper the solutions are, and the faster we get to our 60%-90% of 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels target. (And maybe save the planet.)

And don't use "China and India ... blah blah blah ...", as an excuse. We were primarily responsible for our greenhouse gas emissions in the past, we're responsible for our contributions now, and we'll be responsible for them in the future. Time to collectively get to work, because the clock is ticking.


* If we hadn't already insulated the ceiling and all external and internal wall cavities when we built our house, we'd be getting that done too!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

"Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Nagasaki 9th August 1945

My father was a WWII vet., served in the Pacific, and like most veterans, didn't speak much about his experiences. When I was younger, I could never figure out why he hated the "Japs" so much, and we used to knock heads over the morality of the nuclear attacks.

As I grew up, and saw documentaries and gradually heard the filtered stories of the appalling behavior, the brutality toward Allied POWs and occupied civilians by most Japanese soldiers, I came to understand a little, why.

Last year, SBS ran very late at night (after midnight if I recall), a documentary series on the war from the Japanese perspective. It was very enlightening, and very sad.

And it brought to mind the paradox that "They do what the do because they are what the are, and they are what they are because they do what they do".

But even today, and with many musings on this vexed issue, I still cannot reconcile myself to those events, and the many other "lesser evils" committed on all sides, not being acts of terrorism and crimes against humanity.

I just wish we lived in a mature enough world where this type of failure of global humanity, is not an option.

Why the nuclear attack on Japan was right (The Age 06/08/03)

Wartime records and memoirs show that the emperor and some of his aides wanted to end the war by the summer of 1945. But they were vacillating and couldn't prevail over a military that was determined to keep going even if that meant, as a navy official urged at one meeting, "sacrificing 20 million Japanese lives".

The atomic bombings broke this political stalemate and were thus described by Mitsumasa Yonai, the navy minister at the time, as a "gift from heaven".

Without the atomic bombings, Japan would have continued fighting by inertia.

This would have meant more firebombing of Japanese cities and a ground invasion, planned for November 1945, of the main Japanese islands. The fighting over the small, sparsely populated islands of Okinawa had killed 14,000 Americans and 200,000 Japanese, and in the main islands the toll would have run into the millions.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Friday, 8 August 2008

Paris Hilton makes sense.

OK, so she's not a dumb blonde, never was.

Showing yet again her nose for publicity, Paris displays some smarts, a wry sense of humour, and a pinch of street savvy slang. (Or maybe she has a good writer.)

Don't you Yanks wish the candidates made "pick me! pick me!" adverts about their policies, this straightforward (and genuinely funny)?

Dang! I really did want to keep detesting this woman ...

Paris Hilton Responds to McCain Ad (video at Funny or Die)

Sustainable development option links:

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Lest we Forget

We knew the world would not be the same [streaming video]. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that one way or another.

-J. Robert Oppenheimer (wiki)

Hiroshima marks bomb anniversary with hope for US change

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AFP) - The mayor of Hiroshima on Wednesday urged the next US president to work to abolish atomic weapons as the city marked the 63rd anniversary of the world's first nuclear attack.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Ooooh quick - jump out the window dag NAB it.

From the International Herald Tribune ...

National Australia Bank, the top lender in that nation, booked another 830 million Australian dollars in losses from its exposure to U.S. mortgages, sending its stock plunging on Friday to its biggest single-day percentage drop in nearly 21 years. ... more ...

Yes, because an interim half yearly profit in excess of $2 billion, just isn't good enough, is it?

Maybe I'm cynical, or just been around long enough to have "been there seen that", but honestly, all this angst over the US sub prime and global "credit crisis" from supposed experts, would be laughable if it wasn't so potentially serious. (Bolting horses and all that.)

Anyone reading this old enough to remember when companies used to announce a half year or annual loss, with barely a ripple in the markets?

Ah yes, the good old days, when people used a thing called perspective (wiki).

What's Up on Planet Earth? The Circle Game.

My friend bellizimo (EBAY profile) is visiting.

We are able to provide each other with mutual support and commiserations regards our long term ball and chains, exchange ideas and views, and learn from each other. She pointed me to one of her favourite web sites, which had a special page on African issues like Darfur, and with this profile;

African Relief - What's Up on Planet Earth?

Liberia, Another Story

In November of 2005, Liberia elected a new president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa's first female head of state. After 14 years of civil war, this first democratically elected female president is bringing with her a tremendous amount of feminine energy. Devoted to creating peace and rebuilding Liberia, she has a huge task at hand, but so far, is making great progress.

She is committed to re-connecting Liberia with the international community, empowering women, and ensuring that Liberia’s prior war lord, Charles Taylor, stands trial in Sierra Leone for his role in supporting the reign of terror campaign, and for his crimes against humanity.

The Darfur link took me to the web site of the ICG, International Crisis Group, which I've been aware of since Gareth Evans (WIKI) joined it nearly a decade ago.

There are some interesting articles and papers in his extensive biography (ICG), including this one: "How to secure peace in Liberia", Comment by Gareth Evans and Comfort Ero in The Observer from June 29 2003.

Round and round we go in The Circle Game.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Feed the world ... with the ever so 'umble Spud

Well, who'da thunk it?

And, I understand that there is very little, if any, international trade in potatoes. They're all home grown!

So, one of those "win-win's" for the local economy and global environment.

Landline - 13/07/2008: Handy Andes. Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC aka "Aunty")

Handy Andes

Reporter: Pip Courtney

First Published: 13/07/2008

ANNE KRUGER, PRESENTER: Climate change and even carbon emissions may still have their sceptics but there's no denying the impact the spiralling cost of staple foods is having right now on the world's poor.

The United Nations, the World Bank and the leaders of the eight biggest industrial powers have all pledged to do their bit to increase production of rice, wheat and corn. But what about the humble spud? Pip Courtney went to Peru for this special report to mark the International Year of the Potato.

Features full transcript, link to resource and segment videos in hi and low res bandwidth for download.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Olympians & Spectators Offered Support In Speaking Up In Beijing

Monday, 14 July 2008

Australian Olympian Michelle Engelsman joined Simon Bradshaw, ATC’s Campaign Coordinator, for the media launch of the Beijing 2008 Tibet Resource Pack, aimed at athletes and spectators heading to next month’s Olympics in Beijing.


With tough regulations in place to discourage athletes and others heading to the Games from speaking out, the options for those wishing to show their support for Tibet without facing consequences are limited. The educational resource, T-shirt and badge in this pack have been carefully designed in accordance with restrictions imposed by the Olympic charter and the Australian Olympic Committee. However, individuals need to be aware that they may not be permitted to carry certain other items in the pack to Beijing.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Bartlett's blog post about blogs

"Andrew Bartlett has been active in Australian politics for over 20 years, including serving as a Senator for Queensland from 1997-2008. He started this blog in 2004. It reflects his own views and thoughts, independent of any political party or organisation."

High value blogs - a human rights example

... there is plenty of overlap and we’re really just talking about people writing words and providing information and/or opinion. It’s the content that should matter, not the label attached to the provider of the content.

The credibility and value of those words is up to the reader/consumer, and they will usually assess its credibility based on their own judgement as to whether they think the person writing it knows what they’re talking about. But one aspect of the blogosphere which I find gets insufficient recognition is just how highly credible and skilled some of the bloggers out there are, and how useful their material can be.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Blow up the pokies

It will be interesting to see what impact Nick Xenophon will have in the Federal Senate, and whether the states can be weened off pokies revenue.

Blow Up The Pokies, The Whitlams. (You Tube)

"And I wish I could shine you the right words, to blow up the pokies and drag them away.
Because they're taking the food off the table, so they can say that the trains run on time".

I think the pokies should have another series of motivating sounds and audio effects, rather like the voice overs in computer games like PGA Golf; you know, things like "ooh - that must've hurt", "this is a run of bad luck, isn't it?", and more pointed "LOSER!", "Have you eaten yet?", "Shouldn't you go home now?", included along with the happy tinkly fun sounds.

Oh, and the sound of maniacal laughter after each losing hand. And an occasional syrupy "Thank you for your generous contribution to the state's revenue base" whenever the mug punter feeds more credits into the machine.

Friday, 11 July 2008

The state of the Web Summer 2008

One out of eleven ain't bad ....

The State of the Web Summer 2008

Hey, I've even seen the page in a reasonably timely .... time.

Gorillaz vs Peter Gabriel, Dare - Big Time remix

Discovered this Big Time Dare Gorillaz vs Peter Gabriel remix when I was searching You Tube on a nostalgia kick for Steve Winwood. Great mix.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Helen Thomas - First Lady of the White House Press

"We briefly interrupt this Q and A session for an advocacy moment."

The news media walks a fine line these days, between reporting (we hope frank and fearless), and the now much more pressing interests of the bottom line, and keeping their own jobs.

But I recall the moment vividly when local Aussie media showed the White House administration belittling a journalist who was never afraid to ask the hard questions.

Helen Thomas was sent to the back of the room after more than 40 years in the front row, when a private note that "this President was the worst ..." became public.

It was as public an expression of censorship of the White House Press Corp, as any gesture that could be made.

Know your place, ask the "right" questions, and you won't be sent to the back of the room.

Helen Thomas wasn't backed up by her colleagues, no-one else in the room stepped up to the plate (to use a favoured US sports analogy) and you knew there wasn't much hope for the US media at that point.

When she returned to the front row, and in 2008, asked another hard question, her colleagues again abandoned their duties, and left Helen standing there, openly asking as she looked around at them "Where is everybody?"

ANDREW DENTON: You've said that your heart bleeds every day for the timidity of the White House Press Corp.

I am shocked at their complicity with the government, ah the fact that they have gone along with a censorship of photos from the war.

Everyone remembers from Vietnam the little girl, you know, a flame in Napalm and so forth.

If the American people don't see what we've done, what we do when we drop a missile on a house in Sadr City, then wh-what is it? Why are they being shielded? Why do editors and reporters shield us?

It isn't reporters, it's the editors. They don't want to offend. It's better to have Britney on the front page, you get more play.

Such was and is, the state of US media reporting during this presidency. I hope there will be at least one more "Thomas moment" before George W. Bush departs the scene, and that we will see it reported.

Read the full transcript, and view video excerpts from last nights' episode of "Enough Rope with Andrew Denton - Elders", series.

Elders Part 4 - Helen Thomas (07/07/08)

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Night visitor

We caught a Northern brown bandicoot in our cat trap last night. Apparently the exotic delights of rotten sardine was too much temptation. It was very relieved to be set free, and bounded off quickly into the natural undergrowth beneath our monstrous Monsteriosa [Monstera deliciosa]* plant behind the house.

Our first native critter since setting the trap to catch the feral cats which we've seen around the house and property, lately. Hopefully, this signals no more ferals for the next while.

*Correction and link 26/08/08

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Urban life is stressing out our songbirds

Birds face threat to their survival as they make music at night in a bid to be heard above traffic.

Urban life is stressing out our songbirds | Environment | The Observer

"Songbirds in cities are damaging their health, exposing themselves to predators and weakening their gene pool by trying to be heard above the din of urban life."

Silent Spring.

Monday, 30 June 2008

North Korea blows up nuclear facility

Somewhat overshadowed by the report about NK finally handing over the report on its nuclear capabilities.

Amanpour: Stunned silence followed nuke plant implosion -
YONGBYON, North Korea (CNN) -- North Korea blew up part of its Yongbyon nuclear plant Friday, in full view of CNN and a handful of international broadcasters invited to witness this dramatic and symbolic event.

U.S. State Department official Sung Kim also attended and called the move "a very significant disablement step."

I sincerely hope so. Anything that reduces the tension and opportunity for confusion or mistakes, is welcome.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

In the still of the night

I often walk outside at night, usually during the ad breaks on telly (getting more frequent and interminably longer on the commercial free to air networks), to see how many meteors I can spot (7 in 15 minutes last night), how many different frog calls there seem to be (5), and generally just to "commune with nature".

It's fortunate that we live on acreage far enough away from "civilization" to not have much in the way of light, air or noise pollution, but at this time of year, with the inversion layer, sound travels more easily, so I usually get treated various neighbours' taste in music ('60s and '70s folk rock this time), diesel generators, dogs barking and vehicles returning home along the network of gravel roads.

In between human activity, I can make out nature sounds from native critters like flying foxes chattering noisily when they've discovered some blossoms or seeds, bats - with their echo location (which is pretty amazing when one zooms past close to your head!) owls, frogmouths and other nocturnal birds, possums scooting along the branches in the canopy, and padymelons and bettongs foraging in the undergrowth and keeping the grass short.

But every now and then, there is no sound .... not even the wind blowing through the leaves.

It is completely and utterly still. Completely and utterly silent.

There is only my breathing and heartbeat, or tinnitus. Instinctively, I begin to breathe more evenly, deeper, relaxing into calm.

Then .... the wind picks up, a bird calls, a dog barks. The spell is broken. I return indoors.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Steve Carell turns gay for George Clooney

Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway were guests on Rove last Sunday (22/06/08), to promote their new film, having attended the premier of the Get Smart movie on the Gold Coast earlier in the day.

Steve Carell is a funny guy, but you'd expect that from a man who has already made his mark in the genre. And he seems to have successfully straddled that curious divide they have in the US, where you're allowed to be a leading man on TV or in movies, but not both.

He appears to be down to earth, no attitude to speak of showing, and knows how to go with the flow: a good thing when you're being interviewed by a bunch of Australian stand-up pros, all trying to impress the Hollywood man that they're funny too.

The "dry heave" improvs between Steve and Rove were entertaining, and a close thing, given Steve was probably jet lagged and tired from the whirlwind of the publicity tour, so I'm not being parochial here, but I think Rove won that contest. Could be a different story if Carell was in top form.

Anne Hathaway on the other hand, even when she's obviously feeling the effects of the schedule, is seriously funny, and seriously smart. Not that you'd have picked up on it, from the impession I got, with the host and leading man talking over her, trying to one-up each other in the dash to the funny.

When she did manage to get a few impeccably timed words in ("that's what she said"), it was easy to see why she got the part of "99". From the brief glimpse I saw, she has comic timing and delivery up there with the best (Madeline Kahn immediately sprang to mind).

I especially liked her modest put down about her appearance being due to the work of the "pretty committee" rather than any natural traits. And after a kangaroo hop across the big pond, premier launch, and a round of promos, she looked totally glamorous. I'd need a salvage job from the crew at Renovation Rescue to look a tenth as good.

Of course the highlight with guests on Rove, which to my mind, can provide some interesting insights into their head space, is the challenge of "20 dollars in 20 seconds", and the coup de grace, "who would you turn gay for?"

You'd think minders would give them a better briefing on what to expect, given the reactions of some previous guests (Kevin Rudd anyone?); but Anne and Steve both handled it with aplomb, Anne even pondering that "when in Australia..." and deciding she'd turn gay for Cate Blanchett, while Steve opted for a fling with George Clooney.

So they won their $20 bucks each, with MOH commenting that he thought Steve had "palmed" the Aussie $20 and replaced it with another note. Didn't notice myself, but if so, nice job. Anne gave her $20 to an audience member on the way out. See the interview (You Tube).

All that remains to be seen now, is whether their visit was worth it. I was sufficiently amused, so might even go see what all the fuss was about.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

It's full of stars

MOH bought me a telescope from Dick Smith Electronics for Xmas. We think we got it amazingly cheap, less than $130 for 75mm Celestron, but we didn't have much of a chance to use it until recently, because of the weather; overcast, grey and dreary.

But now the crisp, clear winter nights the north east coast is known for, are more frequent, we take it outside after dark, to get a close up views of all our favourites. It works a treat.

The moon - Tycho crater - WOW.

It's one thing to get a squiz through binoculars, it's another to get a steady view through a telescope. So cool! We are now skywatching with enthusiasm.

The rings of Saturn - what a buzz! Seeing them with my own eyes!

And last night, Jupiter rising, with 7 moons visible, in an almost straight line from the five o'clock mark. I've only ever been able to see the Galilean moons before.

Then a quick look at galactic centre before walking out into the paddock and pointing at the Southern Cross, just visible over our tree line, before getting cold and heading back inside to warm up.

Yahoo ... Love it!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The sky isn't going to fall after all

On LateLine last night, a commentator appeared, to my jaundiced ear, to make out that a carbon tax of $185 per household would be a burden on consumers, after the introduction of the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). MOH* and I rejoiced.

Our household is not living the high life by any means, we do need to watch the pennies - closely; but if all us Aussies are going to end up paying, is just $185 per year in increased charges at the five year mark (2015), I reckon we've got away with our greenhouse gas belching ways cheap at twice the price!

Carbon tax nothing to fear - report |
NSW Business Chamber: Building and sustaining business

* MOH My Other Half

Monday, 23 June 2008

More Laws

As Jennifer Byrne said on the "Einstein Factor" the other night, "the internet is full of information, which is different from knowledge." Or words to that effect.

List of eponymous laws - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Peak oil - suck it up people!

I am getting really annoyed with all the hand wringing and "woe is me" talk about petrol prices.

Suck it up people!

It's not like we haven't be warned - for the last 50 years.

Industry insiders, forward thinking politicians, conservationists and environmentalists have been talking about Peak Oil since before the first "oil shocks" in the early 1970's.

And what have our politicians and industry "leaders" done?


So now we have our pollies talking about reducing the fuel excise by 10 cents a litre - great idea, show me where the money is coming from to replace the shortfall, if you insist on providing this kind of knee jerk "relief" to the "battlers".

And as for "taking a blowtorch to OPEC" Oh Puuleease! Don't you lot get it? There ain't no more easy oil left!

Not to mention the "diplomatic" tone of the sound bite. I'm beginning to wonder about this mob.

And our motoring organisations! "More roads - more roads!", is the catchcry. Such foresight. Haven't you heard of the basic Murphy's Law of "more"?

That is, "The amount of junk you've got, will expand to fit the space you've got to put it in."

"Junk" in this case, being vehicles on roads.

A little vision and leadership goes a long way. Unfortunately, all we have been prepared to vote for, are people with the vision of Mr Magoo and a leadership style based on the "Peter Principle".

Oh, to have a leader like the "Governator" right now! (Wait a minute ... did I *really* just write that?!)

Saturday, 14 June 2008


We caught a feral cat in our trap last night.

It has been euthanased as humanly as we can manage.

I wish people would keep their cats indoors at night and have all their pets desexed if they aren't registered breeders.

It's a real bummer dealing with other peoples' indifference and ignorance.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Joni Mitchell 'both sides now', year 2000, audio ONLY

Heart achingly, heart breakingly beautiful, sung from life, of life, lived then and now.

Intelligent Computers - Turing says ...

... or when they hit you up for a loan ...

Friday, 4 January 2008

Al Gore in Bali

I wish Al Gore was running for POTUS, but he's probably having more fun, and getting the job done more effectively, doing it this way.

More pithy sound bites, humour, common sense and exhortations, that I've heard crammed into less than 10 minutes, in a long time.