September 17, 2014

Clive Palmer goes missing

Proving that it's possible to be paid to represent an electorate and have a lower parliamentary voting record than Bob Brown:

Palmer votes 19 times out of possible 202

That would be a fail, then.

September 14, 2014

Apple goes somewhere with time

If the battery of the Apple Watch lasts 10 hours, which is the claimed rate for some iPhones, it will be a quarter of the running time of the first watches ever made.

Apple Watch can be clasped and unclasped.  That means you can put it on and take it off - at will.

Apple is amazing.




September 6, 2014

Aussie butter knife designers solve a problem that doesn't exist

A group of Aussies who invented a butter knife that grates butter to make it instantly spreadable have won 10 times the amount of money they sought on crowd-funding website Kickstarter. 
They've raised nearly $400K, in fact, for a butter knife that no one needs, so the funds raised are an amazing achievement.

A knife that grates butter to make it instantly spreadable?

That's why spreadable butter was put on the shelves of every supermarket decades ago, and by golly, it works too, without grating. 

New butter knife 




Or maybe the last official sign that she's about to give birth?

 The headline:

Chelsea Clinton quits TV news job as 'Hillary 2016' gains momentum

 The report:

Chelsea Clinton has quit her high-paying TV news job in what could be the first official sign Hillary Clinton is set to run for president in 201.

------------

It's always been possible that Hillary Clinton would run in 2016, after all, she's run once before.  It wouldn't be a matter of astonishment if she gives it another whirl.

But Chelsea Clinton is expecting her first baby to arrive quite soon, and with no financial need to work, it would seem obvious to the average idiot that this is the reason for her giving up some of her numerous work  commitments.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson has trouble identifying good and evil

Apparently unable to distinguish between light and dark, good and evil, he blundered into the sort of faux deliberation favoured by ill-prepared undergraduates.

“I think we need to find better words than ‘terrorist’ and ‘terrorism’ because, to me, this implies a very one-sided view of the world,” Whish-Wilson said. “Often our forces could be seen by Iraqi civilians as being terrorists. ‘Terrorist’ is a word that is very commonly used against us by those same people in Iraq who have been radicalised — anything that creates terror is, by definition, terrorism. We use that word because it is a very simple word to use and it demonises people.”

Correct. We use the word ‘‘terrorist’’ because it best describes those people who practise ‘‘terrorism’’, that is, participate in violent acts intended to create terror.

Whish-Wilson seems puzzled that it implies a “one-sided view of the world”. Further, and by clear implication, he is drawing a parallel between the actions of terrorists and our armed forces in Iraq — though he later attempted to row back when questioned by Coalition senators.

“I said any soldier in any country can be seen as a terrorist by their enemy, and that the word ‘‘terrorism’’ is a word we should consider not using — that we should come up with a better explanation,” he laboured.
  Peter Whish-Wilson

August 24, 2014

What if it's all lies and hot air?

Remember decades ago, when the demise of humans was imminent, due to overpopulation and not enough food?  Everyone believed it.  Well regarded scientists believed it.  The science itself had no complexity, requiring only primary school maths (do some simple sums, simple extrapolation and simple prediction).

At least the last end-times prediction was based on real data, not computer modelling with only partial grounding in real world data and real world dynamics.

Does it matter if humans whip themselves daily for causing the warming of the planet, even if it turns out to be a wasted mass self-flagellation?  Well yes, of course it.  Decades of wasted debate, trillions of dollars, wasted economic, political and social capital.  That's why it matters:  the opportunity cost is devastating to current and future generations.
It goes to heart of the climate change debate — in particular, whether computer models are better than real data and whether temperature records are being manipulated in a bid to make each year hotter than the last.

“In (George Orwell’s) Nineteen Eighty-Four Winston Smith knows that, ‘He who controls the present controls the past’. Certainly the bureau appears intent on improving the historical temperature record by changing it,” Marohasy says.

“Repetition is a propaganda technique,’’ she wrote back to Birmingham. “The deletion of information from records, and the use of exaggeration and half-truths, are ­others.

“The Bureau of Meteorology uses all these techniques, while wilfully ignoring evidence that contradicts its own propaganda.’’

Marohasy has analysed the physical temperature records from more than 30 stations included in the BoM set that determines the official national temperature record.

And she remains disturbed by a pattern whereby homogenisation exaggerates, or even produces, a record of steady warming against a steady or cooling trend in the raw data.

Marohasy says the “corruption” of the data was of no practical consequence to climate scientists at BoM because they do not use historical data for forecasting either rainfall or temperature — they use simulation models that attempt to recreate the climate based on assumed physical ­processes.

But she says the remodelling is “of considerable political value to them, because the remodelled data better accords with the theory of anthropogenic global warming’’.

Marohasy says the unhomogenised/raw mean annual minimum temperature trend for Rutherglen for the 100-­year period from January 1913 through to December last year shows a slight cooling trend of 0.35C per 100 years.

After homogenisation there is a warming trend of 1.73C per 100 years. Marohasy says this warming trend essentially was achieved by progressively dropping down the temperatures from 1973 back through to 1913. For the year of 1913 the difference between the raw temperature and the ACORN-Sat temperature is 1.8C.

BoM is adamant the purpose of homogenisation is to remove non-­climatic disconuities. But Marohasy says because there have been no site changes or equipment changes at Rutherglen, but very large adjustments made to the data, it is perhaps reasonable to assume that the bureau has changed the record for Rutherglen because it is very different to the record for the neighbouring stations.
So many sheep, so few skeptics. 

Bureau of meteorology altering climate figures

Heat is  on over weather bureau homogenising temperature records 

August 10, 2014

It's been a while ...

Seems like an age since there's been a story worthy of penis chronicles.

This series of events brings up more questions than it answers. Did the lack of the lighter affect his decision to have relations with the driveway? Was he thinking "I'll either have a smoke, or fuck some sexy driveway. Whatever works out."

Texas man arrested for humping sexy driveway

July 23, 2014

Wow, just wow

Pure hatred of one's fellow human looks at lot like this:

Speaking at this year’s Christians United for Israel gala, Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer claimed that, contrary to what human rights groups and the United Nations have claimed, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has conducted its assault on Hamas in Gaza with such caution and care for civilian lives that it deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for “unimaginable restraint.”

“Some are shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and would put us in the dock for war crimes,” Dermer said during a speech that was repeatedly interrupted by protestors. “But the truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize … for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”

Dermer went on to compare Israel’s warfare with that of the United Kingdom during World War II, arguing that while he had no interest in criticizing Winston Churchill for his decision to repeatedly bomb civilians in Germany, the nearly 70-year-old historical example was a reminder that, when it comes to protecting civilian life, Israel could be doing much worse.

“[N]o one should accept criticism of Israel for acting with restraint that has not been shown and would not be shown by any nation on Earth,” Dermer continued. “I especially will not tolerate criticism of my country at a time when Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live.”
 Israeli ambassador to US says IDF deserves nobel peace prize for unimaginable restraint 

The ambassador expanded, as if he could possibly improve on his first comments:

Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer on Tuesday defended the country’s military action against Hamas in Gaza, but acknowledged the growing number of civilian deaths and said Israel is “not perfect.”

“I don’t think Israel should be judged by a standard of perfection,” Dermer told reporters at breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor. “We’re not perfect, we make mistakes.”

Dermer said repeatedly that Israel was not targeting Palestinian civilians and insisted Hamas was using human shields “in an unprecedented way,” which he argued was leading to the large number of civilian deaths.

Dermer also said people should asked themselves how other countries would react if in a similar situation.
“We are in a situation where we have to defend our people, and we’re doing it in ways that other countries have not done and would not done,” Dermer said. “If 200 million Americans were sitting in bomb shelters day after day, the U.S. military, the U.S. government, would not take action that is less forceful than Israel.”
Dermer noted a recent incident in which Hamas fighters and civilians were killed by Israeli forces.

“In this case, none of those people [civilians] should have been there,” he said. “Forty-eight hours before, we told everybody to get out of those areas and to go. We told them exactly where they should go to get out of the way of the fighting. A lot of them chose to stay. Some of them, I think, were forced to stay.”

Dermer also rephrased reported comments he made Monday that the Israeli Defense Forces should receive a Nobel Peace Prize for its “unimaginable restraint.” On Tuesday, he instead said Israel should earn global admiration.

“A missile can hit the wrong place, you can have intelligence failure, but we don’t target civilians. And I think, given the fact that we’ve got our people in bomb shelters, I think Israel should earn the admiration of the international community for the restraint that it has shown in the face of these threats,” Dermer said.
Israeli official: 'We're not perfect'

July 13, 2014

Knock me down with a feather: Thorpie comes out of retirement again

Ian Thorpe is gay, you say? He’s reportedly “Come out” in his interview with Sir Michael Parkinson on Channel Ten on Sunday night? Gay, you say?

Well, who would have thought it?

Apart from just about everyone that’s met and talked to our greatest Olympian, I mean.
Let's hope he is now happy as well

It might have been a whole lot braver not to write this in his autobiography only two years ago:
 "For the record, I am not gay ....”
Or said this on the ABC:
“The thing that I find hurtful about it is that people are questioning my integrity and what I say. That’s the only part I find hurtful, that this is something I would be embarrassed about and that I would hide”
Brave Australian Olympic Games champion Ian Thorpe tells I'm gay

June 16, 2014

June 15, 2014

Where do socks and bacon grow and other life mysteries

A recent national survey, commissioned by Woolworths, found that a third of Australian children struggled to identify fruit and vegetables, and were confused about where produce came from.

The study, which surveyed 1601 Australian children aged between six and 17 years, revealed 92 per cent did not know bananas grew on plants.

"Three-quarters of Australian children in their final year of primary school believe cotton socks come from animals and 27 per cent are convinced yoghurt grows on trees," reported Fairfax.

In fact, 75 per cent believed cotton was an animal product.

British primary school kids are just as clueless as Australian children.

In 2013, a British survey found that almost a third of the country's primary school children thought cheese was made from plants and a quarter thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs.

The poll, conducted by the British Nutrition Foundation, surveyed about 27,500 children aged between five and 16 years, and found there was also some confusion about where pasta and bread came from.

"A third of five-to-eight-year-olds believe that they [pasta and bread] are made from meat," reported the BBC.

According to another survey, young adults in Britain are none the wiser.

The online poll, led by the charity LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), surveyed 2000 people aged between 16 and 23 years and found a third of them did not know that bacon came from pigs.

Researchers also found that four in 10 young adults did not know where milk came from, with 40 per cent of them failing to recognise the link between milk and a picture of a dairy cow.






Kids still don't know where their food comes from

May 15, 2014

Dead simple: so says Joe

Mr Hockey, when asked how a jobless 27-year-old would pay the co-payment under his plan to strip under-30s of unemployment benefits, said: “Well, I would expect to be in a job. That’d be the starting point; you’d be in a job. And we need you to work.”

May 6, 2014

Rich boys in trackies a global hit

It's the quintessential Sydney story that is going global.

There's Bondi, there's tracksuit pants and bare feet, there's a fight between two men - who happen to be billionaire and Crown chairman James Packer and Nine Entertainment Co chief executive David Gyngell.

"If you were looking at it overseas you'd say, this fellow is a chief executive of a publicly listed company that has just refloated, and this guy is on the Forbes billionaire list.

"I don't think there's been a situation like this."
 High price for James Packer v David Gyngell street brawl photos




May 5, 2014

Good old fashioned billionaire biffo

Gyngell and Packer later released a joint statement on the fight: "We have been friends for 35 years and still are. In that time we have had our fair share of ups and downs. We respect each other and neither of us will be commenting further."
James Packer and David Gyngell punch and wrestle each other in Bondi 

Abbott and Hockey push the envelope of weasel words

How to raise $10B or more in four years:

Don't introduce an extravagant maternity leave payment - $5B

Lift marginal personal income tax rates for those earning more than $100K - $10B

Tax the big four banks a tiny little levy of 0.2% on assets above $100B - $11B

Tax super earnings equally - $12B

End income splitting for 750,000 (yes, that's how many there are) discretionary trusts - $12B

End capital gains tax discount - $20B

End negative gearing - $16B

Could it become known as the "Abbott moment", when a prime minister cursed his political fate and consigned his government to one term?

"Crazy", "electoral suicide", a "Gillard moment" were some of the comments from Coalition MPs, the latter remark a reference to Julia Gillard's commitment to a carbon tax, which haunted her to Labor's eventual defeat.

"Everyone is shell-shocked. They don't understand it," one Coalition MP said on Tuesday, after the Prime Minister confirmed a "temporary debt levy" for as long as four years was a live option for the Coalition.
"They are asking ‘why is he doing this?'."

The answer says much about the undeliverable platform the Coalition brought to the election and the true nature of the "budget emergency" the current government inherited from its predecessor.

But the "debt levy" raising $10 billion over four years is a different proposition entirely. It is not the work of the commission. It was cooked up in cabinet and commission chairman Tony Shepherd has let it be known he thinks it a foolish idea.

He also promised repeatedly not to increase taxes. "You can’t tax your way to prosperity" was a mantra. So was "Tax cuts, without new taxes".

Speaking to 3AW's Neil Mitchell on Tuesday, Abbott redefined that commitment. A tax is only a tax if it is introduced in perpetuity.

"If there was a permanent increase in taxation, that would certainly be inconsistent with the sort of things that were said before the election," he said.

Hockey intimated the government should be given a break because it was all Labor's fault for ruining the budget, a new riff on "non-core policies".

"Please, this idea, somehow, that everything we had ever said is going to be held against ... us because the previous government basically misled the Australian people about the state of the budget, is kind of ridiculous," he said.

In the campaign, the Coalition promised no new tax rises, while quarantining health and education spending from cuts, pensions from changes and increasing defence spending.

But the main reason for the decline in government's finances has been on the revenue side of the ledger. Revenue is down from 26 per cent to 23 per cent of gross domestic product in the past decade, while spending has remained at a relatively stable 25 per cent.

"If you are going to break a promise on taxation, you may as well do it properly."

Daley says removing the capital gains tax discount, abolishing negative gearing and cracking down on superannuation taxation benefits were some measures that would have raised the same revenue or more at the expense of the wealthy.

The superannuation system is an expensive mess and failing in its objective of stopping people relying on the aged pension, which 80 per cent of retirees still access.

Perversely, the superannuation tax concessions – worth as much as $35 billion a year – will cost the government more than it outlays on the aged pension in a few years.

There was plenty of criticism that the commission of audit's recommendations hit the poor while leaving the well-off largely insulated from change.

Its major reforms – on welfare, unemployment, health policies and foreign aid – all disproportionately affected those on below-average incomes, at home and abroad.

The commission – dominated by members of the Business Council of Australia and former Coalition staffers and politicians – also oddly called for a lower minimum wage, which has nothing to do with budget policy.
But concerns about the inequity in the commission's 86 recommendations highlights another fact that is often lost in the debate about the budget.

Australia's social welfare programs are already tightly means-tested, meaning there is little scope to penalise the rich by slashing government spending programs.

The commission's terms of reference were to look at government expenditure, not revenue or tax. Separate reviews on taxation and superannuation are coming and will be delivered before the next election.

Government sources also point out that the debt levy will only hit 14 per cent of taxpayers, so may not have the negative political impact some are predicting.

As Abbott learnt to his advantage as opposition leader, trust is hard to earn, easy to lose – and even harder to regain.
And 14 per cent of the 'wealthy' can't possibly turn an election result, can they. 

And apparently the poor, the sick and the pensioners don't vote.

New tax on rich could seal Tony Abbott's fate

May 3, 2014

PMs err on wrong side of umm

I cannot believe Tony Abbott. Is it not possible for our Prime Minister to say something that’s not delivered in a slow, robotic and repetitive — I say again, repetitive — cadence? Or that isn’t prefaced with the stuttering ­utterances of “err” and “well”? 
 
For goodness sake, man, you are a Rhodes Scholar. Act like one, or at least speak like one. Show us the ­lucidity of your thinking through the fluency and the eloquence of your language. Surely there’s a sharp mind in there, somewhere. Hello?

Not that his predecessor was any better. Tell me that Kevin Rudd did not utter to President Barack Obama in front of the world’s media the term “programmatic specificity”? Please tell me this is an urban myth.

Kevin, what were you thinking? You are at best the head of a colony from the farthest edges of the known world. Your place in Obama’s presence is to look smart, pose for pictures, be grateful for an audience and use language that is pre-eminently forgettable. I know this is a hard concept to get your head around, Kevin, but “blend in”.

Do not get me started on Julia Gillard. I understand that, like Rudd and Abbott, she too could well be a delightful conversationalist, but as prime minister her plodding through the paragraphs of a prepared statement was painful. Palpably painful. For everyone and anyone within earshot!

I’m not sure whether Julia improved her elocution throughout her term or whether it was that my ear plasticised to the Gillard auditory form, but towards the end I quite liked her twang. It was oddly reassuring. It was distinctively Australian. I did not care for the substance or indeed for the context of her now famous, or infamous, misogyny speech but as a piece of spontaneous oratory it was powerful, fluid, gladiatorial and magnificent. And that is why it is memorable.

John Howard’s oratory did not offend me. Regardless of what you might have thought of his politics, Howard found a way to deliver his message without the delivery getting in the way.

Paul Keating was an orator on a grand colonial scale. He delivered daily what Gillard managed once. His language was direct. His imagery was as colourful as it was grandiloquently biblical.

It strikes me that the oratory skills of the Australian PM genus have diminished within a single digital generation. And I suspect that this outcome derives in turn from the effects of the ruthless process of natural selection. Either the verbally skilled are being naturally ­diverted to other occupations — such as advocacy, perhaps — or they are having their language curated and mightily managed during the apprenticeship years. The net effect is a muted, perhaps even a neutered, newspeak political form.

No PM can now truly speak their mind. Every utterance is examined. Every verbal misstep is captured, dissected and displayed to the hawing masses as evidence of wider incompetence. Far better to play it safe and stick to the script even if it deprives our public discourse of the passion that would naturally flow from the frisson of people of verbal skill and conviction. And this is why Tony Abbott and his successors will forever be advised to always choose their words carefully.
Bernard Salt

Abbott’s war on the rest of us – And why there’s no need





Everyone without money and without advantages, socially or economically, will be hit by the Abbott Government, to fund a deficit that is a mere drop in the ocean, and still hasn't reduced Australia's fortunate comparative economic position in the world.  A sound, safe economy.  Other treasurers would give their right arm.

If the Abbott Government wants to destroy the economy, including consumption, investment, and reducing tax revenues even further, then yes, they seem to have an excellent approach - in fact, they're nailed it:  triple A for economic and social destruction! 

What's so attractive about a surplus, when all it illustrates is that the government has taken more money out of the economy than they needed?

Pensioners, health, family payments face cuts

Much like the ALP review of education funding, which omitted funding for private schools, the Liberal Party Commission of Audit omitted a myriad of things - including taxation - and the commissioners failed, in their recommendations, to take account of real life. 

Try finding money to move when you've been unemployed for a year, and see how moving - as a young person - to where you don't know anyone, have no support ... oh, and yes, lets just hasten the death of rural areas and therefore rural economies, good-o. 

Not to mention all those people, not yet even close to 70 years old, who already face age-discrimination in trying to keep or find employment.

Can the government distribute a list of all the 'unnecessary' GP visits people are making.  Do they mean for flu, or getting a sick leave certificate for their workplace, or a grizzly baby, heart disease, arthritis, cancer?

What's really sickening is how much personal enjoyment Joe Hockey is publicly displaying as he gloats about making the lives of the poor, the old, the sick impossible, and the lives of average and low income families dire.  Current and future generations will suffer because of Hockey's ruinous economic actions, his economic stupidity.  

Abbott and Hockey - one term head kickers.  They've managed, in six months, to make Rudd and Gillard look almost grown up and responsible.

Their term in office has barely begun.  May the deities help us.

Tax the flaw at the heart of the national commission of audit

April 23, 2014

Wednesday Wisdom



Who speaks of victory?  Endurance is everything.   

Rilke

April 21, 2014

No bias ABC

Watching the ABC for a few minutes, a report about a Sydney based anti-Islamic group (the ADL). 

The provocative leafleting and internet posts by some members of the group engendered counter threats from local Muslims, including exhorting the members of the ADL to embrace Islam, otherwise they were done for.

Multiple gun shots were fired into the lounge room of one ADL member - and yes, he was in the room, and had been looking out the window, so had to take a dive to the floor to miss being shot.  Evidence of the shots were evident in the blinds and walls.

The ABC wrapped up the story with the triumphant outcome being that that ADL member has been charged by police over trespass and various other offences relating to his anti-Islamic activities.

The ABC said nothing further about the shooting, not even whether the police were bothering to investigate.

No, the only crimes committed, if you believe this report, were by ADL members, at least one of whom will be duly punished according to the laws of our land.  Death threats and running around with guns is ok, especially if provoked by some dickhead with leaflets. 

The report ended with footage of a local mullah urging a mosque full of young Muslim men not to resort to violence; not because it was wrong to shoot people, but because it would draw sympathy to those who were their targets.  Thus the story ended with the upbeat message that Islam is a peaceful belief system, not at all inclined to killing non-believers.

Yep. that's the modern version of neutral reporting at our ABC.

April 18, 2014

Kimmy and the Kardashian clan really can make you sick

Even for those of us who've not seen more than a couple of minutes of the sex tape, the sight of Kim.K (and her more recently acquired Kanye) or her immediate family members is enough to induce a dry wretch.
“Just hearing the sound of the Kardashians’ nasal voices or catching a glimpse of them on screen makes me feel nauseous and shaky,” Mr Amess said.

“My hands get clammy, my breathing gets heavier and I start sweating. Sometimes, I get teary and want to retch. I dislike everything about them, especially their physical appearance. I don’t understand how anyone could find them attractive. I can’t stand their voices either. They’re so whiny and shrill — it really gets under my skin.
Poor boy.  Although, at least the sight and sound of Kimmy having sex confirmed and helped him to be happy being gay.  A public service, of sorts, to gay men.

Mike Amess has Kardashian phobia - and so do we


April 8, 2014

Happy 50th!

Yes the mainframe is officially middle aged:  50 years old. 

That's all, you ask?

Yep.  Only a short 50 years ago the first IBM mainframes were launched into the world.  

Half century anniversary for IBM mainframes

Work experience MP: Palmer the part-time politician




At least 105 smart people

How many are they inviting? 

No idea, but at least 105 invitees to the Kanye and Kimmy wedding have declined to attend. 

I'm sure they all have open heart surgery or urgent root canal therapy appointments clashing with the K&K big day.

Either that or they're really, really, really smart.

The wedding almost everyone wants to miss

March 26, 2014

Why?

I have a reasonably good grasp of Australian nights and days.

Royally anointed Australian knights and dames, on the other hand, not so much.

Someone really should have given Tone a stern talking to.

Such nonsense has no place in this country. 

Tone has lost the plot.