September 19, 2005

Tassie and other Tidbits

A few diversions from the maelstrom that is Mark Latham, not to mention Julia Gillard’s new “do” to match her oozing compassion and ‘next Prime Minister of Australia aspirations’. Yes, there really are far more interesting and even more trivial things going on in our country.

Bits of Tassie go missing, for a princely sum

The Tasmania Government paid $71 million to Forestry Tasmania for the surrendered rights to nearly 200,000 hectares of Crown land. “Nice change if you can get it”, you may be thinking. But it’s even better than that, you see, the Auditor-General’s (AG) office can’t find the land, and Forestry Tasmania can’t tell the AG where the land is hiding, because, well, you know, they sold it back to the Tassie Gov’t, so they didn’t bother to undertake any surveys to locate the land.

The AG, meanwhile, has given up looking because, well, you know, there may have been “loose ends but it depends on how much time you want to spend digging around. It would have taken years…I was happy with as far as we went.”

How far was that, exactly? The corner store, round the block, to the basement? They didn’t go so far as to actually find any of the 200,000 hectares, for which the Government handed over a cool $71 mill, but hey, that’s okay, the AG feels very satisfied with the great effort put into not making any progress in finding a couple of big slabs of Tassie. All 'round, tax payers money well spent; wonderful value!

Now, if only I can convince the Victorian Government to buy back that enormous bit of Victoria that I have tucked away somewhere - can’t quite, remember where I put it, but I remember it had lots of trees. For the right price, the Government can have the land and the trees back, and I’ll just leave it up to them to work out where I left them. Won’t be too hard to find: it was a huge bit of land, really, and it had a squiggly, irrecular kind of shape to it, and I’m even happy to sell at a loss – say, $25 mill. If someone from the Government could just drops me a note, I’ll let you know where to send the cheque.

Upsizing, just for the hell of it

You know how people have “eyes bigger than their stomach” (well, okay, these days that’s becoming a tad unusual); it would seem that people now have iPods bigger than their ears, so to speak.

With iPods having a capacity of up to 10,000 songs, more than half the people with iPods have fewer than 100 songs stored, with an average figure of a still very puny 375 tracks. In other words, about 30 to 40 ten track albums, which in the old currency would have been a modest record collection. And only one fifth of the surveyed iPod users had ever paid for a track online. So, the problem is: given that no-one is using anywhere close to the iPod capacity, why are they prepared to pay so much for something when they only use a teeny bit? It’s like buying a ten bedroom house when it’s just you and your cat, and furnishing the two front rooms is all you’ll ever be able to manage.

Research is a bit iffy

A new piece of research confirms what we already knew: any given piece of research is less than 50% likely to be “completely true”. What this means, in real language, is that a least half of all published research will eventually be shown to be wrong, because or bias or flaws in the assumptions underpinning the research.

Naturally, this finding has a less than 50% probability of being true.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, 46% of all statistics are made up on the spot...

    -- Nora

    PS The McWilliams Inheritance 2004 white shiraz is lovely. I thought I'd share that for no particular reason except Nicky and I are drinking it now.