July 30, 2008

Janet's breast free to speak

In the long running, yet suspiciously sporadic, series: America is a foreign country, they do things differently there:
"The $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission imposed on CBS for Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl was a serious setback to freedom of expression. A federal appeals court threw out the fine last week, ruling that the agency violated its own standards for what constitutes indecency. It is a well-reasoned decision, and we hope that the Supreme Court, which will soon be taking up a similar case, will take as strong a stand for free speech."
The censors lose in court

No shit Sherlock

Is Afghanistan a Narco-State?

Drug-related corruption pervades the government in Afghanistan, a former U.S. counter narcotics official says.

Wednesday Wisdom

I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me.

John Cleese

July 29, 2008

Does being the owner of a bigger penis make you happier?



An Internet Study: The relationships between men’s self-reported physical attributes, body image, self-esteem and internet dating.

If you guys have ever wanted to contribute to a study that will help address (inter alia) the question: does a big dick engender a big ego (or vice versa perhaps), here's your chance: men.andmuchmore.com

The study is being conducted by a Melbourne researcher, Dr Gerard Kennedy, a senior psychologist from Victoria University.


July 28, 2008

Drunker overall

The "acolpops" tax (a grubby little money grab if ever there was) has been a bust:
"Overall, the national data showed a 10% increase in the number of standard spirit drinks purchased in the three months to June, the equivalent of an extra 21 million standard spirit drinks, or 266,000 litres of alcohol."
Naturally, the Rudd guv'mnt is dismissing the data as selective and misleading.

(Much in the same way they dismiss scientific evidence, economic evidence, and so on and so forth.)


Ah, Australians: binge drinkers one day; pissed as neuts the next.

Alocpops sales down, spirits booming

The real lesbians lose case

Lesbos islanders have lost their case to reclaim the term "lesbian".

Bang goes my idea for reclaiming the once freely enjoyed adjective "gay".

Boo hiss.

Lesbos loses lesbian case

July 27, 2008

Brad bests Britney

The photo that prompted Pitt to throw a tanty and threaten to sue media outlets that intrude on the privacy of the gaggle of Brangelinas.

Last week Brad Pitt was photographed driving a Yamaha Rhino 660 with 2 year old daughter Shiloh riding shotgun on his lap. So far, all very Britney Spears, except Brit-Brit was in an enclosed car on a public road, and was pillared from here to hell and back, and then some.

The Pitt vehicle has been touted as being a "golf cart", and a passing criticism that Shiloh should have been wearing a helmet (huh? guess they've never heard of seat belts) was promptly shut down when Pitt spat his dummy.

Don't try this at home folks, no matter how rich or fecund you are, that ain't no golf cart. The Yamaha Rhino 660 comes equipped with a 660cc 5 valve single cylinder liquid cooled engine that produces more than enough torque and power for any real men, hitting speeds of up to 54 mph. If this had been Brit-Brit, the public and sundry "expert" commentators would have been baying for incarceration and tubal ligation.

Note that Pitt cares enough about his own safety to be wearing a seat belt, even though he is on private property and has no traffic concerns.

Meanwhile, Jolie, who had no difficulty or wait to become pregnant with her first bio-child (a matter of a couple of months into the relationship?), allegedly took the IVF route the second time around so that "she wouldn't have to deal with the stress of trying to get pregnant".

July 26, 2008

Warm your cockles



Story at Snopes - a true one!

BTW - the captioning on the video isn't quite right, they didn't have to look for the pride, Christian arrived before their plane landed and was waiting for them on his favorite rock.

Spot the typo

July 25, 2008

Tainted

This was always going to be the outcome.

Did anyone genuinely believe otherwise?

Now every single politician in the world is playing at being deaf, dumb and blind.

Call them diplomats if you will.

I call them black-hearted-dumb-fuck-arseholes.

"To win the right to host the Games, Beijing promised to expand press freedoms for foreign reporters and implied that opening China to the world would help expand human rights more generally.

We will never know whether China’s leaders intended to keep their word. What we do know is that the International Olympic Committee, corporate sponsors and governments around the world should have held China to its word. They have not, and China has read their silence as complicity.

China has jailed critics, denied visas and threatened news organizations that negative coverage could jeopardize their chance to cover the Games.

According to Human Rights Watch, at least 10 foreign journalists, including Newsweek’s China bureau chief, have received anonymous death threats since they reported on the violence in Tibet. Government authorities have also used police intimidation and bribery to try to silence parents demanding an accounting for the reprehensibly shoddy construction that caused schools to crumble, killing thousands of children in the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province. Thousands of people have been evicted from their homes in Beijing as the city cleans up for international TV crews.

Corporate sponsors for the Games seem determined to look the other way. Most world leaders, including President Bush, also have been too silent. We accept Mr. Bush’s decision to attend the opening ceremonies, but we see no sign that he got anything for it."

China's unreality TV

Mirror, mirror

Oh dear.

We are all deeply flawed - and probably ugly - narcissists.

Did they really need to tell us this?
"In a report titled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Enhancement in Self-Recognition,” which appears online in The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Nicholas Epley and Erin Whitchurch described experiments in which people were asked to identify pictures of themselves amid a lineup of distracter faces. Participants identified their personal portraits significantly quicker when their faces were computer enhanced to be 20 percent more attractive. They were also likelier, when presented with images of themselves made prettier, homelier or left untouched, to call the enhanced image their genuine, unairbrushed face. Such internalized photoshoppery is not simply the result of an all-purpose preference for prettiness: when asked to identify images of strangers in subsequent rounds of testing, participants were best at spotting the unenhanced faces.

How can we be so self-delusional when the truth stares back at us? “Although we do indeed see ourselves in the mirror every day, we don’t look exactly the same every time,” explained Dr. Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. There is the scruffy-morning you, the assembled-for-work you, the dressed-for-an-elegant-dinner you. “Which image is you?” he said. “Our research shows that people, on average, resolve that ambiguity in their favor, forming a representation of their image that is more attractive than they actually are.”

Mirrors don't lie. Mislead? Oh yes.

A disappointing Gore

"Mr. Gore is spending $300 million, a lot of it his own money, in the next three years to get the country moving on global warming. He has promised the biggest, most ambitious public-service advertising blitz anyone has ever seen.

So far it’s a cute green logo, the word “me” turned upside-down to “we.” It’s an earnest Web site. It’s Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson on a couch, joshing about saving the earth. It’s Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich, joshing on a couch. I saw one very funny ad with Billy Crystal and David Letterman joshing on a couch. Too bad it was a parody."

The real truth is that $297 M is for Gore's airfares, $1.25 M for his food, $1 M for his home electricity, $500 K for his hairdresser, $200 K liposuction, and $50 K to the idiot who accidentally turned their child's learn-to-read flash card upside-down and Gore thought it was an advertising pitch.

A disappointing truth

Duck Friday

July 24, 2008

He's still out there

Longest moon walker ever (nine hours, 17 minutes), Dr Mitchell is still a little bit off the planet.

Confirming the existence of aliens, and their frequent visits to earth, Dr Mitchell described aliens thusly:

"little people who look strange to us".

Ooooh.

Arrrh.

Vivid mental portrait.

Compelling.

Convincing.

Notably, he doesn't claim to have seen or met any aliens, merely that he has "[been] in on the facts" (*taps nose with forefinger*).

Aliens do exist

July 23, 2008

Wednesday Wisdom

That all men are equal is a proposition which, at ordinary times, no sane individual has ever given his assent.

Aldous Huxley

July 21, 2008

More health tips

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A:Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... Don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q:Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q:Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A:No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandyis distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way.Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q:How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A:Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q:What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A:Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q:Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A:You're not listening....Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q:Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q:Is chocolate bad for me?

A:Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable.

Q:Is swimming good for your figure?

A:If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q:Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming,'Whoo Hoo, what a ride!

Assimilate or bust

They take assimilation seriously in France.

They don't mess around with upper-case "tolerance".

All very politically incorrect.

The French way or the highway.

No shit.

Have to admire their gumption, their chutzpah, their moxie. (And their accents.)

"... last month, France’s highest administrative court upheld a decision to deny citizenship to Ms. Silmi, 32, on the ground that her “radical” practice of Islam was incompatible with French values like equality of the sexes.

It was the first time that a French court had judged someone’s capacity to be assimilated into France based on private religious practice, taking laïcité — the country’s strict concept of secularism — from the public sphere into the home.

So far, citizenship has been denied on religious grounds in France only when applicants were believed to be close to fundamentalist groups.

The ruling on Ms. Silmi has received almost unequivocal support across the political spectrum, including among many Muslims. Fadela Amara ... "

Not giving a flying ƒυςќ about anyone's sensitivities:

"the French minister for urban affairs, called Ms. Silmi’s niqab “a prison” and a “straitjacket.”

“It is not a religious insignia but the insignia of a totalitarian political project that promotes inequality between the sexes and is totally lacking in democracy,” Ms. Amara, herself a practicing Muslim of Algerian descent, told the newspaper Le Parisien in an interview published Wednesday."

Pass the champagne and pate, oi, oi, oi.

A veil closes France's door to citizenship

July 20, 2008

Is your uncomfortable hunch hurting yet?


Dr David Evans was a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office from 1999 to 2005. He gave six years of his life to carbon accounting and building models for the Australian Greenhouse Office.

He is:
"the rocket scientist who wrote the carbon accounting model (FullCAM) that measures Australia's compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, in the land use change and forestry sector."
In other words, just like Dr Vincent Gray, Dr David Evans knows and understands a whole shit-load more about the climate than you, or me, or Kev Rudd, or Al Gore, or Tim Flannery will ever know or understand.

Dr Evans isn't buying any of it. He even agrees with my whinging, nagging, replicable riff that the global economy should not be torn asunder without proof of such a requirement - and there is none, which is what I've been carping about all along. A computer model is nothing; some bits of hardware and some apps. Since when did hardware and apps and a pile of incomplete dodgy-data constitute a scientific method or a serum of robust proof?

The only motives driving a catastrophic and humongous cash transfer from those who have to those who haven't are human conceit, arrogance and stunt-jump-politics. This isn't about the environment. This isn't about saving one little planet. This is a socialist dictatorship by stealth.

Don't kid yourselves that this is altruism writ-large. This is fraud, deceit, the devil in the detail obfuscated by a thousand insults.

Yes, the "deniers" are evil. There will be no redemption for those who refuse to self-flagellate over their use of modern-fandangled inventions like electricity, hot running water, sewage pipes, sliced bread, dilapidation creams and leather shoes.

Dr Evans writes, inter alia:
"The onus should be on those who want to change things to provide evidence for why the changes are necessary. The Australian public is eventually going to have to be told the evidence anyway, so it might as well be told before wrecking the economy."
------------


"... since 1999 new evidence has seriously weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause of global warming, and by 2007 the evidence was pretty conclusive that carbon played only a minor role and was not the main cause of the recent global warming. As Lord Keynes famously said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

There has not been a public debate about the causes of global warming and most of the public and our decision makers are not aware of the most basic salient facts:

1. The greenhouse signature is missing. We have been looking and measuring for years, and cannot find it.

2. There is no evidence to support the idea that carbon emissions cause significant global warming. None.

3. The satellites that measure the world's temperature all say that the warming trend ended in 2001, and that the temperature has dropped about 0.6C in the past year (to the temperature of 1980).

4. The new ice cores show that in the past six global warmings over the past half a million years, the temperature rises occurred on average 800 years before the accompanying rise in atmospheric carbon. Which says something important about which was cause and which was effect.

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

In the minds of the audience, the evidence that global warming has occurred becomes conflated with the alleged cause, and the audience hasn't noticed that the cause was merely asserted, not proved.

The world has spent $50 billion on global warming since 1990, and we have not found any actual evidence that carbon emissions cause global warming.

Computer models and theoretical calculations are not evidence, they are just theory.

The Labor Government is about to deliberately wreck the economy in order to reduce carbon emissions. If the reasons later turn out to be bogus, the electorate is not going to re-elect a Labor government for a long time. When it comes to light that the carbon scare was known to be bogus in 2008, the ALP is going to be regarded as criminally negligent or ideologically stupid for not having seen through it. And if the Liberals support the general thrust of their actions, they will be seen likewise."

No smoking hot spot

Scientists serve up litany of lies

CONCLUSION
"This Climate Change Statement is veritably an orchestrated litany of lies, to borrow a phrase. As a longstanding member of the Royal Society of New Zealand I am unable to tolerate such a departure as this from the supposed objectives of fair or responsible comment on scientific matters, so I have resigned in protest."
So writes Dr Vincent Gray.

His succinct demolition of global warming should be mandatory reading, along with recent musings by Australia's David Evans.

COMMENTS ON THE RECENT STATEMENT BY THE CLIMATE

Dr Vincent Gray

July 19, 2008

Losing our inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance

PowerPoint makes organizations stupid. That's not a newsflash. It's a fact.

Is Google making all of us stupid too - in much the same way that three bullet points of no more than 18 words is genuinely accepted as a valid, compelling, convincing and sustained business briefing, regardless of how profound or far reaching the consequences of the slide pack - has Google convinced us that our thoughts have been nourished and deepened, our knowledge and wisdom enriched by a quick squiz and a skim read of 65 words about metaphysics?

Probably, is my thought.

Certainly it's true for the newer generations who have been denied a proper eduction and have never learned the discipline and skills required to indulge in sustained concentration and thought; who have never been required to apply or demonstrate logic or proof of anything, since one person's opinion is as good as the next, so they've learned that you can talk shit and no one will ever challenge it. They're not embedded, immersed in a philosophy, discipline or set of closely examined personal values that will see them through the decades.

On the other hand, while we oldies find it easy to pick up and abuse technology with the rest of them, chucking off the habits of a lifetime so as to become a flibbertigibbet doesn't come entirely naturally.

Or maybe not so much. Maybe my thought is merely a firefly hope, as Nicolas Carr explains it:
"I can feel it, too. Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

I’m not the only one. When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and acquaintances—literary types, most of them—many say they’re having similar experiences. The more they use the Web, the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing. Some of the bloggers I follow have also begun mentioning the phenomenon. Scott Karp, who writes a blog about online media, recently confessed that he has stopped reading books altogether. “I was a lit major in college, and used to be [a] voracious book reader,” he wrote. “What happened?” He speculates on the answer: “What if I do all my reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed, i.e. I’m just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed?”

Bruce Friedman, who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine, also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits. “I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print,” he wrote earlier this year. A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School, Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me. His thinking, he said, has taken on a “staccato” quality, reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online. “I can’t read War and Peace anymore,” he admitted. “I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb. I skim it."

Is Google making us stupid?

They can't own all of you

A nice little ruling in the US last month, which determined that employers don't own your electronic soul (no matter how many threatening terms and conditions they flash on the screen and insist you "accept" before logging onto the company network).

If the company provides the email device and contracts with the email service, then the content belongs to the company, right? Or so goes conventional logic.

In San Francisco, a court of appeals rejected that idea, unanimously ruling in favor of a police officer and others who claimed that the city of Ontario, California violated their Fourth Amendment rights by reading the contents of their text messages, which had been held by a hosted carrier.

Specifically, the unanimous decision stated:

"Do users of text messaging services such as those provided by Arch Wireless have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their text messages stored on the service provider’s network? We hold that they do."

"As with letters and e-mails, it is not reasonable to expect privacy in the information used to “address” a text message, such as the dialing of a phone number to send a message. However, users do have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the content of their text messages vis-a-vis the service provider."

What the ruling means is that if an employer pays for use of third party text or email services the boss can’t get copies of your messages from that provider without your permission. The holding that text messages and email are protected by the Fourth Amendment, which gives victims of unlawful searches the ability to suppress illegally obtained evidence. It protects the privacy of employees who use a messaging service paid for by their company.

Full ruling here

July 18, 2008

Calamari for all ...

Giant squids, usually found at depths of 500 to 1500 metres, have a number of curious anatomical features, including three hearts, blue blood and a doughnut-shaped brain.

Their closest relatives are snails, clams and mussels, and they shoot out black ink that acts like a "James Bond smokescreen" to escape predators.

Male giant squids have a penis of one-and-a-half metres, which they use like a nail gun, with the sperm placed under the skin of the females in their tentacles and head, Dr Norman said.

The female squids can have the sperm under their skin for months and it is used to fertilise the eggs in their skin.

One of the subbies on the night shift at The Age spends too much time reading pulp fiction.

Beast from the deep spills its guts about life below
(*groan*)

While another subbie on The Age remains factual, concise and dignified.

Giant squid a huge attraction

Duck Friday

July 17, 2008

The cause of most deaths

After an exhaustive review of the research literature, here's the final word on nutrition and health:

1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
4. Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
5. Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
6. The French eat foie-gras, full fat cheese and drink red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like.

Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

The real stuff

NASA workers donate 30 litres of urine each day to space program contractor Hamilton Sundstrand.

No, not for drug testing.

The urine collection caper is a long standing NASE tradition for use in the design of better space toilets.

According to someone who must have intimate knowledge of these things:

Urine is a mess because urine is full of solids. Those solids clog the venting system for dumping pee, making it a challenge to keep the disposal system clear.

NASA workers: giving that little bit extra.

July 16, 2008

Wednesday Wisdom

“Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”

Ann Landers

July 15, 2008

Satire sours

The New Yorker pushes the envelope of satire flying over the edge.

Attempting to satirize the scare tactics and misinformation tossed about by right-wing opponents of the Democrat's presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama, The New Yorker has pushed everyone's tasteless and offensive buttons.

Apparently the article within offers a portrait of Obama as being relentless in his pursuit of donors and powerful friends. Wow. That's a scoop. New breed of politician. Who'd have thunk the sub-world of politics would sink to such naked depravity.

July 14, 2008

Heroic pig fighters

The Prius advertising comes in four types: duck (shown above), monkey, shark and deer.

Toyota is really worried about animals and oil.

In that order.

Apparently.

According to Toyota, using oil is like taking life.

Animal life.

Umm.

Okey-dokey then.

Everyone go buy a fuel efficient Toyota.

July 13, 2008

Balanced diet

Perhaps doing their bit to reduce their reliance on wind-emitting food sources, Americans allegedly eat around 40 million tonnes of marshmallows a year.

Combined with coke, fries, burgers and an array of condiments, they have all food groups covered.

Knox & Viv

The Brangelina twins have arrived, bringing the total to three bio-children, one Cambodian, one Vietnamese and one Ethiopian.

Angelina Jolie gives birth to twins

July 12, 2008

Does your food source break wind?

Farting, burping food sources.

Yes, I've said it before, but I'll repeat it for slow learners: if we all stopped eating meat - or cut down by 90% - this whole "greenhouse gas" thing would blow over.

(Reminder memo: the "greenhouse" PR turned out to be a bust, with the earth being a handy-dandy self correcting little biosphere, according to the most recent, objective, real data. But that's another story.)

Local armageddon mongerer, Prof Ross Garnaut, puts the boot into grubby coal, and places misguided faith in friendly fuels appearing by osmosis, but seems to draw the line at kicking sheep and cows and their windy-ways at each end.
"Professor Ross Garnaut has managed to write a 548-report on climate change in which he mentions Australia's largest current contribution to climate change precisely once — in the glossary, where we find a definition of "enteric fermentation".

Never heard of it? It's what goes on in the digestive systems of ruminants, like cattle and sheep. It produces methane, Australia's largest but also most under-appreciated contribution to climate change over the next few decades.

The second-largest current contribution is coal. It gets mentioned 272 times in the report — as it should.

Why is methane so under-appreciated? There's a political reason and a technical reason.

The political reason is that if telling Australians that they need to pay more for petrol and electricity is tough, telling them they need to consume less beef, lamb and dairy products is going to be tougher still.

Australia's methane emissions come primarily from 28 million cattle, 88 million sheep and a bunch of leaky coal mines. The livestock emissions, on their own, will cause significantly more warming in the next 20 years than all our coal-fired power stations.

The good news is that methane is easy to deal with.

We don't have to wait for engineers to solve a bunch of really tough infrastructural problems. We can do it now. Just stop breeding so many sheep and cattle in Australia. And because methane is such a huge contributor to climate change, this is not just an "earth hour" stunt. This is the real deal."

The missing link in the Garnaut report

First case of climate change delusion identified

"A 17-year-old man was referred to the inpatient psychiatric unit at Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne with an eight-month history of depressed mood . . . He also . . . had visions of apocalyptic events."

"The patient had also developed the belief that, due to climate change, his own water consumption could lead within days to the deaths of millions of people through exhaustion of water supplies."

-----

Here is Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday, with his own apocalyptic vision: "If we do not begin reducing the nation's levels of carbon pollution, Australia's economy will face more frequent and severe droughts, less water, reduced food production and devastation of areas such as the Great Barrier Reef and Kakadu wetlands."

And here is a senior Sydney Morning Herald journalist aghast at the horrors described in the report on global warming released on Friday by Rudd's guru, Professor Ross Garnaut: "Australians must pay more for petrol, food and energy or ultimately face a rising death toll . . ."

Wow. Pay more for food or die. Is that Rudd's next campaign slogan?"

Doomed to a fatal delusion over climate change

Drinking Wisdom

"The hard part about being a bartender is figuring out who is drunk and who is just stupid."

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up . . . reading." Henny Youngman

"In the Bowling Alley of Tomorrow, there will even be machines that wear rental shoes and throw the ball for you. Your sole function will be to drink beer." Dave Barry

"Actually, it only takes one drink to get me loaded. Trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or fourteenth." George Burns

"Do not allow children to mix drinks. It is unseemly and they use too much vermouth." Steve Allen

"An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with fools." Ernest Hemmingway

"If your doctor warns that you have to watch your drinking, find a bar with a mirror." John Mooney

"I can't die until the government finds a safe place to bury my liver." Phil Harris

"Everybody should believe in something -- I believe I'll have another drink." Unknown

"Whenever someone asks me if I want water with my Scotch, I say, "I'm thirsty, not dirty". Joe Lewis

July 11, 2008

July 10, 2008

Too little, too late?

"Prosecutors in the US say DNA tests have cleared the parents and brother of JonBenet Ramsey of any involvement in her murder almost 12 years ago.

However, the district attorney in Boulder, Colorado, says new DNA tests point to the involvement of an "unexplained third party".

DNA tests exonerate parents of JonBenet Ramsey

"New DNA tests, which focus on skin cells left behind from a mere touch, point to a mysterious outsider. "
Prosecutor: DNA clears JonBenet Ramsey's family

July 9, 2008

Wednesday Wisdom

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.
Leo Tolstoy

July 7, 2008

Death by telly

Our parents were right all along, telly really will make you stupid kill you.

Big screen teevees are a little bit too gassy.
"Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, Dr Prather and a colleague, Juno Hsu, state this year's production of the gas was equivalent to 67 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, with "a potential greenhouse impact larger than that of the industrialised nations' emissions of PFCs or SF6, or even of the world's largest coal-fired power plants".
Soooo, hands up who is going to be the first to give up their flat screen telly?

TV screen gas "worse than coal"

Educational tid bit

A shower is precipitation from a convective cloud - a bubbly type broken cloud.

Rain is precipitation from a layered cloud.

If a shower lasts more than 20 minutes it's probably rain.

July 6, 2008

The moral left

The loopy left in America are proud to share their forgery techniques, with Daily Kos as the chief supplier of fake Presidential press passes.

Jeez, they must be so proud.

Kinda makes ya wish these people were in power, dun-it?

Daily Kos: How to forge Presidential Press Passes

Too slippery by half

"Judges and jurors who must decide whether sexually explicit material is obscene are asked to use a local yardstick: does the material violate community standards?

That is often a tricky question because there is no simple, concrete way to gauge a community’s tastes and values.

The Internet may be changing that. In a novel approach, the defense in an obscenity trial in Florida plans to use publicly accessible Google search data to try to persuade jurors that their neighbors have broader interests than they might have thought."

Using Internet search terms as a proxy for community standards is one of the bluntest, dumbest and most ethically repellent ideas I've heard in a while.

On that basis, the most profound idea / person on earth is Britney Spears - she tops the search rankings on a regular and global basis.

If I type "dickhead", in search of a definition, and if I reduce my censoring filter to "low" before I do my search (yes, kiddies there is a Google filter, with a default setting of medium), I'm pretty sure the first 550,000 links will take me to no end of dickheads, but not a single urban dictionary with a definition of the word. Neither my typing the term nor the search results would tell you about my standards, much less community standards.

What people do in their own homes while no one is watching should never be considered a community standard - women and children are beaten in their own homes, frequently, across every strata of society - does that make it acceptable?

Sitting in front of a computer at home, deliberately typing in provocative search terms in search of whatever proclivity one favors is not the same as being comfortable standing at the local kindy fete discussing your bestest ever perverted porn site find. If the "community standard" test is to be met, surely the latter would be at least a marginally more robust yard stick: would you discuss it with your child's teacher, your neighbors, the lady who makes your lunch order?

If the court case angle isn't bad enough, the comments on the article are an even bigger glance into an abyss of stupidity.

Truly, have people forgotten how to think, to reason?

Do we need to resurrect Plato?

Besides, community standards, increasingly so, are not necessarily attractive by any object assessment, nor are they standards that speak well of we humans. Just as we are fond of telling more barbaric societies that we don't especially appreciate their standards, let's not kid ourselves that all of our community standards are boast worthy.

(The judge has not ruled on whether to allow the Google data.)

What's obscene? Google could have an answer

Gravy for Kev, pain for us

Gotta luv Kev.

A man with no clue, yet he boldly steps forth each day making humongous decisions on our behalf.

Australia contributes about 1% (yes, that would be: one percent) to global carbon emissions.

Kev assured us during the election last year that he wouldn't make any derring-doo gratuitous moves on the environmental front unless other large countries did the same (although the point is moot if we continue to cool ... ).

Plucky little Kev has a short memory, which is why he is going full pelt to sprinkle unnecessary, meaningless, pointless environmental policies across the land, all of which will cost each and every one of us a motzza - all except Kev and his multimillionaire wife.

Kev has confirmed that while in office he has no intention of paying for his petrol or his electricity, which along with his butler and nanny for his son, are paid for my you and me.

Hear, hear!

St Kilda residents are totally pissed off with their suburb being littered with piss-heads, this, despite the fact that the sole reason for St Kilda's existence has always been to accommodate drunks, junkies and women of the night.

Didn't they notice before they moved in?

Any-hoo, some of the residents have come up with a wish list to protect their suburb from undesirables, such as:

Banning backpackers from the suburb because many were too boisterous.

Banning non-residents from entering the entertainment precinct at night because police data suggested most of the troublemakers lived outside the municipality.

Fitting residents with ankle bracelets to distinguish them from visitors.

Banning venues from serving alcohol after 11pm to avoid drunks roaming the streets all night.

More than happy to oblige!

I'll be the first to offer never to venture to St Kilda.

I'm especially supportive of the idea that residents of St Kilda be fitted with ankle bracelets. All the better for easy identification and shipment back if they attempt to sully the rest of Melbourne by escaping the confines of their suburb.

St Kilda push to ban outsiders

July 4, 2008

July 3, 2008

Jugs


Pouring milk has just become a new challenge in the US of A.

The new milk containers don't have a pouring spout, which is clever design for a vessel holding fluids, truly, innovative, human ingenuity at its finest. Almost as good as the whole sliced bread thingy.

Instead of picking up and pouring, one has to tilt (don't lift it) - slowly - and pour - slowly.

"Rock-and-pour instead of a lift-and-tip.”

Slowly.

How much time and patience do they think people have in the average day to pour milk, from a container designed to spill milk?

"Don't cry over spilled milk" takes on a whole new meaning when people are forced to do a daily spilling.

"Rock and pour" my arse.

Solution or mess? A milk jug for a green earth

Magical thinking

"[In] a 2001 Canadian study of 200 ovarian-cancer survivors, almost two-thirds believed that stress caused their disease and more than 80 percent attributed their survival to a positive attitude. A related study of women who had breast cancer produced similar results — fewer than 5 percent chalked up their survival to any medical treatment. Or (as I do) to just plain good luck. Meanwhile, a Danish study of 6,689 women, published in 2005, found those who were highly stressed were 40 percent less likely than others to get breast cancer."
Alas, no amount of magical thinking changes disease outcomes: that's a scientific fact.

The paradox of such misguided thinking is that so many people insist on having quite barbaric treatments. If they really believe they can cure themselves by thinking about their happy place you'd figure they'd forgo all but the least intrusive / painful medical interventions.

As I've said before, for those who succumb, positive thinking might mean they die happier than someone who is mightily pissed-off about getting a raw deal, but the outcome for both is identical, as is the expected life span. This has been proven in controlled studies. Prayer won't help either. Again, proven.

The burden (and inherent moral judgment) placed on people to be perky about ugly, painful diseases, or any death-dealing illness or accident, might be far more about the selfishness of those around them, who want to believe the person isn't suffering, and who demand not a mere stiff upper lip, but a whole Disneyland of joy and mindless optimism - even from people with naturally dour personalities, who are expected to transform.

It's shameful that we expect so much from those who are ill, and so little stoicism, generosity and care from ourselves.

On the other hand, the moral superiority claimed by those who endure and live, believing it was their own marvelous little self that achieved the dumb-luck outcome is just as repellent and irksome.

Stress test

July 2, 2008

Wednesday Wisdom

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.

Herbert Spencer