December 30, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Soren Kierkegaard

December 29, 2009

And so the year comes to an end ...

In summary, the police arrested Patrick Lawrence, 22 year old white male, in a pumpkin patch 11:38 p.m. on Friday night.


On Monday, at the Gwinnett County (GA) courthouse, Lawrence was charged with lewd and lascivious behaviour, public indecency, and public intoxication.


The suspect explained that as he was passing a pumpkin patch on his way home from a drinking session when he decided to stop, 'You know how a pumpkin is soft and squishy inside, and there was no one around for miles or at least I thought there wasn't anyone around' he stated in a telephone interview.

Lawrence went on to say that he pulled over to the side of the road, picked out a pumpkin that he felt was appropriate to his purpose, cut a hole in it, and proceeded to satisfy his alleged need. 'Guess I was really into it, you know?' he commented with evident embarrassment. In the process of doing the deed, Lawrence failed to notice an approaching police car and was unaware of his audience until Officer Brenda Taylor approached him.

'It was an unusual situation, that's for sure,' said Officer Taylor. 'I walked up to Lawrence and he's just banging away at this pumpkin.' Officer Taylor went on to describe what happened when she approached Lawrence .

'I said, 'Excuse me sir, but do you realize that you're having sex with a pumpkin?

'He froze and was clearly very surprised that I was there, and then he looked me straight in the face and said...

'A pumpkin? Shit .... is it midnight already?'

This was in the Washington Post...the title of the article was 'Best Come Back Line Ever.'

December 25, 2009

December 24, 2009

It will get even quieter



Can it possibly get any quieter around this place?

Well yes, it can. Thank you for asking.

If not for having such a probing, inquiring mind, the lack of transmissions while I step out for a bit might have come as a deep shock to you. So, all in all, it's an excellent thing that you dropped by and asked what the heck is going on.

Nothing. Pretty much nothing. Mostly sans a PC, things will be as quiet as a mouse around here.

I'm packing. I'm stepping away from the keyboard.

I won't be gone long, so you'll barely notice.

Heading to the coast. As one does when one is a little Aussie.

Bliss.

Bliss to you and yours too.

Remembering and forgetting.

xxxxoooo

December 23, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.


B. F. Skinner

December 20, 2009

Best quote from Copenhagen

"Because of weather constraints in Washington I am leaving before a final vote"
Barack Obama, on the chilly Washington weather, which prevented him for staying in Copenhagen right to the bitter and meaningless end.

Only the beginning?

By proclamation of the Pope, or something like that, Australia is about to get its first saint.

Which begs the question how many we plan on having and how many we require.

We're not an especially saintly nation.

We should leave it at one.

Best not to lift the bar, lest our failure to purloin a hitherto unrecognized degree of saintliness fails, dismally. Then we'd just look all-Copenhagen.

46,000 and nothing got done

Bad food, bad organization and bad attitudes aplenty.

Any wonder that nothing good came out of Copenhagen?

46,000 people gathered to achieve nothing. That's an awful lot of superfluous carbon emissions. Not that I'm counting.

It would seem that consensus science isn't as popular and compelling as the gullible youth of today, the pollies and the journo's keep pummeling into us.

December 19, 2009

It works, it works!


Finally you can rush out and buy your "Protons ' r ' Us" t-shirt. The Large Hadron Collider works. No bread-crumbs. No shit.

The LHC accelerated protons to energies of 1.2 trillion electron volts apiece and then crashed them together, eclipsing a record for collisions held by an American machine, the Tevatron, at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois.

Yes. Machines hold records and have competitions.

Collider sets record

December 18, 2009

December 16, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.

John Adams

December 11, 2009

Duck Friday


Santa Clause parade, Toronto, 1931

December 9, 2009

Darwin Road Sign

Wednesday Wisdom

That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.

Paul Valery

December 7, 2009

December 4, 2009

Mal & Mail

Malcolm Turnbull already has form when it comes to emails and leaks. You'd think he'd have learned a thing or two.

Not so.

Almost like - but not at all - Shane Warne and SMS, Mal can't keep his hands off the keyboard.

Seems that Julie 'she can't be rolled' Bishop is yeh typical two-faced pollie who thinks speaking with fork-tongue is part of her job description.

In leaked emails, written with rather too much deliberation, after Bishop and Turnbull had a "blazing row" over the Liberal leadership ballot, Turnbull ensures there are no ambiguities.

Naturally, Mal trots Lucy out in his newly acquired and annoyingly persistent two-for-one persona:
"He writes that he and his wife, Lucy Turnbull, were unable to reconcile Ms Bishop's public declarations of admiration for and loyalty to Mr Abbott with "what you were saying to us last night in our apartment ... your scathing attacks on him and his character".

"You would have been far better advised not to accept that role," Mr Turnbull concludes."
A new speed record for leaking of private emails?

Coinky-dink, I'm sure.

Turnbull & Bishop in blazing row

Mal & Lucy

Mal & Lucy Turnbull have been everywhere together this week.

Wherever Mal went, there was Lucy.

Whatever Mal said, he included Lucy. As in: "Lucy and I will decide ..." or "Lucy and I will consider ...".

Not many men would bring their wife to the office day in and day out for the sake of having her clutter up the place. Not many men would keep announcing that they can't make job decisions without their wife. Not many men need to tell a gaggle of journalists to naff off because they want to have some quiet time with their wife. But, how much peace and quiet does a man expect when he takes his wife to a busy building where a few thousand other people go each day, and that's not counting the tourists?

Perhaps Mal is setting an example for younger men, and in twenty years time wives won't need to earn a living, so they'll all hang out at their husband's place of work.


It could happen.

It would still be weird.

Everyone's got Woods

Is there anyone who hasn't had sex with Tiger Woods?

Please form an orderly queue in the phone booth over there.

Thank you.

Too regular

Researchers at the University of Montreal wanted to study men in their 20s and porn.

The usual scientific standard would be to recruit a group of men in the target demographic who have regularly watched porn, and a group men in the target demographic who haven't watched porn, and then expose the two groups to whatever tests the researchers had carefully designed.

And that's where the whole idea fell apart.

They couldn't find any men in their 20s who hadn't regularly watched porn.

In deep shit

Not for the first time, David Truscott, resident of England, has been jailed over his obsessive visits to a Cornwall farm, where he likes - a little too much - to submerge himself in manure.

In addition to more jail time - this time 20 weeks, last time 16 weeks - Truscott has been banned from visiting the farm where he has, apparently, been pleasuring himself for years.

In a 2004 case, the court was told that Truscott liked to plunge waist deep in manure for "sexual reasons".

During the episode in which police most recently caught him, he was wearing "shiny red shorts and rubber gloves". No mention of where about his person those garments were located. Perhaps in the normal places.

Rubber gloves and tissues left behind on other occasions, and bottom marks in manure, alerted the farmer that something was up.

Duck Friday

December 2, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

Beauty fades – dumb is forever.

Judge Judy

December 1, 2009

Enough with the humble already!

Would someone get everyone a dictionary - please!

As the newly and hilariously anointed leader of the federal liberal party, Tony Abbott, as so many have before him, promptly announced that he was awfully, awfully humbled by the whole thing.

For ƒυςќ sake - get the man a dictionary!

Shocked? Not this little black duck

Way back when, all the way back at the beginning of August, on this little blog:
"Notably, two articles in The Weekend Australia caught up, days late, with my thinking - woot! How nice to see that our top journo's are avidly reading and appropriating from this little blog, albeit, it takes them some time to get with the program.
For what it's worth, senior Labor strategists reckon they'll be fighting Abbott at the next election.
Well, yeah. Said that already, and one hardly needs to talk to a Labor strategist to come up with a bleedin' obvious outcome. The Monk will lead, one way or another. All he has to do is wait until the others fall over and skate to gold. Bit of a no brainer."
The only shock is that Julie Bishop still has a job. An ineffectual and invisible deputy leader isn't doing much to galvanism or inspire the Liberals or Liberal supporters.

November 30, 2009

Disinfected form queue here

Much like the Catholic church offering speedy passage for Anglicans, Family First Senator Steve Fielding is contemplating an appropriate manner in which to open his arms and offer safety to the disaffected members of other political parties.

Although, that's not quite how he put it:
"We're going to discuss accepting disinfected (sic) members from Labor and Liberal whether they want to join Family First."
Learning difficulties aside, I will always prefer to believe that Fielding did mean "disinfected".

Wouldn't you feel more relaxed and comfortable if they were thoroughly disinfected before you let them into your party?

November 29, 2009

Grech innocent of everything

Godwin Grech, having quietly retired from the public service a few months ago, has now been quietly exonerated of anything and everything under the sun by a federal senate committee.

We will always be left wondering what role Grech saw for himself in siding with any party; where he believed it would lead his quiet, and quietly obsessive, public servant's life.

"In November last year - many months before the Utegate allegations came to light - in another email to an undisclosed recipient Mr Grech says: ''My immediate motivation is to place myself where I think I could be of most value to MT and the Party. At this stage I am probably more valuable here in Treasury.''


In May 2009, Mr Grech emailed John Howard's former chief of staff, Arthur Sinodinos, to ask if he will act as a go-between between himself and the Liberal Senator Eric Abetz.


''I will explain later - but I need him to know from a highly credible source that I am Lib.''

One also wonders, with no small amount of sarcasm, at the at-a-boy encouragement offered by Grech to Malcolm.

"After a critical meeting in Sydney before the OzCar hearings, Mr Grech reflects: ''You looked really good.'' He urges Mr Turnbull to ''be true to yourself as much as you can.''

Huh ha.

Strangegate.

Mystifyinggate.


Godwin cleared of contempt charge

November 28, 2009

Risking all for freedom ... or celebrity

"Reality television didn’t create a new psychiatric illness, but it did give a platform to the nutty and marginally disturbed. And that is still a relatively new disorder.


The Secret Service is a security force entirely devoted to protecting the president and his family from assault and assassins; it is not trained to screen for people who will risk arrest and breach every safety barrier — and sense of social decorum — for something as mundane and flimsy as media attention.


Now they know."


For some, a search for celebrity is worth any risk

Yellow Peril

I know this much is true: none of us will ever again, so long as we live, be able to think of yellow leather couches without envisaging Mike Rann having sex.

Some of you might even, in years to come, reminisce about where you were and what you were doing when you first heard that the South Australian Premier once had sex on a yellow couch with a barmaid. True masochists will have instant recall of the lurid details of the seduction.

One is sorely tempted to send the barmaid a curt note along the lines of: "You had us when you said 'sex'".

Details were an unnecessary burden on an unwitting public. "Sex" "we had" ... "mumble, mumble".

Really, that would have been sufficient. More than sufficient.

Ms Chantelois said she was speaking out because:

‘‘I couldn’t go to my grave with these lies’’.

Err, well, yes you could have Ms Chantelois, you really, truly could have.

Indeed, one is inclined to suggest that there were no lies threatening to share her grave.

The four primary parties, were, we gather, reasonably well acquainted with the mundane details of sex between consenting adults, even if not thoroughly familiar with the color of the couch on which sex was performed. If there were lies, whatever their scale, one still feels strongly of the mind that those lies were of her own making, her own volition, her own burden, and, well, hers to hold near till the end of her days, and beyond.

Four years after the end of events, four years after she last saw him, Ms Chantelois is suddenly miffed that Premier of South Australia, Mike Rann might have treated her a little shabbily after ending their two year long sporadic sexual encounters.

Either Rann is one hell of a good lay, or that’s one ludicrously delayed reaction to being used for a quick shag by the golf course before Rann headed back to his day job running the state.

As always, there’s an incessant bleating from journalists about truth-telling. It’s NOT the sex that bothers them, no really it isn’t, it’s all about the TRUTH. Because, you know, in politics, as in life, the TRUTH is all that matters. Which is a big fat LIE.

If Rann or any other politician told us the truth about anything, let alone their sex lives, we’d have their guts for garters, and there’d definitely be tears before bedtime.

Dying without telling the world that she’d had sex with the Premier wasn’t Ms Chantelois only concern. She also wanted to tell her estranged husband the TRUTH about what had happened all those years ago.

Clearly, she’s never heard of the telephone, or Australia Post, or maybe she could have called around to his place with a bottle of scotch, plied her hubby with alcohol and told him all about the yellow couch. It would have spared the rest of us. It sure as sugar would have spared her children knowing when, where and how their mother was bonking-on. Bad enough for us, but imagine being them. Icky-ooh.

But wait, there’s a third reason for sharing dirty undies in public: the barmaid doesn’t think Rann should be premier.

‘I don’t think he should be premier, it’s time he took responsibility for his actions.’’

Having sex, in general, doesn’t normally preclude one from occupying a responsible job or from responsibly carrying out one’s job. At least not yet. Although the more prurient among us might wish it was otherwise.

It turns out that estranged husband, Richard Wayne Phillips, who has spent four years seeking, and failing, to get retribution, also doesn’t think Rann should be premier, having called for an inquiry into Rann. More specifically, we assume, an inquiry into one man’s mundane sexual activities.

The closest Mr Phillips has come to his longed-for showdown was whacking Mr Rann over the nose, a few weeks ago, with rolled up wine magazine, an action for which he has been charged.

Surely Phillips and Chantelois could have simply expressed their displeasure by voting Liberal at the South Australian election next year? They each have one vote, and I’m happy for them to use their individual votes to not vote for Rann. Most of us manage to express our voting displeasure in the voting booth without so much as a whimper. Really, they could have done the same.

I tried being outraged by a politician having sex with an age-appropriate consenting adult of the opposite sex, but it was hard work. Really hard work. Mustering up an interest in politicians having sex at the best of times is, well, a bit icky.

As for Ms Chantelois not wanting people to feel sorry for her: don't worry luv, I don't, I truly don't.


Devil in elaborate detail

Premier used me to stroke his ego


Premier talks tough over sex claims


Husband calls for inquiry


Rann rejects allegations

Vital issue is truth not sex



Bankers doing god's work

“When most people saw the headline ‘Goldman Sachs Gets Swine Flu Vaccine’ they were superhappy until they saw the word ‘vaccine.’ ”

Seth Meyers chimed in: “Also, Centers for Disease Control, you sent the vaccine to Wall Street before schools and hospitals? Really!?! Were you worried the swine flu might spread to the Hamptons and St. Barts? These are the least contagious people in the world. They don’t even touch their own car-door handles.”

Virtuous bankers? Really!?!

November 27, 2009

ETS

Everything turns to shit.

The Multiverse Lives

It has been seven days and I have not posted live.

It has been seven days since I was thrown, without forewarning, out of the Interwebs.

For seven days and seven nights I have walked unhindered, uninterrupted, in the wilderness of the real world.

For roughly 4687 hours during the seven days and seven nights I have laboured over IP settings and stubbornly elusive router login pages.

It is know, for it is true, there are only so many times that a women can run ipconfig/renew before the women becomes a little tetchy.

And then there was system restore.

And then there was a sliver of light.

And then ipconfig/all provided the number that Nostradamus failed to foresee or record.

And then behold: the router login page!

And then, after more fucking around ...

Gawd.

The Multiverse, the Interwebs, it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Bless.

Duck Friday

November 20, 2009

November 19, 2009

Happiness is cheap

It seems that happiness, when converted to a monetary rate, is a hell of lot cheaper than we like to imagine.
"What's a marriage worth? To an Aussie male, about $32,000. That's the lump sum Professor Paul Frijters says the man would need to receive out of the blue to make him as happy as his marriage will over his lifetime. An Aussie woman would need much less, about $16,000.

But when it comes to divorce, the Aussie male will be so devastated it would be as if he had lost $110,000. An Aussie woman would be less traumatised, feeling as if she had lost only $9000."

Do the sums folks, this is a lifetime amount - lifetime!


Puts a different spin on what divorce settlements should look like, or a breach of promise to marry.


Children, bless 'em, create more (anticipated?) happiness before birth than afterward.

"It makes parents the happiest before it happens and then after some months slightly less happy than they would have been without the birth, which is why Professor Frijters puts low dollar values on the lifetime boost to happiness that flows from a birth - for the mother around $8700, for the father $32,600."

Which puts the bleating about the "right" to breed into perspective. A round or three of IVF costs? An inter-country adoption costs? Umph. The costs seriously out-weight the lifetime of subsequent happiness!


I figure The Princess has cost me around $300K, so far. I figure I've had that much value and happiness, and then some. A surplus, not a deficit.


$8,700 is the happiness from knowing, say, that's she's never had a broken bone, or that she has lovely shiny hair.


All the rest is sugar.


Money can buy love, economists say


November 18, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

One's real life is often the life that one does not lead.

Oscar Wilde

November 17, 2009

Literature, or something like it

Sarah Palin, we hardly knew you at all.

On why she ran for office:
"Was it ambition? I didn't think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons."
From the acknowledgments of Going Rogue:
"To some media professionals whom I admire because you don't let anyone tell you to sit down and shut up, please keep making the idiots' heads spin. Thanks for not taking our Freedom of the Press for granted, you bold and patriotic, fair and balanced media folks. Keep calling it like you see it: Amanda, Andrew, Ann, Bill(s), Bob, Cal, Dennis, Dick, Eddie, Fred, Glenn, Greta, Hugh, Joey, John, Jonah, Larry, Laura, Lou, Mark, Mary, Michael, Michelle, R.A.M., Rich, Rush, S.E., Sean, Tammy, Walter.... And there are more. I join you in standing up for what is right. Remember that as your voice is heard and your spine is stiffened, the spines of others are stiffened, too."
Err, right-o. I didn't think the GOP were into that type of thing, at least not that they ever admit, even when caught.


November 15, 2009

The world waits while we push on alone

By the end of next week our federal government plans to lock-in the most economically and environmentally ill-conceived and ill-considered legislation that one, in one's right mind, would never have imagined possible, probable or plausible.

It's not as though we're stupid. Only 22 million people, but we punch above our weight, right?

Meanwhile:
"President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement at a global climate conference scheduled for next month, agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific “politically binding” agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future."
So much for Rudd wanting to show-off on the world stage by waving his legislation around. With Australia being responsible for less than 1.5% of human generated carbon emissions, other countries won't view us as being leaders, they'll think us fools. They won't say it publicly, but they'll be thinking it.

Unmitigated damage will be done to our industries, our way of life, our future generations, and then some more, when the rest of the world takes a different, perhaps entirely incompatible, path to the one legislated by Rudd.

Fools.

World leaders agree to delay deal on climate change

November 14, 2009

Bird with bit of baguette buggers Hadron Collider

I know, this is a bit stale, days old, but I've never claimed to bring you breaking news, or news before it happens. The best one can expect is that stuff covered elsewhere will find its way here, in due course.


Our favorite Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has hit a bread stick, or rather, a bit of baguette has hit the LHC. A bird dropped some bread onto an external power supply, causing a short circuit a couple of weeks ago, which set off the failsafe devices, which shut down parts of cooling system.


Not raised, and not answered, were the questions of how big was the bird and how big was the bread scrap. How can they be sure it was a baguette? Might it not have been a piece of dinner roll?


Now, back to the end of the world scenarios, with the LHC experiments and December 2012 looming and all. Concerns about the collider experiments focus on the following potential threats:

- strange matter (strangelets)
- miniature black holes (mBHs)
- acuum instability of the universe

Black holes are the only one of the three phenomena that have actually been observed.

No one really knows what mBHs are and how they behave, but the chances are good that they would appear in the LHC experiments and they could expand to devour the Earth in 50 months.

On the other hand, chances are also good that the pesky man made mBHs would evaporate without causing anyone so much as a bad cold.

Strangelets have never been observed, but are a theoretically tenable form of matter that absorbs particles it comes into contact with and converts them to strange matter. This process process could continue until the Earth and all living things are transformed into inert blobs. Yes, you thought commuter travel revealed an all too high number of inert blobs in the world already, but that's just a prelude.

Then there's acuum instability of the universe, in which the vacuum of space surrounding Earth could be transformed by some high energy event that would produce a “phase transition” that would spread, irretrievably altering the nature of the entire universe, destroying or transforming everything into another form. Much in the way, for example, that water turns into ice. Earth would become some other matter, which would trigger off transformation of the entire universe.

If the only acceptable risk is zero, when the cost is the possible destruction of planet Earth, should the LHC experiments - which have yet to get off the ground in any case - be shut down? Should physicists be told to take a cold shower until we work out whether these super cool and super sexy experiments pose too great a risk to humanity?

This isn't science fiction, this is for real. Gives the idea of 'pushing the envelope' a whole new zest.

November 13, 2009

November 12, 2009

Tit for tat

Soooo, Aussie scientists have been turning their minds to breasts.

They can grow them.

Testing on humans, not rabbits.

Apart from helping women who have had a mastectonmy, the method might also prove useful for "trauma such as where someone has suddenly lost chunks of themself" - it happens!

Bless stems cells, 'ey?

I'm rather tickled at the way the rabbit penis regrowth applied research required no justification - none - at all - but when it comes to breasts, the good men of science and the good men of journalism tell us, in solemn tones, over and over, that it's all about rebuilding breasts for women who have had cancer.

Of course, this Melbourne research might give the bunny-guys a run, such as for when men lose a chunk of their penis.

Melbourne scientists regrow breasts

November 11, 2009

Most important organ can be re-grown

Marvelous to hear that some scientists in the US are devoting time and resources to re-growing the most vital body part, particularly when said body part is so frequently lost, thereby ruining lives all over the damned place.

Yes gentleman, no matter your daily mishaps, science will soon be able to step in with a helping hand each time you lose your penis.


Today they've done it for rabbits, tomorrow they might do it for you.

Rabbits get new penises

Wednesday Wisdom

Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at a very small expense. The power of invention has been conferred by nature upon few, and the labor of learning those sciences, which may by mere labor be obtained, is too great to be willingly endured; but every man can exert such judgment as he has upon the works of others; and he whom nature has made weak, and idleness keeps ignorant, may yet support his vanity by the name of a critic.



Samuel Johnson

November 8, 2009

Hope still last resort of the hopeless

There's always hope, when all else fails, but it turns out that hope will make you miserable.

A US study has found that chronically ill people who are told that they should suck-it-up, because this is as good as it gets, adjusted to their permanently hopeless state and were quite happy six months later. They got on with things.

By contrast, chronically ill people who are told they they would get better clung with miserable desperation to their pitiful pocket of hope and were not happy for it. Six months later they were still sacrificing happy-days for living in hope. They didn't get on with things.

Offering hope might not be the best medicine.

November 7, 2009

Negative nellies less gullible

Many studies have found that negative people are more realistic than their perkier brethren.

Similarly, for example, people with a terminal illness who maintain a happy, appreciative outlook don't live any longer than people who rage against the end of their days. The former no doubt die happier than the latter, but both get the same truncated ending.

On the same spectrum as previous findings, an Australian study has concluded that being depressive pretty much makes one rather smarter than the smiley-happy folk.

"Bad moods can actually be good for you, with an Australian study finding that being sad makes people less gullible, improves their ability to judge others and also boosts memory."

The chirpy people, by contrast, take mental shortcuts and will believe anything they're told.

The cold dark of night

Miss USA - good clean fun

Carrie Prejean wanted more than a million dollars from the Miss California USA pageant organisers after she lost the Miss USA litle, ostensibly for expressing her religiously held belief that marriage was a gig restricted to men and women.

Nothing startling about her point of view, especially for a Christian. A pedestrian opinion, I would have thought.

Anyhoo, she sued the pageant folk for religious discrimination. Worth a whirl, I guess, under the circumstances, although they did lend her money for breast implants, with the directive that she couldn't possibly win the big title without the big silicone.

Prejean's law suit has quietly bitten the dust.

The pageant team waved about a homemade sex tape, in which Prejean stars.

Case closed.

Don't let your daughter's grow up to be pageant contestants. It's a dirty little business.

Oh, and yeah, we all want world peace and a cure for cancer and bigger breasts.

November 6, 2009

November 4, 2009

Gorging on carbon

Not much of a news flash really, but much ado and speculation in print media that Al Gore will, possibly, become the world's first "carbon billionaire".

In case anyone is still wondering which came first - the PowerPoint presentation or the environmental investment companies - the latter preceded the first by many years.

By far the most impressively profitable set of misleading bullet points and false graphics ever to grace a set of slides.

Now, imagine the benefits to the world if Gore had turned his portable business case to something that is guaranteed to change the fabric of human existence, like peak oil, for example, and the graphically alluring precipitous decline after that much hypothesized point.

Could have, should have, didn't.

Dreaming up energy sources with energy density to match, or even come close to petroleum is a universe or two more challenging than conjuring global fear from an intangible element, along with an armful of Armageddon propositions against which no-one, apparently, is suitably qualified to argue.

Beddington supports Nutts

Prof John Beddington, the UK government's chief science adviser, has come out in support of Prof David Nutt, the UK government's former drugs adviser.

Prof Beddington told the BBC: "I think the scientific evidence is absolutely clear cut. I would agree with it."

Prof Beddington would not offer his thoughts about Prof Nutt losing his job for wantonly relying on scientific evidence when providing advice to the government.

Pete gets a second job

Pete Costello has a second job as a managing director and member of the board of BKK Partners, a financial consultancy firm.

He's on a roll.

Even as game show, economics still dismal

Wednesday Wisdom

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.

W. C. Fields

November 3, 2009

Shooting messenger still top option

As extreme weather conditions and Al Gore have taught us - oh well, maybe not for the slow learners - everything you can imagine is politically, culturally and socially malleable. Science is, more often than not, the dog being wagged by the tail.

That's the way politicians, and the public like and insist it should be.

In the UK, top drug-dude, David Nutt (and yes, don't we all just love that name), a genuine expert in all things druggie - licit and illicit - an expert in neuropsychopharmacology no less, so no-one can accuse him of stepping outside his narrow intellectual jurisdiction: drugs are his jurisdiction - well, Nutt has been sacked.

The media line is that Nutt "embarrassed" the government with some of his comments.

What the media and the government are failing to admit is that Nutt's cold, hard, objective truths were discombobulating to one and all and that the best and most reliable method of silencing truthful statements is to shoot the friggin' messenger with something high caliber. So they did.

He was done within days of making the not at all startling suggestion that all drugs are dangerous and that restrictions placed on them should be proportional to their potential harm. Not a radical thought by any stretch. Except that 'proportional' would entail the legal substances alcohol and tobacco heading toward the top of the list of drugs that should, by objective standards, be classified as more dangerous than, say, marijuana, LSD or ecstasy.

This explains why experts are proportionally more likely to lie to their managers, politicians, journalists and themselves. To save their jobs and/or their funding.

Beware of experts who still have a well paid job.

UK sacks top drug adviser

November 1, 2009

Incivilities to bicycles coming to Melbourne

The hire-a-bike scheme always sounded a bit of a worry to my little mind, built on trust and faith, suitable, perhaps, for some earlier gentler time, when women wore large long skirts and men were skinny and grimy.
"In an unsuccessful effort to stop vandalism, Paris began an advertising campaign this summer. Posters showed a cartoon Vélib’ being roughed up by a thug. The caption read: “It’s easy to beat up a Vélib’, it can’t defend itself. Vélib’ belongs to you, protect it!”
Damned catchy slogan. We'll be needed one just like it sometime late next year, or thereabouts.

I don't know if the Melbourne hire-bikes will be anything like the expensive models being trashed and stolen over in France, but with an 80% hit rate, perhaps the lesson for Melbourne will be cheap, disposable bicycles.

"this latest French utopia has met a prosaic reality: Many of the specially designed bikes, which cost $3,500 each, are showing up on black markets in Eastern Europe and northern Africa. Many others are being spirited away for urban joy rides, then ditched by roadsides, their wheels bent and tires stripped.


With 80 percent of the initial 20,600 bicycles stolen or damaged, the program’s organizers have had to hire several hundred people just to fix them."

Although not to retrieve them. The stolen bikes remain stolen.

We can look forward to many a creative Herald-Sun headline when the hire-a-bike scheme is introduced mid-2010, when our incivilities toward each other will, following the French example, no doubt become incivilities to innocent bicycles.

I can't wait.

French ideal of bicycle sharing meets reality

Melbourne to get European-style bike hire program

Unloved to the bitter end

Our longest serving, or longest living - I can't remember which - former federal treasurer Peter Costello announced way back in 2007 - after the Liberal election loss - that he would quit politics.

Two years later, he finally has, yet without any rumored or actual job offers from the private sector, of which he was a good and faithful servant during his time as our leading 'neo-con'.

Even the lowliest of former ministers of either party, even the most trouble prone and incompetent, snaffle up a well paid job of some type when they leave parliament.

Not so Pete.

Thanks to Uncle Kev, who is kindly handing our jobs to all former Liberal members (exit this way left guys!), Pete will get to retire to the board of the Future Fund, the very fund that he set up while treasurer.

All a bit retro really.

Pete fizzling into the sunset, still doing it on our dime.

No one wanted him.

October 30, 2009

October 29, 2009

Permission granted to do as you please

As an atheist, I don't have any vested interest in anyone's inclination toward one or more gods, omnipotent, omnipresent or omniscient, nor do I carry about any angst over how others prefer to worship their god/s. So I'm bemused that the recent announcement of free and easy passage into the Catholic church for Anglicans was greeted with such excitement by some Anglicans, because, you know - umm, well - I'm pretty sure that people are free to come and go from any religion, so long as they jump through the designated hoops or whatnot. It's not as though anyone can force anyone to be - and stay - an Anglican.

"When the Vatican announced last week that it would welcome groups of traditionalist Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church, leaders of one Episcopal parish celebrated as if a ship had arrived to rescue them from a drifting ice floe.

“We’d been praying for this daily for two years,” said Bishop David L. Moyer, who leads the Church of the Good Shepherd, a parish in the Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia that is battling to keep its historic property. “When I heard the news I was speechless, then the joy came and the tears.”


Dude, seriously: nothing has been stopping you from converting to Catholicism if that truly was your preferred church.


It's a bit like Collingwood supporters waiting for Geelong to offer free memberships before they swap to their real team of choice. Buy your own membership already!


For an Episcopal Parish, a Path to Catholicism



Bugger

"Parent alert: the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for all those “Baby Einstein” videos that did not make children into geniuses.


They may have been a great electronic baby sitter, but the unusual refunds appear to be a tacit admission that they did not increase infant intellect."


Still, there's always “Baby Mozart,” “Baby Shakespeare” and “Baby Galileo", all is not lost!


Besides, babies love their Einstein DVDs.


No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund



Well that's alright then

" ... Ms. Paton said the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners, which monitors use of the law, found that the Poole council had acted properly. “They said my privacy wasn’t intruded on because the surveillance was covert,” she said."

"The case is now before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which looks into complaints about RIPA. It usually meets in secret but has agreed, Ms. Paton said, to have an open hearing at the beginning of November.

The whole process is so shrouded in mystery that few people ever take it this far. “Because no one knows you have a right to know you’re under surveillance,” Ms. Paton said, “nobody ever makes a complaint.”

So, arh, the British are not entirely "weary" of surveillance, they, err, suck it up.


Britons weary of surveillance in minor cases

October 28, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

A clean house is the sign of a broken computer.


Unknown

October 25, 2009

Exceptionally diverting converstion

Two US pilots claim they were so deeply engrossed in a idle chit-chat with each other that they forgot to land the plane.

Must have been one of the world's most fascinating conversations of no consequence.

Neither pilot has owned up to the nature of the chat, which saw their plane land more than an hour later than its scheduled time, having taken the long and scenic route to the landing strip - about 500 extra miles were flown.

The NYTs has a beaut little interactive to save us having to imagine the course of the plane.

Fly Northwest, they'll get you somewhere pretty close to where you were hoping to be!

Helpful film reviews

"The movie is a more effective testament to the triumphs of American dentistry than to Earhart or aviation."

NYTs film review - Amelia