January 30, 2009

Plastic not so fantastic

Delhi has taken a stand against the proliferation of plastic bags by banning them. Rwanda, Bhutan and Bangladesh also have bans.

It's a neat, no stuffing around policy.

I'm not exactly convinced of the merits of imposing a five year jail term (or $A3000 fine) on anyone caught carrying a polythene shopping bag, as will be the case for consumers and retailers in Delhi, but I feel a warmth toward the outright ban.

Why?

I'm increasingly cynical when I see every little 'environmental concern' instantly turned into someone's money making moment.


I say cut the crap. Governments and entrepreneurs should not reap ever more funds and profits - that's OUR money they're taking, money better left in our greasy little hands - from banging yet another tax or charge on all the little things they claim are bad for the environment, but are too spineless to take action to control or stop.

So, by all means ban plastic bags! At least it's a real statement, not like the tax that our governments want to charge on non-biodegradable bags.

And while we're at it: say no to emissions trading schemes, any and all of them. What a mega money making moment that idea is - and every dollar will come from your pocket and mine.

Impose emission standards on industries, they either meet them or they get fined huge sums. Effective and cheap. No trading, no profits, and no back door taxes for the government.


Trading in emissions? Think about it, the government wants to charge you and me more for everything we consume, in essence charging us cold hard cash to create a new market that trades cow farts for the profit and merriment of big business.

That's the best idea they can come up with to cut emissions?

Come on, we're not that dumb, are we?

Duck Friday

(Duck bought to you by the lovely Kath.
Who knew a ducky was witness to this historic event?)

January 29, 2009

Blessed with lack of influence

Hey, there really is a silver lining to being an obscure, ant sized, irrelevant blogger!

No one spits at you!

No one sends you death threats!

No one assails you with wine, roses or bribes in the hope of a few glowing words on your little speck of the interwebs!

Yep, having nadda influence sure is a sweet problem.

'Tony Soprano' of bloggers faces death threats ...


[TechCrunch blogger, Arrington, is "known among the web community as cold and snarky".]

Pagans back in the good books

Seems that many a GOP supporter who nashed teeth and wrung hands over the prospect of the socialist/communist Obama winning office were nashing teeth and wrunging hands in all the wrong dark corners.

Barely a week into office and the US of A has, according to one blog, reverted to paganism!

Whoo hoo!

"From these announcements we learn that President Obama recognizes no difference between the Jewish-Christian covenant between a woman and a man (a covenant that they will have and nurture children, if they are so blessed), and a civil contract between two persons of any sex, in order to set up a household of affection and sexual favors.

This is a relapse into paganism. The point of monogamous family networks is to treat male and female with complementary and mutually cooperative dignity and to tie the power of sexuality (male, especially) to self-sacrificing communities of love."

NRO - Michael Novak

January 28, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.


Henry Ford

January 26, 2009

Eleven years to go

A "futurologist" (because that job title should never ever ever appear without quotation marks) was given his moment in the sun in one of our local papers on the weekend and among his predictions was that blogging would no longer exist by 2020.

Phew.

Plenty of time to think about a new hobby.

He also said that by 2020 the Maldives wouldn't exist either, nor post offices and desktop computers. Hmm. Perhaps the latter explains why we'll no longer be blogging.

I was far more anxious to see that brain transplants, silent villages, self-cleaning house, robocops, and stress control clothing wouldn't become available until 2050.

The tardiness of the advent of brain transplants is a particular concern, especially as the only thing Gen X & Gen Y have managed to bring us so far are a pile of derivative models and a motza of financial instruments, which, when bought together, have bought capitalism close to its knees.

However, I'm not convinced I should trust the predictive powers of this "futurologist", since he also predicts that landline phones, email, the computer mouse and mending things will be gone, gone, gone by 2010 - that's next year, for anyone who's counting.

I suggest we all wait 12 months before we send Richard Watson an email, with a photo of our most frequently used computer devices, followed-up by a call over the copper wires, to ask how it's all working out for him.

Girt by sea, pissed by lunchtime

I am, you are, we are Australian!

Happy Australia Day!

January 25, 2009

Button it

Apparently some African-Americans are all pissy because Michelle Obama - with seven fashion moments up for grabs during hubby's inauguration day - didn't wear anything by an African-America designer.

One whinger bleated:

"Why wasn’t she wearing the clothes of a black designer? That was our moment.”

Err, well no, not really. Not unless an African-American dress designer won the US presidential election, then, indeed, without arguement, inauguration day would have been a black frock maker's day.

People can get a tad carried away with identity issues, attempting to stretch "we" into a word with more than two letters.

It's why I always think along the lines of "meh", as opposed to "woot", whenever some women is lauded for being the first, or best something-er-other. It's nice an' all, but it means jack shit to any other woman on the planet.


Besides it's always tacky when an individual or entire class of people want to appropriate someone else's moment.

The black designers should have stuck a hat pin in it. A gracious silence has never resulted in anyone making themselves look petty or envious.


And .... we're back ...

Testing, testing

One two, one two

One two, one two

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Blog safety warning

Helmets must be worn at all times during construction. Those found in breach of safety rules will be escorted from site. Thank you for your cooperation.



Expensive excrement

“It is the opinion of mainstream and state-of-the-art medicine and physiology that these claims are not only ludicrous but tantamount to fraud,” said Dr. Peter Pressman, an internist with the Naval Hospital in Jacksonville, Fla., and a critic of detoxification. “The contents of what ends up being consumed during a ‘detox’ are essentially stimulants, laxatives and diuretics.”

“There is absolutely no scientific basis for the assertion that the regimens popularly defined as ‘detox’ will augment the body’s own capacity for identifying and eliminating your own metabolic wastes or doing the same for environmental toxins,” Dr. Pressman said. “I advise patients that these detox programs amount to a large quantity of excrement, both literally and figuratively.”

Flush those toxins! Eh, not so fast

January 24, 2009

Bush Repeals English Language - Last Official Act as President

c/o Borowitz Report (Jan 20, 2009)

"In what he hoped would be the capstone to his eight years as President, George W. Bush today signed an executive order repealing the English language.

Scrawling his name on the official document, Mr. Bush said that in abolishing English he had vanquished his "greaterest enemy."


For Mr. Bush, the executive order represents the realization of a longstanding dream that began in 2001 when he declared an official War on Grammar.


The President followed up that declaration of war in 2003 when he signed an executive order cancelling the agreement between nouns and verbs.


Mr. Bush's decision to repeal the English language could complicate matters for his successor, President-elect Barack Obama, who is scheduled to deliver his inaugural address tomorrow, presumably in English.


But thoughts of Mr. Obama seemed far away during today's jubilant Oval Office ceremony, which Mr. Bush summed up in four words: "I can has legacy."


Mr. Bush's executive offer also drew high praise from a fellow Republican, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska: "Being that the English language can and has been used in confusing and also too in harming ordinary Americans, knowing that it no longer can or will be used in doing that is something positive that this is doing also."


January 16, 2009

January 14, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.

John Kenneth Galbraith

January 10, 2009

Worstest Ever

"How could someone so slight inflict so much damage?

He is smaller than life."

George.W: was he really the worst ever?

The President we just didn't have to have

January 9, 2009

January 8, 2009

Troubling

It's the way of our peoples to make shit up if there isn't an obvious and easy answer.

It's especially the way of our peoples to make shit up if there is an obvious and easy answer.

There was one obvious path to the door of the US anthrax murderer, who swung into action not long after 9/11 - there was one location, and only one location in the US at which the anthrax could have been made, thus narrowing any list of potential suspects significantly. Only two potential instigators seem to have ever been considered. After that, investigators, and other people with no involvement at all, and nothing other than wild, vindictive imaginations made shit up.

This is a long piece, but worth reading if you've ever attempted to envisage how you might be described if you came under scrutiny for any reason at all, wondered how your endearing foibles and interests might be interpreted, distorted, blown up into a whole Shangri-La of 'secrets' and 'disturbing' characteristics, culminating in your 'obvious' guilt.

This troubled me more than it should have. Still does.


Portrait emerges of anthrax suspect's troubled life

Pointless things

Much like the pointlessness of light-soy-decaf-coffee ... a healthy, natural muffin recipe with no added sugar, dairy or fats.

I don't even like muffins!

Healthy apple and berry muffins


January 7, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom

Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.


George Carlin


[Offered for those seeking new religious inspiration and / or experiences to assist them during this tumultuous time of GFC and so on and so forth.]

January 5, 2009

H2Oooooooooo

Here we go again, pure fookin' genius!

Having been issued with our four minute egg timers to keep us on a tight leash in the shower (all the better to meet our 155 litres daily water usage target) - my timer sits on the 'fridge - Victorian water retailers are desperate to increase water pricing.

Yep, you heard right. We use less, they charge more.

WTF?

Seems their revenue is down.

The targets were only introduced a matter of weeks ago and water retailers are already screeching.

A tad late for me to point out that water is a crucial natural resource, but I'll do it anyway - it's not as though anyone can stop me.

Water is a public good, it should never have been turned into a shareholders wet dream.
"A new four-year water pricing regime will begin for Melbourne on July 1, and water retailers are seeking to raise prices by almost 97 per cent by 2013 in extreme cases."
The water retailers are also yearning for a return to past high consumption levels.

You can be very sure that the retailers will lobby strongly for their holy grail of increased charges / increased consumption.

The whole point of pricing water was to encourage reduced consumption.

Now we're told that we'll pay - big time - for heading the call, for excelling!

(And there are those of you who probably still wonder why I don't want to pay a single dime to avert climate change or save a single soul from rising sea levels ... and so on an so forth.)

Falling use pushing up water prices

January 3, 2009

One man's tourist attraction is another man's toilet

The public toilet at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport, in which U.S. Sen. Larry Craig exercised his right to possessing a wide-stance is, unbelievably, losing its attraction as a tourist destination.

"We're getting there," said Patrick Hogan, director of public affairs for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. "I think we'll all be glad when there's no special interest in that restroom."

Indeed.

Restroom tanking as tourist destination

January 2, 2009

January 1, 2009

Malleable

Think you're above it all, an ethical, moral, sturdily individualistic being who'd never succumb to peer pressure or ill-conceived exercise of authority?

Yeah, yeah, come on, you like to believe you're above the riff raff.

Too smart to be suckered by manipulations, power or hierarchies.


You probably tut tut at the abominable and not so abominable behavior of others, historical and contemporary.

Fact is: you're deluded.

Most people will inflict torture on another if the circumstances are just so.

Sound like an old experiment?

Yes, it is. And the results today are no better than when it was tried more than forty years ago, post WWII.

Sure, sure it's an artificial set up, blah, blah, blah. Many have and do argue that it's the very context and nature of the experiment that elicits the damning results - too damning they like to believe, a biased result.

The flip side though, if you think for just one second, is to contemplate how people are prepared to behave with no controls, no limits, no structure around the situation, or alternatively, when every structure and social mores support and reward particular behaviors.

"In 1963, Stanley Milgram, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale, published his infamous experiment on obedience to authority. Its conclusion was that most ordinary people were willing to administer what they believedto be painful, even dangerous, electric shocks to innocent people if a man in a white lab coat told them to.

For the first time in four decades, a researcher has repeated the Milgram experiment to find out whether, after all we have learned in the last 45 years, Americans are still as willing to inflict pain out of blind obedience."
--------------

"The results of both experiments pose a challenge. If this is how most people behave, how do we prevent more Holocausts, Abu Ghraibs and other examples of wanton cruelty? Part of the answer, Professor Burger argues, is teaching people about the experiment so they will know to be on guard against these tendencies, in themselves and others.

An instructor at West Point contacted Professor Burger to say that she was teaching her students about his findings. She had the right idea — and the right audience. The findings of these two experiments should be part of the basic training for soldiers, police officers, jailers and anyone else whose position gives them the power to inflict abuse on others."
That's a little too neat, a little too pat, for my tastes. There are far wider implications of these studies that reach deep into the dark little psyche that we all possess. Humans are not good at thinking for themselves, and that, alas, is just the starting point of a whole ugly basket of worms.

We're still willing to inflict pain

Veronica

Definition:

(1) A cloth with a representation of Jesus' face on it (from the legend that the face of Jesus was impressed on the kerchief offered him by Saint Veronica on the road to Calvary).

(2) A maneuver in bullfighting in which the matador stands erect with both feet firmly planted, attracts the bull with his cape, held away from his body, then sweeps the cape backwards allowing the bull to pass or dragging it over the bull's head, like St. Veronica wiping the face of Christ.

(3) A wild European plant with long spikes of flowers or low-growing single flowers similar to violets, usually blue but also white and pink.