June 30, 2007

Ann Coulter falls on face while playing with hair

Ann Coulter can’t stop playing with her hair as she comes over all irrational flibbertigibbet and petulant-three-year-old when politely spoken to by Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards.

Greed, and a love of one’s own fame, makes an idiot whore of anyone who succumbs. Coulter's schtick is not a class act.

Phonetics makes a come back

Last month, in the birth announcements in the local paper, a family in Melbourne welcomed into the world:

Tuhleesha-Jyzz Areol, a new sister for Pryncess, Daitoner, Jaxxson and Burley.

Since 1980 six babies in Victoria have been called Lucifer. It could be worse, at least all of the little Lucifers had correctly spelled names.

June 29, 2007

Onerous multiple choice

One of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s first chores in office is to write, in his own hand, instructions detailing Britain's reponse in the event of pre-emptive nuclear attack.

If circumstances so transpire, the letter would be opened by the commander of the British Trident submarine, who would have to act on the instruction on the assumption that the PM was no longer able to take “live” command.

Some options for the PM to consider for his letter of instruction are:

  • Put yourself under the command of the US, if it is still there
  • Go to Australia
  • Retaliate
  • Use your own judgment.

John Major is said to have had to have run away from the task for a couple of days, while Tony Blair went white in the face.

I think I’d go white in the face, throw up, and run away.

Nuclear note weighs heavily on leaders ...

Duck Friday

June 28, 2007

Good news story

"An American newsreader has refused to talk about Paris Hilton's release from jail - instead shredding, ripping up and attempting to set on fire copies of the story.

On MSNBC's Morning Joe program, anchor Mika Brzezinski lashed out at producers for continually choosing the Paris Hilton release story as the news bulletin's lead.

"No, I hate this story and I don't think it should be our lead ... My producer Andy Jones is not listening to me. He's put it as the lead," she said as she took a fellow anchor's cigarette lighter and tried to burn the script."

Mika Brzezinski is a hero.

This is nearly as good as the restaurant owner who refused to serve OJ Simpson.

News anchor loses it over Paris ...

June 24, 2007

Great quote

New York Times - When Computers Attack ...
"That is why Kevin Poulsen, a writer on security issues at Wired News, said that he had difficulty envisioning the threat that others see from an overseas attack by electrons and photons alone. “They unleash their deadly viruses and then they land on the beaches and sweep across our country without resistance because we’re rebooting our P.C.’s?” he asked."
Tee, hee.

June 23, 2007

Jack boots – finally

"ABORIGINES in remote communities will be subject to sweeping new controls over their lives in an unprecedented intervention by the Howard Government to stop sexual abuse of indigenous children.

Declaring the indigenous child sex crisis a "national emergency", Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday drastic action was required in isolated Northern Territory townships because "in the end, the duty of care to the young of this country is paramount".

Under the plan, Aborigines in 60 settlements will face bans on alcohol and pornography, and their welfare payments will become conditional on school attendance and child health.

Authorities will be able to demand child health checks, seize control of Aboriginal land and homes for five years, and dispatch interstate police, indigenous troops and managers into the settlements."

Not a minute too soon, the Prime Minister has announced a sweeping plan to sweepingly remove what some folk might consider to be other people’s rights.
“I’ll be slammed for taking away people’s rights but frankly I don’t care”, the PM said

Good for him!

Loonies on the loose, on the other hand, are more concerned with bullshit rhetoric and friendly chats than they are with a couple of generations worth of Aboriginal children being abused to hell and back.

“While the National Indigenous Council (NIC) and Reconciliation Australia backed a crackdown, some indigenous leaders condemned what they described as heavy-handed tactics and a lack of consultation.

Democrats Leader Lyn Allison called it "an outrageous authoritarian crackdown" and a "jackboot approach" and Greens leader Bob Brown slammed 11 years of inaction.

Rormer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chairwoman Lowitja O'Donoghue said stripping people of control was not the way to get tough on child sex abuse.

"It's just Brough and Howard doing their sergeant-major routine, clicking their heels," she told The Age. "You can't just come over the top of people, you've got to talk to them."

Indigenous activist Michael Mansell also condemned Canberra's move as immoral, racist and illegal.”

Enough already you gibbering arseholes.

Last time I checked, the sexual abuse of toddlers and children was immoral and illegal.

As for “racism”: if this level and depravity of child sexual abuse was prevalent in white communities the deafening screeching would have seen jack-boot action a decade ago. The perpetual reverse-racism that many Aboriginal activists demand is perverse and one of the most abiding causes of current Aboriginal circumstances.

Throwing in a red herring, Mick Gooda, urged Canberra to:

"engage with incentives rather than punishment". "Anything we do to protect our kids I will support. We've got to be hard on our own mob … I just hope this isn't a Trojan Horse to destroy land rights in the Northern Territory."

Forget land rights, or any rights. Individuals, no matter their color or ethnicity, have no entitlement to any rights under these circumstances. If entire communities are afflicted and affected, then the entire community and the individuals within them can bleat all they want about “rights” of which they deserve no consideration or entitlement.

Unlike other State leaders, the Premier of South Australia has declined to provide 10 police to boost the police presence in the Northern Territory. The whole of S.A should be ashamed of him.

Kudos to John Howard.

The jack boots are sadly overdue, but lets be relieved over small mercies and hope that the next generation of Aboriginal kiddies can be spared the hideous physical, psychological and emotional scars that will be carried by many of the current young. It’s the least that we can hope for them, and the least that our politicians, on our behalf, should attempt to enable.

There will be a great deal of debate over these actions, and that’s fine, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that, in these circumstances, even an entirely half-arsed plan, vigorously implemented today, is far superior to a perfect plan implemented a few years hence - or never. That's the choice.

A national emergency ...

States must help ...

Old approach hasn't worked ...

June 22, 2007

US Supreme Court Judge Flees Reality

“Senior judges from North America and Europe were in the midst of a panel discussion about torture and terrorism law, when a Canadian judge's passing remark- "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra 'What would Jack Bauer do?' " - got the legal bulldog in Judge Scalia barking.”

"Jack Bauer saved Los Angeles. ... He saved hundreds of thousands of lives," Judge Scalia said. Then, recalling Season 2, where the agent's rough interrogation tactics saved California from a terrorist nuke, the Supreme Court judge etched a line in the sand. "Are you going to convict Jack Bauer?" Judge Scalia challenged his fellow judges. "Say that criminal law is against him? 'You have the right to a jury trial?' Is any jury going to convict Jack Bauer? I don't think so."

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, citing noted (fictional television) jurist Jack Bauer from "24" as a justification for torture at an Ottawa conference.

What would Jack Bauer do?

Duck Friday

June 19, 2007

First the bees, now the birds

"Last week, the Audubon Society released a new report describing the sharp and startling population decline of some of the most familiar and common birds in America: several kinds of sparrows, the Northern bobwhite, the Eastern meadowlark, the common grackle and the common tern. The average decline of the 20 species in the Audubon Society’s report is 68 percent.

Forty years ago, there were an estimated 31 million bobwhites. Now there are 5.5 million. Compared to the hundred-some condors presently in the wild, 5.5 million bobwhites sounds like a lot of birds. But what matters is the 25.5 million missing and the troubles that brought them down — and are all too likely to bring down the rest of them, too. So this is not extinction, but it is how things look before extinction happens."

"The trouble with humans is that even the smallest changes in our behavior require an epiphany. And yet compared to the fixity of other species, the narrowness of their habitats, the strictness of their diets, the precision of the niches they occupy, we are flexibility itself.

We look around us, expecting the rest of the world’s occupants to adapt to the changes that we have caused, when, in fact, we have the right to expect adaptation only from ourselves."

I often wonder about the theory of evolution and the notion of adaptability. When Darwin spoke of survival of the fittest, survival of the adaptable , he was talking about survival of the fecund. Nonetheless, he believed, and set out to prove, the process of gradual evolution, and this, in turn, is what we have been taught. However, as far as I’m aware, every hypothesized evolutionary step occurred prior to recorded history. If this is the case, and I’m not aware of even incremental evidence in my lifetime, or the lifetimes immediately preceding mine, perhaps this is sufficient evidence that the adaptable and fecund are we, the humans, merrily projecting adaptability onto other species, where none exits, other than in our wishing thinking.

Millions of missing birds, vanishing in plain sight

The Shift Starts

A small lifeboat of scientists, once at the vanguard of global warming warnings, have changed their minds.

For the most part, this is a mundane difference of opinion within professional ranks, entirely common, no matter the topic, especially for scientists. They’re an argumentative bunch, and so they should be, for all our sakes.

All the same, it’s fascinating to see previous hard-liners, of long standing, turning naysayer.

Below is a sampling of alternative thoughts.

You can read the full details here …

In addition, a comprehensive offering will, apparently, be released via a report from the U.S Senate on the environment, which has the potential to “redefine the current climate debate”. Well, we’ll wait to see the substance of the report and the ensuring brouhaha, if any. So far, I haven't heard a peep about a release date or potential content.

In the meantime:

Geophysicist Dr. Claude Allegre, a top geophysicist and French Socialist who has authored more than 100 scientific articles and written 11 books and received numerous scientific awards. Allegre, who was one of the first scientists to sound global warming fears 20 years ago, now says the cause of climate change is "unknown" and accused the “prophets of doom of global warming” of being motivated by money, noting that "the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people!"

Allegre now calls fears of a climate disaster "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers” mocks "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters.".

Geologist Bruno Wiskel of the University of Alberta recently reversed his view of man-made climate change and instead became a global warming skeptic. Wiskel was once such a big believer in man-made global warming that he set out to build a “Kyoto house” in honor of the UN sanctioned Kyoto Protocol which was signed in 1997. Wiskel wanted to prove that the Kyoto Protocol’s goals were achievable by people making small changes in their lives. But after further examining the science behind Kyoto, Wiskel reversed his scientific views completely and became such a strong skeptic, that he recently wrote a book titled “The Emperor's New Climate: Debunking the Myth of Global Warming.”

Noting that the Earth has been warming for 18,000 years, Wiskel told the Canadian newspaper, “If this happened once and we were the cause of it, that would be cause for concern. But glaciers have been coming and going for billions of years."

Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv, one of Israel's top young award winning scientists, recanted his belief that manmade emissions were driving climate change. ""Like many others, I was personally sure that CO2 is the bad culprit in the story of global warming. But after carefully digging into the evidence, I realized that things are far more complicated than the story sold to us by many climate scientists or the stories regurgitated by the media. In fact, there is much more than meets the eye,” Shaviv said in February 2, 2007 Canadian National Post article. According to Shaviv, the C02 temperature link is only “incriminating circumstantial evidence.” "Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming" and "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist,”

Shaviv also wrote on August 18, 2006 that a colleague of his believed that “CO2 should have a large effect on climate” so “he set out to reconstruct the phanerozoic temperature. He wanted to find the CO2 signature in the data, but since there was none, he slowly had to change his views.” Shaviv believes there will be more scientists converting to man-made global warming skepticism as they discover the dearth of evidence.

Mathematician & engineer Dr. David Evans, who did carbon accounting for the Australian Government, recently detailed his conversion to a skeptic. “I devoted six years to carbon accounting, building models for the Australian government to estimate carbon emissions from land use change and forestry. When I started that job in 1999 the evidence that carbon emissions caused global warming seemed pretty conclusive, but since then new evidence has weakened the case that carbon emissions are the main cause. I am now skeptical,” Evans wrote in an April 30, 2007 blog. “But after 2000 the evidence for carbon emissions gradually got weaker -- better temperature data for the last century, more detailed ice core data, then laboratory evidence that cosmic rays precipitate low clouds,” Evans wrote. “As Lord Keynes famously said, ‘When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?’”

Evans noted how he benefited from climate fears as a scientist. “And the political realm in turn fed money back into the scientific community. By the late 1990's, lots of jobs depended on the idea that carbon emissions caused global warming. I was on that gravy train, making a high wage in a science job that would not have existed if we didn't believe carbon emissions caused global warming. And so were lots of people around me; and there were international conferences full of such people. And we had political support, the ear of government, big budgets, and we felt fairly important and useful (well, I did anyway). It was great.

Climate researcher Dr. Tad Murty, former Senior Research Scientist for Fisheries and Oceans in Canada, also reversed himself from believer in man-made climate change to a skeptic. “I stated with a firm belief about global warming, until I started working on it myself,” Murty explained on August 17, 2006. “I switched to the other side in the early 1990's when Fisheries and Oceans Canada asked me to prepare a position paper and I started to look into the problem seriously,” Murty explained. Murty was one of the 60 scientists who wrote an April 6, 2006 letter urging withdrawal of Kyoto to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper which stated in part, "If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.”

Botanist Dr. David Bellamy, a famed UK environmental campaigner, former lecturer at Durham University and host of a popular UK TV series on wildlife, recently converted into a skeptic after reviewing the science and now calls global warming fears "poppycock." Bellamy said “global warming is largely a natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can’t be fixed.” “The climate-change people have no proof for their claims. They have computer models which do not prove anything,”

Climate scientist Dr. Chris de Freitas of The University of Auckland, N.Z., also converted from a believer in man-made global warming to a skeptic. “At first I accepted that increases in human caused additions of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere would trigger changes in water vapor etc. and lead to dangerous ‘global warming,’ But with time and with the results of research, I formed the view that, although it makes for a good story, it is unlikely that the man-made changes are drivers of significant climate variation.” de Freitas wrote on August 17, 2006. “I accept there may be small changes. But I see the risk of anything serious to be minute,” he added. “One could reasonably argue that lack of evidence is not a good reason for complacency. But I believe the billions of dollars committed to GW research and lobbying for GW and for Kyoto treaties etc could be better spent on uncontroversial and very real environmental problems (such as air pollution, poor sanitation, provision of clean water and improved health services) that we know affect tens of millions of people,”

Global warming author and economist Hans H.J. Labohm started out as a man-made global warming believer but he later switched his view after conducting climate research. Labohm wrote on August 19, 2006, “I started as a anthropogenic global warming believer, then I read the [UN’s IPCC] Summary for Policymakers and the research of prominent skeptics.” “After that, I changed my mind,” Labohn explained. Labohn co-authored the 2004 book “Man-Made Global Warming: Unraveling a Dogma,”

“’Climate change is real’ is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural ‘noise.’”

Paleoclimatologist Tim Patterson, of Carlton University in Ottawa converted from believer in C02 driving the climate change to a skeptic. “I taught my students that CO2 was the prime driver of climate change,” Patterson wrote on April 30, 2007. Patterson said his “conversion” happened following his research on “the nature of paleo-commercial fish populations in the NE Pacific.” “[My conversion from believer to climate skeptic] came about approximately 5-6 years ago when results began to come in from a major NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Strategic Project Grant where I was PI (principle investigator),” Patterson explained. “Over the course of about a year, I switched allegiances,” he wrote. “As the proxy results began to come in, we were astounded to find that paleoclimatic and paleoproductivity records were full of cycles that corresponded to various sun-spot cycles. About that time, [geochemist] Jan Veizer and others began to publish reasonable hypotheses as to how solar signals could be amplified and control climate,” Patterson noted. Patterson says his conversion “probably cost me a lot of grant money. However, as a scientist I go where the science takes me and not were activists want me to go.”

Patterson, who believes the sun is responsible for the recent warm up of the Earth, ridiculed the environmentalists and the media for not reporting the truth. "But if you listen to [Canadian environmental activist David] Suzuki and the media, it's like a tiger chasing its tail. They try to outdo each other and all the while proclaiming that the debate is over but it isn't -- come out to a scientific meeting sometime,”

“I think the proof in the pudding, based on what (media and governments) are saying, (is) we're about three quarters of the way (to disaster) with the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere," he said. “The world should be heating up like crazy by now, and it's not. The temperatures match very closely with the solar cycles."

Physicist Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski, chairman of the Central Laboratory for the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Radiological Protection in Warsaw, took a scientific journey from a believer of man-made climate change in the form of global cooling in the 1970’s all the way to converting to a skeptic of current predictions of catastrophic man-made global warming.

“For the past three decades, these well-known direct CO2 measurements, recently compiled and analyzed by Ernst-Georg Beck (Beck 2006a, Beck 2006b, Beck 2007), were completely ignored by climatologists—and not because they were wrong. Indeed, these measurements were made by several Nobel Prize winners, using the techniques that are standard textbook procedures in chemistry, biochemistry, botany, hygiene, medicine, nutrition, and ecology. The only reason for rejection was that these measurements did not fit the hypothesis of anthropogenic climatic warming. I regard this as perhaps the greatest scientific scandal of our time,”

“The hypothesis, in vogue in the 1970s, stating that emissions of industrial dust will soon induce the new Ice Age, seem now to be a conceited anthropocentric exaggeration, bringing into discredit the science of that time.

Paleoclimatologist Dr. Ian D. Clark, professor of the Department of Earth Sciences at University of Ottawa, reversed his views on man-made climate change after further examining the evidence. “I used to agree with these dramatic warnings of climate disaster. I taught my students that most of the increase in temperature of the past century was due to human contribution of C02. The association seemed so clear and simple. Increases of greenhouse gases were driving us towards a climate catastrophe,” Clark said in a 2005 documentary "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What You're Not Being Told About the Science of Climate Change.”

“However, a few years ago, I decided to look more closely at the science and it astonished me. In fact there is no evidence of humans being the cause. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of natural causes such as changes in the output of the sun. This has completely reversed my views on the Kyoto protocol,” Clark explained. “Actually, many other leading climate researchers also have serious concerns about the science underlying the [Kyoto] Protocol,” he added.

Environmental geochemist Dr. Jan Veizer, professor emeritus of University of Ottawa, converted from believer to skeptic after conducting scientific studies of climate history. “I simply accepted the (global warming) theory as given,” Veizer wrote on April 30, 2007 about predictions that increasing C02 in the atmosphere was leading to a climate catastrophe. “The final conversion came when I realized that the solar/cosmic ray connection gave far more consistent picture with climate, over many time scales, than did the CO2 scenario.”

Proving the point

From Letters to the Editor in today’s Age, in response to the Simon Castles article, covered previously, three posts down:

Dangerous denial

I AM getting heartily sick of the climate change deniers [swallowing the Holocaust lexicon, with no shame] who claim that those of us worried [how about hysterical, irrational? I’ve seen “worried”, and this is not how it looks] about global warming are in the thrall of some religious. Just who are the religious maniacs exhibiting blind irrational faith? [aah, that would be you buddy] Is it those who can see — melting glaciers, melting icecaps, one-in-a-thousand-year droughts [false / untrue / a lie], cyclones in Newcastle [yes, and?], bushfires that burn for months [no surprises there; it's not called bush fire season for nothin'], record high temperatures [err, not really, one or two days of record highs during summer … well, that happens every summer that I've ever lived], shrinking water reserves [yep – “reserves” – manmade infrastructure, of which we haven’t built enough – we are in a country with more water than anyone else – it’s called mismanagement; newsflash: we also live in a drought-ridden county], — or those claiming that every [CONSENSUE IS NOT SCIENCE; yup, I really should get those bumper stickers out there] respected [oh dear, to we have to start splitting hair over the qualifier "respected" now?] climate scientist in the world is part of a massive conspiracy [the “deniers” aren’t idiot conspiracy theorists, they leave that to loopy-lefties and goofy-greenies] to fool us into giving up our four-wheel-drives?

Such dross made its way into The Age at the weekend with a piece by Simon Castles. I know it's easier to attack the messenger than the message [not always, and not in this case], and greenies can be painfully sanctimonious, but that doesn't mean The Age should give support to this silly line about climate change "religion". [No, of course not, the media should forcefully uphold censorship, close down debate and man the barricades against social analysis of cultural movements.]

June 18, 2007

Little Aussie moths eat California

"As a caterpillar, the moth feeds on flowers, fruits and firs, a diet that can include corn and tomatoes for dinner and cherries, peaches and plums for dessert. So omnivorous is the moth that some entomologists call it the “light brown everything moth.” It is exactly that appetite that has state and federal officials in California worried. A native of Australia, the moth had never been seen in the continental United States before February.

The moth has since been found in nine California counties, including Napa, where the discovery of a single specimen set off alarm bells for winemakers and farmers up and down the grape-happy region.

Officials also fret that California may be just the port of entry for the moth.

Officials say they do not know how the moth got here, but that it may have come via a host plant brought by a homesick immigrant. “California is a popular place, and people come and bring their favorite plant along”
And that folks is why countries have border protection!

This has been a community service announcement.

New York Times - Tiny but hungry ...

A beautiful thing - enjoy!

Britain's Got Talent - introducing Paul Potts.

Note - Just click twice on the image to take you directly to the video on YouTube, it can't be viewed here.

UPDATE: Yes, he did win!! Here ...

June 17, 2007

Environmental fundamentalists

"Whatever your views on global warming, the term "climate change denial", and the speed with which it has become part of everyday language, shouldn't be welcomed. The term is reductive, as well as offensive in its connotations.

It encapsulates the way the environmental movement, for all its good intentions, is increasingly adopting the sanctimonious, hectoring and stifling attributes of organised religion. To question climate change today is to be cast as a denier of an absolute truth.

That people who used to be called "climate change sceptics" are now called "deniers" is quite deliberate. The aim is to suggest that climate change scepticism is somehow akin to Holocaust denial. The moral repugnance we feel for the latter, we should essentially feel for the former. The connection is subliminal mostly, but some commentators have been more than happy to spell it out.

Guardian columnist and author George Monbiot wrote: "Almost everywhere, climate change denial now looks as stupid and unacceptable as Holocaust denial."

Closer to home, Margo Kingston wrote: "David Irving is under arrest in Austria for Holocaust denial. Perhaps there is a case for making climate change denial an offence. It is a crime against humanity, after all."

Such attempts at moral equivalence are deeply repugnant and, frankly, stupid."

Environmental fundamentalists are re-branding good and evil. They are not merely closing down debate, they’re locking out free speech, free will and the scientific method while they're at it.

It is a rare thing for those so sure of a cause to be so viciously defensive and so blatantly afraid of having their beliefs held up to the light and tested.

One way or another, it's very likely that history is going to judge us as having been extraordinarily stupid. Like any other brand of fundamentalism, hubris-filled environmentalists are being a tad quick to grab the smug crown.

"I know what I don't like, and that's a censorious culture, the demonisation of people and ideas, and the undermining of rational debate.

The more the most zealous greenies argue that climate change is beyond debate, the science beyond interrogation, and that anyone who disagrees is no better than a Holocaust denier, the more they sound to me like religious extremists, and the more I don't want to listen to them.

Monbiot says that he wants to "make people so depressed about the state of the world that they stay in bed all day, thereby reducing their consumption of fossil fuel". Strewth. I spent my childhood under the tutelage of deeply repressed Christian Brothers and priests, but I don't recall ever hearing anything quite so fun-denying, guilt-inflicting and self-flagellating as that.

And boy, does the green movement seem like a religion sometimes. The similarities are there in the rhetoric. We must reject profligate ways or face climate doom (sinners must repent or go to hell). We ought to feel guilty when we're wasteful, but if our footprint is light on the earth, self-righteousness and superiority are the reward. If we are bad, we should buy carbon credits (aka, do penance). We should never seriously doubt or question the facts, and can demonise those who dare to.

Whatever your opinion on climate change, the undermining of debate by casting sceptics as little better than a bunch of David Irvings should be a cause for concern. It is anti-science and anti-intellectual. The planet may face many threats, but free speech, open debate and scepticism are not among them."

iPod owners dress badly

Hockney in Lucian Freud's Studio
"The artist David Hockney believes the ubiquitous music player is contributing to a decline in visual awareness that is damaging art and painting in particular.

It even makes people dress badly.
"I think we are not in a very visual age and it's producing badly dressed people. They have no interest in mass or line or things like that."
iPods to blame for total eclipse of the art ...

June 16, 2007

Update from the jailhouse

Picture caught by TMZ – the inmates were very happy at Paris’s return
While some patsies continue to heavily push the claustrophobia line (and how is it that Paris never had a panic attack while trying on new designer clothes in tiny change rooms; or when squashed into exclusive teeny crowded night clubs?), others are having stomach churning fun pushing tales of gross and highly improbable fast growing and fast traveling thrush.

The real story, as we have always known (deep within our stony black hearts) was obvious long before the jail story arrived to entertain the world:

“Handsome reader Marc knows one of the guards, and passed along this email from him:

"What's up. Sorry so long to get back. Paris sends her regards. By all accounts she is a kook. Word is she has the mind of a 14 year old, addicted to coke, psych meds, claustrophobic, changes uniform every hour, etc..."

Keep in mind, this dude works at a county psyche ward, and Paris still managed to distinguish herself. She's surrounded by pyromaniacs yelling at demons and schizophrenics who think they're Barabbas, and even there, the staff said to themselves, "Wow. This chick is a fuckin weirdo".

c/o – What would Tyler Durden do?

Okay, so we didn't know about the uniform changing thing before now, but we knew that she changed her clothes, like, so much more often than the rest of us.

The moral quandary is this: do we have to abandon jokes about Hilton because she isn't very bright, and because she is very likely more than just a little mentally unwell (the former quite possibly contributing to the latter)?

Little Children are Sacred

"It is clear not enough has been done to tackle the abuse of Aboriginal children. We must recognise that as long as the abuse of children continues to occur, it diminishes us all."
"We know it all," Ms Anderson said. "We know what needs to be done. There's no reason except lack of political will. Aboriginal people are sitting out there isolated and going quite mad and turning in on themselves. Don't let's piss around any more."
Nation's Child Abuse Shame ....

June 15, 2007

Nick And Nora's Nifty Knick-Knacks

Nick and Nora, of The Thin Man Returns fame, have celebrated their two year blog anniversary by expanding (damn, don’t you hate those blogging entrepreneurs, making the rest of us look like blogosphere peons).

Over at their new place, Nifty Nick Knacks, they seem to have fallen into a Drunkablog time warp, only, like, permanently, not sporadically.

So here's cheers, with our anodysed tumblers clinking, to a brand new baby blog, preserving modern history!

Duck Friday

June 14, 2007

The wonders of sperm

"Sperm do not really hit their stride until they are deposited in the female reproductive tract, at which point chemical signals from the vaginal and cervical mucus seem to spark them to life. Released from the buffering folds of their seminal delivery blanket, they at first swim straight ahead, torpedo-style, “with very little back and forth of the head,” Dr. Tash said. They may linger in the cervical mucus for a couple of days, or cross the cervix and enter the uterus.

If an egg has burst from its ovarian follicle and been plucked by a fallopian tube, sperm can sense its signature, a telltale shift in calcium ions. The sperm become “hyperactivated,” said Moira O’Bryan, a sperm expert at Monash University in Australia, switching to “a crazed figure-eight motion” ideal for boring through barriers. The ovum eggs them on, signaling some to play the sacrificial kamikaze and explode their enzyme sacks prematurely, loosening the corridor for other, shapelier sperm to pass through intact. A few dozen fine-figured sperm find their way to the final barrier, the egg’s plasma membrane, where they waggle with all their crazy-eight might and beg to be chosen — but only one will be taken, will fuse with the egg and be absorbed into its rich inner sanctum.

In a fraction of a second, an electrical, ionic jolt dramatically changes the egg’s outer coat, to forestall the lethal intrusion of additional sperm."

Sperm - sleek, fast and focused ...

Over-hyped, over-psyched

Spruiking himself and his work to the nth degree, John Clarke, author of two books about workplace psychopaths, would like to have us all hyperventilating over the proposal that there might be at least one psychopath in every major company. Wow. I'm quivering.
"I would say that in every major company there would be at least one," Dr Clarke said.
See, told you so.

With numbers like that being bandied about, it's a fairly safe bet that if you work in a major company you're working with a far larger number of neurotics, psychotics, heroin and/or Xanax addicts, and Lycra-wearing bicycle riders, than you a are with any fair-dinkum psychopaths.

Not that psychopaths are anything to be sniffed at (nor are Lycra-wearing bicycle riders, just by the way).

"Workplace psychopaths are common in major businesses and are ruining the lives of their colleagues"

I don't doubt the collateral damage that a real psychopath might accidentally cause for their work-mates, but their presence in the total population is estimated at - a very likely exaggerated - three percent, making their likely presence in the workforce lower than that figure. Of that one or, at a stretch, two percent of the workforce, their sphere of contact, and therefore potential damage, is, at best, another one or two percent – maybe if we really stretch it.

But that's not what entirely puts the kybosh on my passing interest in this newly invented "workplace psychopath" industry. It was the expert himself who convinced me that this is just a bit more money-spinning HR pop-psychology-babble of the instantly disposable and useless variety.

"I think the workplace psychopath is actually more dangerous than the violent criminal psychopath, because the workplace psycho is smart, charismatic, charming and much less likely to get caught," he said.

Actually, the violent criminal psychopath is all of those things too, and also much less likely to get caught than your garden-variety violent criminal.

The key differentiator is that the violent criminal psychopath is also more likely to kill you, all in their good time, which might be a while, and to my mind that makes the criminal far more dangerous than a "workplace" psychopath on any day of the week.

The comparison and conclusion drawn by Dr Clarke is grossly perverse. It's a lesson in how to kill your own books, in one easy step.

"But you need to evaluate your situation and, if you can't change it, you need to evaluate the costs for your mental health versus finding a new position elsewhere," he says.

And that’s the point: you can walk away from a “workplace psychopath” any time you want, which makes them not very dangerous at all. A violent criminal psychopath, on the other hand, might not let you walk away, and that is what most of us would consider to be a danger.

The good doctor should be helping people to keep life events in perspective, not encouraging people to plaster labels over every boombah, palooka, pratt, twat or tosser that they happen to meet in the workplace. In other words: nothing good can come from supporting people in the habit of pathologising their co-workers. Reading a pop-psych book, or two, does not qualify any worker as a diagnostician.

June 12, 2007

What a difference a day makes

A mere few days in jail can change a girl's life, really it can.

The vapidly vain can find god (wow, bet that's never happen in a jail before); imagine untold selfless good deeds that will be executed upon release; and brain cells, hitherto in hibernation, come budding forth to form new connections; all this and much more.

It's all rather wonderful and breathtaking.

I'm almost impressed that Paris Hilton knows her own age and has acknowledged that playing dumb at 26 years old is not cute. Truly, I'm not making that up: they were her words.

I'm almost impressed that Paris "felt caged" during her first bout of incarceration (which led to her aborted home detention caper), as she was in fact "caged" and recognizing such shows that she has a remarkably deep understanding of her surroundings at any given time.

Although, let’s not get too excited over her transformation. Paris told Barbara Walters (well, why waste your precious phone calls on loved ones, when you can talk to the press?) that “god had released her”, which is not in any strict sense true, since she is, after all, still behind bars. Still, it sounds as though they have her on some pretty neat drugs if she thinks that god has intervened and let her out.

[Sorry, no link – if you feel compelled, try searching on “Barbara Walters: God has released me” – there’s a video. Earlier written copy seems to have vanished.]

June 11, 2007

Loopy Lama

Thousands of lemming-like Melbournian’s have turned out to be in the presence of the loopy Lama, and to hear his arcane mumblings such as:
"We are selfish, but with the help of our intelligence we can be wise-selfish instead of foolish-selfish."
“If a human has no hope of recovery and is in a coma, it can be very expensive, and the rest of their family can suffer immensely,” he said, seemingly giving a nod, a wink, and a giggle, to human euthanasia.
No such luck for animals though, as sick pets must never be put down:
“The suffering of the animal is due to pervious karma. They have to experience their suffering so they can live out their karma.”
To sum up: it’s okay to put down your relatives, but not your pets. Animals have to live out their karma, but people don’t.

June 9, 2007

Letting the natives have a life

"The irony is superb. For at least two decades, bleeding hearts on the Left of politics insisted that white Australians should not tell Aborigines how to live their lives. If they wanted to fish with spears, live in humpies and drink themselves to an early death, well, it was the fault of white people, certainly, but there was nothing much that could be done, since Aborigines were assumed to want to live a "traditional" life in remote communities.

Now, on the Cape York peninsula, a dynamic group has emerged that would rather not live a completely traditional life, eating turtles and taking welfare cheques. It wants access to the Cape's land, rivers and resources, so it can start building a modern economy. The 10,000 people who live on the Cape dream of working their way out of poverty and putting an end to a humiliating dependency on welfare.

But no: green lobby groups, chief among them the Wilderness Society, traditional supporters of indigenous people, decided that the Cape's rivers were more important than its people. They asked the Beattie Government to ban most economic development on the Cape (except, perhaps, jobs or Aboriginal rangers, showing groups of white tourists how to dig food out of the ground). The Beattie Government decided to protect Green preferences, rather than promote indigenous development, and passed the so-called Wild Rivers legislation, which prevented mining, farming and other development. Black leaders were appalled. Gerhardt Pearson, younger brother of activist Noel, could not understand why a native parrot was more important than an Aboriginal child. They were insulted, too, by the idea that Aborigines would run rampant over the Cape. It is in pristine condition because indigenous people have taken such good care of it."

The Beattie government has changed its mind, and will now allow the natives entrance to economic development, self respect, and a modicum of modernity.

Sure, it’s not nearly as romantic as living in a humpy with no blankets for your children, but hey, that’s the price of letting the natives have a life. Oh, ooops, that’s what the left-greenies don’t want them to have.

The Australian - editorial (down the bottom, after the Keating piece)

Now we nose

My bad.

I have always, very unfairly it would seem, assumed that Paris didn’t have enough sense or money to get a nose job.

I mean, come on folks, would any lass deliberately cultivate such a hawkish nose?

Well, I was wrong.

She has had her nose done.

Poor luvy.

via Awful Plastic Surgery

June 7, 2007

Terms of envir-abuse

Illulissat, a town in western Greenland where tourists travel to look at the (melting) icebergs.

Bless the climate and the naturally bounded-environ, for we have a whole new booming lexicon with which to amuse and abuse.

"Eco-suicide tourism" was one I read today, in reference to the carbon dioxide emissions from air travel.

Of course, I’ll always be grateful to Nora (a very clever lady) for coining: “Does my carbon footprint look big in this?”

Meanwhile: A 66 year old California man used pocket knives to amputate his own leg in order to free himself after being pinned under a tree for almost 11 hours.

Now, we all remember around this time in 2003, a 27 year old lad from Colorado used a pocket knife to amputate his own arm to free himself after being trapped for five days under an 360-kilogram boulder in a national park in Utah.

Quite frankly, I think the guy in California was just showing off. Jeez, he didn't even wait half a day before going in for the heroic amateur amputation.

June 6, 2007

Olympic Emblem

Available in blue, pink, green and orange, the London Olympic's logo has been revealed as "a puerile mess, an artistic flop and a commercial scandal".
Many such compliments were spewed over the one-year-in-the-making
£400,000 ($A954,000) logo.

London Olympics costly logo ...

High Life

"Fugitive Antonios “Fat Tony” Mokbel has been run to ground in Greece, 15 months after jumping bail and disappearing with an estimated $20 million in drug profits to fund his life on the lam."
The telly news reported Mokbel's recapture thusly: "Mokbel was found living the high life in Greece".

Guess they were referring to the 500 grams of cocaine found in a “body cavity” at the time of his arrest.

Fat Tony in the bag ....

Oozy rash jail scare for Paris

Having endured a gruelingly long 35 hours in jail, Paris Hilton’s psychiatrist was allegedly rushed to the scene for two hours to make soothing noises at the infamous celebutard and heirhead.

It’s possible that Paris required psychiatric treatment to help ally her nervous-Nellie concerns over “a staph infection outbreak at the jail that has caused an oozy rash on many inmates.”

Which is a little strange, given Paris’s renowned herpes-like outbreaks and eager distribution thereof among a mass of fine American men. Who'd have thought she be afraid of a little oozy rash?

June 2, 2007

No Virginia, there will never be enough organs

Are you a wanna-be organ donor?

Good for you!

The probability, however, that you will die in such circumstances enabling the donation of any or many of your organs ranges all the way from tiny to zero.

Heroic medicine has not only delivered the remarkable development of successful organ transplants, but also heralded the successful salvaging of the lives of broken people who, in decades gone by, would have died from their accidents or brain aneurisms.

Organ donation is one of the most discombobulated medical dilemmas going around, more so than things like embryonic stem cell research, for example, which is almost simple in comparison.

We start with the meta-myth that there are “not enough organs”. As if a surfeit of donor organs is a social imperative and the lack of such a social disgrace, something over which we should be mortified.

It’s not the lack of organ givers causing this awkward problem. Rather, it is the organ failure, a personal physical deficiency, of the would-be recipients.

When it comes to human organs – and for reasons I can’t identify – one person’s organ failure is apparently the entire community’s problem.

Should we be outraged that there are “not enough” organs to go around? When the alternative would be a much higher number of “non-deaths”? An increase in the not-quite-dead-yet but terrifically suitable candidate for organ donation?

That there are not enough not-quite-dead-yet organ carriers is a testament to a wide range of road safety changes (from seat belts to drink-driving), improved workplace saftely, better health awareness in wealthy countries, and improved medical ntervention for those who find themselves in life threatening circumstances.

An increase in the potential pool of organs for donation would basically require a reversal of the medical and social improvements that have been made over the last several decades. Improvements that, concurrently, have lead to an ability to transplant organs.

Neither the near-dead nor the actually dead are obliged to surrender their organs, tissues or body bits, for any reason, or for any person.

It may be unfortunate for the person with organ failure, but their organ failure is not someone else’s responsibility, nor does it give them dibs on other people’s body parts. Most especially, it shouldn’t, perversely, engender a wish for more people to die in exactly the right circumstances so as to be able to be harvested for the good bits that are left.

Sorry, truly I am, but there is no entitlement.

Which is why, when I read this, about the hoax Big Brother organ donor show, I couldn't summon up even a fillip of anger.

“Program makers apologised to viewers and said they hoped "outrage" over the show would turn into anger over the lack of organs for transplant.”

It’s such a strange matter over which to expect people to be angry.

Crimes against boys

Elle MacPherson and her mini-me son Aurelius Cy.

Celine Dion and her son Rene-Charles.

Kate Hudson and her son Ryder.