Archive for February, 2009
For now anyway. I have been quite unwell for the last few days which is the reason for my absence here.
I have a few things to write here but most of them have a lower priority than some other work that I’m doing so it may still be a tad quiet here for a day or so.
In the meantime I have corrected link number three in one of the recent Global Warming posts as I managed to link to the world temperature graph twice, at the expense of the article which I quoted from fairly extensively. Thanks to Brad for pointing out the error.
The photo gallery is also back online now. It’s been off the air for a bit over a month and I kept putting off working out what was wrong with it. I had a dream about the main problem yesterday afternoon, so I decided to fix it, only to find another problem…half the galleries were not being recognised…simple file permission problem though, easily fixed.
That reminds me that I still haven’t made the photos of Googong Dam from April publicly visible yet. I should do that soon…but a number of photos need captions and I need to write a blog post to go with it, so it won’t be today.
More later, right now I have a headache to deal with.
February 27th, 2009 at 12:39am
Continuing our not-quite-as-regular-as-I-had-envisaged feature on all of the terrible, horrible and downright awful things which are either claimed to have occurreed, or predicted to occur, due to
global warming climate change (I can’t decide which one to us…the earth is cooling but we’re still hearing about the supposed effects of it warming), it seems that dear old Nessie is a victim of global warming climate change.
LEGENDARY Nessie hunter Robert Rines is giving up his search for the monster after 37 years.
World War II veteran Robert has devoted almost half his life to scouring Loch Ness.
He started in 1971. The following year, he watched a 25ft-long hump with the texture of elephant skin gliding through the water.
His original trip was to help another monster hunter with sonar equipment and quickly identified large moving targets.
He was smitten and returned the next year, which is when, he says: “I had the misfortune of seeing one of these things with my own eyes.”
Since then, he has been obsessed with tracking down the creature with a staggering array of hi-tech equipment. It was this gear that took the famous “flipper” picture that year which created a stir around the world.
Despite having hundreds of sonar contacts over the years, the trail has since gone cold and Rines believes that Nessie may be dead, a victim of global warming.
He still wants to check almost 100 contacts on the floor of the loch, believing one may be the monster’s remains.
This is surely one of the more outrageous claims relating to planetary heating (hmmm, that’s a good name for it), especially seeing as no evidence is supplied to back up the claim…although why would we need evidence if we can just blame
planetary heating (oh, you didn’t like the name?) climate change.
In 1975, the trained physicist and inventor managed to get a photograph in the murky waters of the loch which apparently showed the body, flipper, neck and head of an animal.
Oh, silly me there is proof, he’s a “trained physicist”, well that’s good enough for me. Somebody get out the freezer and the pacemaker…we have a monster to cool down and bring back to life!
February 19th, 2009 at 03:09pm
Where does it end? How many more tax problems are going to fall out of the books of the people in Barack Obama’s administration?
This time it’s White House chief of staff Rahm “Rambo” Emanuel with problems, a man who, incidentally, was on the board of Freddie Mac in the early part of this decade when the board ignored fraudulent activity according to The Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight Agency. Needless to say, that particular issue at Freddie Mac is partially responsible for the current global economic crisis.
Anyway, back to Emanuel’s tax problem. He lived rent-free in the home of Democratic Congresswoman Rosa De Lauro for five years, the value of which exceeds $100,000, which effectively makes it taxable income and based on previous case law in the United States, it will be up to Emanuel to prove that it wasn’t taxable income, not for the IRS to prove that it was, should this matter come up for audit.
It’s not just the taxation side of things which are problematic for Emanuel here, there is also an ethical issue. Mr. Emanuel and Mrs. De Lauro claim that the accommodation was a gift…well that may be so, but if it is the case, then Emanuel was supposed to declare the gift as per the congressional ethics rules…but he didn’t.
I’m also forced to wonder why a multimillionaire such as Emanuel needed free accommodation.
And there’s more. Mrs. De Lauro’s husband is Democratic pollster Stan Greenburg. During the time that Mr. Emmanuel was living in the De Lauro/Greenburg house, he was serving on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee which granted Greenburg contracts in excess of $550,000. Can anyone spell conflict of interest?
On the bright side, as one of the people responsible for the global economic crisis, he should be in a perfect position to explain how it all happened, and how to reverse it…although I shouldn’t be so optimistic, in reality I doubt that Emanuel would be stupid enough to incriminate himself by telling us all about his full role in the economic crisis.
February 19th, 2009 at 10:46am
This email landed in my inbox in the early hours of this morning. Unfortunately it is not good news.
Dear to Mr. Samuel on today,
I am have still not been hear from of doctors in Russia at hospital where Mother of Russia is which was causing many concern and worry for me as I am not knowing of what is happening to her.
Dear and wonderful Uncle Boris did driving from other side of Russia for long time to see Mother and he did do tephlephone call to me in minutes not long ago which was very much nice to be doing hear from him but he was not having the good newses. There is strange rule of in hospital in this part of the Russia that they can only be doing talks to family who are the direct family and Uncle Boris has to be doing prove to them that he is of direct family and is directly the brother of Mother which he is but now has to be waiting for the birth certificate to be done of send from fax in the registry office.
This is rule of very silly in to me for opinion as I do not see how it can be cause problems to have in-law people of relation at the very least for talking to of problems even if not of the doing permissions.
The doctors would not be do say of why they have not been do call of me on tephlephone and so I will do ring them today although I did have try yesterday which was not good as they were not able to be doing answering due to some emergency in hospital and they were busy.
The good news is that I did do speak to lovely elderly neighbour of Mother Mrs. Stroshlopcnefravinich Frorshnik who is be do of say that nice mouse Squeelivich is happy and healthy and has been much happy with tasty treats of boiled pumpkin which cheese on top. I did not know that mouses did do like of pumpkin but it is good to be knowing that they are.
I am must now be having some sleeping time before going to work of gardens in morning where nice Mr. Boss has done say that I can be making tephlephone call of international to Russia and also be receiving the calls if the need is OK because of conditions with Mother who I am do hope is of better than when she was found on weekend.
Please be doing and have day of much wonderful.
Ms. Maritzkrozlavsky Throrglasnishozly
Well ain’t that a bureaucratic nightmare at its worst. How tempted would you be under those circumstances to break in to the hospital and find your relative regardless of what the front office administrators say?
February 19th, 2009 at 06:35am
I was going to publish a few blog posts today, but time got away from me, so I’ll settle for one which doesn’t require a lot of writing.
Last week, impeached Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, agreed to be interviewed by Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel, and after watching the footage, I have to wonder why he agreed to it. Blagojevich is currently accused of trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat, and is facing a number of criminal charges, and it would have been very clear that this is what Hannity wanted to talk to him about…Hannity is also from the other side of the political divide to Blagojevich, so the interview was almost certainly going to be hostile.
With this in mind, you would think that Mr. Blagojevich would expect a difficult interview, and would therefore have some answers ready…but no, rather than answers, we got defences such as “I can’t comment on criminal proceedings” and “the tapes [being used as evidence against me] are being quoted by the media out of context.
There was no insight provided in to the context of the tapes, but there were a number of times when Blagojevich looked uncomfortable being asked certain questions.
I really don’t understand why he agreed to the interview when he could have expressed his position much more clearly in a press release. I’m sorry Rod, but going in to an interview with the sole intention of saying “I can’t answer that” really doesn’t do your public image any favours.
Anyway, here’s the interview, judge for yourself.
February 18th, 2009 at 05:04pm
Update: I should update this before another person decides to inform me that Facebook have reversed their decision to take control of everyone’s content. I’ve read their statement, and I’m not convinced, because what they say they are doing is reversing the change for now, while they rewrite the change to make it clearer. I may just be cynical, but this really sounds like a temporary reversal, not a complete backflip. End Update
As I’ve said many times, I don’t like Facebook, I have no use for it, and I’m very pleased to not be a part of it. Today I get to add another reason to my list…Facebook have new terms and conditions which effectively say that they own the rights to any content which you contribute to their site, and continue to own the content forever even if you delete the content or suspend or cancel your account.
So let’s get this straight with an example:
A person attends a party and uploads photos of themself in an extremely intoxicated state, along with descriptions of activities undertaken during the course of the event, some of which could be construed in a negative way in the future, potentially impacting on job prospects etc. The next day when said person is sober and decides that they want to remove this content from Facebook, they do so, but face the prospect that Facebook own the content, and are still free to do with it as they please…if (to move to the less likely) they then run for public office with a campaign platform that Facebook disagree with (such as only allowing people with specific tea sets to be members of Social Networking websites), Facebook are able to dig up this content and run a public smear campaign against said person with it.
I can understand the whole “I grant permission to distribute this stuff” type of licence for a service such as Facebook where they need to be able to distribute the content across their servers in order for the service to work…but removing the “but I can withdraw my consent” provision is just beyond the pale for a site which stores as much personal data as Facebook does.
In reality, it’s like diary manufacturers being able to confiscate your personal diary and publish its contents at any time. It’s just nuts.
On the bright side, it gives me some fresh ammunition for the next time a particular person tries to convince me to rejoin Facebook.
February 17th, 2009 at 03:11pm
Every now and then I take a look at the websites of various schools that I attended and have a look at their newsletters, and I did this over the weekend. Whilst poking around the Campbell High School website I stumbled on an interesting document: The “Acceptable Use Of Technology Resources Policy At Campbell High School” form which students and parents have to sign in order for students to be able to use computers at the high school.
The policy runs to five pages, and I’ve got to say that I was enthralled by it…not because it’s a particularly interesting document, but because I feel a great deal of responsibility for the introduction of the document after nearly being expelled from Campbell in 2003 for my antics with their computer network. I read through the whole thing, and was particularly interested by the following statements:
Staff will be encouraged to make effective use of the Internet to maximise student learning. Whilst teachers will make every effort to ensure that students do not access material which may be deemed inappropriate or offensive, it is not possible to screen out all such content. However, the ACT Department of Education does employ some filters on its Internet access.
If a student accidentally accesses any material which is illegal, obscene, dangerous or offensive, he or she should immediately minimise the screen and quietly inform a staff member.
Right now, the Federal government is trialling an Internet filtering system which will supposedly block out illegal content. There are a number of technical problems with this but I won’t bore you with them right now…instead I will pose the question that struck me as I read through Campbell’s IT policy:
If the Federal Government’s Internet filters are so good, why haven’t they shared them with state and territory governments? If they had shared them with the states and territories, Campbell wouldn’t need sentences in their policies about accessing illegal or inappropriate content on the Internet.
February 17th, 2009 at 02:19pm
Seeing as the news over the weekend carried the story of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reporting that carbon dioxide emissions between 2000 and 2007 were higher than they expected. Of course, the IPCC took the opportunity to bleat about how awful, horrible and world-dooming this is, conveniently ignoring the fact that temperatures have not risen over the last decade, and appear to be trending downwards.
In light of this news, I thought it would be a good time to take another look at some of the more hysterical claims about the problems which will be caused by global warmenings.
I really should save this one for later in the week, but it’s just so funny that I’m going to share it with you now. Apparently global warming will cause world war four (Update: Link corrected)…”what happened to world war three?” you ask, well these loons think it’s already happened! I suppose it’s only fitting that they also believe that carbon emissions control the climate.
So, what precisely will start WW4?
Crowding and Territorial Tensions- The number one cause of such tensions will be the migration of different cultures to other territories in search of new resources to replace the increasingly depleting ones. Not only will many cultures find their resources disappearing, but the rising sea level will cover over parts of much of the land, minimizing usable farm area, fresh water, and cattle herds. In some cases, entire islands may become submerged.
Competition of Newly Habitable Lands- The opposite scenario of crowding may also occur as the open space around the Arctic regions becomes available due to the increased air temperatures. As these uninhabitable areas become habitable for the first time in history, competition from the various coastal countries and islands who have lost their native homeland will become fierce.
In addition to the smaller powers, larger world powers who previously ignored such land will eventually see the profit potential of such areas and involve themselves in the competition. The large nations will be less interested in the usable space and more keen on the possibility of exploiting the relatively untapped oil resources of these areas for strategic economic positioning.
Oh of course, they’ll be fighting for oil…it’s amazing how they can blame oil for post-warming-apocalypse along with the warming itself.
In all seriousness though, at least they aren’t deluded enough to think that the UN would serve any useful purpose in resolving these fictional issues.
I’m still curious to find out when World War Three happened, because I must have blinked and missed it:
When you say “World War Three” the average person conjures the image of World War II. But the Cold War is the more relevant episode
The Cold War? Most countries were not involved and yet somehow it was a “world war”.
No wonder I have a hard time taking these people seriously.
More from the global warmening files tomorrow.
February 17th, 2009 at 11:51am
Or should that be “change that should scare the socks off us”?
You would probably be well aware that the US government passed the final version of President Obama’s stimulus package on Saturday morning Australian time, that’s no secret, but there does seem to be a secret here, a secret being kept from the Australian public at least.
Some of the US media have reported this but I haven’t seen it in the Australian media at all so far. Perhaps I missed it, or perhaps the Australian media were too busy with home affairs (and there have been a lot of them lately) to mention anything more than “US stimulus passed”, regardless, it’s unlikely that many Australians know that the way in which the US stimulus package was passed was in contravention of promises made earlier in the week by the Democrats.
I refer specifically to their promise that bills would go up on a government website 48 hours prior to voting on the bills so that the public would be able to review said bills. Of course, we’ve been told by the Obama administration, that this bill needed to be dealt with quickly to avert an economic catastrophe, so if I take them on face value I could excuse them for not giving the public time to read the bill…but this thing is just under 1100 pages and Congress members were given less than 15 hours to sift through the bill before voting on it.
Television screenshot of the stimulus bill
The fact of the matter is, as House Republican leader John Boehner said in Congress as he threw the bill on the floor, “not one member has read this”.
It hardly matters if the Democrats have a majority or not, the fact is that not a single person who voted on this bill, who voted to spend more than a trillion Australian dollars, read what they were voting to spend the money on.
As Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana said to Sean Hannity on his Friday show when asked if he had read the bill “Oh heavens no! [..] We didn’t have any more than twelve hours to look at this thing, and as Connie Hair of Human Events wrote this afternoon it wasn’t even put on the Internet in a searchable format.”
Ms. Hair elaborates in her article:
Instead of publishing the bill as a regular internet document — which people can search by “key words” and otherwise, the Dems took hours to convert the final bill from the regular searchable format into “pdf” files, which can be read but not searched.
Three of the four .pdf files had no text embedded, just images of the text, which did not permit text searches of the bill.
Congressman Pence told Hannity that the Republicans had staffers looking over the bill for problems, but there just was not enough time to read through it.
Analysts told the Associated Press that the stimulus package will not kick-start the economy, Brian Bethune from IHS Global Insight even went so far as to say that the way to make it more effective is with bigger tax cuts rather than more spending…which is exactly what the Republicans have been rallying for, exactly what Congressman Pence told Hannity, and exactly what the Democrats refused to do, instead throwing money at such wondrous pet-projects as green golf carts ($300 million), “state fiscal stabilisation” bailout ($39 billion incentive to mismanage states on the basis that the feds will fix it all up later), the Smithsonian Institution (not quite a pet-project, but $75 million for museums…not exactly an economy fixer) and abandoned mine sites ($650 million…talk about throwing money down a hole).
And if you think that this is just Republican sour grapes…well explain this to me: seven Democrats voted with the Republicans in the congress against this stimulus package. Clearly they weren’t comfortable with approving a bill without enough time to read it…or perhaps they were sounded out about the contents and just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a bill which throws so much money at things which won’t help the economy, at the expense of things which will.
And all of this after the series of tax cheats in (or almost in) the cabinet, and all of the lobbyists (of which we were promised there would be none) and Blagojevich, the man alleged to have attempted to sell Barack Obama’s senate seat, and Nancy Pelosi claiming that every American will lose their job one and a half times every month (see previous link).
Oh yes, this is truly change we can believe in.
February 17th, 2009 at 07:30am
I note with some interest that today’s item for sale over at zazz.com.au is a reverse parking sensor, and I note this with interest not for personal interest (I can reverse park if I want to, I just choose not to most of the time…sometimes I do it just for the fun of it), but because I know of at least one driver in Canberra who could benefit from this little device.
I’m referring to the woman who reversed in to a taxi in Dickson yesterday afternoon. She was parked in the space next to me and was just about to leave when I arrived. I parked and fed one of those coin eating machines which donates money to ACT Chief Turnip Jon Stanhope in exchange for not sending around a uniformed person to demand a lot more money on behalf of Mr. Stanhope. Just as I returned with the slip of shiny paper proving that I had fed Mr. Stanhope’s electronic pet, this particular woman was slowly reversing out of her parking space and starting to steer her vehicle in-line with the direction of the normal flow of traffic on the road.
The Dickson taxi rank. Image copyright: Google
Somehow, and I don’t really understand how, she managed to completely underestimate the angle of steering required to successfully exit a parking space in this area (not that you need much of an angle, it’s quite possible to achieve a 90 degree turn whilst reversing without entering the taxi rank) and also managed to reverse straight in to a taxi. The taxi driver tried to prevent the accident by honking his horn at her just prior to her hitting his car, but it didn’t help.
Thankfully she was travelling slowly and only appeared to cause a very small amount of panel damage to the taxi…none-the-less, $39.95 for a reverse parking sensor plus postage and handling would probably be cheaper than the cost of having any panel damage fixed under insurance.
This makes me wonder if any insurance company has considered reducing premiums for vehicles which have a parking sensor? Considering the sheer number of parking bingles which occur each year, surely it would make sense…although insurance companies being insurance companies, they’d probably just raise the cost of insurance for the rest of us.
Hmmm, perhaps parking sensors aren’t the solution, perhaps what we need are airbags outside our cars to protect them from being damaged by rogue-reversers. High-pressure airbags might be an even better idea…protect your car, and repel the rogue-reverser.
This might just be proof that I’ve had too much coffee and my mind is wandering as a result.
February 17th, 2009 at 12:46am
I received this email from Maritz last night. My thoughts and prayers are with her mother at this time.
Dear to Mr. Samuel today,
I am writing today in the sadness of newses that Mother of Russia is in of the hospital with treatment doctors for after recent times of illness and many coughing and unwell times. Mother of Russia was to be go to doctor in weeks ago when did she of start in the feeling not well but was doing some of works for nice Mr. Vladimir and did say that she did want to be finishing of works before going to be see doctor.
It probably is not good for waiting as Mother had to be go in ambulance when the lovely old neighbour Mrs. Stroshlopcnefravinich Frorshnik did find of Mother in unconscious kitchen. Mrs. Frorshnik is lovely old lady who has been doing live of next door to Mother since time of childhood memories and was always boiling the pumpkin treats of when I was child. She did do ring of on tephlephone last night to be telling me of newses and to say that she is doing look after nice mouse Squeelivich who is my pet of living with Mother of Russia.
The doctor of hospital will be doing tephlephone call to me tomorrow or Tuesday for more newses which I am do hope will be of good and lovely.
I am hoping that day is much lovely to you.
Ms. Maritzkrozlavsky Throrglasnishozly
I hope that Maritz receives good news as well.
February 16th, 2009 at 07:28pm
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After reading that, I think Mujibar might actually be working in the same building as Mujibar:
Mujibar was trying to get a job in India.
The Personnel Manager said, “Mujibar, you have passed all the tests except one. Unless you pass it you cannot qualify for this job.”
Mujibar said, “I am ready.”
The Manager said, “Make a sentence using the words Yellow, Pink and Green.”
Mujibar thought for a few minutes and said, “Mister Manager, I am ready.”
The Manager said, “Go ahead.”
Mujibar said, “The telephone goes ‘green green’, I pink it up and say, ‘Yellow, this is Mujibar.’”
Mujibar now works as a technician at a call centre for computer problems. No doubt you have spoken to him.
Now please hold while I go and do the needful.
February 15th, 2009 at 06:25am
Former Prime Minister John Howard will receive an honorary doctorate from Bond University in Queensland today, although I can’t find details of what Mr. Howard will become an honorary doctor at this time.
John Howard, in my opinion, deserves a lot of credit for his mostly excellent four terms as Prime Minister, however I wonder if this particular doctorate is to do with his time as Prime Minister, or if it’s related to his long-term friendship of both Bond University and Chancellor Trevor C Rowe AM.
Regardless, I think the title of “doctor” a fitting tribute to a man who will go down in history as one of Australia’s best Prime Ministers.
Update: Bond University’s Acting Marketing & Communications Manager, Amanda Elms, was kind enough to send through some details about Mr. Howard’s award this morning. Unfortunately I was away from the computer at the time and as such was not able to update this blog post. Better late than never I suppose.
Former Prime Minister John Howard will receive the degree of Doctor of the University from Bond University Saturday in recognition of his long and distinguished service to Australia, his contribution to economic and social policy reform, and his support of a diversified higher education sector which recognised the valued contribution of non-government universities in Australia.
Bond University Vice Chancellor Professor Robert Stable said: “John Howard, through his policies, recognised and supported a more diverse higher education sector, which if you look at the North American example is critical in a world class education system.’’
A very well-deserved award. Congratulations Mr./Dr. Howard! End Update
February 14th, 2009 at 06:04am
The senate have approved the stimulus package by a margin of 30 votes to 28 (which means that 12 less senators voted on this version of the package than last night’s version of the package) after Senator Nick Xenophon managed to hold the package to ransom with a $900 million assistance package for the Murray-Darling basin.
The House of Representatives will pass the amended stimulus package shortly (probably around 4:30pm based on the House of Reps website). Update: Now passed end update
I still have a few issues with the package as it stands, however overall I support it as a once-off stimulus package. Hopefully it will achieve its goals, and we will be able to scrub the debt it causes in a quick and swift manner.
February 13th, 2009 at 02:17pm
It’s a landslide. Members of the Canberra Raiders Sports Club have approved the acquisition of the West Belconnen Leagues Club by a margin of 1069 to 70, with 26 further invalid votes .
Members of West Belconnen have also approved the acquisition by 2525 votes to 93, with another 30 votes being invalid.
Update: Numbers were originally attributed to members of the wrong clubs. This has now been corrected, and I apologise for any confusion that this may have caused. End Update
On that basis, I must have spoken with at least 15% of the people who voted “no”. Most of the people who I spoke to who voted “no” said that they did so for the same reason as me, the $4 million debt belonging to West Belconnen, and the fact that they aren’t even close to being the dominant club in the area. Most of the people who I spoke to who voted “yes” said that they did so because they received a voting form in the mail with clear instructions to vote “yes”.
I hope that the majority of people who voted “yes” are not well represented by the people I spoke to, and I hope that the people in charge of the Raiders Sports Club know what they’re doing, because it’s going to take a lot of work to turn West Belconnen around.
Good luck none-the-less.
February 13th, 2009 at 02:02pm