Archive for April 1st, 2012

Twitter Updates for 2012-04-01

  • Why are Ausgrid talking about Sydney CBD power usage, and not all of Sydney during Earth Hour? Probably because in homes, lights stayed on. #
  • The Gmail app on my phone has gone crazy and keeps replacing the "to" address with my address. This better not be an April Fools gag @google #
  • Listening to Bulldogs V Eagles on AFL Live with @Rex_Hunt, Peter Donegan and Cam Mooney. Go Bulldogs! Now, where's that Eagle soup recipe… #
  • Another Rex Hunt classic this afternoon: "For those watching on a black and white television, the red is immediately adjacent to the blue" #
  • Oh well, @Rex_Hunt's fat lady has sung. The dogs look to have little to no chance of beating West Coast now. Dogs will learn from this match #
  • On the bright side, @NRL_Bulldogs are doing quite well against the Gold Coast Titans. #
  • Yay! @NRL_Bulldogs defeated the Gold Coast Titans 30-20. Hooray! Go doggies. #
  • Not such good news in the AFL. Full time, @westernbulldogs went down to West Coast 21.10.(136) – 12.15.(87). #
  • Some people forget to change the clock on their car for daylight saving. I always forget to change the UTC offset in my WordPress plugins. #

April 1st, 2012 at 09:00pm

Samuel’s Musician Of The Week: Gordon Lightfoot

As a stark contrast to last week, this week’s award goes to Gordon Lightfoot, a man with a lovely voice who is capable of delivering some absolutely splendid gentle songs, and also capable of my favourite competency of a great musician…the ability to perform a faithful version of the song live.

My favourite of his songs is his 1971 hit “If You Could Read My Mind”, so here it is.

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong,
With chains upon my feet.
You know that ghost is me.
And I will never be set free
As long as I’m a ghost that you can’t see.

If I could read your mind, love,
What a tale your thoughts could tell.
Just like a paperback novel,
The kind the drugstores sell.
When you reached the part where the heartaches come,
The hero would be me.
But heroes often fail,
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just too hard to take!

I’d walk away like a movie star
Who gets burned in a three way script.
Enter number two:
A movie queen to play the scene
Of bringing all the good things out in me.
But for now, love, let’s be real;
I never thought I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it.
I don’t know where we went wrong,
But the feeling’s gone
And I just can’t get it back.

If you could read my mind, love,
What a tale my thoughts could tell.
Just like an old time movie,
‘Bout a ghost from a wishing well.
In a castle dark or a fortress strong.
With chains upon my feet.
But stories always end,
And if you read between the lines,
You’d know that I’m just tryin’ to understand
The feelin’s that you lack.
I never knew I could feel this way
And I’ve got to say that I just don’t get it.
I don’t know where we went wrong,
But the feelin’s gone
And I just can’t get it back!

Samuel

April 1st, 2012 at 06:36pm

The Sunday Bits for April 1, 2012

We have a bumper edition of The Sunday Bits this week, so here we go!

In this edition:
* Is there something in the airline food which is making people go crazy?
* Anna Bligh clearly has no respect for the public
* How long does it take news to travel across a sea?
* That Earth Hour nonsense
* A map of a trip back from the coast
* Kings Hwy roadworks this week
* Rex Hunt’s Fat Lady Singing
* Alan Stock takes over morning drive on KDWN-AM Las Vegas
* Radio Daylight Saving reminders
* Easter Programming Note

Is there something in the airline food which is making people go crazy?
For the second time in about as many weeks, we saw a bizarre incident occur on a flight within the United States in which a member of the flight crew seemed to lose the plot and have a meltdown.

A JetBlue plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas, Tuesday after the captain had a ‘medical situation’ while on the plane.

JetBlue 191, which was headed from New York’s Kennedy Airport to Las Vegas, was forced to make the landing after the pilot reportedly ran up and down the aisles screaming “Say your prayers” after he was locked outside the cockpit, The New York Post reported, citing a passenger.

“Someone next to me said he was saying something about bombs,” recounted the passenger,

Tiffany Lee, 26, to the paper. Another passenger told Fox 5 News that a man wearing a pilot’s uniform ran down the aisle screaming and banging on the cockpit door to let him in.
[..]
David Gonzalez, a former corrections officer who was headed to a security conference in Las Vegas, told Fox News that the pilot tried to break into the cockpit and struggled with the flight attendants and appeared to want to open the plane’s side door.

Gonzalez said the pilot began yelling about Iraq and Iran. After a two minute struggle, Gonzalez said he was able to subdue the pilot. Other passengers then stepped in and tied the pilot, he said.

(h/t Fox News)

There has been a little bit, not much, but a little bit of conjecture as to whether something is contributing to these meltdowns such as something in the water or the food. At the very least, it has to make you think about the possibility of terrorists or other enemy operatives getting in to the airline food preparation business, or the food preparation business in general. If they can make enough people lose the plot, they can create some widespread and difficult to predict or control chaos. One would hope that, even if it isn’t happening, the people charged with protecting us from such things, have already thought about the possibility and have devised ways of protecting us from it.

***

Anna Bligh clearly has no respect for the public
Last weekend, there was an election in Queensland. As expected, the conservative Liberal National Party, led by Campbell Newman, won in a landslide.

Before the election, the then-Premier and then-Labor leader Anna Bligh knew as well as the rest of us that Labor would be annihilated, and knew that she would most likely be unable to retain her position as Labor leader after the election. None the less, she made a commitment to the people of her electorate that, regardless of the outcome, if she won her seat, she would stay on for the full term as the representative of the people of South Brisbane. Consequently, the people of South Brisbane re-elected her, albeit with a reduced margin. They trusted her and bestowed upon her the great honour and responsibility of being an elected member of parliament, there to represent the interests of the people of her electorate.

Despite this, Ms. Bligh didn’t even wait 24 hours to not only do as was expected, resign as Labor leader, but to proverbially slap in the face every single person who voted for her by also resigning her seat in Parliament, displaying a complete contempt for the people who still wanted her to be their representative in parliament.

In a further blow to the people of South Brisbane, and Queensland in general, Ms. Bligh’s resignation is going to cause a by-election, which will cost the taxpayers of Queensland a heap of money. With this level of contempt for the public, is it any wonder that Ms. Bligh led Labor to the biggest defeat that anyone can remember?

It really makes me think that we need to change the laws so that, unless there is a valid medical reason, any politician who resigns their seat and causes a by-election should be forced to pay for the by-election themself, and potentially lose some post-political service entitlements (pension, car etc).

***

How long does it take news to travel across a sea?
I have written about delays in stories from the US reaching Australia before as it is a subject which intrigues me, and sadly it continues to intrigue me as it continues to happen.

You probably heard the story yesterday about the credit card data breach in the United States affecting Visa and Mastercard and others.

Four giant card-payment processors and large U.S. banks that issue debit and credit cards were hit by a data-security breach after third-party services provider Global Payments Inc discovered its systems were compromised by unauthorized access.

It was not immediately clear how many cardholders became victims of the breach, which affected MasterCard Inc, Visa Inc, American Express Co and Discover Financial Services, as well as banks and other franchises that issue cards bearing their logos.
[..]
Individual banks and processors said they had not yet determined the full extent of the breach, but Krebs on Security described it as a “massive” breach that may affect more than 10 million cardholders.

(h/t Fox Business Network)

I first heard about this one just before 1am Canberra time when my phone started going bezerk with alerts, the first one arriving from Fox at about 12:58 and a few others following within a couple minutes. This was big news, even here in Australia, given the fact that a lot of Australians purchase stuff from the US and could be caught up in this security breach. I posted the news to Twitter at 1:18am (I was at work and had some other stuff to deal with at the time, hence my delay):
screenshot of tweet
I kept an eye and ear out for news from Australian sources during the night, but did not spot anything before I went to bed around 3am. It was the wee hours of a Saturday morning, so I can understand and accept this delay, but it’s still unfortunate.

Now, I’m sure that news outlets ran with it during the day, but I was amazed by how Channel Seven covered it online. Seven tend to be pretty decent with pushing breaking big news out on their Twitter feeds, or at least they are during the week…on weekends, not so much. Seven News Sydney and Melbourne ran this tweet at the same time, which was their first and only mention of the story.
screenshot of tweet
4:09pm. More than 15 hours after the story was plastered across all of the American media.

I often think about how easy it would be to break international news in Australia simply by closely monitoring overseas news outlets. I also often think about how stories of great local interest and moderate national interest never make it out of their local market. I’ve written previously about how stories such as a home invasion in Deniliquin gets no coverage outside Deni, but a home invasion in Sydney gets talked about nationally for days.

To that end, I would love to, if I had the spare time and the funds behind me to make it work, start my own Australian spinoff of the Drudge Report formula. Effectively what I would like to do is start a site, similar to Drudge, and just monitor local, national, and international outlets, and link to the stories of interest, and occasionally run a story of my own when it is of interest. The aim would be to, as Matt Drudge has done, improve the reporting of news by ensuring that stories of interest get proper amounts of coverage. The aim would also be to remove a large portion of the Sydney bias from national media. Alas I have neither the spare time or money to do it, but if ever I get the chance, you can be sure that The Samuel Report will go live.

***

That Earth Hour nonsense
On the subject of how things get reported, that Earth Hour nonsense was on again last night. I’m not going to entirely blame the media outlets for this one because I think a decent portion of the blame has to go to the people who are feeding data to the media, but I have been bemused all morning (since the wee hours) by the fact that news outlets are reporting that Ausgrid have noticed a 10% drop in the power consumption in Sydney’s CBD during Earth Hour. No details about whether this is in comparison to the hour prior, or the same hour the day before, or the same hour last year, or some other random hour, and I actually don’t doubt the accuracy of the numbers…what I find interesting though is that we are hearing about the Sydney CBD.

Why the Sydney CBD and not all of Sydney or all of New South Wales or all of Melbourne?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because the Sydney CBD, whilst partially residential, is predominantly business office blocks. Places which would mostly be unmanned on the weekend and would have a) been using less power as a matter of course on the weekend, and b) wanted to turn off the lights in their corporate headquarters because their PR people think it will earn them brownie points.

Also, less Australians believe that humans are responsible for changes in the climate (this year: 34% believe, 29% don’t, 37% unsure. 2010: 35% believe, 26% don’t, 39% unsure. Source: Galaxy Poll/Institute of Public Affairs) this year than did last year or the year before that, and consequently less people are likely to be involved in Earth Hour (and possibly more people would be involved in Human Achievement Hour or similar and be turning stuff on rather than off), so the figures in areas outside of a busy-during-weekdays CBD would show less of a reduction when compared to previous years, and may even show an increase. That is why CBD figures are being cherry picked for media consumption by the people who want us to believe that Earth Hour was some great success and the rest of us should feel guilty for not taking part in it.

For the record, I was at work this year and was therefore not able to turn stuff on at home for the hour like I have done in previous years, however I was gladly working in a location which requires that much electricity that, if it was running on a generator instead of mains power, it would takes about 90 litres of diesel every hour. I have also drive to and from the coast twice in the last week, so I’ve done my bit to increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

***

A map of a trip back from the coast
Speaking of trips to and from the coast, I assure you that they were not for my own benefit (I’m not really a coast person…give me a nice inland town and I’ll be happy. In fact, as one person once said to me “you don’t strike me as the sun ‘n’ surf type”…how right they were), instead they were for the benefit of a family member who was visiting a relative for the week and needed transport to and from said location. On the way back, I decided to use the trip logging facility of the Metroview GPS app on my iPhone to log most of the trip. It produces a Google Earth file which, thankfully, Google Maps can render.


View Larger Map

The file from which this was rendered can be downloaded from here if you’re interested.

Apart from the fact that Metroview seems to have shifted the first bit of the journey way off to the west, the thing seems to work quite well. To explain the colour scheme, green indicates that my speed was under the speed limit, yellow indicates that it was on or slightly above the speed limit and red indicates that it was more than a few KM/H over the limit. I could have been certain that a previous test run of the logged included data about what the speed and time was at each point, but I might have dreamed that. (Update: OK, so it seems that the data is included on most of the pins. Click on them, and it’s there).

***

Kings Hwy roadworks this week
While on my latter trip, I noticed that the variable electronic message boards were warning that, in addition to the current raft of roadworks on the Kings Highway, there will be more roadworks this week which will close the road over the Clyde mountain for significant amounts of time.

This week, from Monday to Wednesday, the Kings Highway will be closed between Braidwood and Batemans Bay between 1pm and 2pm. Detours can be made via Nowra or Bega, but you’d probably be better off just waiting it out because the detours will take a lot longer to traverse than the road closures will take to run their course. Oddly, I can’t find this information on the RTA’s traffic website, so this could all become very peculiar very quickly.

***

Rex Hunt’s Fat Lady Singing
Yesterday I expressed my delight at hearing Rex Hunt doing his “fat lady singing” routine during the AFL Live call of Melbourne V Brisbane when, in the third quarter, it became evident that Melbourne had absolutely no hope of winning. I was particularly pleased by this because the last time I had heard Rex Hunt sing was in 2009 when he was at 3AW. Unfortunately when he was at Triple M he was forced to tone his personality down a lot, and until this year I had not been able to hear him call matches on AFL Live.

I was quite enjoying his work with Sandy Roberts and as soon as I heard Sandy ask Rex if the Fat Lady would be visiting, I had to run a tape over the coverage to capture this Fat Lady appearance. Rex didn’t disappoint…she sang twice!

For your enjoyment, here is the audio, courtesy of Crocmedia AFL Live and the Australian Football League.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download MP3
(h/t Crocmedia AFL Live and the Australian Football League. I certainly won’t be making a habit of recording the audio of AFL matches, but this was a special occasion, especially for me).

Dare I say it, but this is how AFL should sound on the radio. Thoroughly enjoyable coverage.

***

Alan Stock takes over morning drive on KDWN-AM Las Vegas
It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that Alan Stock has been appointed as the new morning drive (breakfast) host on KDWN-AM in Las Vegas. Alan is a very good host and a very nice man as well. He was my introduction to American talk radio, a story which I will get to in just a moment.

Alan Stock on Hannity, Fox News Channel
(file photo of Alan Stock on “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel)

Alan used to be the host of the morning drive program on KDWN’s chief competitor KXNT and for a time co-hosted this show with Heidi Harris. Heidi left KXNT and became Alan’s rival when she took over the KDWN morning drive slot. Alan regularly outrated her when they were head-to-head (I’m not casting aspersions of Heidi as I happen to like her too) however in 2010 some changes happened in management at KXNT, which resulted in the axing of some local programs and Alan being replaced in mornings by three hours of news. Alan moved to the afternoon drive slot which he hosted until late last year when KXNT decided to replace him. Earlier this year Alan found a new home in a mid-morning slot on KDWN.

At this point in time, while I didn’t say it publicly as some things are better left unsaid, I fully expected that this would result in either Alan joining or replacing Heidi in morning drive. A couple weeks ago, Heidi left KDWN and Alan Stock Highlights replaced her at first. It has now been made official that Alan is Heidi’s replacement. Intriguingly, there is a rumour floating around Vegas that Heidi is being hired by KXNT.

In Sydney it’s 2GB and 2UE who trade hosts intermittently. In Vegas, it’s KXNT and KDWN. Different town; same radio shenanigans.

Anyway, as I said earlier, Alan was my introduction to American talk radio. How it happened was that, in the month or so leading up to the 2008 Presidential election, I became absolutely fed up with the blanket pro-Obama coverage in the Australian media and, seeing as I didn’t think that the full story was being reported locally, I sought out a different viewpoint from a source which I knew would have a different viewpoint, commercial talk radio. It was a Monday night and I was at work. Work was quite slow and so I started flicking through the various stations which were listed in the iTunes directory (CBS had a heap of stations listed back then) and after flicking through a couple, I landed on KXNT and Alan Stock. His voice and passion hooked me in straight away, and I quickly discovered that there was a lot more than I expected that I did not know about Obama, that I needed to know. I knew he was bad news, but I didn’t know how bad he was…of course we’ve all (well, most of us) worked out how bad a President Obama has turned out to be since then.

I tuned in again the next night at 11pm (5am Las Vegas time as we were both in daylight saving at the time) and continued to enjoy what I heard, including the great local news coverage by Kristen Flowers and the KXNT team, and then on the Wednesday night I decided that, while it was quiet at work, I would make a call to Alan and inform him of just how much I hoped the citizens of the US would see sense and vote against Obama. John McCain wasn’t perfect, but he would have been sooo much better than Obama. I recorded that call that night, and here it is for your listening interest.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download MP3

So a big congratulations to Alan on his new gig, and a thank you to him for being on that morning when I first tuned in. It was thanks to that first encounter that I stuck with KXNT, made some great friends in Vegas, found some fantastic radio shows and learnt a lot about the US as a result…and I also wouldn’t have received an email in 2010 from a Australian friend asking if it was me that they heard while they were on holiday in Las Vegas. Now that gave me a good chuckle.

***

Radio Daylight Saving reminders
Do you remember this from 2010?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download MP3

That was 2GB’s reminder message about the end of daylight saving in 2010. This week just gone I noticed some reminders about daylight saving on 2GB and 2UE and set about recording them. 2GB have not updated their reminder, but have added their current station identification imaging to the end of it.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download MP3

And 2UE’s reminder isn’t all that dissimilar.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Download MP3

I wonder, does this rank up there in the list of mundane things that I’ve alongside the listening to the talking clock when the daylight saving changeover occurred one year, only to discover that the talking clock did not update?

***

Easter programming note
Finally, a quick note about next weekend. Due to the Easter break, the Sunday Bits and the Musician Of The Week award will be taking the week off. Also, so that I can make the Musician Of The Week award occur each week regardless of my work schedule, I will be pre-writing a month of those at a time…not that you should see a difference as they will simply be scheduled to appear at the correct time, which is what happens now anyway when I write them in the morning or afternoon.

Also, this may very well be my longest blog post ever. 3496 words and counting according to WordPress. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing seeing as I do need to get some sleep now and I have just spent three hours and a bit on this blog post, but it’s a record, and that’s something which I will have to try and beat at some stage in the future.

Until next time, tada!

Samuel

2 comments April 1st, 2012 at 09:38am

April Fools Day

An email to 2UE’s John Kerr

Good morning John,

Happy April Fools Day! What an interesting day for the daylight saving changeover to occur. There are so many opportunities to work daylight saving in to a prank by deliberately telling people to change their clocks the wrong way, or by the wrong amount, or better yet, tell the Queensland listeners that they will be joining daylight saving when we leave it.
Here's another one I thought of which you might be interested in using one year. In the "On This Day" segment, find out some really mundane things which happened and use them instead of the historical events. For example, on this day in  1904 the United States Surgeon General enacted a close quarantine in Texas. In 1932, "Mobsmen On The Spot", the ninth story featuring a fictional vigilante named The Shadow was published. In 1948, it was a Thursday. And in 1976, the overnight low in Canberra was 9 degrees, the top temperature was 20 and it did not rain.
Actually, there's another idea for you John, just give out different weather forecasts…so give Sydney's forecast for Brisbane, Canberra's forecast for Dubbo and so on and so forth.
Ahhh the possibilities.
Anyway, will you be on next weekend? If not, have a great Easter, and be good so that the Easter Bunny visits.
Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
P.S. The above historical data is accurate. I have been researching it while I have been writing this email.

April 1st, 2012 at 01:30am


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