Archive for December, 2008

And back to Canberra

I’m heading back to Canberra this afternoon and should arrive at some stage tonight. At this stage I intend on taking the longer and more scenic route via Echuca and Albury, although that may change.

It may interest you to know that on Monday evening I decided to drive to Echuca and ended up buying petrol (at 111.9 cents per litre, three cents cheaper than in Deniliquin) while I was there. 57.63 litres of the stuff to be precise. It had been exactly 660KM since I had last filled the tank, and apart from a small amount of city or town based driving as I left Canberra, drove through towns and a small trip in Deniliquin, it was all highway driving.

57.63 litres to travel 660KM works out at 11.452368558042686100989068193649 kilometres per litre.

I will be topping up again before leaving Deniliquin, so it will be interesting to see if I am able to get back to Canberra on one tank of petrol if I take the longer route via Echuca and Albury which is about 663KM or 57.89 litres based on the above calculation. If the calculation is accurate, then I shouldn’t have any problems getting back to Canberra on a single tank of petrol.

And for those of you who are wondering, yes this does mean that I will be back on 1WAY FM’s breakfast show tomorrow morning.


5 comments December 31st, 2008 at 11:04am

To assist us with arresting you in a prompt manner, please leave your name and address at the crime scene

Some days detectives just get all the luck:

A 40-year-old Chicago area man allegedly robbed a Chicago bank on Friday using a threatening note written on the back of his own pay slip, which was printed with his name and home address.

Thomas Infante of Cary, Illinois, walked into a Fifth Third Bank at 5.50pm local time and handed a teller a note that read “Be Quick Be Quit (sic). Give your cash or I’ll shoot,” according to an FBI affidavit filed on Monday. The teller gave the man about $US400.

The robber left behind his demand note, written on a torn half of the pay slip.

Investigators found the other half of the note – with Infante’s name and home address – outside the bank’s front doors.

The pay stub showed Infante was paid $US165.99 by Jewel Food Stores on October 23, according to the FBI.

“It’s fairly unusual that we see something that specifically stupid,” said FBI spokesman Ross Rice.

“But overall, we see a lot of strange bank robberies.”

The bank teller described the robber as a man in his late 30s with brown eyes and no front teeth.

Investigators learned Infante may have been living at a home less than two blocks from the bank. They interviewed his brother there, who said Infante had been there earlier and had left a brown jacket behind – the same one seen in a security videotape of the robbery, according to the FBI affidavit.

His brother, shown a photograph taken from the bank security video, also identified him as the robber.

Infante was arrested at his Cary home and later admitted to the robbery, according to the FBI affidavit.

Not exactly the most inspired bank robbery in history. Surely if he wanted to rob bank customers of $400 he could have just taken up a job as a bank executive and introduced a new fee. He might have managed to get away with it then, although with his writing skills he may have created a “reverse fee” where every customer gets $400…hmmm, who runs St. George Bank and how do I make them hire this bloke?


1 comment December 31st, 2008 at 07:54am

Welcome to New Year’s Eve Government Fools Day

I certainly hope it’s a December version of April Fools Day, because this story which I heard on the 5am 2UE news, seemingly from The Daily Telegraph, is just bizarre.

TEENAGERS caught with fake identification will be forced to spend an extra six months on their P-plates.

The move comes as police warn of a thriving blackmarket in fraudulent IDs, with students paying up to $80 for professional-quality altered driver’s licences.

To be introduced early next year, police will pass on offenders’ details to the Roads and Traffic Authority and those already on their provisional plates will have the additional six months automatically added.

It will take their minimum time spent on P-plates to 3½ years.

Uh huh, and what about those who don’t have a licence?

Gaming and Racing Minister Kevin Greene said the penalties would be retrospective, meaning youngsters caught and who are unlicensed will still be forced to spend the extra time on their provisional licences.

Apparently it removes the burden from parents…apparently being responsible for people under the age adulthood is a bad thing.

It is also in response to parents bailing out their children by paying the existing $620 fine on their behalf.

“We’re introducing this sanction because P-platers to be punished for using fake IDs risking your driver’s licence strikes a chord with young people,” Mr Greene said.

“Imposing a fine which might cause some fleeting pain – or even none at all if parents are paying it – but having to stay on your P-plates well after all your mates are on their full licence might just get the message through.”

If they’re so serious about making sure that parents aren’t inconvenienced, why not just make it illegal for parents to pay the fine, with some awful penalty if they are proven to have done so.

I’m not sure that referreing to the great deterrent of our legal system, the fine, as “fleeting pain” was such a good idea either.

All that said, it looks like people who never get a licence, and quite possibly those who move interstate, will never have to deal with the extra half a year of a provisional licence. Could this be a novel approach to curing Sydney’s traffic problems?


2 comments December 31st, 2008 at 05:20am

The Sensational Security Fiasco

There’s a bit of a hullabaloo going on in the media today about a supposed lack of security guards at a New Year’s Eve dance event in Melbourne.

The event in question is called “Sensation” and until now, I’d never heard of it. Well, actually, I had seen the name, but didn’t really bother finding out what it was…which was probably a good thing as it’s not really my cup of tea (and it could be argued that it wouldn’t suit people who measure events in terms of cups of tea anyway). It does occur to me now that the myriad of people I know who have left Canberra for Melbourne this week are probably going to that event…I’m glad that I wasn’t present when the idea of going was floated as it would have made for a very boring conversation.

Anyway, back on topic, there are supposedly going to be 50 security guards, although organisers have claimed on 3AW that the number will be closer to 200, for the 40,000 people expected to attend, which works out at 800 people per guard (or 200 people per guard if the organisers are to be believed), a number which falls short of some supposed benchmark of 2 guards for the first hundred people and one guard for each hundred thereafter.

Surely though, the number of guards plus the uniformed and plain-clothed police who will be there is plenty for what will almost certainly be a festive and fairly pleasant event. The people who are whinging about a lack of guards really need to remember that security guards are not riot police, and are really just a form of crowd control and a deterrent to those who may want to cause mischief. There is almost nothing that they can do to prevent or stop a riot should the conditions be right for them…that’s when you call in the police and let them deal with it.

Sometimes I think the people who are whinging about this (as the latest thing in a long series of “whinging because we can”) won’t be happy until there are two security guards for every attendee. They don’t seem to realise that nobody would actually attend such an event, and they would avoid “organised” events if such rules were put in place, effectively leading to impromptu events in suburban locations, which are prone to gatecrashes, and the exact trouble that these organised events tend to discourage.

Virtually mandating that people attending these organised events end up dancing with the security guards is not helpful to anyone, and it’s about time that the people who in reality want to ban organised (and impromptu) events, and are using this security hoopla as a thin veil to do so, should just follow my lead, and go to bed before midnight on New Year’s Eve.


1 comment December 30th, 2008 at 01:36pm

Here’s an idiot who needs to be caught

A mere click away from the WIN News videos that I posted earlier today, in the “related videos” section of YouTube, I came across these videos of an idiot hooning around Canberra’s streets on a motorbike, in one case reaching 212km/h on ANZAC Parade which is a 60km/h zone, and reaching plenty of other ridiculous speeds on other Canberra roads, in traffic.

Edit: It looks like The RiotACT stumbled on this a few days ago, and the Canberra Times have a story this morning about Police trying to find this menace.

For the record, this article on this blog was written at about 7pm yesterday. End Edit.

It looks like they may have run a red light towards the end of the second video as well…almost a certainty considering that they were slowing down but still travelling in excess of 100km/h when the video faded to a different clip just as they were reaching the stop line.

The sooner this idiot is caught and stopped, the better. It’s just a pity that the numberplate which appears briefly is unreadable.

Update 3:42pm: Thanks to Kenneth for a link to an ABC News article which notes that a man is being questioned by police over the videos.

I congratulate the police on their swift work, however I am taken aback by a section of the article:

Superintendent [Matthew] Varley has also criticised internet users who viewed the video.

He says viewing the video might encourage others to drive unsafely.

“We want Canberrans to recognise themselves that simply promoting this sort of behaviour, viewing this sort of behaviour and commenting on it online encourages this sort of thing and it’s quite simply a stupid irresponsible act that puts other people at risk,” he said.

“If you see people driving around at excessive speeds, report it to us at the time so we can take some action at the time as well.”

I must say that I find the comments of Superintendent Varley somewhat perplexing considering that the online community did a lot of the legwork on this case (see the work done by The RiotACT in unearthing various online profiles which apparently belong to the creator of the videos) and have been highly critical of the rider in the videos. It would also be fair to say that a number of people have reported these videos to Police after watching them.

In my view, Superintendent Varley needs to remember that watching the videos is not illegal, and in a democratic society the public is entitled to discuss such things. Whilst it is possible that Superintendent Varley is venting at the few people on YouTube who seem to be encouraging the creator of the videos, his comments are too broad, and are enough to prompt me to write a letter to him expressing both my concerns about his comments, and my thanks for his, and his team’s, prompt action. End Update


4 comments December 30th, 2008 at 11:07am

WIN News Canberra vs WIN News NSW/ACT

On Friday I noted that WIN News in Canberra was actually a state/territory edition for New South Wales and the ACT produced in WIN’s Wollongong studios. I also noted that I believed it was of a higher quality, and provided a better insight in to the news than the usual Canberra bulletin.

I notice that YouTube user canberratelevision has posted highlights of both the state/territory bulletin, and the Canberra bulletin from the 17th of December. As such, here they are…decide for yourself.

WIN News Canberra: 17th December 2008

WIN News NSW/ACT: 26th December 2008


December 30th, 2008 at 09:56am

Or you could just wait for a real storm…

What a pity it is that there isn’t going to be a natural thunderstorm around 11:59 on Wednesday night in Sydney. Just think of all the money that the New South Wales government could pump in to schools, roads and hospitals:

From The Australian:

SYDNEY will usher in 2009 with a $5 million pyrotechnics display using almost twice as much fireworks as last year.

More than five tonnes of fireworks will explode over Sydney Harbour, in what event organisers have dubbed the Midnight Creation Storm.

The fireworks display will feature “stunning new effects like lightning, thunder and rain,” Sydney New Year’s Eve Creative Director Rhoda Roberts said.

Which makes me wonder why the weather bureau haven’t noticed the impending storm. Their forecast calls for “mostly sunny” weather.

That said, Ms. Roberts has a theory as to why the Sydney forecast hasn’t change, which she explained to The Sydney Morning Herald:

“As we go into the countdown and the fireworks begin, you really are going to be taken away to another world.”

My question though, is where are all of the climate change alarmists? Why aren’t they complaining about the pollution from the fireworks:

More than 5000 kilograms of explosive devices will be fired into the sky, 2000 kilograms more than last year, at a cost of $5 million.

On the bright side, at least we haven’t been fed the usual nonsense about the fireworks being great for the economy, because think about it for a moment, about the only people to make money out of new year’s eve are licenced premises, taxis, and whichever television network has a bunch of inebriated hosts ooohing, aaahing and rambling at the fireworks. The first two would happen regardless of the fireworks, just in a more distributed manner, and the latter, well they’re on all three commercial networks this year as Seven and Nine have worked out that there are fireworks outside of Sydney…wouldn’t be nice if these were people from whom we could be spared.


December 30th, 2008 at 06:54am

Thus, I Laughed

When an email from GetUp about climate change was forwarded to me earlier this year by a friend, all that I could do was laugh…I couldn’t even muster up a full rant due to my amusement.

It wasn’t the fact that it was an email pushing the “humans are destroying the planet” line, asking for people to sign an online petition that caused me to be amused, it was the fact that this friend, who I consider to be quite intelligent, had fallen for GetUp’s version of the story which, as usual for this mob, was quite a twisting of the truth.

Perhaps this press release which has crossed my desk late yesterday from The Australian Environment Foundation will adequately explain what I couldn’t find the words to explain after receiving that email and falling in to a fit of laughter a few months ago:

Australian Environment Foundation
Media Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, 29 December 2008
Getaway GetUp on the ETS

GetUp’s global warming television ads (to air today) are dishonest and inaccurate, according to Dr Jennifer Marohasy, Chair of the Australian Environment Foundation.

“For all sorts of reasons a number of groups, of which Internet campaigners are one, are pretending that the Rudd Government’s proposed Emissions Trading Scheme is a minor 5 to15 percent adjustment to our way of life”.

“In fact, the government’s ETS will reduce the amount of energy available to every man; woman and child currently living in the country by an extraordinary 35 percent, absent the discovery and implementation of an unknown source of carbon free energy in the next ten years”.

Dr Marohasy said that this would be the equivalent of closing down all of Australia’s manufacturing and half its rural industries.

“Or thought of another way, it is the equivalent of closing 72% of our current power generation capacity (stationary power)”.

Dr Marohasy said that population growth masked the severity of the scheme.

“Our natural birth-rate plus immigration intake adds around 360,000 to the population every year, roughly the equivalent of another Brisbane every 5 years – 20 percent growth in 11 years – making 35% look like 15%”.

Dr Marohasy said that it was understandable that groups like GetUp that stand for nothing and are opposed to everything would want to downplay the severity of the government’s proposals.

“If GetUp has nothing to complain about they are out of business, so of course they want to portray the government’s decision in the ‘worst’ light”.

She said that the government also has a vested interest in downplaying the severity of their scheme.

“Kevin Rudd wants to convince Australians that it won’t hurt one little bit, so he’s happy for groups like GetUp to criticize him for being John Howard lite.

In fact, the proposed ETS will make Australians poorer; while it is richer, not poorer nations that are better able to protect their natural environment”.


Click to access vol1-summary.pdf

– ENDS –

I just love the “groups like GetUp that stand for nothing and are opposed to everything” quote, and I hope this story gets a good run in the media today.


December 30th, 2008 at 04:43am

Canberra relocated to Victoria

Well, almost.

When WIN News Victoria teased the story about the lone pine at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra being split in two, I was wondering how they were going to put a local angle on it in order to pass it off as local news.

So, how did they do it? The stock intro for the story had a line added to it about it providing branches or pine cones or similar to Victorian school students over the years. The rest appeared to be the stock intro which would have been used on the Canberra edition of WIN News, followed by Janene Manwaring’s story, which also would have aired on WIN News Canberra.

It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a slow news day around here…oh, and that a bunch of stories on WIN News Victoria were on my 2QN bulletins this morning.


5 comments December 29th, 2008 at 06:54pm

Statistics from the trip to Deniliquin

I left home around 3:30am and decided to head over to Weston to the Caltex which is usually the cheapest Caltex in town. There was also a nice fog which turned out to be much thicker than I expected.

I also forgot to take a 4c discount voucher with me, so ended up paying 98.9 cents per litre for 50.56 litres at a cost of $50.00

I left Caltex Weston at 3:55am and decided to take the slightly longer route via Albury (it adds about 10KM to the “medium distance” northern run via Narrandera, which is in turn about 40KM more than the short run via Lockhart and Urana) as I haven’t travelled to Deniliquin via this route before, so it would make for an interesting change…and I had plenty of time. Depending on how I feel when I leave the town, I may decide to take a longer route home.

I pulled over and stopped for a nap for about an hour and a half about twenty minutes before reaching Gundagai as I was overcome by a sudden tiredness. I stopped in Gundagai for breakfast for half an hour. These were my only breaks along the way.

I was also stopped for a random breath test in Holbrook, while I was listening to Jason Morrison interviewing Alan Jones about his operation to remove a brain tumour, on 2GB’s “Highlights of the Alan Jones Breakfast Show, with Jason Morrison” podcast.

I arrived at the hotel in Deniliquin at 11:50am which, once the breaks are removed, makes a total trip time of 5 hours and 55 minutes. The total travel distance was 564.2KM, and therefore the average speed of the journey was 95.357746478873239436619718309859 km/h.


2 comments December 29th, 2008 at 06:04pm

It sounds like you have my cold!

Good afternoon Stuart,
It sounds like you caught my cold. I promise that the Christmas card was sent before I caught the cold.
I also didn't taste Christmas lunch on Christmas day…but for a different reason. I was feeling rather lousy with my cold so I went to bed at 1pm and didn't wake up until about 5am on Boxing Day! Just like you though, I've been battling through, working despite the cold.
On the topic of random breath testing, I had my breath tested yesterday morning in Holbrook. I was asked the same question as you, gave the same answer as you, and my breath test confirmed my answer, and I was sent on my way…however to answer your question, you're asked if you've been drinking because your breath test will produce a higher result than your true blood alcohol level for a period of time after your last drink.
Have a great afternoon.
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Currently in Deniliquin

December 29th, 2008 at 03:35pm

I didn’t realise that this is actually a song

This was played on IGA Deniliquin’s PA system yesterday afternoon, which had me briefly scratching my head thinking “but they don’t advertise here”.

Until now I thought this was just a piece of production music, but it looks like the instrumental version is being used as the bed for a certain company’s ads in Canberra.

And now I can’t remember the name of the advertiser…I may subconciously be forced to visit them and buy their stock upon my return to Canberra though.


December 29th, 2008 at 12:50pm

Suicide Jumper Kills Cyclist

An abbreviated version of this appears on page three of this morning’s Albury-Wodonga newspaper, The Border Mail. You know that it’s a slow news day when a regional paper has to find news in China to fill page three.

Suicide jumper kills cyclist
December 28, 2008 – 8:38PM

A cyclist died after he was hit by an apparently suicidal man who jumped from the 35th floor of a nearby building in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, state media has reported.

The 52-year-old cyclist, surnamed Li, was making deliveries from his fast food restaurant when the jumper landed on him on Thursday afternoon, the official China Daily reported on Sunday.

The younger man, surnamed Liu, was allegedly a drug addict who had moved to Shenzhen from the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang, the newspaper quoted local media as saying.

He jumped from the balcony of an apartment after standing there for 12 hours, it said.

Liu died instantly and Li died later in hospital, the newspaper said in a brief report.

Whilst I doubt this will make a difference…if you dohappen to find yourself perched on a tall building and in need of a reason not to jump, just think about the people below.


Lifeline: 13 11 14

3 comments December 29th, 2008 at 10:57am

Deniliquin Again

I’m in Deniliquin again and was going to write a couple things yesterday afternoon but decided to have a nap instead.

Unfortunately I left the camera at home so I’ll have to wait until later in the week to post the photos I took the last time I was in Deniliquin.

It’s a slow news day here…and it looks like a slow news day in Melbourne and Albury as well as 3AW’s morning show is having a lengthy chat about “the evils of four wheel drives in urban places”. I think one of the emailers got it right that it depends on the driver…I know a number of people who drive four wheel drives in urban areas, some are good at it, and some should walk.

As for Albury…stay tuned because I’ve got a story that I noticed on page three of this morning’s Border Mail coming up shortly.


December 29th, 2008 at 09:49am

WIN Local News from Wollongong

I noticed that WIN Television decided to run a “state and territory” edition of WIN Local News tonight from their Wollongong studios with reports from various parts of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

This probably won’t be a popular statement with the staff at WIN Canberra, but I thought it was a substantial improvement. With Nine News being so Sydney-and-Parliament-House-centric, it was nice to see a half hour bulletin filled with news of substance from across the ACT and regional New South Wales. I was particularly impressed by the fact that, despite it being Boxing Day and therefore not the busiest of news days, the WIN bulletin was filled with news of substance, unlike the Canberra bulletin which seems to struggle to fill the bulletin most nights.

I would be quite happy to see an ACT and New South Wales bulletin as a nightly thing on WIN in place of the existing service, although I would prefer to have a more detailed local weather report than the rushed state overview which we saw tonight…or just a longer version of the state overview, which seemed to work well except for the short amount of time allocated to it.

Well done WIN, that was one of the few quality Aussie productions that we’re likely to see on the box in the coming week.


3 comments December 26th, 2008 at 08:57pm

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