Sunday, December 23, 2007

Would you believe?

Evil. Addictive. Antisocial. That's the only way to describe what happens when you are given the complete series of Get Smart. Comedy Gold. I've been watching the episodes and did they cast the most gorgeous women.
Of course there's 99:

Charlie Watkins (great disguise):
and, the scientist Dr Steele, all from CONTROL:


Evil also has a pretty face. KAOS has Octavia, a robot:
and Mrs Neal to name a few:
Then there are others. Mrs Weatherly, a femme in distress:
and Tanya:

Sorry about that....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chicken Little

I can't believe the level of doomsday predictions being uttered by the defeated liberal supporters. Check this link from Perth for some classic examples. Some are threatening to leave the country. Please do, we would be better off without you.

This election has restored my faith in the Australian public. I do hope that they voted Howard out not because of how it may effect the amount of cash in their wallets, but because they wanted to turf out lying, deceiving, pompous, weak, gutless, racist, misogynistic, buck-passing, uncaring, born-to-rule attitudinal, selfish and self-serving politicians.

Let's hope that K07 really does implement a true education revolution and give back to the public schools what has been taken away from them. ps, K07, give Brumby a call and tell him to start the revolution off by giving Victorian Teachers their fair dues.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The last word before saturday

The guys at Political Compass have looked at the major parties in the upcoming election and have come up with this:



One thing that strikes me is how authoritarian all the major parties are. I wonder if we did this 30 - 40 years ago where the parties would lie. In fact it would be an interesting exercise to do a time lapse image watching the dots move over this period of time. I bet you it would look like as if One Nation was leading the way and the rest wanting to catch them. What a sad reflection on the swinging voter. Face it, it is to them that the politicians pitch their policies.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Minor minor parties IX

What the hell, I’m just watching TV at the moment so I’ll finish of my look into the senate.

The independents

Group V: Tony and Amanda Klein
Tony classes himself as an average Victorian. He’s worked in the private and public sector. He says he has no specific policies and will approach any decision based on his life experience and background. Given this is all his website says, it’s really hard to work out what he stands for. Surely he has certain values and beliefs that may influence his decision making?

Group T: Joseph Kaliniy and Koulla Mesaritis
It was really hard to find any information on these two. The only thing that I could come up with was someone else’s look at the senate.
This website has gone into detail about who each senate candidate is preferencing. Anyway, the site refers to Joseph as the roundabout guy who stands in every election there is, a la Steve Raskovy. He is campaigning against problem roundabouts and parents’ rights to discipline their children.

Norman Walker
I can’t find anything at all about this guy except that he’s a mature age student. Still, this guy gets my vote ahead of some of the others.

Darryl O’Bryan

This guy loves the constitution. And I mean really loves the constitution. He wants to go around to every school preaching about the constitution. He wants to remove all lawyers from our parliament. He says that the current tax laws are unconstitutional. In fact, I hazard to guess he think everything is unconstitutional.

Tejay M ┼×ener
He is an applied physicist and his website has a few youtube clips outlining his policies. Some of which include:
- A Bill of Rights
- Heaps of funding for child centres and nursing homes.
- Cut funding to a sporting organisation if an athlete of their's is found using drugs.
- Rural Australia to get funding for satellite TV, phone and internet.
- Funding for public television like Channel 31.
- Funding for robotic vehicles. (What’s the bet that’s what he is working on?)
- Stop sales of uranium and no to nuclear power.
- Bring the troops back home.

That’s it. I’m not going into the preference deals because someone has already done this, thank goodness. Now to vote.

Minor minor parties VIII

This post looks at the anarchists and socialists.

Anarchists

The anarchists have two members standing (Group I on the Victorian ballot) including the frequent newspaper letter writer and broadcaster Joseph Toscano. They define an Anarchist Society as “a voluntary, non-hierarchical society based on the creation of social and political structures that allow all people equal access to that society's power and wealth". Joseph is not even enrolled to vote but because he’s entitled to vote he is entitled to be on the ballot. His policies include:
- people can throw out non-performing MP’s by signing a petition.
- people can initiate referendums.

Good luck to Joseph, he’s been up for election at least 6 or 7 times.


Socialist Equality Party
Looking through their website I stumbled upon pictures of their candidates, one of whom was one of my supervising teachers during my dip ed. Not only that, he’s standing in the house of reps in my seat. He was a nice guy. Anyway, I’ll now look at their policies.
- Withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Those responsible for the war be tried for war crimes.
- The release of anyone captured in the war held in US prison and detention camps.
- Remove Australian troops from the south pacific and spend the money on schools and hospitals.
- The disbanding of the entire Australian military apparatus.
- Repel of all anti-terror laws.
- Preferential voting to be replaced with proportional representation.
- Remove discrimination based on nationality, ethnic background, religion, gender or sexual preference.
- Right to abortion.
- Opposition to the death penalty.
- Public ownership of large privately-owned industrial, mining, service and pharmaceutical corporations, together with banking and financial institutions and privatised utilities, with full compensation to all small shareholders.
- A fully-funded, high-class public school, university and TAFE education system.
- Billions to be provided to the public health system, to finance a huge expansion in staffing, training, technology and equipment.
- Vast expansion in funding for the arts and scientific research.
- Freedom of speech and an end to political, intellectual and artistic censorship.

It’s a very idealist platform. Unfortunately the world is not ready to live in such a socialist utopia.

Socialist Alliance

The Socialist Alliance doesn’t advocate the whole-sale changes the Socialist Equality Party does and their policies do not seem to be as revolutionary. Here are some:
- Tear up Work Choices.
- Phase out coal power for renewable energies.
- No Gunns pulp mill.
- No dredging Port Phillip Bay.
- Universal and free education and health systems.
- Medicare to cover optical and dental.
- More money for all levels of public education.
- No TAFE or university fees.
- A living wage for all carers, pensioners and unemployed.
- Troops to be brought back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Restore civil liberties lost under anti-terrorism laws.
- Support same-sex marriage and adoption rights.
- All refugees welcome to Australia and be given full citizenship rights.
- Repeal all laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
- Build new public housing to end the waiting list.

That just leaves the independent candidates. I'll have to get this done tomorrow since I need to post my postal vote before I leave.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Minor minor parties VII

I started looking at the remaining parties for future posts, but this one is too good to leave for another day. So this is my second post for the day. I think this is a first.

Australian Shooters Party
Basically these guys think that the Greens have “an idealistic, skewed and dangerous vision for the future.” Here are their policies and I'll let you decide if they have “an idealistic, skewed and dangerous vision for the future.”

- The right of the law-abiding citizen to own and use firearms. Just forget about what may happen if you give everyone guns. What happens if you don’t agree with a certain law? Do you cease to be law abiding and will you hand in your weapon?

- You can carry non-lethal methods of protection if firearms are not an option. These guys must be proud of those youths who carry around knuckle dusters.

- Support recreational hunting. If you’ve got a gun, you might as well use it, especially to kill things just for fun.

- 4WD and horses can run free in National and State parks. Let those poor 4WD’s into the forests, it’s their natural habitat. As tiny babies, 4WD’s were removed from the forests and now that they have grown up, they just want to go back.

- Opposes undue violence on TV, films and video. And yet they are OK if the violence is perpetrated by themselves. Work that out.

- Any law which has no demonstrable benefit should be repealed. Well, only if it doesn’t benefit guys with guns.

- Environmental laws should be framed with regard to the greater good and not to placate a minority pressure viewpoint. Hmmm, I wonder if a policy having 4WD’s running rampant through forests is for the greater good, or to placate a minority pressure viewpoint.

This reminds me of the Sacred Cows and their song, "Kill, Kill, Kill, Thrill, Thrill, Thrill". You know, after reading this I think I need a gun. Or maybe a red sports car. I don't think I'm a man unless I have one of these.

Minor minor parties VI

I’ll now look at three parties which I think belong in the same section but I can’t think of a collective label for them.

What Women Want Australia

This party has been set up to address issues affecting women. They feel that politics has been dominated by males for too long and that women should be given more say in the direction of the country. Here is their youtube ad.

Their policies include:
- Medicare should cover dental, midwifery, physiotherapy and complementary and natural medicine. The evidence for complementary and natural medicine efficacy is minimal or non existence. Medicare should not be used for treatments that just don’t work.
- Right to choose whether to continue with an unwanted pregnancy.
- Do not support Work Choices.
- Paid parental leave.
- Same sex couples to have same rights as heterosexual couples.
- A critical assessment of our welfare system that often provides little incentive for people to find full-time employment.
- Free preschool program for children.
- Better funding for public schools.
- Abolishment of HECS and reintroduction of free university education.
- Water: Reduce, reuse, recycle. Free water tanks for homes. No dams.
- Energy: Ratify Kyoto protocol. Invest in renewable energy, but not nuclear.
- Invest in new rail, walking and cycling infrastructure.
- Support fair trade and humanitarian relief and welcoming to our shores refugees from war-torn countries.

Carers Alliance

This party has been formed by carers of those with disabilities who believe that the mainstream parties have neglected their role in our society. There are about 2.6 million carers in Australia. Their policies are all geared towards having a say in the funding and structure for the carers. The want to implement Recommendations 18 and 19 of the House of Representatives Inquiry into Balancing Work and Family which are as follows:

Recommendation 18 (8.42) The Australian Government consider allowing adults, who incur care costs for the care of elderly relatives or relatives with a disability, to have the choice of either receiving all current carers’ benefits or claiming these costs as a tax deduction where they can demonstrate that paid care was necessary to allow them to work.

Recommendation 19 (8.53) The Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs make access to its funding programs more flexible, including the $19,000 per child per annum under the Inclusion Support Scheme, so that community groups and businesses can establish child care centres that have expertise in the needs of children with a disability and allow the development of after school hours care and vacation care for special needs children.
They also want more funding and services for mental health care. Also, if carers move interstate they lose disability services. They believe that no one should be disadvantage by moving states.

Non-custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting)

This party’s main policies relate to divorce or separation. They believe that the starting point of any judgment should be that of 50:50 equal share parenting. They believe that both parents are important for children growing up. They also believe that there is an ingrained culture in the Family Court that prevents them from looking at equal share parenting. They wish to abolish the Child Support Agency and repel the Child Support legislation.

They support the Marriage Manifesto. This includes that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life and that children have a right to a father and a mother. They list 21 points as to why marriage matters. The points have certain claims. For example: Point 20, Married women appear to have a lower risk of experiencing domestic violence than do cohabiting or dating women. This statement is based on a US study using data from 1987-88 and 1992-93. I don’t know whether this may apply to Australia.

Other policies include:
- Do not support the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.
- Support free trade and globalisation.
- Recognise climate change exists. They support the removal of emphasis on coal power but don’t want nuclear power. However further down on their web page they say that alternative sources are by themselves not solutions to the problem and then go on to say that coal and nuclear are the only two viable sources of power.
- Support a Commonwealth dental scheme.


This last party has the feel of a party that came into existence because of one angry man. It has one core issue and the rest of the policies have just been put together in haste. The other two parties seem to have had more thought put into their ideas and seem reasonable.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Minor minor parties V

I'm away on the weekend of the election and so am doing a postal vote. I've received the ballots in the mail so I need to get cracking with my research. This installment looks at the religious parties.

Christian Democratic Party
This is the party run by Fred Nile. I do enjoy this tidbit they have on their web page. We "were responsible for saving the Letona Fruit Canning company, which has unfortunately closed!!!!!" Anyway, here are their policies:
- Parliament starts with a prayer. Which version of Christian prayer do they want? In fact why not let every sect have an opening prayer. And every religion.

- Zero tolerance drug policy. They all point to Sweden as having a successful zero tolerance policy. This article suggests that drug use actually rose after this policy was introduced.

- Immigration should be for those who can readily integrate into Australian society. There should be a 10 year moratorium on Islamic immigration. That is, you better be white, Christian and speak the Queen's English or keep out!

- Fund chaplains in all schools. Again, which denomination has preference?

- Schools should not be used for social engineering experiments such as the promotion of alternative lifestyles such as homosexuality. Yeah. That's what every teacher tries to do.

- Accepts that the scientific debate around climate change is unresolved and in that sense the CDP remains agnostic in respect to scientific elements of the climate change debate. This just goes to show that they have no idea of current scientific thinking and that they still are intellectually in the dark ages.

Family First
I'll put these guys in even though they have a senator because they are really a minor minor party. They don't overtly state they are a religious party, but we all know they are part of the new evangelical "money money me me" movement. Also, they ranked highly on the Australian Christian Values Institute poll. On their website, their policies are listed as over 30 one liners which link to a pdf. This is disingenuous. The one liners may look good on the surface to the naive web surfer, but you need to get the nuts and bolts of the policy to find out what evil lurks within.
- FAMILY FIRST believes “family” refers to relationships that bind grandparents, mums and dads and their children and form the basis of a community. Provided your not gay, a single parent, just plain single, live in a de facto relationship, or don't have your own business.

- More money in your pocket. This means cutting taxes and restoring "real" competition. Hang on a second, doesn't real competition end up mostly with monopolies??? What about taxes to build infrastructure? But then again, "small business is the true hero of our economy". Not nurses, teachers, doctors, the sanitation workers, etc. Notice how the word society is not mentioned? It's the economy, stupid. No need for society.

- Mandatory ISP pornography filtering. Like that's going to work!!! And who defines what pornography is? As Tom Lehrer once sang, "For filth, I'm glad to say, is in the mind of the beholder".

- Ban alcohol ads which are aimed at children or which link drinking to personal, business, social, sporting, sexual or other success. Fielding put this bill up in parliament once. Guess what happened??

- No to euthanasia, abortion, drugs, same-sex marriage, bill of rights. Yawn... What are you afraid of? Your kids blaming you for their distorted upbringing, and wanting to get rid of you. Who could blame them?

Anyway, the rest of the policies aren't really policies but just a bunch of supposedly feel good statements such as we will reduce class sizes at schools, or introduce initiatives that create incentives to reduce waste and pollutants in the environment. But nowhere does it state how they will do it. Maybe if they just pray hard enough, God will do it. Nothing for us to worry about then.

Democratic Labor Party
I'll put these guys in here since they were mainly the Catholics that split from the Labor party in the 1950s. It's amazing these guys are still around since the reds under the bed have basically gone. Anyway, here is what they would do and believe:

- Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. That's the usual mantra for the fundamental religious types.

- Make divorce difficult to do. Presumably if you are in an abusive relationship, then it's your fault and you probably deserve it.

- Federal funding for students attending non-government schools. If we want to indoctrinate our kids with our crazy ideas, you have to pay for it.

- China have a claim on Taiwan, unless the Taiwanese want to be independent. I thought the Taiwanese have made this clear????

- Opposed to imposed multiculturalism, but migrants are free to maintain their cultural practices and traditions. I'm still trying to understand if this is a contradiction.

- Abolition of the Office for the Status of Women, the Commission for the Future, the Human Rights and the Equal Opportunity Commission, and such.

I'll stop there. They have other policies which seem ok, but I can't be bothered going over them and checking them out. My eyes have glazed over.

One Nation and One Nation WA
I'll put them here because they mention Christian values on their website. Also one of their policies is to re-introduce Christian ethics into schools. Of course, nowhere is it spelled out what these ethics are. The WA branch is even having a lone candidate stand in the Victorian senate. Here is a video of one of the Victorian branch candidates. Basically, build more dams and no more immigration.

The Secular Party of Australia
This party was not able to be registered in time and so their candidates don't have the party next to their names. On the Victorian Ballot there are listed as group P. Their policies are:
- supports the 19th century notion that education be "universal, secular and free".
- end religious tax exemptions and subsidies.
- ceremonial references to religious beings are anachronistic, ethnocentric and divisive. Pledges should be towards principles, not deities.
- Support a Bill of Rights.
- religious indoctrination of children in schools violates the rights of the child. The requirement, whether by parents or schools, that children wear religious attire, is a form of indoctrination. The Secular Party therefore opposes this practice. It is the policy of the Secular Party that all forms of religious attire be prohibited in all government schools.
- the right to access information and entertainment, in private, free from censorship dictated by religious ideas.
- become a republic, with an Australian head of state.

- recognise global warming as a significant and dire threat to global civilisation. Implement phased introduction of a carbon tax. Support geothermal, tidal and nuclear energy.

These guys will get my approval way ahead of the others, even though I may not agree will all their policies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Minor minor parties IV

With the environment being a huge issue this election, parties have popped up from everywhere that are trying to address this issue. Here are a couple.

Climate Change Coalition
This party has got some big names in it. Karl Kruszelnicki, Patrice Newell, John Harvey, just to name a few. They come from diverse backgrounds; the left, the right, the rational. Their policies include:
- Ratify the Kyoto Protocol and support binding emission targets for all nations beyond 2012.
- Set a mandatory target of 30% electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020.
- Oppose nuclear power.
- Establish a nationwide moratorium on new coal fired power stations and new coal export projects until their carbon emissions can be safely sequestered.
- Introduce energy efficiency standards for motor vehicles, requiring improvements consistent with the emissions reduction targets and world's best practice.
- Emphasise energy efficiency and conservation by expanding mandatory energy performance standards to cover all energy-using appliances and equipment in line with world's best practice.

These are all noble policies.

Conservatives for Climate and Environment
This party believes in supporting a Liberal style of economic management with a heavy emphasis on the environment. However they don't want over-regulation in response to climate change. They think that market based innovation with a strong carbon price signal will be far more effective. Their policies include:
- Drive emissions reduction with strong carbon tax (including fuel) right through to consumer level, reducing the tax burden in other areas
- Ratify Kyoto and join the lead group of countries
- Reduce emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 with solid interim targets
- Provide greater protection for native forests
- Oppose the planned Gunns pulp mill
- Implement a thorough, constructive and public review for the IR system, to support productivity in a just and fair manner
- Put more effort into Indigenous reconciliation and health
- Assist Pacific Islanders and others in our region affected by climate change
- Ensure anti-terrorism measures do not undermine basic rights (e.g. Hicks)

One of their guys on the Victorian senate ballot is Steve Raskovy. He is a serial writer to the Herald Sun and is one who stands as an independent in every election there is, even in local sporting club elections. His writings have always had a right-wing leaning and I'm extremely surprised that he would agree to some of the policies mentioned above, eg. basic rights for terror suspects. Methinks he has just latched onto this bunch to try to in.

Of course there are the Greens, but there not a minor minor party anymore so they don't make this cut.

The senate has heaps more which I'll try to get through before the election. I'll have a look at the parties with a religious bent in the next post.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Minor minor parties III

Senator On-line
This is an interesting concept. The idea is that if you elect their representative, then the way they vote in the senate is decide by you. Here is how it will work.

All bills put forward in the senate will be published on their website and you vote on whether you wish that bill to be passed. The votes are counted and the party will vote on what the majority want. The majority is 70% or more for 100000 state votes. If this criteria is not met, the representative will vote in accordance with the majority view. If a majority in the state is not straight forward, they will look at the national result and vote accordingly.

This is a interesting idea which seems to be based on the Swiss model of everyone voting for everything. The major assumption is that the public are informed. It reminds me of the film "The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer", where this idea is used to create a dictatorial government. Check the film out if you can find it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Minor minor parties II

The Liberty and Democratic Party
The philosophy of this party is that of libertarianism. Basically they state that government creates a nanny state and so our freedoms are restricted. They propose the following:
Economic - Australians (rich and poor) have never had it better so there is no need for welfare. People give to charities anyway, so no need for handouts. As for tax, you don't pay till $30000, then it's a flat rate of 30% from then on. You get rid of public health care, and everything becomes user pays. In fact you privatize all government institutions. Can you spot a flaw in this economic policy?

Global warming - They acknowledge that the climate is changing and that man may be partially responsible, but government is not the way to attack the problem, the free market will fix it. They forget that the market is driven by marketing, that's why VHS was used rather that BETA, even though BETA is the better media. The market doesn't necessarily give us what's best. Just think of Microsoft.

Environment - They are of the opinion that smaller government leads to a better environment. I'd like to see what data they have to back this up.

Victimless crime - There should be no punishment for victimless crime. I had to check out what crime could be victimless. Some of these I agree with, eg, blasphemy, apostasy, flag burning, homosexuality, euthanasia. However some so called victimless crime may not hurt an individual, but be detrimental to society as a whole. Things like not wearing seatbelts and helmets.

Firearms - You can own a gun for sport, hunting and self defence. Yep, can anyone see potential problems here?

Labour Market - No minimum wage. Welcome to a Dickensian world.

Lifestyle choices - Consenting adults are free to engage in any activity or to live with who they want. They say that adults are not children and shouldn't be told what to do. I don't have a problem with this provided it involves consenting adults and doesn't inflict harm on others.

There are other policies that you can check out for yourself, but they all rely on the assumption that all take responsibility for their actions and that by doing things that are good for the individual, the society will benefit. I believe that this is definitely not the case, and that there are many out there who never take responsibility for what they do (can you think of anyone??) and that selfishness only benefits the few you are connected to, and neglect the welfare of the broader population. It takes a very short sighted view and is mainly concerned with the now and not the future. In our point in time, I don't think that these policies would work.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Time to justify the ranking

Since this blog is listed on a political blog ranking, I better live up to it.

The Senate
Vote below the line. Don't let any party dictate how your preferences go. Look what happened in the last election. Many labor votes voting above the line didn't realise that they probably voted in a senator who they may not have wanted in the senate, one Steven Fielding of Family First. So please vote below the line. I know there are a lot of boxes to fill in, but I'm sure you know how to count to 100 and it is worth that extra 2 minutes. As to what some of those candidates stand for, here is the first short piece in a series looking at the lesser known parties.

The minor minor parties
Citizens Electoral Council
These guys are followers of Lyndon LaRouche. Lyndon LaRouche believes that humans are created in the living image of god. Not just any god, but the judeo-christian-islamic one. If he was created in the living image of god, then this god must have been a naughty boy since Lydon spent 6 years behind bars for committing mail fraud and tax violations. He is homophobic and thinks that the British family runs the world drug trade.

The CEC believe that the world is just about to experience a huge depression that will plunge everyone "into a New Dark Age beyond the imagination of most people alive today". They have been saying this for the last 40 odd years. It reminds me of those Christian groups that have been expecting judgment day any time now for the last 2000 years.

Policies
Education - The education system should be totally overhauled and students should be taught in the classical Greek way. No rote learning and new-age mumbo jumbo that is being taught in today's school. Hmmm, they haven't been in a school environment lately have they? New-age stuff isn't being taught in schools (well not at my school) and even the Greeks had to rote learn some things. By the way, a lot has been learned in the last 2500 years and I don't think kids could wait that long to find out that atoms contain protons and neutrons. The Greeks also didn't invent the idea of experimenting so science would be strange class with no testing of ideas.

Environment - Do humans impact on climate change? According to them it's "simplistic greenie scaremongering". They think our energy requirements should be met by nuclear technology and that renewable forms of energy production will produce a net economic loss to the community because of maintenance issues. They also want to control all the countries energy resources. Their policies will prevent "economic ruin, rolling blackouts, collapsing industries and consequently, death, starvation, disease and anarchy". Make up your own mind.

Economy - Their economic philosophy is that of Lyndon LaRouche. They want to establish a national bank and fund investment in agriculture, manufacturing or infrastructure which will create a million jobs. Where do they plan to get the money? Get rid of the GST and impose a 0.1% tax on speculative investments. Do you think this would work?

Arts - They support funding of the arts, but only a form of art based on the "classical tradition". That means no funding for modern art, of which the "psychotic" Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock is an example. Best to read their pamphlet, "Children of Satan III—The Sexual Congress For Cultural Fascism". This policy would reduce suicide, drug use and crime. Fantasy land, anyone?

That's just a sample of their policies, check out the website for the rest.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Car 0 'Door 3

Just when I thought that my car had got the better of me and was dying, I've managed to bring it back to life. Three problems; electrical, brakes and stereo. The first problem was responsible for the third as I latter discovered.
The first problem had been around for at least a year and finally my battery couldn't cope anymore. After about 4 weeks of testing, that problem was fixed by replacing a part worth $45. My battery has recovered and should survive till the real death of the car.
The second problem needed to be fixed since no brakes = much mayhem. That required a part replaced which, due to my connections, came in cheap at $115.
The electrical problem caused the amp on my stereo to blow up and I've been using an old boom box from the '80s for my listening needs. As you may know, I've been using old VCRs, TVs, and other electrical equipment to build guitar effects. I was able to use parts from an old TV to build a little amp which I've now installed. No need for the boom box in the back seat taking up space. So anyone traveling in the back doesn't have to have that rather large and heavy ghetto blaster sitting on their lap. The only problem is that it's not a stereo amp. But what the hell, mono is better than zero.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Listed in a listing

I've made the top 100 blogs about Australian Politics. I'm at number 82. Whoo hoo. (Well, top 100 according to that particular website.)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Facts, don't let them get in the way.

Seems like lil' old Georgie Pell doesn't think that the climate is changing. But then again it took the catholic church over 300 years to finally agree with Galileo that other planets may have moons around them. Although Pope JPII during his apology speech said that Galileo must have been divinely inspired. Can't let the facts determine the truth, can you?

I wonder how well George Pell understands science? He comments seem to be relying on selective bits of information that have been provided by biased sources. If he really did want to find out how scientists have come to the conclusion that the world is changing because of us, he may have to learn about geology, physics, chemistry and meteorology. Hmmm, if he did study these topics, he may find that some stuff in the bible could be wrong. But that's unpossible. Best he not look in these topics, he may learn something.

I'm always amazed that the religious types hold faith much higher than the facts, rationality, logic and, more importantly, questioning.

Christians aren't the only ones. How about the story of two goats being sacrificed to appease a Hindu god because a plane was having technical difficulties. If this could really solve the problem then why the hell call in the electricians?????

And another thing, completely off base, I can't stomach those athletes that praise some deity for the success that they had. If their deity is such a powerful and influential being, why bother with the hard training and dedication? Surely they could just sit around doing nothing and when they are competing call on their higher power to guide them to victory. Don't they have enough faith in their own deity to deliver? What sort of believer are they? If they had true faith there would be no need to train. Training is admitting your faith is weak. And if your faith is that weak that you have to train, then you really have no faith at all. Just admit it to yourself, your don't really really believe, do you??

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

New addition to the family

I've finally found an old sewing machine pedal that I could attack with power tools. After gutting it, and using some gears and bits from an old VCR, I've housed the latest addition to my musical devices:

The wah

My setup now looks like this:
There are more on the way....

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Among the Living: It ain't over till the fat man sings

Pavarotti is laid to rest so that means that TomC has picked up 13 points.
The leaderboard is:
A-man 45 pts
'Door 18 pts
JadF 18 pts
TomC 13 pts



Still three months to go...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Talk soup

I was at this party the other night meeting and greeting as you do. I got talking to someone and the conversation turned towards a discussion of a philosophical nature. At last, I thought, an interesting topic. However, the young lass stopped the topic dead by saying that this wasn't a party conversation and proceeded to completely change the subject.

What the hell determines a "party discussion"? Why can't you have non-banal, stimulating conversations? When I talk to someone I want to know what you think, and why, about deep and intellectual topics. I want to hear other points of view and the reasons that they have for reaching their conclusions. I want to be challenged and, conversely, challenge their thinking. Not only that, but I'm attracted to women with whom I have these conversations. Talking about being attracted to, it seems that I attract pets, gays and young girls. None of which is in my target demographic. That's my luck.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Emperor's New Clothes

Don't you hate it when someone tells you to listen to this great new band, how you gotta go and see them play, and when you do they are not what everyone cranks them up to be. OK, maybe that particular performance wasn't their best, but when you've seen them a few times and they still sound crap, you can't be mistaken. The funny thing is that sometimes these bands get such glowing praise from those who are supposed to have music cred, that the average punter, who wants to look cool and hip, jumps on the bandwagon and becomes another sycophant too afraid to say that they don't like the band. I call these kinds of bands The Emperor's New Clothes. (This is not to disrespect the artist from England with the same name.) These are the types of bands that are crap, but everyone is blind to that fact except the few who don't fall for the hype.

Exhibit A
ENTER SHIKARI - Sorry You're Not A Winner
This band has been played to death on JTV and they are rubbish. This song tries to incorporate every genre of music from Death Metal to experimental electronica. Let me tell you something my grandpa once said to me, "That's like oil and water, sonny, they just don't mix".

PS. Rosie, the presenter of the show, is perplexed by how the singer gets that death metal voice. My advice to her is watch the friggin' video. He's using a voice effect!

Exhibit B
The Basics
I've seen these guys a few times and I still can't work out what the hype is all about. Music is supposed to be emotive. It's supposed to express what the band members are feeling. If that's the case, then these guys must be taking Novocaine, 'cause I get the impression that their not feeling much at all. Here's a suggestion, don't take yourselves so seriously. Lighten up.

Exhibit C
Aleks and the Ramps
Even the drummer left this band. No more needs to be said.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Odds and Odds

I just saw something on TV that will give me nightmares. A news report on SBS showing a man with a 15kg facial tumor. He looked like an alien from Dr. Who. Shivvvverrs.

Respect for Brian May, Queen guitartist. He has just turned 60 and he will soon submit his PhD thesis in astrophysics which he began just as he was forming Queen, 35 years ago. If this isn't enough incentive to finish mine, nothing is. Actually, I've just been reading about Brian and I'm impressed. What a multi-talented guy. Double respect.

My obsession with creating a digital delay is unhealthy. I need a real life.

I'll end on a quote:
"Now that we are in year 12, like, we are no longer students, like, we are people who want to learn." - The School Captain

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

As the Oz brothers once said, "This country is stuffed!"

It's a sad day when governments overrule the courts. I'm not eloquent enough to express how I feel so I'll use the words of others.

Naturally, the common people don't want war ... but after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
Hermann Goering

This appears on the front page of "Howard's Guide to Staying in Power".

Education is dangerous - Every educated person is a future enemy.
Hermann Goering

This appears on the second page of "Howard's Guide to Staying in Power". Make sure to keep the people dumb.

I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: 'The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair.' In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.
Bertrand Russell

When will we ever learn.

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams

Apparently never.

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
Epitetus

Those in power, listen to this piece of advice from over 2000 years ago.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
George Santayana

Split Enz was wrong.

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
Albert Einstein

The inherent apathy in this country angers me.

Law and justice are not always the same. When they aren't, destroying the law may be the first step toward changing it.
Gloria Steinem

So true.

We ought always to deal justly, not only with those who are just to us, but likewise to those who endeavor to injure us; and this, for fear lest by rendering them evil for evil, we should fall into the same vice.
Hierocles

How can you tell others to be just and fair, hypocrite.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The journey into sound continues....

That was then ......



This is now .....

On the right is the newly housed phaser, or the "Phase'Door", on the left the SM-9 super metal pedal.
And below is the complete setup for producing the classic 80's metal sound; Ibanez produced, 'Door crunched (with some help from Ibanez), and Marshall power.


I will be making some more effects.. but first, let us now ROCK!

Friday, June 29, 2007

More Melbourne Meanderings...

One of the great things about living in this city is exploring not just spatially, but temporally as well. For the past two years we have taken the students to Urban Seed, which is situated at 116 Lt Bourke St. This building has had an interesting history and it's fun to tell the kids what activities went on here.

Previous to being the home of Urban Seed, an organisation helping homeless and addicts, it was Ancient Times House. From 1954 till 1999, it used to house a collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean. It famously housed a mummified child. This collection was put together by the Australian Institute of Archaeology. This sounds like a genuine scientific collaboration trying to unravel the past using the time honoured process of critical enquiry. But you would be mistaken. It was basically set up to "prove" that the bible is true.

It used the same logic and archaeological evidence of guys like Sir William Ramsay who is always portrayed as a former atheist who came to believe that the bible was true after much research. Whether he was or not a rabid atheist is disputable. Needless to say, archeology as a science has evolved dramatically since Sir William's time of the late 19th century. His evidence that the bible, more specifically Luke, is true is that place names match. Does this mean that Shane Maloney's books are true because they contain real places? Hang on, didn't I seen Murray Whelan walking down Sydney Rd ? A friend of mine, the Stallion, was once shown a copy of the Ten Commandments (in 1991) on small tablets as they would have been originally written, or so the curator said. Wow. Too bad that there is no current archaeological evidence at all that the exodus happened. In fact, the evidence points against it. The bits and pieces of this collection are mostly housed at Latrobe Uni.

Before housing these artifacts, I've been informed that the building was the home of the Communist Party during the time that Menzies tried to outlaw it (the party, not the building). Is there anyone out there that can confirm this?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Stories worth keeping

I've been meandering through the city over the last few days with my students who are discovering many aspects of our city. As part of their experience we headed into ACMI for a presentation on their Digital Stories program. ACMI have recorded stories about people from all walks of life which run for about 3-4 minutes. I didn't expect much, however I was moved to tears whilst watching some of these incredible tales. The presenter really knew which stories would emotionally affect you. The stories of immigrants were the ones that got me going. Images of places where family members also were interned, photos so similar to ones seen on mantle pieces, tales from past worlds, strangers in a strange land. Then there were stories told by those who have led lives so different to the one you have experienced. You got to see how they viewed the world around them.
We all have a story that should be saved for posterity.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ball!!!!! Yes!!!!!!

The community cup is on again this weekend and while cleaning up around the house, I found the footy record from the community cup that I went to in 1998. This is just more reminiscing from me.




Sunday, June 17, 2007

How did they know I was a Dandy Warhols fan??

These are the comments from my post I just didn't get it.

Anonymous_1 said...

Godless hippy,

The light wouldn't go out if you were reading the Good Book for once. God would keep it on becuase (sic) he loves you and wants you to be saved.

A-Man said...

Hah! Godless hippy. That's awesome. I can't even tell if anonymous is being sarcastic or serious.

If he/she is actually serious, I have a question...
In the history of electricity and churches, has there ever been a light globe go out in a church or other Christian establishment? Or in fact, at the house of anonymous? Because, if any light globes have ever been replaced even once, then by your logic, God doesn't love you or the patrons of the churches either...

Anonymous_1 said...

Dear A-man,

There is a circle in Hell set aside for people who ask rhetorical questions. They sit next to the sarastics (sic), those who make puns, and those who blind their hearts and minds to the truth by using tricks of language.

Of course lightbulbs eventually go pop. They are man's inventions, not God's creations.

If God wants a person to read the Good News, He will intervene in the world as necessary. That is proved a thousand times in the Old and New Testament. I suggest you educate yourself.

But if you "scientists" want to do the world a service, why don't you get yourself to a church one time, with a pencil and pad, and observe there if a lightbulb blows and observe whether anyone at the time was reading a Bible.

Instead you use poor logic to make the nasty minded joke that if a lightbuld goes out then God has foresaken (sic) his believers. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are a callow youth and do not know what you say.

Anonymous_2 said...

"Proved a thousand times in the Old and New Testament"?

Anonymous, you accuse A-man of poor logic and then base your argument on the assumption that something is in a book, so it must be true? Where is the tangible evidence? This post is about science and proof, which you have provided none of.

I wonder; if Harry Potter was written 2000 years ago, would we take that to be fact also?


This discussion is a good example of the difference between dogma, in particular religious dogma, and science. The dogmatist makes the statement "I am right", while the scientist asks the question, "Am I right?".

So how do we know who is right? Who makes the better argument? Who is using reason and who is using logical fallacies?

Let's start. The burden of proof is always on the claimant.
Evidence has to be provided by the person making the statement or hypothesis. Also, and this is crucial, the hypothesis has to be a non-negative statement. For example, "God exists" is a valid hypothesis whereas "God does not exist" is not. Let's replace the word god with "A teapot in orbit around Jupiter" or "The Flying Spaghetti Monster". Now it is impossible to rule out these two. However, there is just no evidence to suppose these things exist. Also, does the existence or non-existence of the teapot affect our understanding of nature? If not, then we can invoke Occam's Razor and disregard the hypothesis that the teapot exists in its said location.

Now A-Man is just after some evidence that anonymous_1's god exists. It's not up to him to prove that god doesn't exist, it's up to anonymous_1 to prove he/she/it does. What makes good evidence? As anonymous_2 says quite rightly, just because something is written down does not make it true.

So let's have a look at anonymous_1 evidence:
God loves us. Firstly, you have to prove god exists. You can't assume something you want to prove. Next.

That is proved a thousand times in the Old and New Testament. Give me chapter and verse of these instances. Oh, and make sure you specify which book you want to use. Have you read the works that your book has been translated from? Do you agree with its translation? Do you have it in its original tongue? Why do you think that these texts are factual or represent actual people? One assumption made here is that I haven't read the said texts and researched their origins. Doing so was one rationale that led me to the conclusion that there is no possible reason for such a being. In fact, I would even put it that these texts actually provide arguments against god's existence.

But if you "scientists" want to do the world a service, why don't you get yourself to a church one time, with a pencil and pad, and observe there if a lightbulb blows and observe whether anyone at the time was reading a Bible. (I'll just neglect the assumption that I haven't been to church. For 15 years I went to church, ah, and I can't help writing this pun, religiously.) An experiment we can perform. To make this a watertight experiment, the claimant must agree that if a lightbulb blows whilst someone is reading a bible then their god doesn't exist. They must be happy with the experimental conditions. No escape clauses. Then we can have someone continuously reading the bible with lightbulbs on all around.

The rest of the comments are just ad hominem attacks. It is the refuge of those that just can't provide any credible evidence.

Until such time as conclusive evidence can be given, I shall remain a "godless hippy".

(By the way, the day I gave up believing in the invisible being was the most liberating experience of my life so far. It wasn't easy. The entire process took a long time.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Morcels

Stuff that's in my head at the moment needing to be let out.

1) Corrections/retractions in a newspaper should be printed on the same page and in the same headline font as the original story.

2) Going to the footy this year (when we are not interstate, which seems to be every second week) has been so much more enjoyable than last year. We (The North Melbourne Football Club, not the Kangaroos) are playing a hard tackling, quick moving, chance taking brand. I'm enjoying the work of 19 (will be a future captain of the club), 11 (soon to join the 300 club), 24 (runs out of the backline like Dench did), 10 (our first father and son, and he will be a gun), 43 (a silent tackling assassin), 20 (not quite Shimma, but doing a magnificent job down back), 1 (he will/is scaring opposition coaches). It would only get better if we could get rid of 16, and bring back 38, 8 and 23. And I'm not reading all the gloom and doom stories in the paper.

3) Correcting exams is so boring. It's that time of the year and I also have to write reports this week. The new reporting system is not going to please some parents. But don't get me started on it.

4) I'm hosting a couple of trivia nights over the next month and I been having fun writing the questions, finding faces for my famous faces section, and putting together a music round that will be slightly different to the music rounds of previous trivia nights. I have this urge to test the questions on everyone, but I can't considering that there could be a leak. Anyway, here are famous faces from a previous trivia night.


5) I need to go out and see some bands. Rock and/or roll, it doesn't matter.

6) Training is going well and I feeling quite fit at the moment. The bodies taken a lickin' but it's kept on tickin'. I should be writing the next weights phase for the squad but I'm procrastinating.

7) Attitude to existence, keep em busy so they don't think, Am I right? versus I am right!. These are just notes to myself for future rants.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Old school III

Time to revisit old nightclubs again.
Chasers was a Melbourne institution and hosted one of the best nights, Outlaw. The Hound Dog and Stratos used to spin excellent tracks and knew their ROCK. Many memories.





Sunday, May 27, 2007

I just didn't get it

"I was hopeless at maths and science. I just didn't get it." It's a statement I've heard a lot and I heard it again during a conversation I was having on friday night. It often follows the question, "So, what do you do?". Usually the topic of conversation changes and I don't get the chance to give a simple description of what science is, and how in fact most people practice science everyday without realising it. Now, one of the reasons I took up teaching was to show the beauty and power of these two topics. So here goes an attempt to give a primer on science.

You are sitting in the lounge reading a book with the lights on. At the end of a chapter you disappear to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. You come back to the lounge room and the light is out. What do you do?

Option 1
God did it. You sit down and that's it. Some prefer this and spend the rest of their lives in the dark.

Option 2
You decide to find out why the light is out. There must be some natural explanation. Believe it or not, this is the first step in thinking scientifically. So why is the light out? The bulb may have blown.
If this is your only reason you can think of, then you are just a novice scientist. A good scientist will trying to think of many reasons why the light may be out. It may be that your flatmate came in and switched off the light, a fuse may have blown or the electricity in the neighbourhood may be out. And sometimes there are reasons that although improbable, are possible. That possum living in the roof may have bitten through the wires. A thief has cut the power to your house in preparation for a robbery.
Now you have your reasons, where do you start? The simplest explanation is usually the go so you decide to see if someone has switched off the light. You perform an experiment. You flick the switch. Bingo! You go back to reading your book. However, sometimes it's not that easy. Sometimes it requires stepping outside the current problem and making other observations and doing more experiments. You may check other appliances in the room to see if they work. This can help narrow the range of reasons. You may need to ask the advise of others who have had similar problems. You keep trying different ideas, throwing out the ideas that don't work. This way of thinking is an example of the scientific process.

The next question is, what is the difference between good science and bad science? That I'll leave to another post.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mobile Philosophers

Update
Saw this sticker yesterday and it got me going:


What the hell is it supposed to mean?
Is it that you can only have morals if you believe in an invisible entity? Is it that you must be a conservative if you believe in said invisible being? Or are you supposed to stay in the right hand lane as some sign that you are a god-fearing mofo?

Old bit of post
Bumper sticker seen today;
"MY BOSS IS A JEWISH CARPENTER"
I thought that this needed some witty reply. The best I could come up with was;
I BET YOU HE'S GOT YOU ON AN AWA.
I'm sure that you can think of something better.

Here are some other stupid bumper stickers that deserve a response;
"PHYSICISTS DO IT IN ELEVEN DIMENSIONS"
FIRST TRY IT IN THE USUAL FOUR DIMENSIONS

"I OWN A GUN AND I VOTE"
TOLD YOU DEMOCRACY DOESN'T WORK

"BABY ON BOARD"
I'LL CRASH INTO THAT OTHER CAR THEN

I know these are pretty lame.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Among the Living: Another one bites the dust

Vale Lobby Loyde. A great Australian guitarist.

However, it means that JadF and I have got our first points in the deadpool competition. A 65 year old male gets 18 points.


It's quite a weird feeling hearing about someones death knowing that it will help you in your quest to win a competition.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Conspiracy theory

This is taken straight from websurdity.com. I think that the author may have something here. It also sounds like another familiar conspiracy theory going around...

Was the Death Star attack an inside job?

We’ve all heard the “official conspiracy theory” of the Death Star attack. We all know about Luke Skywalker and his ragtag bunch of rebels, how they mounted a foolhardy attack on the most powerful, well-defended battle station ever built. And we’ve all seen the video over, and over, and over, of the one-in-a-million shot that resulted in a massive chain reaction that not just damaged, but completely obliterated that massive technological wonder.

Like many citizens of the Empire, I was fed this story when I was growing up. But as I watched the video, I began to realize that all was not as it seemed. And the more I questioned the official story, the deeper into the rabbit hole I went.

Presented here are some of the results of my soul-searching regarding this painful event. Like many citizens, I have many questions that I would like answered: was the mighty Imperial government really too incompetent to prevent a handful of untrained nerf-herders from destroying one of their most prized assets? Or are they hiding something from us? Who was really behind the attack? Why did they want the Death Star destroyed? No matter what the answers, we have a problem.

Below is a summary of my book, Uncomfortable Questions: An Analysis of the Death Star Attack, which presents compelling evidence that we all may be the victims of a fraud of immense proportions.



1) Why were a handful of rebel fighters able to penetrate the defenses of a battle station that had the capability of destroying an entire planet and the defenses to ward off several fleets of battle ships?

2) Why did Grand Moff Tarkin refuse to deploy the station’s large fleet of TIE Fighters until it was too late? Was he acting on orders from somebody to not shoot down the rebel attack force? If so, who, and why?

3) Why was the rebel pilot who supposedly destroyed the Death Star reported to be on the Death Star days, maybe hours, prior to its destruction? Why was he allowed to escape, and why were several individuals dressed in Stormtrooper uniforms seen helping him?

4) Why has there not been an investigation into allegations that Darth Vader, the second-ranking member of the Imperial Government, is in fact the father of the pilot who allegedly destroyed the Death Star?

5) Why did Lord Vader decide to break all protocols and personally pilot a lightly armored TIE Fighter? Conveniently, this placed Lord Vader outside of the Death Star when it was destroyed, where he was also conveniently able to escape from a large-sized rebel fleet that had just routed the Imperial forces. Why would Lord Vader, one of the highest ranking members of the Imperial Government, suddenly decide to fly away from the Death Star in the middle of a battle? Did he know something that the rest of the Imperial Navy didn’t?


6) How could any pilot shoot a missile into a 2 meter-wide exhaust port, let alone a pilot with no formal training, whose only claim to fame was his ability to “bullseye womprats” on Tatooine? This shot, according to one pilot, would be “impossible, even for a computer.” Yet, according to additional evidence, the pilot who allegedly fired the missile turned off his targeting computer when he was supposedly firing the shot that destroyed the Death Star. Why have these discrepancies never been investigated, let alone explained?

7) Why has their been no investigation into evidence that the droids who provided the rebels with the Death Star plans were once owned by none other than Lord Vader himself, and were found, conveniently, by the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, and who is also believed to be Lord Vader’s son? Evidence also shows that the droids were brought to one Ben Kenobi, who, records indicate, was Darth Vader’s teacher many years earlier! Are all these personal connections between the conspirators and a key figure in the Imperial government supposed to be coincidences?

8) How could a single missile destroy a battle station the size of a moon? No records, anywhere, show that any battle station or capital ship has ever been destroyed by a single missile. Furthermore, analysis of the tape of the last moments of the Death Star show numerous small explosions along its surface, prior to it exploding completely! Why does all evidence indicate that strategically placed explosives, not a single missile, is what destroyed the Death Star?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Shamocracy

The new electoral roll laws coming into effect tomorrow are, I feel, dodgy. They are supposed to limit electoral fraud. In effect, they make it harder to participate in the democratic process. Also, there are some interesting riders accompanying these changes. Here are two amendments.

-Increase the threshold for donating anonymously to political parties from the old limit of $1,500 to $10,000. Donors and recipients will not have to identify the donor's name for donations under this amount.

-Increase the level of tax deductible contributions from old limit of $100 per year to $1500 per year.

This increase is huge!
Why the hell should there be tax relief donating to a political party? Which party's members may benefit from these changes the most, I wonder?
For an interesting read, have a look at the commentary by Norm Kelly, a politics teacher at ANU and former member of the Western Australian parliament. He makes an interesting point that a person could contribute to the same political party at the state level and the federal level, totalling $90,000, without having to disclose it.

Why is there so little scrutiny and critical analysis in the press about these changes? Just another example of how todays journalists no longer practise journalism. The job now involves just rehashing press releases.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wrestle-tastic

I joined a-man at a Wrestlemania shindig and it was superb. I haven't watch pro-wrestling in a while and it was so good to see the crazy action again.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was at his finest and was wearing a t-shirt that sported a simple yet eloquent phrase.



I immediately wanted one of those t-shirts. Then I got to thinking (rare, I know). This idea can be adapted. Start with a plain version:



then customise it to suit the occasion. For example, a nerd may have:



and this one applies to some people at parties:



The possibilities are endless......

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Whatareya....

Here are four reasons why I don't have a myspace...
Reason No 1.
Reason No 2.
Reason No 3.
Reason No 4.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Return of the D.F.F

I have decided to bring back the Door Film Festival. The theme for this one will be John Landis. The following three films were shortlisted:
The Kentucky Fried Movie
Animal House
Trading Places

The date: 6th or 7th Apr. Date depends on numbers. Let me know if you wish to attend.

It is going to be next saturday the 7th April.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

This is a journey into sound..

Over the summer I built a couple of guitar effects. Here are some samples of the sounds created.

Phaser
Subtle setting.
Subtle setting used for short segment of Slayer's "Seasons in the Abyss".
All dials cranked to 11.

Wha-Wha
Short segment of random notes.

I now just have to find housings for them because at the moment they are just sitting around like this:

Friday, February 09, 2007

Among the Living: One is no more

We have the first points awarded in the deadpool competition. a-man has begun well. A 39 year old woman gets you 45 points.

I have put up the lists. A couple of notes on birthdates:
1. Tony Bullimore's birthdate is always given as circa 1939 so I've put it at 31/12/1939.
2. I can't find Tyler Fishlock's birthdate but he was 3 in 2006 so I'm pressuming he's born in 2003.


If you still want to join, you can.
ps. If I've made an error in birthdates, let me know.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Among the Living: Update 2

Here is another entry in the Dead Pool Competition. This one from TomC..
1) Fidel Castro: I WILL prove it. One way or another.
2) Charlton Heston. The son of God will not save him again.
3) Ariel Sharon. Possibly already dead but not certified yet.
4) Tony Bullimore. Not the sharpest tool in the shed that one.
5) Diego Maradona.
6) Hermann Maier. Austrian Ski Ace-rides his motorcycle and his skis too fast
7) Tony Curtis. Just because you would be devastated that your hero passed on.
8) Little Richard. The king of rock n roll.
9) Pavarotti. Would be a tragedy.
10) B.B. King.

Come on peoples.... there are some of you out there who said that they have done a list. Where is it???????

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The knack

Sorry if I haven't put together all the entries for the dead pool competition yet. I'm extending the deadline till the end of the week. I've been occupying myself building a stompbox. I'm trying to recreate the Ibanez PT909 phaser and I'm nearly there. I've been using parts from old computer screens, videos, etc. On hearing this, someone sent me this clip. The clip seems strangely familiar.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Among the Living: Update

Regarding the dead pool competition that I am running. There has been questioning about betting on this. After much consideration (5 seconds) I think that $10 per entry (one entry per person) winner takes all sounds OK. Last entries on monday.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Letters to the editor

Sometimes newspapers get swamped by special interest groups. Here are two such letters from the Sunday Age from the anti-fluoridation camp. Let's analyse these letters scientifically since their claims are supposedly based on science. My comments are in italics.

Letter 1: The facts on fluoride
Once again, John Howard is at his narrow-minded best. As many have said: "My mind is made up, so don't confuse me with facts." This accurately sums up John Howard. Facts are only facts if he can see a political advantage in taking them on board.

This paragraph contains the 'Ad hominem' logical fallacy. It attacks the person rather than the evidence or argument. I may not like the person in question but it's the logic and evidence that must be attacked. So this paragraph must be deleted if we are to argue just on the science.

There is a lot of scientific evidence available now that shows the shortcomings and danger of fluoride in the water supply. One wonders how many scientists with a pro-fluoride view are paid by companies that benefit from it.

Give us the evidence. Don't just say 'a lot'. State where this evidence can be found. I remember being marked down in my year 10 english class because of such statements. The second line commits the 'guilt by association' fallacy which is a subset of the 'red herring' fallacies. Delete paragraph.

It is fair to say that the increase in tooth decay has probably more to do with today's diets (too much junk food and soft drinks) than not drinking tap water. No matter who is right or wrong, we should have the choice when it comes to the intake of fluoride. There is enough information available these days to make informed decisions about most things.

The logical fallacy committed is the 'non-sequitur'. The first sentence has nothing to do with whether fluoridation is healthy or not. It is a completely separate issue. The second sentence is a political statement, not a scientific one. It also does not address the issue at hand. I agree with the third sentence. It can stay even though it has not direct bearing on the argument. Whether people are actually scientifically educated enough to make informed decisions is another story.

Politicians (especially if their name is John Howard) can't be trusted. The only thing they're interested in is clinging to power for as long as possible and they lie and cheat to achieve it. Admittedly, John Howard is very good at it.

Logical fallacies are 'ad hominem' and 'guilt by association'. I wonder if they would say the same thing about a polititian who supports their point of view. Delete paragraph.

Conclusion: The letter has a title, one sentence and the name. And that's it. I'll let you count the number of facts contained in the letter.

Letter2: Once bitten ...

When did our Prime Minister become such a chemicals expert? He urges greater consumption of chemical fluoride by all Australians, regardless of age and medical status (31/12). That is what it means when he announces support of water fluoridation and a desire for us all to swallow more of it.

The paragraph contains the'Ad hominem' fallacy. It also misrepsents the statement made by the Prime Minister. This is the 'strawman' fallacy. This is where you create a position that you can argue against rather than the position held by your opponent.

He may mean well, but he is badly misled by his advisers. Only a handful of countries still practise water fluoridation and recent scientific studies have confirmed some serious health hazards that were suspected for decades.

Here we have the 'Ad populum' fallacy. Just because a lot of people do or don't adhere to a claim doesn't mean that the claim is true. And again, you need to tell me where these studies can be found. And who were these people that suspected such hazards.

The moderate levels of fluoride previously thought to be safe are now known to be harmful for children and adults.

The recent discovery of the bone cancer, osteosarcoma, in males was related to fluoridated water. This alone should be enough to ensure that the practice be seriously reconsidered.

How about the American Dental Association's recent announcement that it is dangerous for young children to use fluoridated water in their formula drinks? How will that message get across to everyone? It cannot.

Now we can have some scientific debate. This is the research paper on fluoride, oseosarcoma and males that the letter writer may be talking about. Here is the response by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA. Firstly, oseosarcoma affects about 400 of the 300,000,000 people in the US. The paper suggests that there may be a slight increase in osteosarcoma due to fluoridation. Note that the letter written implies that fluoridation causes the cancer. This is not the case. Both links say that these are preliminary results and more studies have to be done.
The claim about the American Dental Association's recent announcement is grossly mistrepresented. Read here. Firstly, the 'danger' is fluorosis, which is a yellowing of the teeth. Secondly, it occurs before the teeth have erupted so it affects mainly infants. Thirdly, fluorosis has been shown to occur in water with very high levels of fluoride. Fourthly, the ADA have put forward an interim guideline until further data is gathered because the evidence isn't conclusive for the levels of fluoride found in drinking water.


Finally, the role of fluoride water in the global reduction in tooth decay referred to by Howard has been greatly exaggerated.

Where is the evidence to support this claim?

Conclusion: This letter mention the American Dental Association. From the letter the reader may think that they are against fluoridation. But they are not. Read here for their opinion. As the first letter writer wrote, it is up to you to make an informed decision.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Among the Living

On the way up to the Hanging Rock races I was telling Miss Jade about the Dead Pool competition. I've seen different point scoring systems and I've decide to come up with my own and run a dead pool competition. So if you are interested here are the rules:
1. Pick 10 people who you think will die in 2007. You have until 14th January to put up your names.
2. The point scoring system is based on life expectancy data from the Human Mortality Database. I've looked at the data and come up with a scoring system based on your life expectancy at a certain age and how far short of it that person falls when they die. The scoring system is as follows:



For example: if the person dies at age 39 and is female, you get 45 points.

3. Who ever ends up with the most points wins.
4. Age is rounded down. So if a person is 43 years and 230 days, their age is taken as 43.

I'll think about my 10 names and put them up soon.