Tram Town
Friday, December 31, 2004
Category: Disaster
Oh Golly! Poor old Petra and Ingemar and Nates' holidays got wrecked. That's just shocking!

Category: Luck
Well, the odds are shortening on that asteroid -- currently 37:1!

Category: Recently Dead Celebrities
End the Beguine.

Category: Toys
The RX5 microscope looks to be a bit of a hit! You can view fungi, amoebas and microscope dust from outer space.

Category: Hobbies
This Bloke is definitely playing with a full deck! (more likely several)

Category: Apple (MWSF)
Headless Mac to be released at MacWorld Expo?

Thursday, December 30, 2004
Category: Donations
Another difference betweenMicrosoft and Apple? -- time limited reference I suspect.

Category: Madness
The first sentence from an editorial in the Washington Post:
THE SHAKY VIDEO and fragmentary breathless descriptions are like something from a disaster movie: giant waves appearing without warning, houses and trees swept away, tall hotels toppled.
"like something from a disaster movie"! This is a real disaster, dude! There is no need to reference Hollywood for context. This really happened. There are likely to be 100,000 deaths. It is NOT like a movie.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Category: Blogging
Stories from the trenches, by a fictional hiring partner at a large law firm in a major city. That was not a sentence. It was a noun phrase. It no verb. It is an interesting link, though. A fictional blogger telling quite large truths that are very amusing is a Good Thing™.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004
Category: Disaster
It's damn near impossible to put a disaster like the earthquake/tsunami that caused so much devastation for our near northern neighbours into perspective. Here's some places to look for short and long term commentary:
  • The Command Post has quite a thorough coverage including a reasonably comprehensive list of aid agencies.
  • Glenn Reynolds provides a short roundup at GlennReynolds.com and over at Tech Central Station this article about relative risk.
  • Alan Brain takes the time to respond thoughtfully to a typically childish letter to the SMH and also gives us some direct coverage with a photo and an email from a friend of his in the disaster zone.
  • Tim Blair is logging numerous updates in his post entitled TSUNAMI LATEST
  • Hit this link for Number Watch and scroll down to the item labelled Tsunami for John Brignall's take on "the pathetic hubris of mankind in claiming to have mastered nature".
  • Another Tim Blair post, this time mentioning a couple who resented having to fly back from Phuket on their scheduled flight. It also mentions a bloke who behaved the way we all hope we would behave in the circumstances; his family, who had been trying to find him, discovered he had been hard to contact because he was helping out at the local hospital. That's at least a little bit inspirational.
  • At the risk of making light of a shocking situation, the Iowa Hawk has posted a magnificent coverall for the Religious Green coverage. [thanks Slatts, well spotted, detached retina and all!]
  • Arthur C. Clarke's comments are worth reading. Interestingly, Sri Lanka (then Ceylon, presumably) was quite hard hit in a very similar event when Krakatoa went up in 1883. Despite the movie title, Krakatoa is West of Java.
If you read nothing else, the first Brain article referred to above should be read start to finish.

Category: Gadgets
I could sure use a LavNav! (some of the other stuff is pretty cool too)

Monday, December 27, 2004
Category: Christmas
Listen to it, you will!

Category: Skating
Over at the Gadget Lounge, a snowboard for Summer. Also, a truly exceptional Esky.
This looks like a site worth monitoring.

Sunday, December 26, 2004
Category: Space TFF
They've finally got a feed. Go Astrodudes!

Category: Aviation
I never fly without a parachute, and this one's as big as a house!

Category: Luck
The Brain Guy has posted on an asteroid with a chance of hitting the Earth:
Friday the 13th of April 2029 has a 1 in 62.5 chance of being a Bad Day if you're in the wrong spot.
According to the latest data from NASA, an asteroid has been detected and tracked with that chance of hitting the Earth on that date.
If it happens, the impact would be the equivalent of an explosion of about 2,200 Megatonnes of TNT.
That's something to look forward to!

Saturday, December 25, 2004
Category: Simterror '05
This looks like it's going to be quite a bit of fun. Prime Minister Tim Blair responding to a terrorist attack on Australian soil. I'm looking forward to the first two weeks of 2005.
UPDATE: The Brain Guy is playing the role of the Cabbie Cruncher. Can I be your adviser, Alan?

Category: Christmas
The Brain Guy points at an interesting Dr Who link. Be sure to get the mp3 of I'm Gonna Spend My Christmas with a Dalek from the bottom of the page.

Category: Domestic Accidents
Killer hoover attacks scotsman!

Category: Gravity
Apple aims to patent a fall-detecting iPod! Do they really think we'll fall for that one? (groan)

Category: Sightings
Oh! Look! It's the imaginatively named International Space Station. Better be quick before they run out of food.

Category: A's
As part of an official TramTown policy on Christmas Cheer I'm starting a very stupid list...
Towns with A as the Only Vowel Appearing in Their Names
  • Manangatang
  • Wangaratta
  • Tangambalanga (The current syllabic record holder)
  • Barnawartha
  • Yackandanda
  • Wagga Wagga (so good they named it twice!)
  • Talangatta
  • Balhannah
  • Hallam
  • Ararat
  • Ballarat
  • Walhalla
  • Baw Baw
  • Maffra
  • Yarram
  • Yarra
  • ...
All contributions gratefully accepted (tramtown-at-elvis-dot-com).

Less important list...
Places with A as the Only Vowel Appearing in Their Names Outside of Australia
  • Atlanta
  • Tampa
  • Canada
  • Malaya
  • Mandalay
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Kansas
  • Aach (in Germany)
  • Aamba (in Zaire)
  • Aantaara (a double double from Somalia
  • ...
Never mind about the ex-Aus ones. The Aus ones are much more fun.

Friday, December 24, 2004
Category: Climate
Dangerous idealogue David Bellamy claims climate change is normal and we should not worry about it. Absurd!

Category: Wind
Santa done in by a wind farm.

Category: Actors
I have made an addition to my list of actors that I don't despise. See the UPUPUPUPDATE. Dan Aykroyd is temporarily undespised.

Category: Christmas
We went to see the Myer Windows this morning at sparrow fart. It was probably better than usual for mine despite what the Bolta had to say. I don't recall such a blatant commercial tie-in before, though. The train conductor models all looked just like Tom Hanks.
Scene from the 1965 Christmas Windows
1965 - Swan Lake
If that's Swan Lake, where's Bobby Limb (to quote the Naked Vicar Show)?

Category: Knowledge
Not quite yet end of year but Google has published their Year-End Zeitgeist already.

Category: Christmas
On the 3LO breakfast show this morning a caller noted that the price of LPG in the place on the outbound lanes in Nar Nar Goon was 48.9¢ and on the inbound it was 37.9¢. Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Category: iPod

Category: Apple
Apple sues to find out the leak. (again and again)

Category: Software Engineers
The Graphing Calculator Story, a truly fascinating read. (Especially if you actually remember the Graphing Calculator and associated Apple demo's!).

Category: Seasonal Music
It's a Tijuana kind of Christmas from The Border Brass. (some of these are great!)

Category: Dating
How to use a hand puppet to meet, attract, and date tons of single women.... (enough said I reckon).

Category: Climate
An excerpt from a recent (April 28, 1975) edition of Newsweek
"There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically.... The evidence has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up.... Meteorologists are almost unanimous [that] the resulting famines could be catastrophic.... A survey completed last year reveals a drop in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere.... The present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.... Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate, [like] melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot.... The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."
Bring on the black soot.
Climate clowns of today will look just as silly as the black soot fools 30 years from now.
I had seen this piece many times but have never pointed at it. Thanks to Slatts for bringing it onto the RADAR.

Category: Magic
The Random Ruckman, Justin Madden, has managed to transform 2½ million trees into 1½ million. Strong magic. "The ump bounces it, the big feller runs in, jumps, taps and where did the ball go?". Same place as the 1 million trees!
I personally don't give a damn about the trees but the way this government makes announcements and then changes their minds only a short time later is disgraceful: government by pronouncement with no particular action to follow.
Also, over at the Waterhole, the Professor has a few words to say about their drug testing campaign amongst other things. This one will be worth watching.
Oh, and also, Andre Haermeyer has implicated Swinburne University in the drug testing scandal. Swinburne apparently gave the tick to technology that has been rejected by police forces all over the world. I wonder how they did their testing?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Category: Risk
Anyone who knows me knows that I believe we (as a western global chunk) have become way too risk averse. In truth I think we are way too imbalanced in our risk aversion. This article about the US FDA gives some perspective of two types of risk: Type I the risk of taking an action, and Type II the risk of not taking an action. Type I, at least from the FDA's perspective, is way more prominent than Type II (or that is how they have to treat it to keep Congress happy). The example of the danger of Type II risk is:
These include the greater than three-year delay in the approval of misoprostol, a drug for the treatment of gastric bleeding, which is estimated to have cost between eight and fifteen thousand lives per year; and the lag in the approval of streptokinase for the treatment of occluded coronary arteries, which may have caused the loss of more than ten thousand lives per year.
Read it all because it may change your perspective on risk in health and even, possibly, more broadly.

Category: Rabbits
The Rabbits are doing "It's a Wonderful Life", Go Rabbits!

Category: Telly
Ten things you didn't know about Dr Who. (some of which are wrong or just plain stupid FWIW). If Gus ever gives my Dr. Who book back I'll correct this! (not holding my breath but)

Category: Eclectica
What were we thinking? We've never had a post here on TramTown about The Pine Tar [Bat] Game. Who knew? It turns out that you are allowed to have pine tar on the handle of a baseball bat but only 18" from the tip of the handle. Any further and you're moving into illegal territory and you can throw a game!

Category: Liberals
As the Bolta notes, the two longest serving prime ministers in Australia's 103 year history are (drum roll) now both from the Liberal Party. Of course, for two of Bob Mezies' 18 years as Prime Minister he was not in the Liberal Party because he hadn't yet created it.
I'm looking forward to the reaction of that unpleasant lefty fool Malcolm Fraser to this.

Category: Education
Finally, a seminar I'd be interested in attending. Just might go some way to explaining a lot!

Category: Music
Blogless Clive, on the job again. This time it's The Who Boys. Not really my cup of tea but I reckon I might download all of these trance-like mish-mashes of Townsend and Wilson songs anyway. I found that reducing volume to 75%, applying a clip restore and then pumping it through BBE Sonic Maximizer was an improvement. Your mileage may vary.
Also from BC, news of a lossless version of the Beatles Christmas album previously only available to members of their fan club by all accounts. I'm not sure about this one but I do wish I was wise in the ways of BitTorrent.

Monday, December 20, 2004
Category: Acadmia
Some students have way too much time on their hands. Why aren't they out protesting or something?

Category: (Just a) Bridge
And just for those of you who think that too much viaduct is barely enough.

Category: Fun
I don't think we've ever pointed at Dave Barry's blog. Short and to the point and loads of fun. If you've known about it forever, now is your chance to gloat. If you've never been there, take this opportunity to laugh out loud. Just go there!

Category: Lying
We don't know much about the bedroom antics of most people and that's the way it should be. Whether or not we really want to know about the horizontal skills of Paris Hilton is largely irrelevant, we have had her carnal prowess shoved down our throats by freely available videos that have been constantly thrust upon us and we KNOW that what she says here is a porky of gigantic proportions.
The 23-year-old hotel heiress tells Rolling Stone magazine: "I'm not a sexual person, really."

Category: Incompetence
That's the national health for you! A doctor in the West country (of England) doesn't know how to give a man a cervical scan.
[The doctor] who has been a GP for 30 years and who trains young doctors would be "pleased to hear from anyone, medical or otherwise, who could teach him the correct way to carry out a cervical smear on a 34-year-old male".
This news via John Ray's PC Watch.

Sunday, December 19, 2004
Category: Expertise
Judge Allows Expert on Pop-Tarts To Testify in Flaming Pastry Lawsuit.
From Dave Taranto's Best of the Web.

Category: War
Via Tim Blair, this story of an only barely averted nuclear war in 1983.

Saturday, December 18, 2004
Category: iPod
From our friends over at Playboy comes the iBod. (racey naked women warning)

Category: (Just a) Bridge
I was going to post about the opening of that big bridge and then forgot. In the meantime A Brain found a couple of great pictures and some pointers to others. The architect had this to say: "It is a dialogue between nature and the man-made". It looks like a bridge to me, a bloody good bridge, but definitely a bridge not a dialogue (maybe he meant viaduct).

Category: Littachuh
I just finished reading Michael Crichton's magnificent State of Fear. I reckon this just might be considered, as time goes by, as the most important piece of pulp fiction ever written. Roll on the movie! This is a snippet that I went back and read several times:
"... Right now, scientists are in exactly the same position as Renaissance painters, commissioned to make the portraits the patron wants done. And if they are smart, they'll make sure their work subtly flatters the patron. Not overtly. Subtly. This is not a good system for research into those areas of science that affect policy. Even worse, the system works against problem solving. Because if you solve a problem, your funding ends..."
Note that, as opposed to that notorius The Day After Tomorrow, Michael Crichton does NOT capitalise prepositions in titles (though he would if they were the first or last word).

Friday, December 17, 2004
Category: Breasts
Don't go there if you are going to be offended by nudity but if you're kind of ghoulish Awful Plastic Surgery is a must see.

Category: Sums
Bridie Smith, Consumer Affairs Reporter with the Tullamarine Trotskyite Tribune is championing the cause of the producer rather than the consumer in this article about books, GST and Amazon.
You don't need to get your spreadsheet out to figure that the example that they give makes Australian publishers' and retailers' markup the main cause of the flight to Amazon:
  [Why can't I change the text size here, w-class???]
   Total cost for import$41.34
if (God forbid) GST was added$45.48
Total cost from Readings$59.95
Premium for purchase from local$14.47
A strong Pacific Peso makes Amazon et al a lot more attractive but locals could respond if they wanted to. After all, they think the intellectual property is the key issue and they are picking up the lion's share of the FX gain with the author being paid in his/hers local currency per unit.
BTW "flight" is hardly a fair description. I was in Readers' Feast (also mentioned in the article) a couple of days ago (purchasing Michael Crichton's excellent State of Fear) and the queues were a good 10 minutes long. That is, of course, partly due to the fact that, like many such stores, their stupid computers make transaction times outrageously high. Just decriminalising their books takes a good 20 seconds and that should be the total transaction time for a single book purchase for cash ("Are you a member of our Frequent Intellectual's Club, sir?").

Thursday, December 16, 2004
Category: Music Rock
This just in from, you guessed it, Blogless Clive:
Ten Moments In Rock History That I Would Go Back And Stop From Happening If I Had Access To Some Manner Of Time Machine

Category: Seasonal Reflections
I promised earlier that I'd try to find a link. Can't make up my mind whether I wanna be the Baby Jesus or the goat but.

Category: Who knew?
Again via Tim Blair we learn that parents have a substantial influence over their children's behaviour. Astonishing!

Category: Faith
Tim Blair pointed out an extraordinary story about a couple who were pregnant and offered abortion on a number of occasions. Go read it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Category: Language
Holy Disem-voweled! Gadsby, a story of over 50,000 words written without using the letter "E". Eh?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Category: Conservatism
I nearly didn't read this article over at Tech Central Station because it looked like yet another Red State versus Blue State population growth story. It is, instead, a slightly facetious hypothetical considering the nature of sex in a society where abortion is completely banned. Its out-there conclusion suggests an increase in oral sex, homosexuality and various forms of cyber sexuality will be the result of a conservative-led total ban on abortion in the US. Well argued and well worth the read.

Category: Edgeacashun
Just in from Blogless Clive...
Semi, check this out.
NASA's top administrator, Sean O'Keefe has resigned. His reason? Because he can't afford to get his kids a decent education if he remains "in public service".
At NASA he was on $US158,100 pa. (Seems a tad low for that job!) He has applied for (and presumably expects to get) the job as Chancellor of Louisiana State University, at $US500,000 pa!

And in Australia, we complain about HECS...

Category: Word
I found the word chary in this article about passive smoking. I'd never seen it anywhere before. That is all.

Category: Recently Dead Celebrities
RIP, let the public outpourings of grief begin. (VERY colourful language warning and juvenile concepts)

Monday, December 13, 2004
Category: Seasonal reflections
I'll try and find a link later but, in the mean time.
I don't want my kids (who are actually a bit old anyway but) photographed with Santa. I want a snap of them and the Baby Jesus! (4th. from the top FWIW)

Category: Clothing
Don't just get an error on your computer, Wear It.

Category: Fast Food
Enough of this namby pamby healthy salad focussed rubbish already. Gimme a Monster Thickburger and yes! I would like a Bucket'O'Lard with that!

Category: Space
Over at the Brain guy's site AE also noted the overconsumption of food by the astronauts. I think we all have a right to know the BMI of these weightless gluttons (note: BMI = mass (kg) / height2 (m)). This is disgraceful internationally funded obesity and they are headed for an early death which will cost us all dearly. By being fatsos they have foregone any right to privacy. BMI! BMI! BMI!

Sunday, December 12, 2004
Category: Pitchers
Polar Express at Norflanz where they forgot to put the anamorphic lens in and I had to go and tell them. Is there any chance that they're a touch incompetent there, DB?
Anyways, worth seeing with the kids. Realistic graphics of the Final Fantasy variety but perhaps a generation or two more advanced, some great SFX and, of course, Tom Hanks always does it for me.
Some story elements are a bit repetitive and the whole thing comes across quite schmaltzy but I knew what I was letting myself in for.
Entry fee for me and the two boys was $35. That's about $10 more than I would spend out at Airport West!
7/10 for making something spectacular out of fairly ordinary material.

Category: Blogging
I Blog, You Blog, We all Blog for...oh, don't worry about it. It's the 2005 Australian Blogging Conference.

Saturday, December 11, 2004
Category: Sickening
Æ Brain reports on a case in Manchester, England where a child is being forcibly kept away from its father by cruel disgraceful bureaucrats who are convinced that they are doing the right thing.

Category: Consumption
Hey! You Guys in space! Stop Eating!. (hmm, looks like they've been snackin' a bit much)

Category: Fillums
This had slipped under my RADAR too. I must be living under some kind of rock!

Category: Fillums
I hadn't come across this before, I bet it'll be an absolute cracker. I also generally like Burton and Depp's work. In fact last week I picked up Ed Wood over at JB for not much over ten bucks.

Friday, December 10, 2004
Category: mp3 Players
Hey, that's sure a flash iPod.

Category: Junk E-Mail
Oh God! Not more spam scams.

Category: Humour
The fact is. the whole Bob From Accounting site is a lot of fun. I particularly like the Benny Hill Tribute songs.

Thursday, December 09, 2004
Category: Eps IV, V, VI
The One Man Star Wars Trilogy ..... is a one-hour, high energy, nonstop blast through the first three Star Wars films. The catch is, there's only one cast member.

Category: Music
This could be the killer-app: Griff, a sequencer for Pocket-PC.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Category: Enterprising
Customise your own photo's by getting them iPodified !

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Category: Politics
This article is a couple of days old but it will remain interesting for some time. Keith Windschuttle gives a reasonable backgrounder on the "white Australia policy".

Category: Seasonal Reflections
Have You Accepted Jesus Yet?, this Baby wants to know!!

Category: Rumour
Now, I haven't seen this one for a while, coupla' years at least. Big Blue to buy the fruit company .

Category: Blogging
Oh, look Semi, just what we need. Now they've got another reason to sack us
What do a flight attendant in Texas, a temporary employee in Washington and a web designer in Utah have in common? They were all fired for posting content on their blogs that their companies disapproved .

Monday, December 06, 2004
Category: Telly
It's the new Doctor Who teaser trailer.

Sunday, December 05, 2004
Category: Kitsch
Kitsch is a word that is usually associated with a form of snobbery. To declare someone as being a bit kitsch or someone's tastes as being kitsch is to say they lack "good taste" as defined by the declarator. "define: kitsch" on Google finds a reasonable definition but the pointer gets a 404!
The Britannica suggested I look at an entry from a woman who comes from a couple of clicks south-west of here... no use really. But the Wikipedia came to the rescue! It's not perfect, it's not great, but the Wikipedia is bloody good!

Friday, December 03, 2004
Category: Art
No surprise here... Art is close to the pissoir!

Category: Anagrams
David and Victoria Beckham = Bravo! Victim and a dickhead.

Category: Science
I wonder if Richard Dawkins wouldn't be better off shutting up sometimes as during a conversation with Bryan Appleyard in The Times:
"... My attacks on George Bush have nothing to do with science or the scientific method. I just can’t stand the man’s style, the way he swaggers and struts and smirks and the way he looks sly and deceitful and the way Americans can’t see it. I’m irritated by the way they think he’s just a regular guy you can have a drink with.”
As Oxford’s professor of the public understanding of science he might do better than to include ad hominem attacks against the US president in an ostensibly scientific book:
Anti-Americanism keeps intruding in the new book. There is a very irrational paragraph on nuclear strategy that stoops to lampooning Bush’s pronunciation — “nucular” — and even an anti-foxhunting footnote which, I point out to him, is utterly illogical. He agrees.
If I ever run for high office I feel sure Dawkins would criticise me for using a short A when pronouncing castle and dance. Keep your academic leftiness to yourself Professor Dawkins!

Category: Blog-worthy
As Dennis Denuto would say "What the ----- is that?". 'Blog' Tops Online Dictionary List.

Thursday, December 02, 2004
Category: Music
Again with a post about spelling. Brooke Fraser is, according to the small paper, New Zealand's answer to Delta Goodrem (you probably had a beer with her while you were over there, DB?). Anyway, Her official site has a page describing her album What To Do With Daylight which claims her to be "a bonefied star in New Zealand". I thought that was something they did with sheep.

Category: Pitchers
It's opening day for Team America; World Police the film that portrays the ability to act as being important. I fronted up to Airport West for the 12:40 session and I was NOT the oldest person there. I loved it. Full. Stop.
My favourite bit? Lease, their parody of Rent with the song Everyone has AIDS. For most of the song lyrics, check here [OBSCENITY WARNING!].
10/10 - if I didn't already have a full dance card tomorrow, I'd see it again.

Category: Health (?)
Just exactly what I've been waiting for..., an easy way to calculate my BMI. Is this rubbish or what? (20.5 FWIW)

Category: Nutrition
I'm always grateful to Google for the links Google News provides me. This one covers the very serious issue of a piece of NutriGrain that looks like ET.
It reminds me a bit of that episode of Cheers where Cliff said he had a potato that looked like Nixon and Norm said "Show me one that doesn't!".

Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Category: Nutrition
Ancel Benjamin Keys died a couple of weeks ago aged just shy of 101. Amongst other things, he is the K in K Rations the balanced meals as consumed by US combat soldiers. In this great obit. at Tech Central Station he is shown not to buy all the obesity nonsense that is so fashionable nowadays...
Keys scoffed at height-weight charts, calling them "arm-chair concoctions starting with questionable assumptions and ending with three sets of standards for 'body frames' which were never measured or even properly defined." Like their Seven Countries Study, the Framingham, Albany, Tecumseh, Chicago People's Gas, and Chicago Western Electric studies all found that people 20 to 40% over the insurance company weight charts lived the longest. In fact, those most at risk are at or below the charts, or at the very extreme of obese, rather than the average or even moderately obese groups, he concluded.
For an academic with two (2) PhDs, he appears to have been hit remarkably hard with the sensible stick.

Category: Geekery
A trip to Wal-Mart in a storm trooper's costume.

Category: Welfare
Hurrah! Professor Bunyip is back on the job and amongst his new posts I found this great line in reference to the state of Redfern:
no life is wasted if there are six social workers on duty to watch it disintegrate

Category: Widgets
I've been using Konfabulator for a while on MacOSX but I see it's now available on the dominant platform. I sure hope it looks as nice. FWIW my widgets that I use all the time are a ToDo list, Broadcast TV guide and (what everyone needs) a Homeland Security Status notifier.

Powered by Blogger