Tram Town
Monday, January 31, 2005
Category: Language
I heard Kel on PNN yesterday talking about Driveway Moments. I'm afraid that I do this all the time. The precedent (in my case) seems to have been set by my late father 40+ years back where he would sit in the car (in the driveway) reading The Herald for about an hour each evening. I suspect he probably liked people about as much as I do.

Category: Case Mods
Mini PC, except no optical drive and it smells a bit hoaxish but.

Sunday, January 30, 2005
Category: History
I don't normally point to Tim (I leave that to Semi), but I found this to be fascinating evidence that the Left may well be on the mend (or, at least developing an Orwellian Sense of Style).

Saturday, January 29, 2005
Category: Evolution
Umm, Monkey Business? Nic better be on the lookout for chimps I guess.

Category: Audio
The likes of Studio Projects caused a revolution in the microphone world a few years ago and over the past year and a bit, Behringer have taken them on. Some of their prices are absolutely astounding and the results for my purposes are fantastic.
See this, a pair of matched (how matched we can't be sure) small diaphragm cardioid condensors for less than $100Aus. I'm in the queue for the first product out the door.

Category: Ep. III
Opening crawler text revealed.

Category: Fillums
Some folks went to a test screening of Hitchhiker's Guide and here's what they thought of it.

Friday, January 28, 2005
Category: Soundtracks
I've actually got quite a few of these. Top 100 Soundtracks of All Time List.

Thursday, January 27, 2005
Category: Tech-writing
Auffers notes some nice bits in the BeOS doco.
I used BeOS a little bit before it disappeared into the Palm domain of IP and found it very easy and astoundingly fast at media streaming (I'm only one amongst millions in that observation). I am sad at its loss. Will we ever see the IP go anywhere? DB? Auffers?

Category: Civics
I think my mother would agree with much of what the GG had to say in his Australia Day Speech. So would I.

Category: Meeja
The media section of today's Australian (which is my only must read of the dead tree press as it happens) has a magnificent cartoon which I can't find on the net. Some people are sitting around surfing the web and one says "Apparently, you'll soon be able to own a radio station, TV station and newspaper in the same city...". Another responds "Which blog did you read that on?".

Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Category: Food
I've always said that the best place for a Japanese restaurant is right next door to a McDonald's so you can have something to eat when you finsh your "meal". This short movie exposes the fraud.

Category: Iraq
With the Iraqi election looming ever closer, I am struggling to keep any sort of decent who'd who in my head. Thankfully, Arthur Chrenkoff has again provided an invaluable service: Who's who of Iraqi political parties and lists. Included is this wry observation:
To complicate the matters, many new democracies experience explosion of parties as political energies of people are liberated and can finally find legal outlet. In time, survival of the fittest narrows down the field, but during the transitional phase we have to deal with multitude of what the Poles jokingly used to refer to as "sofa parties" (because their membership could all sit together on one sofa).

Category: Art
(via Tim Blair) Security guards at the National Gallery of Australia appear to have a higher-than-expected chance of getting some form of cancer. All we need to do now is to expose a whole mess of laboratory rats to a whole mess of pictures, jot down a few figures, put Excel to work, and voila, proof!
The documents released under the Freedom of Information Act show that health problems among security staff continued beyond February 2002. Guards complained on January 10, 2003 of feeling ill in several public areas, including the Jackson Pollock exhibition area, where the gallery's highest-profile work, Blue Poles, hangs. In February last year, security and installation staff reported having headaches in the Asian art galleries, symptoms that cleared once they left the area.
Having watched a film of Jackson Pollock at work, it comes as no surprise that his paintings could be choc-a-block (sp?) with all sorts of extremely dangerous chemicals.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Category: Snow
As in don't eat the yellow snow. From Note-It-Posts (voted best name for a blog in any year ever by me), Write your own message in the snow.

Category: Lark
Apparently, Donald Rumsfeld has been issuing letters explaining how certain left-tending members of society might help with Gauntanomo prisoner accommodation.
You'll be pleased to learn that thanks to concerned citizens like you, we are creating a new division of the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the "Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers" program, or LARK for short.
Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters (except sexually) since he views females as a subhuman form of property.

Monday, January 24, 2005
Category: Recently Dead Celebrities
(bit late, sorry. Been busy)
Johnny Carson, vale. (NYT, possible sub required)

Sunday, January 23, 2005
Category: Theatre
I's never really thought too hard about Walter Chiari other than that he was magnificent in They're a Wierd Mob. It turns out that he's been in a whole mess of things including an apparently lacklustre performance in a Broadway show called The Gay Life. He's gone over to the other side as Doris Stokes would say and his gravestone reads "Don't worry, it's only sleep I'm behind with" (presumably in Italian).

Category: Climate
A scientist has the temerity to suggest that the IPCC is politically influenced.

Category: Apple
Cringely's take on the Mac Mini -- "it's all about the movies".

Category: Academia
Slatts has a red hot go at trying to unpack an academic's explanation for his students' poor maths skills.

Saturday, January 22, 2005
Category: wbagnfarb
The wbagnfarb blog has some very interesting names.

Category: Journalism
Again with the small paper... In this story, we are lead to believe that a story is all the more interesting because it has some similarities to a Hollywood blockbuster starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Do we really need Hollywood to validate our petty Melbournian existence?

Category: Journalism
The small paper excels in insightful analyses of great sporting events.
The sexiest of the sexy stand out like sexy beacons.

Friday, January 21, 2005
Category: Apple
More Apple Merchandising? (worth a read (colourful language and concepts warning))

Category: Hamburgers
I love 'em. I've gotten over the guilt, in fact I reckon that good ones probably rank very highly in the health ranks of food to go.
On Tuesday we were up at Omeo and about to buy lunch when we saw sign in the window of The Olde Country Kitchen Cafe that said "Best Hamburgers in Town". It was a very good 'burger. Recommended.

Category: China
On 3LO a couple of days ago as we were returning from Paynesville, we heard a discussion about the suppression of the news of Zhao Ziyang's death in China. The presenter asked his "expert" how the news could be suppressed in the era of the internet. The "expert" explained that before the average punter could get anywhere the internet, the government created what is known as "The Great Firewall of China". I'd never heard that before but it turns out I should have known about it. That is all.

Thursday, January 20, 2005
Category: DDT
I can hear you all groaning "Here we go again, another anti-Green rant by Semi". This time I have discovered what is to me a new connection. Until a couple of days ago I was unaware of the comments made by Alexander King the founder of the Club of Rome.
In this article from FrontPage, King is quoted thus:
My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem.
That quote is from 1990!
In the same article, Dr. Charles Wurster, founding trustee of the Environmental Defense Fund is quoted, in response to a question about the banning of some chemicals causing many deaths, as saying:
“Probably – so what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this is as good a way as any.”
Near as I can tell, Wurster has questioned the veracity of the person who claimed he said this, but has not denied saying it (you have to scroll down a bit and then spend a little bit of time deciphering the text).
What Wurster said is important as far as his reuptation is concerned but the King remark and the general meme that was about at the time that humans need to die in order to save "the planet" is the missing link for mine in trying to determine why William Ruckelshaus decided to completely ban DDT in the US when the vast majority of advisers counselled him otherwise (see items 17, 18 and 19 here).
If you were a People Hating Green™ of the era, DDT was definitely your enemy:
"To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT... In little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that otherwise would have been inevitable."
[National Academy of Sciences, Committee on Research in the Life Sciences of the Committee on Science and Public Policy. 1970. The Life Sciences; Recent Progress and Application to Human Affairs; The World of Biological Research; Requirements for the Future.]
Now, as we watch the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami, many are concerned about the lives that we might still save if we had some DDT.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Category: Obscene Toys
I'm sure glad that my daughters never quite got into Cabbage Patch Dolls, they sound mucky. (colourful concept warning)

Category: Faux Pas

Category: Apple
The power to buy anything - and feel good about it. Apple iProduct. (colourful language warning)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Category: Research
I must remember this article next time I need to mail a brick to someone.

Sunday, January 16, 2005
Category: Information
Much like the Internet Movie Database though somewhat more "official"...
IBDB (Internet Broadway Database) archive is the official database for Broadway theatre information. IBDB provides records of productions from the beginnings of New York theatre until today. Details include pertinent people involved as well as interesting facts and production statistics. Get a list of every production of Hamlet on Broadway or a list of your favorite actor's credits. Find out what played at a particular theatre or what shows opened in a specified Broadway season.

Category: Eating
Jacinta Allan reckons that the government might be able to have some effect on eating disorders by controlling the appearance of people who work in the modelling industry. How many ways is she wrong?
In the same issue, by moving goal posts and encouraging the spread of epdemiological nonsense, Mary Papadakis provides support for this: "Two-thirds of Australian men are overweight or obese, new figures show."
And then...
Weight Management Council of Australia chairman Dr Mark Wahlqvist said men must take control of their weight.
Do you reckon the chairman of the Weight Management Council of Australia is going to get up and say "the majority of men seem to be handling the wealth-enhanced variety and volume of dietary options very well"? Of course he's not. He's employed on the basis that he believes in his heart that two thirds of men are overweight. Always remember when reading these things that it is just as easy to start with the two thirds number and reverse engineer your weight thresholds from there.
Disclosure: I, Semi Conductor, would be better off (by my own measure, not some miniscule relative risk foolishness) 10-15 kg down on my current mass.

Cartegory: MWSF
(Likely last post). It sure looks like you could put a mini in your mini.

Category: Entertainment
It certainly is a funny old world.

Saturday, January 15, 2005
Category: Pitchers
My wife and the boys went to see a panto this afternoon. Our good friend Louise was playing the evil witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Abstract-item-of-furniture-used-to-move-between-England-and-Narnia-that-manifested-itself-as-a-black-curtain. I watched a couple of pictures while they were gone.
Firstly, made around 2000 and portraying a story set around 1975, The Virgin Siucides (the Coppola lassie's first directorial effort). Secondly, made in 1975 and portraying a story set in 2000, Death Race 2000 (what can you say? Paul Bartel directing and Roger Corman producing).
TVS: The Wonder Years without much idea of what it's all about but with lots of Kirsten Dunst to look at and that can never be a bad thing. A good film that looks magnificent but a bit overrated by the crits for my money.
DR2: Fantastic period piece with some useful political insights including the observation that the French invented the word sabotage. This film is B-Sci-Fi of the best kind. Also, the David Carradine character's navigator's role (played by Simone Griffeth, WTFSI) is as big as Kirsten Dunst's role in TVS, she looks damned near as good, and she doffs togs.
An enjoyable afternoon's viewing and currently available on DVD for less than $20 in total from JB.
TVS: 8.0/10.0 (6.0 without the Dunst lassie)
DR2: 8.0/10.0 (6.0 without the Griffeth lassie)
BTW the G rating on the cover of the DR2 DVD is misleading. The disk says M and that is much more accurate as I found to my dismay when I started to watch it with the boys.

Category: Meeja
In case you haven't stumbled across it.
In the Year 2525, no, sorry, The Terminator, no, The Matrix, no, sorry -- not sure what. A Futuristic look at the evolution of the 6 O'Clock news. (like, as if?)

Category: Burgers
Given what I said earlier, I've just had (admittedly limited sample) one of my nicest carry-out burgers. If the Fisherman's Wharf tourist precinct of this chain can do it, it's probably worth investigating if you're in the (larger) area. What I really wanted last night though was one of these but, alas, I'm on the wrong side of the continent apparently. As far as the burger I enjoyed goes though, what were they thinking when they christened the chain?

Category: MWSF
Paul Thurrott reckons that he might not have quite got things totally spot-on.

Category: mp3 Players
They say that breaking up is hard to do, or maybe not. (only a rumour after all)

Category: Fillums
And this DVD looks like 8 1/2 crackers, although I was brought up to believe that the title came from the number of film-reels it spanned!

Category: Fillums
Can't the man leave anything alone? Still, this looks to be an absolute cracker (especially with the (re-mastered) inclusion of THX 1138 4EB).

Category: Meeja
Hey, Semi! You might like this. You certainly have plenty of opinions.

Friday, January 14, 2005
Category: Museums
Today we wandered down to Jan Juc and then to Breamlea for a bit of a swim and a nice cup of tea. On the way we visited the Ford Discovery Centre. It cost a reasonable $13 for me and the boys but, beware, it is about 75% Ford promotion. Nonetheless, they do have a Phase III HO without which the place would have been like an AFL Hall of Fame without Gary Ablett.
Also, they have a modern 2004 Ford GT, the update of the GT40 from the 60's. They are, without doubt, the two most beautiful cars in the world. It's a pity they don't have one of each for us to do a direct comparison.
If you like Ford cars it is worth a visit. I wisely did not take my wife. The boys (9 and 7) got a bit bored. They had to be told.

Category: MWSF
Computer Systems <$US600 (no display)
I'll track down my VIC20 when I get home and double check the specs (but I'm not sure that the inbuilt BASIC interpreter still works but).

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Category: Music
So Tim Blair may have been taking the piss a bit when he asked in the Bulletin: "What sort of values do popular country artists promote?", but I have grown to love Gretchen Wilson's Here for the Party (bandwidth sucker party alert), particularly the song about what to do when things don't go as expected: "When it rains, I pour". You go get it, Gretchen.

Category: BYODKM
Some of the readers of this blog may remember the days when we bought our mainframes and then had to spend a few grand more to get a dumb terminal to act as the console. On-the-job Jobsy has brought it all back. Apple can compete with the PC market place if it provides a computer that does fuck-nothing out of the box (sorry mum!). Apple innovation: A VIC20 without the keyboard! And the acronym above?: “bring your own display, keyboard and mouse”! Nothing new here, citizens. Just like the iPod, a PDA without the functionality. Move along.

Category: Analogy
John Brignell's Number Watch is one of my favourites, as you all know. One of this month's entries contains this King of Analogies:
Chaucer’s Pardoner earned one hundred marks a year by selling indulgences, worthless pieces of paper, relics and other valueless items to credulous believers in the religion of the day. Now we have carbon trading, in which new worthless pieces of paper are sold for millions of pounds. It is not, however, the ordinary punters who are now the credulous dupes, but the National Government. The wily Russians have signed up to Kyoto, though they have made it quite clear that they know it is based on false science, because they also know they can make a killing in trading goods that are no more substantial than the emperor’s new clothes.

Category: MWSF
Very sucky, but exhaustive article on the very recent activities of the fruit company. (I'm not sure I agree with all of the analysis but) (The Economist so subscription may be required)

Category: PC Mini
I'm not real sure what to make of this.

Category: Art
It's an absolute, positive Cracker of a Last Supper. (if you like that kinda thing)

Category: Telly
Randy Newman was right off the money. The world is way short of short people!

Category: Astonomy
Via Mick Hartley, three rather large stars have been discovered.

Category: Communism
Louis Nowra wrote a terrific article that was published in Monday's SMH:
Each morning when I go to collect my mail I pass a new plaque on the footpath of Darlinghurst Road. I do not recognise the name of the man who is celebrated but he is proudly called a "communist". Imagine the outcry if the plaque read "fascist". What is disturbing to me is how being a communist continues to be seen as a badge of honour rather than a stigma it should be.
Thanks to Tim Blair for the pointer.

Category: MWSF
One of the things I hate about the US is the food, I always find it such a hit'n'miss affair. You order something which you think will be relatively simple and then get overwhelmed by 1: Fat /Grease Content; 2: The mountain of fries; 3: The fact that it tastes nothing like what you expected what you ordered would taste like; and 4: The Condiments!
One of the things I love about the US is the television, especially the ad's. If I wasn't here I never would have learn't about this. Is that cool or what?

Category: MWSF
Walt Mossbergs' take on the iPod Chewie. I'm pretty happy with the sound of it, listened for a bit last night. Something that I haven't seen mentioned is that as the play/pause button is slightly raised (with rounded edges, ofcourse) you get some position relational tactile feedback in operation. If you centre your thumb on the raised button you can just slide said digit up to the increase volume button, down to decrease volume button, left to track back and right to track forward. This makes for easy operation without having to look at the device, FWIW.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Category: MWSF
Purely in the interest of research, I just managed to fit 142 (with 5.7MB to spare) songs on my iPod Chewie mini thingy (512mb). I did use the inbuilt AIFF/WAV/MP3 to AAC convertor though (and, for the pedants, I know that the MP3 to AAC statement is mis-leading) (They probably weren't very good songs either)

Haven't listened yet but, as Semi will testify, my ears aren't very good (take after the rest of my body I s'pose)

Category: Addiction
I just saw an ad on telly for this. Wish my Mum and Dad had access to such resources -- Oops, bit late I s'pose.

Category: MWSF
Oops I blogged to soon. Local pricing for Mac mini is $799-$949 which is a bit cheaper than I thought. (Apple Store is very, very slow but). Looks like the iPod Chewie is $149-$229.

Category: Being Petty
Nah nah nan nah nah.

Category: MWSF
You can read the fan sites as well as I can but FWIW. I just attended the Keynote and stuff was pretty much as expected but looks nicer. Mac mini, head/mouse/keyboard less, really small, ships in packaging smaller than iPod packaging, $USD499/599 which'll probably equate to sub $A1000 which is sorta nice price point if they can pull it off.
iPod shuffle, diskless iPod, no screen, smaller than some packets of chewing gum, bit bigger than others. 512mb/1gb versions.
New iLife, new iWork, lotsa HD stuff. Something sorta cool but is the new Garage Band which now has multi-track capabilities and some nice timing, pitch, notation capabilities. I'll definately be getting this for a looksee.
iPhoto Books are now available no matter where you live, in whatever country (my mate Jobsy said from the stage) but checking the fine print it looks like most of Asia Pacific has been excised from the planet that Steve lives on. Go Figure!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Category: Meeja
I had managed to miss Tim Blair's 2005 predictions in The Bulletin. My fave:
OCTOBER: The Friends of the ABC changes its name after noticing the ABC talking to a rival group of concerned citizens during lunch recess. “We were walking over to the quadrangle when we saw the ABC like totally sucking up to Australians for a Diverse Media,” says Tamara Blink, spokeswoman for the newly formed We Can’t Believe We Were Ever Friends With That Bitch ABC.
Read 'em all.
Not all readers will be aware that Tim has taken the advice of a wise man and got a job and a haircut.

Category: Madness
An '80's song by Tommy Tutone called Jenny (867-5309) caused a story to go around that the number is no longer allocated by phone companies in the US. Mix this fact with a bloke with plenty of time and toll-free calls from his service provider at the weekend and you get this list, ordered by area-code, of real people who have the number. Included in the list (in bold face) are several called Jenny!

Category: DDT
Just in from the New York Times... It's Time to Spray DDT (requires a login, you might like to register or just head on over to bugmenot).
The article is mainly about how we should be using DDT to suppress mosquitoes in households thus reducing the millions of tragic deaths due to malaria the world over. Very laudable aims. Buried deep in the text is the following:
I called the World Wildlife Fund, thinking I would get a fight. But Richard Liroff, its expert on toxins, said he could accept the use of DDT when necessary in anti-malaria programs.
"South Africa was right to use DDT," he said. "If the alternatives to DDT aren't working, as they weren't in South Africa, geez, you've got to use it. In South Africa it prevented tens of thousands of malaria cases and saved lots of lives."
At Greenpeace, Rick Hind noted reasons to be wary of DDT, but added: "If there's nothing else and it's going to save lives, we're all for it. Nobody's dogmatic about it."
That's very good news but Greenpeace claiming lack of dogmatism over the DDT issue is a bit bloody rich, isn't it?
DDT is classified, rightly or wrongly, as a POP. Greenpeace has many times in the past called for no POP production at all:
"There are no safe levels of exposure to POPs. So we call for a cessation of their production."
Of course, we shouldn't be waiting for the nod from the likes of the World Wildlife Fund and Greenpeace before using this extremely useful and life-saving chemical but at least with these admissions the People Hating Green™ nuts in the Main Stream Media™ have one less support beam in their house of cards.
Thanks to JunkScience for the tipoff.

Category: Science
North Korean men are urged to have haircuts every fifteen days:
It stressed the "negative effects" of long hair on "human intelligence development", noting that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy.
Men should get a haircut every 15 days, it recommended.
This via Mick Hartley whose blog is worth monitoring (straight to the pool room!).

Monday, January 10, 2005
Category: Tape
The end of an era? American recording tape manufacturer closes its doors. Good Read™.

Category: Football "Attractions"
Blogless Clive noted the less than stellar aspects of the tourist trap described in the previous post and brings the following to the party:
At Glenrowan (Famous for some thief and cop killer, I gather) A dodgy almost animatronic show with:
  • Dodgy sound
  • Crappy dialogue
  • Out of sync computer control (so we missed most of the mostly-sound-effects-only gun fight re-enactment)
  • The highlight: "And this room (a Melbourne Gaol set) will be really good when I finish it."
Of course, the slowly decaying Big Merino at Goulbourn will (alas) probably live on in my menory for many years. (Motel manager at Goulbourn, on being told we'd seen the Big Merino & the War memorial: "Well, you've seen it all then.")
People can say what they like about the crass {Sea|Dream|Movie|Wet'n'Wild}Worlds on the Gold Coast, but at least they are maintained in working order, and look like someone cares.

Category: Football (our kind)
We went to see the crocodiles at the aquarium today but the queue was way too long and we ended up at the AFL Hall of Fame and Sensation.
The best I can say is that it was a bit lame. It's quite large but it doesn't use the space very well. Some of the exhibits are complete mysteries. One is a car with a body shaped like an assymetric boat. I have no idea why it was there.
There was no indication of any sort of linear progression through the exhibits. In particular, there was a Grand Final multimedia presentation that was labelled something like "the last presentation on your tour" but the doors were closed and after waiting for ten minutes with no sign of when the next "show" was to begin, we moved on.
Some of the exhibits were labeled:
This Interactive is
temporarily out
of order
Please move onto
the next interactive
  • No punctuation!
  • Interactive is inconsistently capitalised
  • Interactive is an adjective not a noun
  • Given no particular ordering of "interactives", which would be considered "next"?
  • "onto" not "on to" implies that the "next" "interactive" needed to be mounted in some way. No such "interactives" were sighted
One of the "interactives" allowed kids to build a newspaper article using pictures, words, and their own names. Once completed, the kids could email the result to themselves at home. That's good, but before they could send the email they had to enter street address and phone number!
Instructions for, and even the intention of some of the exhibits was unclear.
To top it all off, Gary Ablett is not in the hall of fame and there's folks as say Wayne Carey will probably not be considered either. Gary "has requested that Geelong stop nominating him for the AFL Hall Of Fame" The Hall of Fame would appear to be a fairly dull concept without these two.
If I had known that Gary Ablett was not in the Hall of Fame at least partly as a conscious decision by those who decide on inductions, I would not have spent a cent going to this "Hall of Fame and Sensation".

Category: MWSF
I'm gonna go on this today -- something I've wanted to do since I was a kid and saw it on "Towards 2000".

Category: Recently Dead Celebrities
I'll have to be honest here, I didn't even know that Campbell McComas was sick. Vale.

Sunday, January 09, 2005
Category: Interrogation
This article about US interrogation techniques and their application in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and the unpronounceable Abu Ghraib is a good read. Via Kev Gillett (as was the previous link).

Category: Tsunami
This set of before and after pictures give some idea of the devastation.

Friday, January 07, 2005
Category: Music
No real link that I can find but according to the advertising on Radio 1, dig are doing an extensive on Tony Visconti tonight. (ostensibly for David Jones' birthday).

Category: Tsunami
Ever one to inhabit the middle ground, the not-quite-skeptical-enough-for-my-liking Bjørn Lomborg (who, you may remember, was called a Nazi by the head of the IPCC) has commented on the need for a Tsunami warning system. V. Interesting Reading™. Also noted here.

Thursday, January 06, 2005
Category: Health
I have been reading up on salt intake. We are broadly subjected to claims of a need for low salt diets. I'm not so sure it isn't bunk... from The American Institute of Stress:
It is a very misinformed doctor or nutritionist that would suggest eliminating salt from the diet has any bearing on lowering blood pressure or reducing the risk of heart attack in this day and age. Yet almost with monotonous regularity we are exhorted to reduce salt consumption by perhaps well meaning government sponsored doctors and nutritionists who haven't even bothered to read the in-depth research on this subject.
It is typical of the dogma that surrounds the medical fraternity. If they are determined to "prove" a point they will selectively gather data so they are shown to be right and to hell with the real results. As long as their position is vindicated then they have justified their existence.
Of course most studies are funded by vested interests with a financial interest in the results. So what scientist is going shoot themselves in both feet at once by coming up with a finding completely opposite to what he is being paid to find?
It's too easy to put a pair of blinkers on and focus on just one aspect of a particular problem without looking at the whole! Holistic healers look at the person as a whole - never seeking to isolate a single symptom and treat it with allopathic drugs and chemicals. High blood pressure is invariably caused by many other factors other than salt!
I wish my father's doctors had known that. Reduction of salt in his diets was one of the most difficult demands placed on him by the medical folk.

Category: Hatred
The Brain Guy said "Please take my word for it, it's worth reading, far more so than anything I could write". He's right. Go read it!

Category: Actors
Actors are very important. Richard Gere for example speaks on behalf of the entire world.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Category: Learning
As per yesterday's post about learning something every day, on the way to Morwell, I though my older son had come up with an absolute cracker:
Other than Afghanistan, every country that begins with the letter 'A', ends with the letter 'A'.
Nice try, boy, but the book you got it from must have decided to ignore Azerbaijan. Still looking for today's fact.
The issue came up during a discussion on place names with 'A' as their only vowel.

Category: Reagan
I missed the ABC's Altered States on Monday night. I had been alerted to it by my mother so I will be in more shit than a Werribee duck now. Sorry mum!
Fortunately, The Currency Lad is keeping apace of the world and offers up a less than stellar report card for the show. It appears it was yet another tired old "Ronny Raygun was a complete fool who couldn't distinguish reality from fiction because his father was a drunk and he was a bad actor" sort of thing.
In the same post he has a few words to say about Germaine Greer; may she rot in Euro Hell.

Category: Power Rain
We went down to PowerWorks in Morwell today. As with most tours of industrial operations in rural areas (well, at least PowerWorks and the Portland aluminium smelter), the concentration is on all of the environmental good they do. This mob even claim to be achieving wonders in the greenhouse caper. Now as you all know, I am a Global Warming Sceptic™, but if we are to believe all of the assertions about Global Warming™, a coal-fired power station is no friend of The Green Religion™.
Regardless, the Hazelwood open-cut mine is a magnificent hole and it is quite humbling to stand on the edge of it and contemplate that what used to fill it was turned into electricity.
I also love being in the generator room. It feels like the warehouse scene from the first Indiana Jones movie. The turbine/generator pairs seem to go on forever, each capable of pumping out 200MW.
Shame about the rain. We had a bit of dampness on the way down there and then on the way back there were times when I just had to pull off the road because it felt so dangerous. The Bureau's observations pages don't seem to think there was much noteworthy in the precipitation caper at all. I know different.
The tour itself was just a bit long and it was very difficult to see the monstrous dredges at work because of the rain.
7.5/10.0 Well worth the trip on a dry cool day (apparently the generator and furnace rooms get a bit hot on warmer days).

Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Category: Cinema
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (what is the correct italicisation there, anyway?) is a very good movie. I had a "what year are you talking about" MOMENT with the boys but we all agreed that if we had seen it in 2004 it would have been number two to Thunderbirds. I still think that all of the reviews I have read of Thunderbirds are nonsense and I can't work out why it is available on DVD at the end of the school holidays rather than before Christmas.
Regardless, LS'saSoUE is a very smart, visually appealing, language-loving piece of cinema. Some of the scenes and scenarios go on a little bit too long, but I think the franchise warrants a lot more pictures. I will be buying some of the books.
9/10 because I (once) looked at my watch. V. Good cinema.

Category: Knowledge
As a child I never believed my uncles when they said "you learn something every day". I know now what an idiotic underestimate this is. Nonetheless, I have to admit to frequently having moments where I say "that's my piece of knowledge for today".
My item today comes from a History Channel piece on Julius Caesar where I was informed that Kaiser and Czar are derived from Caesar.
Am I the last person on planet Earth to know this?

Category: Meeja
Breaking news? How does an article like this get published as breaking news at 5:54am? The article is a lot of hot air about global warming, Kyoto, and a classically braindead statement from the increasingly irrelevant Greenpeace.
On further investigation it turns out that this story is breaking news because it is quoting an article published this morning in The SMH. The story is a beatup. The much-quoted Senator Campbell's media release webpage has had no additions since before Christmas and with no reference to any specific press release or a particular forum in which the comments were made, we can only assume that someone at the SMH felt that there was a need to mention global warming to keep it to the fore.
This comment by our [supposedly conservative] Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage:
"I have made a conscious decision to get the Government more onto the front foot on climate change," Senator Campbell said yesterday.
"Climate change is the pre-eminent environmental issue. We are spending billions of dollars fixing up rivers, restoring habits and wetlands, but then if you do nothing about climate change you won't have any wetlands left.
"I think we need to engage the climate sceptics, those people who are pulling the doona up over their heads, and get past the debate over whether or not climate change is real. There is a dominance of science which does say that the massive increase in greenhouse gas emissions has contributed to human-induced climate change."
I am a sceptic Mr Campbell. I spend a lot of time trolling through the evidence, the science, the UN reports, the websites, the blogs... in short, I consider myself to be quite well informed but I have yet to be convinced of a need to destroy the global economy on the back of some extremely tendentious "science". You, Senator Campbell, are a disgrace to conservative politics. You, Senator Campbell, need to be hit over the head with a hockey stick.

Category: UN
I had seen references to the Diplomad on a number of occasions but I had never been there as far as I know. They have some scathing criticisms of the UN's response to the tsunami. Well worth a visit.

Monday, January 03, 2005
Category: Tragedy
Israel had assembled a team of 150 people to go to Sri Lanka to provide aid. The Sri Lankan Government refused the aid because it was to be provided mostly by members of the Israeli Defence Force. Very Sad. Even after the refusal, various Israeli agancies continued to do whatever they could. The Vatican had a few words to say about this one.

Category: Words
In this review of State of Fear I encountered the word BUMFUZZLE. It's right there in dictionary.com but it's not one I've heard of before.

Sunday, January 02, 2005
Category: Space TFF
Some fascinating holiday snaps of Iapetus from our very close friend Cassini. (well, maybe that close)

Category: Money
In my lifetime I reckon there must have been at least ten different sets of renovations on "FLINDERS St Station, Melbourne's most famous landmark". A fortune has been spent and it is still impossible to understand the PA. Now, Melbourne City councillor Peter Clarke has figured a way that we can spend another $500mill. Thanks, but no thanks, Pete.

Category: America
Team America - World Police. Miranda Devine has a must read commentary about TAWP and all who criticise it.
The way it works is that those who build a culture, over 40 years or so, have a vested interest in maintaining it. So the old counter-culturalists become the conservatives, even though they still think they are progressives and deride as "conservative" those who disagree with them, though disagreeing is counter-cultural.
Then along comes a generation which has known nothing but the old "counter-culture" and feels oppressed by it, because there are so many rules now about how you should think, and to a fresh mind many are absurd. So you get the first signs of rebellion from the most independent-minded, and soon enough it builds into a tsunami that breaks down the old counter-culture and begins the process anew.
Read. The. Whole. Thing.
SMH via Tim Blair.

Saturday, January 01, 2005
Category: Apple (MWSF)
I work, you work, we all work, for iWork.

Category: Drunk
Drinking doubles
I really find this picture difficult to look at!

Category: Books and Authors

Am I the last person to know this?
I am a fan of murder mystery/crime fiction and read Jennifer Rowe’s “Verity Birdwood” series some time ago. I haven’t seen any new books by her for a while which I think is a pity, so I’ve occupied myself by buying the Emily Rodda books and reading them to the kids. I now find out they are one and the SAME PERSON!!!

And for those who need to know, another one of Jennifer Rowe’s adult books (the “Tessa Vance” series) was turned into a TV show called “Murder Call”, starring Lucy Bell.

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