Tram Town
Saturday, April 30, 2005
Category: Science
Very light beer! The Brain Guy has pointed at some important research into brewing beer in space. It all sounds too hard for me, I'll stay at home and get my beer from the back fridge.

Category: Politics
Junie Morosi is writing a book and I doubt that it will be about her brother's petrol station. Apparently, though, Jim Cairns' grand-daughter is not too pleased about it. Why do I care? I don't really but I do want to know how Jim Cairns' grand-daughter came to be known as Mrs Cairns???

Category: Apple
What Tiger broke next. (no pun intended)

Category: Tram Town
Today we turn 2! Happy Birthday and go us.

Category: Trivia
Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin. He probably remembered the words better than Ella Fitzgerald.

Category: Apple
ars technica has a lengthy review of Tiger. Looks to be worth a read if you like that kinda thing. I reckon I'll go shopping later on today.

Category: Wildlife
Read this article about mutton birds on Phillip Island and then answer me these questions:
  1. How are they going to make it dark during the day?
  2. How is a northern trajectory from Phillip Island taking them over the San Remo Bridge? That would be east.
  3. How has the population got to "More than a million" if the bridge is such a hazard?
  4. If the bridge lights are as unnecessary as is suggested by this action, why not have them off every night?
  5. How come these extraordinarily stupid birds only mistake bridge lights for the moon? Why not normal street lights?
  6. Who writes reads this nonsense, anyway?

Category: Trivia
On the day I was born "Bird Dog" by The Everly Brothers was #1 on the US hit parade!

Friday, April 29, 2005
Category: Optical Illusion
Which is real and which is Computer Generated?

Category: Spam
You have to read this story: Man Who Put Mom in Freezer Had Odd History

Category: Blogging
The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster.

Category: (Intergalactic) Politics
Another Hollywood Heavyweight weighs in. This time it's Steven Spielberg and his opinion on whether aliens are likely to be aggressive when they arrive. Important stuff this is.

Thursday, April 28, 2005
Category: B-XVI
By Jingo! The new Pope's not wasting any time!

Category: Theatre
Another important Hollywood Heavyweight, Maggie Gyllenhaal, has made a vague statement that seems to promote isolationism.
We must take more notice of our actors because... well, just because.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Category: Space TFF
(Well, not quite) I read about this in the TTT yesterday. It's sorta cool (but so was the LZ-129 I guess).

Category: Lucas, G.
Life After Darth, long but interesting article on that Star Wars bloke.

Category: Tacky
But amusing (if you like that kinda thing).

Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Category: ABC, Your.
A small victory, a month and a bit on...
Dear Mr Bissett

Thank you for your email of 19 March 2005.

Thank you for pointing out the error in our story. Immediate steps were taken
to correct the transcript on the website and remove the audio link. The
reporter has been counselled and acknowledges the error and the need for
absolute accuracy in reporting.

The story itself did deal with many of the issues you raise, especially the
retrospectivity and lack of discretion in the regulations.

Thank you again for raising this matter with the ABC.

Yours sincerely

Kieran Doyle
ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs

>To: currentaffairs@your.abc.net.au
>Date: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 06:48:46 +1100
>Subject: Andrew Phillips was not CONVICTED of a sex offence
>Priority: normal
>X-mailer: Pegasus Mail for Windows (4.21a)
>Attention: PM producers
>On PM last night it was reported: "a teacher who had to leave his job because
>he was convicted of a sex offence 13 years ago". It is a key issue in this
>debate that no conviction was recorded in 1992.
>See http://www.theage.com.au/handheld/articles/2005/03/16/1110913662789.html
>amongst others.
>I think this is an important point because the legislation appears to me to
>be a case of retrospective gefingerpoken in our justice system by the Bracks
>government. That makes this sacking a much more substantial issue in my

>R. J. (George) Bissett
>Blog: http://tramtown.blogspot.com/

There, I've outed myself on TramTown for anyone who cares. As If!

Category: iTunes
Semi's mate spills the beans on the Australian iTunes Music Store?

Category: Optical illusion
Or does it just look like one? New Pope has horns.

Category: Star Wars
Looks like Episode III.V is destined to be on the telly!

Category: Blogging
Byrne Blogs -- I don't reckon Semi will think much of it but.

Monday, April 25, 2005
Category: Google
Google Sightseeing . Why bother seeing the world for real.

Category: Telly
Apparently it's harder to sneak up on the new Daleks "In rehearsals we found ourselves talking about the Dalek's motivation".

Sunday, April 24, 2005
Category: Recently Dead Celebrities

Category: Humour
www.JumboJoke.com is worth a look. This particular instance really got me laughing.

Category: Who knew?
From James Tarantino's The Best of the Web (it's in the poolroom):
[Benedict XVI is] according to this list, the first pope since Adrian Dedal (Adrian VI, 1522-23) whose surname ends with a consonant.

Category: Ohh, Duh!
Sinners unhappy with new pope. It appears that a former North Dakota Governor, George Sinner, and his wife consider your boy Benedict XVI to be a tad reactionary for their liking.

Saturday, April 23, 2005
Category: Substance Abuse
E-mail worse than pot! Not surprising really.

Category: Recently Dead Celebrities
A colourful character, often seen in bright and flashy ties.

Category: Headlines
A Drouin man got himslf stuck in a rubbish bin early this morning: Teen freed from rubbish bin. And this:
The jaws of life would not cut through the marine grade stainless steel, so firefighters had to use an air powered hacksaw to cut him free.
I can't help but feel we are spending a little too much on our rubbish bins.

Category: Celebrity
An important "Hollywood heavyweight", Russell Crowe, has an opinion on Schapelle Corby's plight. Thanks to the Hun for that enlightening observation.

Friday, April 22, 2005
Category: Sorry, Not Sure
I'm not sure, Sorry.

Category: Theatre
A home for the MTC is what this gaping money pit is being called in the Hun. My prediction is that it will be finished late with substantially less facilties than are currently predicted. Also, within a couple of years of it opening, the MTC will say it was never going to be adequate for their needs. As for the Recital Centre...
Ms Delahunty said the new Recital Centre would be ranked among the world's best for uncompromised acoustics, architecture and the calibre of the artistic program that will be presented.
The artistic program will be okay for the first year and then somebody will turn the cash tap to barely a drip and it will only be used during the Melbourne Festival and as a venue for mime during the Comedy Festival.
Whatever, I don't reckon Melbourne needs more theatres and auditoriums. This is just going to starve the existing ones. Just One Guy's Opinion.

Thursday, April 21, 2005
Category: Transport, Public
I figured out what's going on with this guy and mentioned it in passing earlier. He really is just a tram freak but if you live in Sunshine, way west of any normal tramlines, you have to get to a tram to practice your fetish. Let's say he wants to "steal" a tram on the number 82 route so he needs to get to Footscray station. He's obviously going to need to "steal" a train to get there. And how does he get to the Sunshine station to "steal" the train? Simple, he steals a bus. No need for quotes on the bus stealing because with a big enough shed he may even be able to keep it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Category: Trams
And other Public Transport I guess.
Not that I'm endorsing public defiance or anyhing, but is this guy a winner or what?
Semi, I'm looking forward to your analysis on this puppy.

Category: Popes

Category: Theatre
Hannie Rayson's latest play, Two Brothers, didn't get a stellar review from Owen Richardson at The Tullamarine Trotskyite Tribune. In an understanding spirit, she offered him notes on understanding the play. This is typical of her condescension:
The play opens on a dark and stormy night with a cabinet minister stabbing a man to death, in self-defence. That clearly signals to an audience that we have leapt into fiction.
The Bolta is even less impressed with the play than Mr Richardson, here and here. Tim Blair quoting the Bolta quoting Ms Rayson says:
"Our Government is turning us into a kind of cultural Werribee,” she complained.

My home town—slandered! Shut up, witch!
How naff of you to come from Werribee, Tim!
Comments are worth reading over at Tim's place, too.
I haven't seen many of Ms Rayson's plays but all that I have seen have been poorly thought-out mush so none of this surprises me. Just One Guy's Opinion.

Category: Popes
We got a new 'un a bit quicker than expected.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Category: Law
I am always a little behind on reading Janet Albrechtson's columns and I missed this from about a week ago:
No, Mr Beazley, the culture wars do matter
It perfectly enunciates my position on international law.
I'm really glad Janet is on the ABC board because I think she is very smart. Also I like it because it is a source of irritation for that intellectual light weight Ramona Koval.

Monday, April 18, 2005
Category: Trams
Slatts points out the Malcolm connection.
From the TTT article:
David Iliff told theage.com.au about eight police cars surrounded the tram, which was at the intersection of Glenferrie Road and Wellington Street, and carrying about 10 passengers.
"A number of police officers had guns drawn and were yelling at the boy inside the tram to open the doors," he said.
The boy, from Sunshine, was taken to Boroondara police station and charged with nine offences, including two counts each of theft of trams and conduct endangering life.
That brings a few points to mind:
  1. How did he get obsessed with trams if he lived in Sunshine. He'd have to take a fairly lengthy trip on other public transport to get to the nearest tramline (either the 57 or the 82).
  2. I'm still not getting this theft thing. In order to prove theft you would have to have some sort of assumption that the boy could in some sense take posession of somebody else's property. This is hardly even true in a short term sense.
  3. Eight police cars and guns drawn? These are seriously scared police.

  4. I reckon they've got the Luna Park location about a hundred metres north of true. That tramline runs across the north face of Luna Park.
  5. And again with map trivialities... have they found the True Source of the Yarra River, just inside the grounds of Scotch College? What is the Kennett connection?
Finally... they're a bloody funny lot these rail enthusiasts, aren't they, DB?

Category: mp3
WinAmp plug-in for iPods (FWIW).

Category: Trams
Pursuant to this, the boy also asked his passengers where they wanted to go and did his best to get them there as well (tram tracks permitting).

Category: Politics
This sort of faction fighting would make the western suburbs Victorian Labor folks proud.
Police were called in to break up a fight between 100 right-wing recruits and a left-wing faction, the newspaper said.
One submission said supporters of a political hopeful, David Baynie, showed their pistols to intimidate others.

Category: Trams
When there's significant tram news I feel duty-bound to point at it. In this case, a fifteen year old boy "stole" a couple of trams. I'm not at all convinced that you can call it stealing when it should be fairly easy to find once it is established that there is missing inventory (there is, after all, only 236km of track to search). I'd rather call it malicious misuse of public property.

Sunday, April 17, 2005
Category: Telly
Tenth Doctor Who announced.

Category: Death
Oops, Lethal Injection hurts.

Category: Media
Channel Seven showing NOTHING outrates SBS. 'nuff said.

Saturday, April 16, 2005
Category: Academia
Tim Blair pointed me at a story on the ABC site about an [scare quotes alert] "academic" paper generated by computer (and actually gibberish) being accepted for presentation at a conference.
It's even possible to generate your own scientific papers online. That should make conference attendance easier, DB.

Category: Audio
iPod DJ Mixer. Might have some interesting theatrical applications I guess.

Thursday, April 14, 2005
Category: Google
Video. Jeez, what'll they think of next?

Category: Skins
WindOSX. That's sorta cool.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Category: Dance
To the USB music!
No pictures yet but (I guess I've gotta speak to Semi soon).

Category: (Just for) Fun
I took the boys down to Luna Park today.
Here are the rules to follow to have an enjoyable visit:
  1. Make sure your children are taller than 120cm
  2. Make sure your children are 12 or under
  3. Make sure your children have no obviously restrictive medical conditions
  4. Go early in the week during official Victorian school holidays
  5. Take your own drinks or snack food (house stuff is not prohibitively expensive, though)
  6. Make sure your children are aware that they may not get a ride on the Scenic Railway (manage disappointment)
  7. Arrive at about 10:45am so you get a park nearby (or do the right thing and catch a tram)
  8. Take gold coins so you can buy a parking ticket ($2.20/hr) or a tram ticket for that matter
  9. At the opening of the gates, make a beeline for the ticket box
  10. Buy a $23.95 all day ticket for each child
  11. Head straight for the Scenic Railway queue to get a ride before it breaks down
  12. After the Scenic Railway ride choose any other ride, their queues are short
In just 2½hrs, my boys had 12 rides (including, by sheer luck and extraordinary timing, the Scenic Railway). There's no need to get your calculator, this averages less than $2 per ride.
Just in case you saw this post as a bit negative, I must make the point that our experience was very positive, go do it if you get the chance. I'm sure you would have a great time even without following my rules, but I probably wouldn't, I am very impatient and easily disgruntled.

This photo was taken from about the spot where we parked the car.

Category: Hello
Posting pictures!
If my memory serves me correctly, when we first started blogging nigh on two years ago, having pictures in your BlogSpot blog was only possible on a paying basis. At the time I had no digital camera and I had no use for pictures. I probably still don't but with Hello we don't have to worry about storage problems and it's all for free.

Testing on tramtown.

Category: Acrobat
I've been complaining for years about Acrobat's startup time. I guess I should have investigated a little and I would have found that many of the plugins can be moved to a sort of "load on demand" directory. Thanks to Charles Wright (who runs a politically left blog called The Bleeding Edge) I have discovered someone who has not only done the research, he has also written a little application to do the hard work.

Monday, April 11, 2005
Category: Blogging
I've quite enjoyed a bit of a read of The Cheese Stands Alone.
Thnaks to the brain dude for the pointer.

Saturday, April 09, 2005
Category: Web
Charles has just pointed at something that I'd like to follow through on. (Maybe, haven't read it yet. But it looks interesting but.)

Category: Countdown
People lining up at the wrong theatre for EpIII?
As Dave Barry says at his blog:
But this blog calls them people who are lining up for a movie seven weeks in advance at the wrong theater.

Category: Useful
When you add up the cost of the rack and the insert, this is an extraordinarily expensive wine rack.

Category: Audio
You control with iControl. "iControl delivers total tactile control over GarageBand".

Friday, April 08, 2005
Category: Culture
The Rich Skivvies recruit both kinds. (country & western)

Category: Security
Baggage handler dons passenger's camel costume.: "David Cox was waiting to board his Qantas flight when he saw a baggage handler wearing the costume on the tarmac".
UPDATE: Sorry, my fault half a camel costume. (the Corby reference muddies these waters a bit but).

Thursday, April 07, 2005
Category: Water
I am beginning to look like a complete idiot on this water thing. It seems that the Thomson dam was full to overflowing in January 1996 and Melbourne water made $700,000 by reducing the storage to 75% by letting water go through its hydro plant. By geez, that vegitation grows back quickly. Just think, though, of the pain caused by that $700,000 for Melbourne Water users. Never, never let a full Thomson disappear again and always remember the Chinatown story.
As stated by the TTT in April 2003:
Mr Young said the Thomson Dam was full and overflowing when the continuous release of water began on November 11, 1996. The water release was stopped when the dam was 75.4 per cent full on October 7 the following year. Today it is just 34.7 per cent full.
November the eleventh. Maintain your rage!
UPDATE: Of course we have to remember that power supplied at the supplier's discretion does nothing to help alter our base-load problems so the $700,000 is funny money just like the money paid to wind turbine operators.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Category: (not quite) Recently Dead Celebrities
HTS goes out with a bang.

Category: AFD
Could MSNBC have mis-dated this article that claims that dandruff is causing global warming?
And how far out of whack can the basic measurements climatologists use for their models be before alarm bells ring?
He estimated that the amount of biological particles in the air, worldwide, annually is 1,000 teragrams. A teragram is somewhat more than a million tons.
By comparison, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the World Meteorological Organization and the U.N. Environment Program, estimated biological particles at 56 teragrams, compared with 3,300 teragrams of sea salt and 2,000 teragrams of mineral dust.
These "important" particles exist to the extent of 1000 teragrams or 54 teragrams? Throw your models out the window folks.
It's gotta be an April Fools' Day gag, surely?

Category: Energy
Miranda Devine crossed the Tasman over Easter and found herself in the beautiful country of the Otago peninsula. It turns out the Kiwis have discovered the secret of perpetual motion. Pump water up into a dam and then use it to generate hydro electricity. And what powers the pumps, you might ask. The electricity, I suppose. But what about energy loss in the process, you might also ask. Easy, cover that with subsidies funded by carbon credits.
I have my man on the ground down Otago way on the job as we speak. Expect updates.

UPDATE: from my MOTG:
Well, I suppose it is possible that the pumping is only over a short rise to provide water to an existing power station making use of a greater fall than the rise required to get the water there. The article did say that it made little commercial sense and that it seemed beneficial only after the convoluted system of carbon credits and so on were applied. There is also the possibility that the "pumping" would involve using slave labour to carry the water bucket by bucket and then, as everyone knows, the cost is zero.
Of course, the whole "clean green" thing is an advertising slogan without basis in fact. A couple of coats of lead-based "apple-green" paint would keep the place just as green.
I admit I had considered that the pumping might be only over a little distance but with far from perfect efficieny in the pumps and the fact that any energy used to pump the water up has to discount the value of the process I think this is idiocy in the extreme.

Category: Religion
According to Pastor Fred Phelps, God Hates Fags, Sweden, and America. I'm not going to quote any of the pages of the Westboro Baptist Church because it could soil our Google footprint. It's fascinating but very ugly reading. I particularly dislike the use of children to promote such an unpleasant cause.

Monday, April 04, 2005
Category: Culture
I've been lurking here lately and I keep going back for more. FWIW.

Category: OS's
To Be or not to Be.

Sunday, April 03, 2005
Category: Nanny state
There's some astounding reading over at Nanny Knows Best including this stunner:
Nanny is very concerned about road safety, so much so in fact that she has instructed her law enforcement officials to make sure that as many motorists are possible are fined for speeding, dangerous driving and the like.
We therefore must commend the Cleveland police for their exceptional vigilance, on Nanny's behalf, in stopping a vehicle with a broken brake light.
The vehicle was an ambulance, just arriving at the A&E department of Hartlepool hospital, with an emergency patient on board.
Read on...

Category: Theatre
From the Malthouse Theatre website (click on The Ham Funeral):
This black comedy by Australia's Nobel Prize-winning writer Patrick White is his first published play and great expressionist drama – never before performed in Melbourne.
In 2001, Heidelberg Theatre Company did it according to my memory. It was a cracker of a production, too, even if I didn't understand a word of it.

Category: Recently Dead Celebrities

Category: Virtual gaming
On Samizdata, a post about various legal/technical/violent aspects of online gaming that is worth a read.
The thought of the characters in the game world, forbidden to speak to their enemies, yet finding a way to communicate by going outside the bounds of their own reality, would make a story worthy of Philip K Dick.

Friday, April 01, 2005
Category: MSM
By all accounts, David Penberthy has been made editor of the Tele in Sydney. It works for mine, he makes quite a bit of sense:
It's the height of impertinence for a government department -- which, rumour has it, is chock-a-block full of lesbians -- to decide that the lifestyle which many of their number have embraced is deserving of a taxpayer-funded plug before an audience of six-year-olds.
As a matter of Style, there may be some redundancy in "chock-a-block full", in my humble opinion.

Category: AFD

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