Tram Town
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Category: Information
Wickerpedia, the wicker encyclopedia. Go figure!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Category: Films
This story just reminded me of Cool Hand Luke.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Category: Music
I think I'd like to know more about Bob Thompson.

Category: Audio
You control, we control, outta-control, iControl! Garageband management hardware, looks worth a further look I'd say.

Category: Technology
Interesting history of the Amiga. (Hey Semi, didn't you deploy some of these in the mid 80's?). Thanks Auffers.

Monday, June 27, 2005
Category: Recently Dead Celebrities
Knucklehead, Gargamel, Tigger, Dick Dastardly, Fleegle etc. All dead, vale!

Category: Blogger
I got en email from a bloke called Ed Flinn. He pointed me at Exultate Justi where Jared Keller has a workaround for the recent Blogger disaster. We now have a different typeface but I'm not sure I care.
I don't know Ed or Jared but I am grateful to both of them.

Saturday, June 25, 2005
Category: Homework
The Hun has an article about a school that has cut back its homework demands.
In a revolutionary approach, Melbourne's St Michael's Grammar School has dumped rigid homework guidelines and set hours for what it now calls "out-of-class" work.
Me, I'd be cutting back altogether but I'm glad this sort of story is being reported. Oh and look at this...
Year 3 student Sophie told the Herald Sun she often preferred to do a negotiated out-of-class task rather than watch TV, saying they were "fun".
I know a Sophie who is in year 3 at St Michael's. I wonder if it's her.

Friday, June 24, 2005
Category: ABC
The following graph was included in this article in yesterday's Media section of the Oz. The graph shows adjusted ABC funding (presumably adjusted by CPI). Sorry about the scribble but it (very roughly) indicates change of government and trends. It looks a bit like a reverse J curve, doesn't it?

Category: Third World
Rats take out Kiwis!

Thursday, June 23, 2005
Category: Medicine
I don't feel comfortable pointing at two articles in the Grauniad in one day that I largely agree with but here goes:
Competence always looks better from a distance, but I have a confession to make: I'm a doctor, and I just don't understand most of the stories on health risks in the news. I don't mean I can't understand the fuss. I mean I literally can't understand what they're trying to communicate to me.

Category: Climate
"Climate Catastrophe Cancelled: What You're Not Being Told About the Science of Climate Change" A 25 minute video downloadable in five parts is avaliable here. There is nothing particularly controversial in it unless you are a strict adherent of the Green Religion™.

Category: Tax
They're a funny lot the Irish. This interesting article in the Grauniad tells of a long standing tax exemption for income earned from creative writing. Not surprisingly, successful writers have been moving to Dublin. By the way, ignorant as I am, I came across a word I had not seen before in the article: Taoiseach.
Taoiseach is Irish Gaelic. It may be pronounced "tee-shoch" (with the "ch" sound as in "loch"). In the accent of some speakers of Donegal Irish, however, its pronunciation is closer to "tee-shah". The plural, Taoisigh, may be pronounced "tee-she" or "tee-shig". The Taoiseach is often formally addressed in English as An Taoiseach, "An" being the Irish definite article.
A life of learning right here on TramTown.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Category: Recently Dead Technologies
(or at least at the pre-wash for the crematorium stage) Vale cassettes.

Category: Cults
Hey Spock! Shove this in ya pointy ear!

Category: Technology
Nice cell phone.

Category: Animals
I guess it'd be about as happy as a dog with two dicks! (Sorry Semi's Mum)

Monday, June 20, 2005
Category: Music Litachuh
Penguin are offering free samples of famous actors reading famous books for us to use in music. It's a strange concept but well worth a pointer from TramTown.

Sunday, June 19, 2005
Category: Wow!
From the Brain Guy, a pointer at an astounding piece of wind-driven transport and a look at Bob Heinlein's house.

Category: Academia
A comment made by Iowahawk over at Tim Blair's place after an article about The Lancet appeared in the Times.
Iowahawk, D.B. (2005), “Effect of Statistics on Homo Sapiens From Genus Facultae Campii,” Journal of Vita Enhancement 12 June (4-29); SS-396


Subjects drawn from local faculty club were exposed to partially ordered statistics formulae in randomized latin square split-plot reverse osmosis design. MANCOVA test showed significantly more sexual arousal for Dirichlet distributions compared to Gaussian (p=.0336), with cross-over interaction between tenure status and parametric greek letter-thingies.

Conclusion: More grant money needed for follow-up studies.
That about covers it.

Saturday, June 18, 2005
Category: mp3
HRH gets down and funky. Go Liz!

Friday, June 17, 2005
Category: Music
Plastic Deities!

Category: Sport
On the topic of Olympics, Geelong has a sub-olympic pool that is 20mm short. The funniest thing is that they are going to lengthen it. Surely it can't be worth the effort.

Category: Sport
The Olympic Hotel in Preston has been there all my life and it is my understanding that it was built around the time of the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne (it is quite close to the Olympic Village). They have had a big (~3m wide) set of Olympic rings on a post outside the pub for many years. During the lead up to the Sydney games they were unable to leave the rings there so they turned them upside down. After the games they were righted again. Now the Australian Olympic Committee have forced them to remove them permanently and get this:
But Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred said illegal use of the famous rings effectively took cash away from athletes.
"A hotel comes along and puts it up illegally, and that detracts from sponsorship dollars and in turn hurts athletes who we try to fund to send to the Olympic Games," Mr Tancred said.
That's powerful logic your man uses to argue that case, isn't it? You can just imagine the cash flowing out of the athletes pockets.
The Olympic Insignia Protection Act was introduced in 2001 to give the AOC copyright over the insignia.
Legislation... strong stuff. But it also looks like they couldn't claim coypright without legislation... weak stuff. Surely for an area so steeped in Olympic history having this sign up would only enhance the Olympic name??

Category: Software
Hmm, looks like Apples' number may comeup?

Thursday, June 16, 2005
Category: Uniforms
When Semi and I were in bands we should've, maybe, dressed alike and maybe we would've been more successful, or maybe not.

Category: Consensus
This bloke needs to get with the program. The scientists (and more importantly, the actors and musicians and Al Gore) have already declared a consensus on Global Warming™.

Category: Technology
Howstuffworks "How the Batsuit Works".

Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Category: Police
Slatts pointed at an extremely disturbing item about the Metropolitan police of London today. We need to watch all of our police very closely to ensure they are not going this way.

Category: Huh?
From a comment on the Bolta's forum, IGA have a product called "Vegetarian Eggs – Free from animal products". If this is true it would have to be breakthrough science. The only eggs I have ever seen produced came from a hen's backside and, for mine, hens are animals.
In the same Bolta forum, a simply stated argument for what is wrong with the socialist salary cap and draft system of the AFL from the Bolta himself:
I don't mind the limited socialism of the AFL because of the evening out of the competition, but we should remember some of its features – features that in a wider society would be unacceptable. They include the best players getting far more than the worst, the worst and weak facing the instant sack, restrictions on the freedom of players and coaches to speak or to transfer, great powers to the Big Boss, and no true alternative employ for dissident professional players.

Category: Rides
I think I might give Mission: Space a bit of a miss next time I go to Disney World (although I guess the blood pressure warning would knock me out anyway. "At that time, it was the most hospital visits for a single ride since Florida's major theme parks agreed in 2001 to report such problems to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. "

Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Category: Gulag
Over at The New Republic, David Bosco takes issue (username: digital, password: digital worked for me) with Amnesty International's description of Guantánamo as "the gulag of our time."
Amongst the comparisons:

Individuals Detained:
Gulag: Approximately 20 million passed through the Gulag. The population at any one time was generally around two million.
Guantánamo: 750 prisoners have passed through the camp. The current population is about 520.

Number of Camps:
Gulag: 476 separate camp complexes comprising thousands of individual camps. By the end of the 1930s, camps were located in each of the Soviet Union's twelve time zones.
Guantánamo: Five small camps on the U.S. military base in Cuba.

Red Cross Visits
Gulag: None that I could find.
Guantánamo: Regular visits since January 2002. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has reportedly complained to the U.S. government about several aspects of prisoner treatment, including occasional beatings and other interrogation tactics. Per its standard practice, the ICRC does not make its complaints public.

Deaths as a Result of Poor Treatment
Gulag: At least two to three million. [detail ommitted]
Guantánamo: No reports of prisoner deaths.

He concludes thus:
The detention center at Guantánamo is legally dubious and has been a public relations disaster for the United States. The treatment of certain prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan has been far worse. Amnesty's president Irene Kahn says that these practices are "undermining human rights in a dramatic way." Her outrage is valuable and essential. If only she could express it without employing obscene moral parallels.
"If only she could express it without employing obscene moral parallels": that tells the Amnesty International story in one sentence for me.

Monday, June 13, 2005
Category: Carnies
One of my girls was a premmie, but I never realised that I may've had Couney from Coney island to thank for her well-being? Go figure!

Sunday, June 12, 2005
Category: Government
Doctors in Scotland say long kitchen knives "serve no useful purpose in the kitchen but are proving deadly on the streets of Britain". "Police superintendents say a ban would be difficult to enforce". Somebody save us from our legislators!

Saturday, June 11, 2005
Category: Star Wars
What if you were around about 7 years old and, effectively, watched Eps I,II,III,IV,V,VI in order what d'ya reckon you'd think?

Friday, June 10, 2005
Category: JP2
I hadn't noticed this article in the Oz by Rosemary Neill but I was appalled by the dumb disconnect between bans on contraceptives and monogamy. It is as if they think the (old) Pope was saying "Don't fuck around, but if you do don't use rubber johnnys". What he was saying was "don't fuck around if you do you have commited a sin no greater or less than fucking around and using a condom". That is my interpretation as a devout atheist. I think it is a bit like a follower of Judaism having a ham and cheese sandwich. Is it any more wrong to mix meat and dairy than it is to be eating pig?
Now I am way out of my theological depth here but Rosemary is also gasping for air with her suggestion (indirectly but there nonetheless) that 'the church's position could be "a crime against humanity"'. The church quite rightly believes that if you AND your partner follow its teachings you are extremely unlikely to be exposed to STDs.
A TCS article makes the observation 'Pinning such blame for the tragedy of African AIDS on one man is one of those ideas that is, in the words of George Orwell, "so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them"'.
It's to be commended that governements tell a sensible story:
ABC stands for Abstain, Be faithful, or use Condoms if A and B are not practiced. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni preaches the ABC of AIDS with the fervour of an evangelist. "I am not in favour of condoms in primary and even secondary schools... Let condoms be a last resort," he said recently at an international AIDS conference in his capital, Kampala. "I have grown-up children and my policy was to frighten them out of undisciplined sex. I started talking to them from the age of 13, telling them to concentrate on their studies, that the time would come for sex"
but we shouldn't expect the Roman church to abandon its teachings. Just One Guy's Opinion™.

Thursday, June 09, 2005
Category: The King
The Bulletin has the best selection of GK pictures I have seen. Go look!

Category: Blogging
Episode I, ...a long time ago, in an internet far away...(even before Al Gore)

Category: Audio
Some useful new plugins.

Category: Politics
This is barely blog-worthy but, heck, this is TramTown and anything can get a guernsey here.
Jan-Peter Balkenende, the Dutch prome minister is apparently irritated that people think he looks like Harry Potter. But he does!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Category: Shocker
Perhaps I'm being a it paranoid here, but coudn't the layout guys have been a bit more sensitive about the juxtaposition of the first two words of this headline?

Category: Crime
This has gotta be the quote of the day week month year. Via Kev Gillett, from the ABC:
There has never been a serious crime or any crime on the Australian waterfront.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Category: Computers
And reason number one why Apple have moved to Intel CPU's? So that Virtual PC will run native. You'll be able to run Real Excel at full speed!

Category: Apple
Bugger Me! The pundits were right. Intel Inside.
UPDATE: a few more details.

Category: Technology
Breathing at 10 feet under water!

Category: Technology
Surfin' at 30000 feet! Bet it'll cost a bob.

Category: Climate
Slatts has pointed to an article in the Oz by a respected climatologist suggesting "the basis for human-caused global warming is tenuous". A commenter on Slatts' site has made the astute observation: "Aw what the hell does he know about climate? He just a distinguished scientist. Who you gonna’ believe Hollywood or some learned scholar?".

Monday, June 06, 2005
Category: Apple
More rumours? I guess we'll know on Tuesday.

Category: Meeja
JumboJoke presents a glossary of newspaper terms including:
  • Beautiful: A woman who's been savagely murdered
  • Blonde: See "beautiful"
  • Celebrity: Someone that has a publicist
  • Couldn't be reached for comment: The reporter didn't call until after 5 p.m.
  • Exclusive: No one else returned the publicist's calls
  • High-brow: Boring

Category: Handy
A house was lifted 15cm off the ground when a handyman made a little error during the weekend. That's why I try not to do anything around the house.
Get the reporting, though. Comments from all including serious detail about the birth of Tyrone two years ago. Tyrone was elsewhere at the time.

Sunday, June 05, 2005
Actors are important, very important.
Schapelle Corby's supporters are seeking A-list actors, sports stars and celebrities to back their campaign to have her freed from a Bali jail.

Category: Apple
Rumour mill is running hot again. iIntel? Hmm, where have we seen that 'un before?

Friday, June 03, 2005
Category: Energy
I think I've just signed up as an anti nuclear energy lobbiest. Why? Because Bob Carr has signed on as pro nuclear.
"I just think the world's got to debate whether uranium-derived power is more dangerous than coal," Mr Carr said.
There is no debate. Nuclear is safer.
"The polar ice caps are melting, every glacier on the planet is sliding away to extinction.
Simply not true even on the extreme greens' interpretation of the literature.
"The planet is warming up and we need some new energy source until wind and solar and hydrogen become available.
Wind cannot provide base load power (it's not always blowing). Solar is a net consumer of power and only useful in relatively remote locations where real cost of power doesn't matter so much. Hydrogen may be useful as a mobile energy source but the power to produce hydrogen from water has to come from somewhere, probably nuclear. Anyway, is what warming has been observed anthropogenic? That is not even approximately established.
"I just think the world's got to debate whether uranium-derived power is more dangerous than coal," he said.
"Coal is looking very dangerous; there ought to be a debate. My mind's not made up at this stage."
What mind?
Ignore that first sentence. Nuclear power is the cleanest, cheapest and safest power source available to us. Get over it!
UPDATE: Alright, I'm being a bit obstreperous and I should be happy that the sense of nuclear power is even getting as far left as the likes of Bob Carr and Peter Garrett but... I am still seriously irritated at the ABC's reporting of this change of climate. The two experts they decided to talk to about this were Helen Caldicott and Bob Brown.
Prominent anti-nuclear campaigner Dr Helen Caldicott says nuclear power production creates massive amounts of global warming gases and she describes it as a "cancer industry".
"It will over time produce epidemics of cancer - leukaemia and genetic disease, particularly in children," she said.
I'm glad this twit is not my GP.
Greens Senator Bob Brown says the tide of public opinion is against it.
"It was sealed with Chernobyl, that was really the end," Senator Brown said.
The worst ever nuclear disaster produced 50 deaths maximum and it was in a totalitarian society with very little in the way of checks and balances. I bet Bob doesn't rely on the Soviet era Aeroflot safety record in his decisions about flying.

Category: Technology
Interesting history of the Apple Newton.

Category: (sch)Appellation
This is really sick.
THE plight of Schapelle Corby has inspired new parents across the country to name their daughters after her.
Including one, get this, called Sharpelle.
BTW I am not going to apologise for the pun in the category above. I though it was quite inspired. Interestingly, on checking the spelling, I discovered that appellation was dictionary.com's word of the day for Sunday April 1, 2001. Maybe the April Fools' Day reference closes the loop on this bizarre topic.

Thursday, June 02, 2005
Category: Music
Interesting article on a documentary about Robert Moog (rhymes with vogue (I didn't know that)).

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Category: Pitchers
I got The Perils of Pauline (the 1947 one with Betty Hutton and William Demarest) for $1.50. I am about to watch it. DB asked what extras were on the DVD and I facetiously replied "chapters". When I got home I had a look. It also includes "a printable file containing The Perils of Pauline colouring book which will provide hours of family fun and entertainment". Bonus, dude!
UPDATE: I just looked at the colouring book. I'm not so sure about "hours".

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