Saturday, July 30, 2005
Neil Mitchell, who took the original phone call from the 12-year-old's mother, has a good summary of the issues involved with that disgraceful situation at Dromana Secondary College.
Lachlan Murdoch has quit his gig at Newscorp. Tim Blair's headline:
Based on the evidence she presents in the first part of her article in the Hun, you'd think Sally Morrell was dead against homework for primary students but no:
Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of homework.Yes, that was the exact punctuation and layout including a dependent clause masquerading as a
And get this:
What a wonderful op-shop for essay-challenged student the internet is, with all those lovely essays just sitting there out in the electronic ether, waiting to be Googled, cut, pasted and called the student's own work.What a magnificent tool for [the] essay-challenged student the internet is, for just about any given topic it provides vast amounts of information from which the student can develop the skills of finding the useful bits and bringing them together, without transcription errors and with the ability to provide accurate attributions that are easily checked by the assessor. It's 2005, Sally, get with the program! She sure seems to have a problem with the internet, does Sally. Perhaps it's because it provides a mechanism outside of the carefully chosen texts where the student can discover that much of the SOSE* syllabus is politically correct claptrap.
PSYCHOLOGIST Michael Carr-Grieg found that of a study of almost 1200 students, one in five routinely cuts and pastes from the internet.Are they scare-caps in the word psychologist? My point about Carr-Grieg's research, though, is that the other four are shortchanging themselves. Properly attributed and sensibly annotated cut and paste jobs using the internet is how research is often done nowadays and it will be so even more into the future. Sure, poorly attributed paste-ups are just like cutting paragraphs out of magazines and sticking them on large pieces of cardboard. Wait a minute, isn't that what a large proportion of their projects end up being anyway?
Don't get me wrong, I hate the idea of homework at the primary level.
How it encourages bad work habits and all that. Also, how it makes you wonder how 25 contact hours a week is not enough for an eight year old. and all that.
*Studies of Society and Environment
Friday, July 29, 2005
This is an interesting article in the Guardian about a guitarist called Davy Graham. I had not heard of him until TCL pointed at the article.
Asked about Bob Dylan, who came to see him play on an early trip to England, he replied politely: "I'm not familiar with his work."
Deaf, dumb and blind boy. He's in a quite vibration land (well, blind at least). He's a Computer Game Wizard there has to be a twist!
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Mick Hartley has the temerity to suggest that Waiting for Godot is a lot of nonsense.
According to the Oz:
AUSTRALIA has reportedly signed a secret pact with the US, China, India and South Korea on greenhouse gas emissions (GGE).Not very secret, is it? Also in the report:
The revelation of the greenhouse strategy comes as federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell conceded Australia would have to do more to reduce GGE.A "revelation" surely requires a revealer. What is the source for this stuff? It almost seems like it was completely made up. Anyone?
UPDATE: So it turns out to be true but the point remains: how were we meant to guage the veracity of the original article when the source of the information was completely ignored.
Sir Richard Doll died a couple of days ago. Doll seems to have been allocated credit for the 1954 study which linked cigarettes with lung cancer. From Numberwatch: "In fact Doll was Hill’s assistant who simply carried out the experiment designed by the great man". Hill, of course, is the great Sir Austin Bradford Hill .
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I was just talking to my friend Blogless Kevin about the percussion instrument known as the Cowbell. My first band used this instrument a lot.
Kevin said " A drumkit isn't a REAL drumkit unless it's got one". Well, now I can have twelve.
I don't have any background or theories (well, maybe the odd theory but I'll wait for the press conference) but it looks like Carr's taken a car! I really hope that I'm not the last person to know this.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
|Category: Freedom Phones|
Also from Pushback, a mechanism to allow truly anonymous dobbing-in of bad guys and a pointer to an article about the nuclear dangers of coal-fired power. Both politically difficult notions but with some sound basis worth pursuing. Just One Guy's Opinion.
Those of us who are a bit suspicious of environmentalism are not surprised that it is easy to come up with this collection of Frightening Quotes from Environmentalists. Amongst them:
"The right to have children should be a marketable commodity, bought and traded by individuals but absolutely limited by the state.Go and read them and begin to understand the thinking of the extreme green movement.
Pursuant to this, I can't seem to get it to work on either Safari or IE on my OSX10.4.2 PB12", FWIW.
Monday, July 25, 2005
|Category: Big Ad|
It's a Big Ad seems to be the next in the Made from Beer series. I found it very funny but I had to use the dominant browser to get it to work (for my mother and my outlaws that means Internet Explorer). Does it work in the big game hunting browser, DB?
A coupla' years back Pixoria introduced a product called Konfabulator to the Mac OSX platform. It looked absolutely beautiful and allowed desktop "widgets" to float either above or below the running applications. I generallly have TV Guide, Weather and Homeland Security Status on my desktop. They then made it available for the Dominant Platform about a year later.
When the Fruit Company introduced OSX10.4 (Tiger) they duplicated the entire concept effectively putting another small developer almost out of business on the minimalist platform (except Apples' ran in a separate application layer, drained CPU resources and looked even more beautiful). It's looking like Pixoria may have the last laugh!
I'd missed the original article when it got posted last week on CNet but find it a lovely trip down memory lane now.
Pop Quiz time -- What does a hampster, Mahir, All your base..., a baby, a kid, Bush/Kerry and Ellen Feiss (and some others) all have in common. It's web fads time.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
This page has a nice comparison of the world's biggest buildings. I wonder at how the Petronas Towers are considered higher that the Sears tower. The entire site is worth a visit if BIG interests you.
The boys and I went to see the Storm at Olympic Park and the Storm done the Roosters good. One of the Storm's tries was a magnificent piece of ahleticism for mine but only warranted the following in the match report:
Hooker Cameron Smith kicked downfield and the NSW representative was able to toe-poke the ball around Roosters winger Amos Roberts and regather before touching down.I'm a rules fan, me, but this was a very enjoyable piece of sporting entertainment and we will likely go again before season's end. There was a problematic lack of sirens for me so we missed the first minute or so of the second half but that was the only source of irritation as far as I was concerned.
Sitting in the western stand, you can just about see the edge of the 'G, clearly see the Pelaco sign, clearly see the top of the Dimmey's tower, (was that the Bryant and May clock I thought I identified?), clearly see the sign on the silo read at 14 degrees ("I remember"), and then see across the Yarra to the botanical gardens and see bits of Government House through the trees; how Melbourne is that? Interestingly, we took the Route 68 tram home and it will probably be the last time we will use the 68. I can't find a link, but next weekend is the last Sunday that a different southern terminus will apply for the West Coburg route according to in-tram announcemtents.
A very Melbourne posting (particularly considering it was initially about the northern game) brought to you by TramTown!
Also, there were four Segways riding about the venue with large farings advertising Medibank Private!
Saturday, July 23, 2005
This story caught my eye:
...a 12-year-old girl was prescribed the Pill after a referral from her Dromana Secondary College nurse.Now can anybody out there who has a 12-year-old daughter or has had a 12-year-old daughter tell me they approve of this? I've just been going through a protest regarding the amount of detail about alcohol consumption my 10-year-old son is being exposed to by his teachers and I can't help but feel the authorities just don't want to give our children a chance to be children.
King George the III was widely believed to be bonkers:
The generally accepted theory has been that his fits of insanity -- the best documented lasting from October 1788 to February 1789 and triggering a constitutional crisis -- were due to a genetic disorder that caused variegate porphyria.It seems now, though, that the porphyric attacks were exacerbated by the amount of arsenic the doctors had been feeding him. Are doctors good for us? [Warning: the link does not play well with non-dominant browsers]
Thursday, July 21, 2005
From our man in the skinny country (who appears to be following the e e cummings style guide):
now the buses here dont have timetables because they come all the time, and they hardly stop to let you off. its great- none of that public liability s**t like in australia that takes all the fun out of life. you actually have a chance of dying in your day to day life, which i think is great. and as the bus took us home for $1 at 5 in the morning, i thought back to melbourne, and about how a city in the west can have a significantly worse public transport system than Santiago. (please submit answers to this puzzle, if you please)Here goes...
In no particular order:
As was said in an earlier post: "Be sure to tune in next week, when we show you how to use rock concerts to eliminate poverty in Africa. Till then, cheerio".
36 years ago yesterday. Now Google has some fine maps up. Zoom right in for a bit of an easter egg.
|Category: Recently Dead Celebrities|
Inventor of TV Dinners, Bon apetite!
The logic of hybrid cars providing the ability to get more out of a litre of petrol has lead manufacturers to the idea of making cars that are faster than their petrol-only equivalents. The New York Times reports:
Consumer Reports called the hybrid portion of the Accord a "green turbocharger." The main benefit is in getting from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds, compared with 9.0 seconds for the basic four-cylinder model.6.9 seconds! That's a decent bit of kick!
|Category: Vale Scotty|
"I canna change the laws of biology, Captain".
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Interesting article on the likely iPod "halo" effect on the fruit companies PC sales from Needham & Co (who incidentally I applied for a job with that I didn't get in 1980 when I was fresh outta film school which obviously says something about both their credibility and astuteness).
Short on datapoints, high on hype - FWIW.
The Prof has critiqued an article in yesterday's TTT. The Prof's point is that the article seems to raise many more questions than it answers.
This, from the article, is a cracker of a fact:
For six months, federal and WA police declined to investigate the case, each claiming it was the other's responsibility. But after report in The Age in January 2003, both forces began investigations.Not investigating sexual abuse because of a query over jurisdiction? Both the federal and WA ministers responsible should be hauled over the coals for not sorting this out quick smart.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
This article in the Oz about strike action at Monash University contains this surprising paragraph:
She said some staff had also cancelled classes all week and others were holding VSU discussion classes instead.[VSU - voluntary student unionism] Striking and having your pay docked is one thing. Using state-owned facilities and students' time to push a political agenda appears to me to be another. Apart from anything else, are these staff covered by workcare during these discussion classes?
Monday, July 18, 2005
I'm afraid I don't have sufficient data-points to understand this.
"While anecdotal evidence suggests that men are more likely to monopolize the remote, a new study suggests that women are in the driver’s seat when it comes to using a digital video recorder."
However, my 12yo daughter reckons SHE can work mine, FWIW.
On page 14 of book six:
We are currently making arrangements to have him transferred to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. The move should be affected tonight."It should be "effected", surely?
And on page 22...
"Well, we're not," Scrimgeour cut in. "It'll be a poor lookout for the Muggles if their Prime Minister gets put under the Imperius Curse. The new secretary in your outer office--""outlook", perhaps?
I just wonder if these are deliberate errors of the type put in to maps to be used as a fingerprint to catch plagiarists. Or perhaps the version I have was poorly spell checked after the OCR. Oops! I just gave myself away.
UPDATE: I'm now up to page 38 and the typos are becoming annoying. I hope I can put my hands on a dead tree copy soon.
|Category: Who knew?|
I didn't know that Brocky and Bevvo had split up. He's going to be on Denton tonight. The good news is that he's still crazy enough to believe in the energy polariser.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
I just bought a new street directory. It is [pause for dramatic effect...] a UBD! It WAS cheap but here's the thing: they appear to be using the Melway database and cartography standard. Map numbers are different and some of the map symbols are different and they have a range of scales depending mainly on distance from the CBD, oh and a lot of the colourings are different. Regardless, I am still certain that it uses the Melway database. Am I the last person to have noticed this change for the better?
UPDATE: Cartographic tragic that I am (I blame my father), I have been comparing the 2005 UBD with the 2004 Melway (which is the latest that I have). [WARNING: obscure Formula 1 reference follows] Remember when Sauber as a customer used to get last year's engine from Ferarri? The UBD lists the Monash synchrotron facility as a car park (which it used to be and will probably return after 100's of million$ have been poured in to it), whereas the Melway has it as what it currently is, including a completion estimate. This may, of course, be due to a level of detail choice by UBD but on the same map there are missing streets that are in the Melway so the jury is still out. Does anybody have the skinny on this?
UPUPDATE:Also, in the UBD, the Melway office is not noted at Map 70, G6 (Melway ref., of course, but how long can the "standard" last if UBD is producing a cheaper but nearly as useful product).
The poll is open at www.formula1.com for the punters to decide (as if) how qualifying should be run. Proposal two actually looks a lot like I'd always thought would work. I've participated in this little exercise in futility and voted. I wonder which proposal they've already decided on.
|Category: Climate |
From the Sunday Hun:
Warming to Melbourne's waterworldbut...
The tale of the hypothetical map, drawn by Australia's Bureau of Rural Sciences, is unlikely to come true -- all the Earth's major ice masses would need to melt.and...
CSIRO research scientist John Church said experts found that for the biggest ice mass, the East Antarctic ice sheet, to melt, global warming "far more than thought possible under any scenario of climate change currently under consideration" would have to occur.So... the article in summary goes somehing like this:
Australia's Bureau of Rural Sciences wanted to create a State of Fear in the community about the threat of global warming so they created this map that illustrates what cannot possibly happen, not now, not in tens of thousands of years.
Are you afraid now?
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Thursday, July 14, 2005
I had never read Edward Tufte's analysis of a PowerPoint slide from a Boeing report that "provided the rationale for NASA officials to curtail further research (such as photographing the Columbia with spy cameras) on the tiles during the flight". That is to say a report that was partly the reason that Columbia broke up on re-entry killing all aboard. It brings new meaning to the phrase "I've been PowerPointed".
If you ever have to produce PowerPoint (or whatever tool you may have on the minor platform) presentations, it would be wise to read this right through.
The whole of Edward Tufte's site is well worth the time spent there.
UPDATE: I lied. I have been there before but I didn't look in detail. Stupid of me.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Then there's this article from PhysOrg.com that suggests that homework may be counter-productive.
Also from TCS: Doing It for the Children
A recent report in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology says that girls as young as five years old are beginning to have problems with body image. The authors concluded that the girls "felt 'paranoid' about their weight -- partly because of the Government's anti-obesity message," according to the London Telegraph. Girls as young as eight are being diagnosed with eating disorders.
|Category: Dick (Phillip K.)|
Tech Central Station has a nice article about a bloke who had a short conversation with Phillip K. Dick at the Wired Next Fest...
I thought it was pretty impressive for Dick to be there at all -- considering he's been dead since 1982.
|Category: Language (again)|
Further to the item below about the BBC, Melanie Phillips has turned up an example where the British Orwell Corporation (her words) replaced "terrorist" with "extremist" in what was meant to be a report of Tony Blair's statement to the House of Commons. Their guidelines encourage astoundingly poor journalism.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Thank you to Slatts and particularly The Telegraph for letting us know that the BBC edits out the word terrorist.
The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments".The avoidance of the word terrorist and the re-writing of history is absolutely certainly "a barrier rather than an aid to understanding".
Semi didn't seem to know about this. More info here FWIW. I think the gig is on also around a few more spots which I couldn't find for the time being.
And now DB points out The Original GT Limousine Company in Perth. Stretch HO's.
We're just in to July but Kim du Toit has already determined his Moron Of The Year [NUDITY ALERT!].
I'm glad Kim hasn't taken his threat to shut down too seriously.
Tim Blair posited the question:
You are the President of the United States on September 11, 2001. How do you respond to the attacks of that day, and to the wider issues of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq?In comments, the following appeared:
First, become a sociologist and discover the root causes of terrorism. Then, when the world’s governments really start to take notice of you, you can jolly well show them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there will never be terrorists ever again.There! Two Monty Python references at TramTown in just three days.
Monday, July 11, 2005
I saw this last week and pretty much agree with Semi (but the animated textures were wonderful!). So, THAT wasn't a penguin, THIS is a penguin!
(That penguin's taken my babeeeeeee!), (what rubbish).
Sunday, July 10, 2005
In a tragic sort of way I have to admit that the two most contemporary albums I have bought have both been pointed out to me by an aging RWDB blogger who barracks for Collingwood. I thought the Jets album was derivative but that they were terrific mimics. The Scissor Sisters self-titled piece makes the Jets look like one-out-of-the-box originals but I have been enjoying listening to it anyway.
Oh and also, for some edgy electro muck, consider downloading the tracks on the Dead Wasps site and adding them to your high rotation list.
On the way home from the footy down at
|Category: Flying sheep|
As quoted by Alan Brain, they don't so much fly as plummet.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Cooking a poached egg is difficult, especially if you follow the instructions of that damned fool Delia Smith. b3ta has some hints that are well worth looking at (make sure you read through to the end because that's where the secret is).
Thursday, July 07, 2005
On O'Reilly Digital Media, Gina Fant-Saez discusses what she describes as "The Ultimate Portable Studio ". It's an interesting article but given that we are discussing technology here I hardly think what she describes could be even approximately "ultimate". Thank for the pointer, Blogless Clive.
|Category: Ep IV|
Own your own light sabre.
I'm sure that Semi has fond memories of DECNet. It's good to see that some folks are still using it.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
My boys and I went over to Airport West to see Madagascar. Don't bother. The boys giggled most of the time but the story dragged and the characters were shallow. It doesn't even finish satisfyingly. The only positive was that I found out about the Fossa (pronounced foosa) which is a predator on Madagascar. This is one more example of me being ignorant about something scientific. It goes without saying, of course, that the Fossa is an endangered species due to man's activities. No news there.
3.0/10.0 It did keep the kids giggling.
Mark Steyn has written a particularly good piece in the UK Telegraph.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
The Mummies - Ancient Egypt and the Afterlife exhibition at the Melbourne Museum was a bit wet and didn't seem to have much in the way of direction. The supposed theme was the death of a daughter of a high ranking official and her mummification and progression into the afterlife. It didn't really work for mine. As a "member" of the museum it was $5 entry, just worth it, as a mug punter off the street, $16 would be stupid. Just One Guy's Opinion.
Oh and by the way... The use of BCE and CE as modern, more "correct" names for BC and AD is shoved down our throats frequently. Get over it! No matter how you do it you are basing things on the life of Jesus regardless of his importance!
As a matter of interest, I asked my sons to try to find out the origin of the word "mummy" and we found it on about the 4th or 5th display in the exhibition. I had assumed either a modern source or an ancient source and I was wrong on both counts. The word comes from the Arab invasion of the 8th century. Mummiya means pitch or tar because most of the mummies were black when discovered by Arab invaders. Mummification is a back formation from there.
Patrick Smith has written an interesting article for the Oz suggesting that up to 31 players might have been suspended from the AFL during 2003 and 2004 if the league had signed on to the World Anti-Doping Agency agreement. Of the 31, 26 had smoked marijuana. Smith suggests that this is the real reason that the AFL won't sign on. 26 detected usages of marijuana, seems like small bikkies to me. If the WADA agreement would demand suspension for that, it shouldn't be signed. (thanks for the pointer, Slatts)
Monday, July 04, 2005
As Semi has pointed out a few times, I have developed a fine collection of Apple history over the years. Maybe I've found a home for some of it.
Sunday, July 03, 2005
|Category: Live 8|
One of my boys was watching the London concert this morning on FOX8 when The Who came on. Knowing my interest he called me into the telly room. I'm sure the vast majority of the audience were thinking "why are they playing one of the CSI themes?". As Pete made with The Windmill and Roger screamed "Who are you", images of the G8 leaders were scrolled on the screens behind them. The implication being that these leaders are nobodies and that it is the rock stars who are important. Pretty trashy for mine.
They followed up, interestingly enough, with Won't Get Fooled Again. I might be wrong, but perhaps this was a glib reference to the minimal effect that BandAid had and the bizarre way the raised funds were distributed (scroll down to see the following):.
Between the BBC documentary, other news stories, and the Live Aid concerts, nearly a billion dollars flowed into Ethiopia during the '80s. Most of it came from various foreign governments; Geldof's efforts represented nearly a quarter of total.This article at the Telegraph issues some important warnings about "doing good" with cash in Africa.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
|Category: Beware! Vulgarity alert.|
Strong language appears in this hilarious piece (.wmv large media file warning) of reality television about show dogs. Described by Memepool as "Reality TV's finest moment" and nicely commented on at this site, it is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.
Friday, July 01, 2005
The Hun had obviously not had an item about child obesity for some time and jumped at the chance of a bit of press-release journalism when this opportunity came along:
"It's kids' health versus corporate wealth," Prof Swinburn said. "Companies are undermining a parent's ability to provide a healthy choice for their children."The boffin in the lab coat made a rhyme! And which parent is he referring to? He seems to be being quite specific.
Mother Kate Hulusi said misleading ads made it hard for parents to encourage healthy eating. "I feel sorry for the parents who aren't aware of it and just believe what they see," she said.For which read: "I feel superior to parents who aren't as intellectually endowed as I am".
Mother KH again:
"Young children don't understand the concepts of fat and sugar and carbohydrates and they see these ads and think it looks good so they want it."That's what they've got parents for, Mother! Oh, and also, given her fear of the boogey man sugar, have a look at the picture in the article, two children surrounding a smiley-faced watermelon. Watermelon has 90% water and 9% sugar; it makes a thick shake look like a Healthy-Choice option.
These sort of press releases do nothing for the credibility of the clowns at http://parentsjury.org.au/ because they insist on blaming everybody except the parents for a child's dietary intake. Back to the lead paragraph:
PINT-sized pester power is winning over parents to buy unhealthy foods for their children and advertisers are to blame, a parents group warns.I wonder if it's the same parent as mentioned by the boffin. And what about the apostrophe?
"Poor journalism slammed by Parents Jury for low literacy scores in children".
Still on the topic of food: