Tram Town
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Category: G
The Fill the 'G effort didn't. Slatts has some interesting commentary including this absolute cracker:
But the “D’uh” award goes to funny-as-toothache comedienne Corinne Grant of the axed Glasshouse show who told the masses the struggle against the Federal Government’s new IR laws was “one of the biggest fights we have seen in our lives”. “And we’re going to win this,” she said. “The only person who is going to lose his job is John Howard.” Er, that’s apart from Corinne.

Category: Iraq
Over at RightWingDeathBogan (great name for a blog, huh?) some interesting historical parallels are drawn between what "we" are currently doing in the Middle East and some other activities we have knowledge of. It's a bit of a long read but well worth the effort. At least if you read his you will have a pretty good idea of where I stand on the current conflict.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Category: Pluto
Over at TCSDaily (which used to be Tech Central Station but now appears to be Technology, Commerce and Society) is an article about categorisation and why we shouldn't be too worried about poor old Pluto. I really should check out TCS more often as this terrific piece of work is about three months old and I hadn't read it!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Category: Christmas
There is something very sick about this snowglobe flash thing!

Category: Israel
Don't throw this Jew down the well.
Only education can root out jihad, says Israeli general.

Sunday, November 26, 2006
Category: Fable
Over at Samizdata we find the modern version of the Ant and the Grasshopper.

Category: Salt
An article in The Telegraph suggests that the doctors may have been wrong about salt for a long time. No surprise there. Always take nutritional advice with a grain of...

Category: Victoria
We live in very frustrating times and Alan Wood pointed out some of our frustrations here:
According to Victorian Liberal leader Ted Baillieu, Premier Steve Bracks runs a do-nothing Government. Unfortunately, it isn't true. Bracks runs a do-something Government, indeed almost a do-anything Government if there is even the faintest whiff of a green vote involved.

Category: Madness
Are the folks at the Hun pretending that it's April Fools' Day again? This article can't possibly be true, surely!
Forty Victorian families have paid almost $60,000 for water that does not exist after their local water authority cut off their supply, drained their lake and continued to demand payment.

Saturday, November 25, 2006
Category: Fillums
The Top 10 Movie Spaceships.

Friday, November 24, 2006
Category: Common Sense
Pursuant to this it appears that very sensible common sense has prevailed. If you're interested you can apparently get it now.

Category: Apple
I've been peripherally involved in The Apple Effect (as has Semi tangentially). I think we gave them some very old software, a MacPlus, a LaserWriter and a Newton -- and maybe some other stuff as well. Might be worth a look if you are interested in that kind of thing.

Category: Treasurer
You have to wonder if The Smirk is really qualified when you read this article:
PETER Costello has held out the prospect of cheaper fizzy drinks and lollies after the abolition of a 3c/kg sugar tax.
The Treasurer said the tax cut should flow through to consumers.
"It should reduce prices and we will be asking the manufacturers to deliver the benefits to consumers," Mr Costello said.
Firstly, how much sugar is in one can of soft drink? It only weighs about a third of a kilo and most of that is water so the potential savings per can are seriously less than 1¢. Given that we round to 5¢ this limits the manufacturers' ability to deliver any benefits except perhaps by making each can a tiny bit sweeter. I think the drinks are probably sweet enough already.
Secondly, the prices of these products are almost completely independent of the cost of the ingredients. Some simplistic evidence of this comes in price anomalies at differing locations. Yesterday I bought a block of Pepsi cans for less than 38¢ per can. At my local chippy the price is $1.20. At my local milk bar the price is $1.60. At major sporting events it is closer to $3.00. Where in this pricing is the opportunity to provide "benefits to consumers"?
Oh, and how come the Obesity Police™ haven't come down on him like a ton of bricks? You'd reckon they'd be wanting to increase the tax to fund the purchase of carrots for primary "kids".

Thursday, November 23, 2006
Category: Economics
In another pointer from Slatts we learn this:
The London 2012 Olympics are spending an additional £400 million to keep the final cost of the Games down.
Figure that!

Category: Rules
Slatts has pointed at a bizarre article from Norway:
Urination will go to committee
A local decision that schoolboys must sit on toilet seats when urinating has provoked political debate.

Category: Lawyers (way too many)
This is just petty stupid!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Category: Weird
"Hey, kid! I've gotta use the dunny, you just hang around for a bit".

Category: RDC
One of our favourite fillum directors. Vale.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Category: Madness
From the Unhinged Kingdom comes this story:
A SPICY sausage known as the Welsh Dragon will have to be renamed after trading standards’ officers warned the manufacturers that they could face prosecution because it does not contain dragon.

Category: Sport
I stumbled across this site: The History of AFL/VFL Jumpers. The old timers who read this site will probably have their memories jogged by some of the stuff there.

Monday, November 20, 2006
Category: Culture
This'll teach the kiddies good habits for the future.

Category: Apple
Al Jazeera switches.

Category: Correctness
The people who made this program didn't get the memo. Fairy penguins may not be poltically incorrect in Sydney, though.

Sunday, November 19, 2006
Category: Green
There's a magnificent article over at Sp!ked about the most "ethical" way to commit suicide. Me, I'm an atheist (particularly in so far as the Green Religion is concerned) and not the type for suicide so I hope it's of use to some TramTown reader.

Category: Technology
If you're a terrorist in Chicago don't leave your bombs on the ground floor otherwise they may get de-fused. The Chicago Police Departments new $135,000 bomb detection robot can't climb stairs (well, not rickety ones at least) -- s'pose it could take the lift.

Category: Warmening
There's a must-read by John Stone over at the Oz. Go ahead, Jack!

Saturday, November 18, 2006
Category: Climate
From Professor Emeritus Philip Stott comes a simple truism that should be shoved down the throat of anyone who starts getting all CO2ish on you:
Climate is the most complex, coupled, non-linear, chaotic system known, and it is intrinsically unlikely that climate change can be predicated on a single variable, or factor, however politically convenient.
Memorise it and be prepared!
Also, from the same item (regarding the Stern report):
Countries like China will happily go along with the ideas in principle, while - and who can blame them? - developing as fast as they can, although at the moment they appear not even to have heard of Sir Nicholas! They will delight in producing all the world's solar panels for a gullible West, while still opening a coal mine per week.
What an image! Twenty years fom now we will be drowning in alternative energy junk and the Chinese will be drowning in the money we paid for it.
Sometimes I wish I could prepare Johns Thwaites' and Ian Campbell's daily reading lists. They might learn something... but then again...

Category: Politics
A direct lift from Tim Blair:
Cartoonist Paul Rigby has died at 82; economist Milton Friedman has died at 94. Kim Beazley sends his condolences to the families of Kinky Friedman and Eleanor Rigby.
Cruel, really!

Friday, November 17, 2006
Category: Health
An article from news.com.au with the headline "Chronic disease straining health budget" typifies the way our rights are being whittled away because of claims it is in our interest to do so. The article contained a lot of statistical tautology which boiled down to: if you live longer you are more likely to suffer chronic diseases. The real reason for the piece however came from the following sentence:
Too many people were making bad lifestyle choices that set them up for disease, he said.
It seems that because our friend the government pays for our health it has a right to interfere with our lifestyles. This is another case of a meddling leftoid scientist believing he is smarter than the rest of us and should therefore have extra influence on public policy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Category: RDC
A friend of mine's mum died last month. You might disagree with her beliefs and politics but this (I reckon) is a real nice tribute. Vale.

Category: Fillums
Entertainment Weekly found a bloke who'd never seen the Star Wars fillums and got him to watch them in numerological sequence and take some notes. It's a read FWIW.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Category: Coldening
Back in 1975, Newsweek ran an article about the fear of an impending ice age. The text is here, a PDF of the original is here. The scientists may have been proven right in their assessments based on today's weather in south eastern Australia.

Category: Politics
My local shoe shop surprised me by having political placards in their front door.

In fact, as I walked up to the door to buy new shoes for my 9yo I almost walked away when I saw the logo of the enemy. It took a moment before I noticed they had the alternative in the other door. Whatever, they both look so wet and ineffectual that they are completely uninspiring. But why would you have any such placards in your shop, let alone both? BTW, Mr Diogenes may remember the shop as one that has been there since he was a local.

Category: Computers
The folks over at PC Pitstop have done a bit of a Myth Busters piece of work giving us all some idea of what happens during one of those laptop battery fires. They insist that they put the battery under extremely artificial conditions. Let's hope so.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Category: Scientists (way too many)
CSIRO develops air guitar t-shirt!
And get this... "The team, led by Dr Richard Helmer, has developed a t-shirt with inbuilt sensors on the elbows which track arm movements"! Where the heck are the elbows in a T-shirt?
Isn't this organisation funded by tax dollars?

Monday, November 13, 2006
Category: Warmening
I hope your computer can read Acrobat files, Jack, because you simply must read The Economics and Politics of Climate Change - An Appeal to Reason by Nigel Lawson. Amongst a lot of other wisdom is this absolute cracker:
Perhaps the most important application of the precautionary principle is to the precautionary principle itself. Otherwise we may find ourselves doing very stupid things in its name.
Common sense seems to run in the family; I certainly approved of his daughter Nigella's approach to cooking.
From his Wikipedia entry:
While in opposition, he co-ordinated tactics with government backbenchers Jeff Rooker and Audrey Wise to secure legislation providing for the automatic indexation of tax thresholds to prevent the tax burden being increased by inflation (typically in excess of 10% per annum during that parliament).
Australian politicians still don't get this one!

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Category: Tools
BlendTec make blenders and as part of their advertising they have a site called Will It Blend? I'm not sure if it's really funny or really silly or somewhere good in between. All I know is that I must watch!
Will it blend? That is the question
Yes, it blends!

Category: Huh?
From the LA Times:
Hussein may be hanged by spring, lawyer says
Over at Best of the Web james Taranto comments: "Can't they find a rope?".

Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Category: Physics
Also, via Zoe Brain, witness the Jelly Baby Death Machine.

Category: Euphemism
Failure is still an option in the UK education caper though some would prefer deferred success.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Category: Sport
Bloody Hell!
They lost the war but won the cup!
Good on 'em I guess.

Monday, November 06, 2006
Category: Animals

I stupidly did not take a camera with me when I went to the zoo for a perv at the new elephants. These are two of the three through the "lens" of my phone.

Category: History
I'd never heard anything about Fordlandia before. Thanks to my friend Peter I now have. It sure as heck sounds a hell of a lot like a Werner Herzog kinda fillum.

Sunday, November 05, 2006
Category: Crackers
reports that a Devon rugby club is showing a video projection of a bonfire at its fireworks party to avoid the costs of meeting health and safety regulations

Category: Warmening
John Brignell, the NumberWatch guy, is in the process of compiling a complete list of things caused by Global Warming. He has published the list so far accompanied by a short commentary over at Sp!ked.

Saturday, November 04, 2006
Category: Jive
From dictionary.com: Slang. deceptive, exaggerated, or meaningless talk
Jive may well be a better category name than my traditional WHWTMSitW (we have way too many scientists in this world). This article headlined Seafood species may be depleted within 50 years, scientists claim appears to be choc-a-block with Jive.
I reckon I could comment on a sentence-by-sentence basis but let's just pick out some obvious targets.
Wild seafood stocks could collapse by 2050 – including tuna, striped bass, blue crabs, oysters and clams – devastating food supplies, scientists warn in a major study to be published today.
An exaggerated claim from a press release about an unpublished "study".
especially at a time when pollution, overfishing and global warming are adding pressures, too.
Press those buttons!
“There is a clear and present danger to humans and their food security,” Duffy said.
The implication of the entire "study" is that we should stop harvesting fish but this statement says that such a stop will somehow improve "food security". Figure that one.
“It looks grim and the projection of the trend into the future looks even grimmer,” he said. “But it’s not too late to turn this around. It can be done, but it must be done soon. We need a shift from single species management to ecosystem management. It just requires a big chunk of political will to do it.”
Okay, this is just me, but here's where I come up with my interpretation of what is being said here. The "scientists" believe that they are much smarter than everybody else and they can't understand why they do not have more influence on policy. I respond that they are, on the whole, at best, second quartile intellects who drop to the bottom quartile when it comes to the common sense metric.

From dictionary.com, hooey: silly or worthless talk, writing, ideas, etc.; nonsense; bunk

Category: Fillums
What I'd never realised (until I read the Green Paper this morning) is that apparently that old Willy Wonka fillum was in fact funded by Quaker Oats who were releasing a new candy bar!
I never knew that, I always assumed that the candy bar came second.

Friday, November 03, 2006
Category: Stern
Bjørn Lomborg reviews the Stern report. Even though Lomborg starts with the assumption that anthropogenic climate change is an issue worthy of consideration (which I would dispute), he redeems himself by giving Stern a right caning.
Lomborg characterises himself as skeptical. I don't think he is skeptical but he has at least a decent dollop of common sense.

Thursday, November 02, 2006
Category: Yartz
The Bolta is on fire over the Melbourne International Arts Festival:
The final box office figures are in and do not lie: this year's Melbourne International Arts Festival was a colossal failure.
Compare. In 2001, the festival's ticket sales reached $3.5 million. By 2004, they'd slumped to $2 million. New director Kristy Edmunds did even worse last year, with a box office of just $1.6 million.
And now she's wiped out a third of even that. This year's chickenfeed result reached just $1.04 million.
That takes some doing, given she did this with the help of a record $5.9 million in grants.
Just say the aveage price of a ticket was $20 (surely an underestimate). That would mean around 50,000 people attended and each would have had his ticket subsidised to the tune of $120. Do the rest of us get an opportunity to handover $20 and be given back $120 or do we have to sit through some theatrical nonsense to get the windfall?

Category: Warmening
There's been a lot of carry on about the Stern report on the implications of climate change. This is a direct quote from chapter 4 of the report [Box 4.7 on page 23]:
Gender inequalities will likely worsen with climate change. Workloads and responsibilities such as collecting water, fuel and food will grow and become more time consuming in light of greater resource scarcity. This will allow less time for education or participation in market-based work. A particular burden will be imposed on those households that are short of labour, further exacerbated if the men migrate in times of extreme stress leaving women vulnerable to impoverishment, forced marriage, labour exploitation and trafficking. Women are ‘over-represented’ in agriculture and the informal economy, sectors that will be hardest hit by climate change. This exposure is coupled with a low capacity to adapt given their unequal access to resources such as credit and transport. Women are also particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters with women and children accounting for more than 75% of displaced persons following natural disasters.
The first sentence made me laugh out loud and the last left me gobsmacked. Just think of the average family with two adults and two children. 75% of that family are women and children. It seems pretty lame to present this simple fact as support for vast spending on global warming.
There are lots of interesting comments over at Tim Blair's place.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Category: Euphemism
One of my favourite podcasts netcasts is NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me. during the most recent episode, though, we were witness to one of the silliest moments in all netcastdom. Peter Sagal asked a question about what a particular utility is suggesting people do in the shower to save resources. Amy Dickinson responded "Do they have to go to the bathroom in their showers?".
What is wrong with the word toilet???

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