Tram Town
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Category: Music
I've got no idea whether this is interesting or not. I own Music for Films and Music for Airports but hadn't actually come across Music for Biscuits.

Category: Rubbish
This is Rubbish! (but it does have a nice theremin reference. (the world needs more theremins)

Category: Technology
I think my dentist has one of these. (or maybe I used one in mechanical drawing class in year 8/form 2. I'm not sure)

Category: Technology
There's a bear in there!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Category: Technology Professionals
First the Y2K absolute rubbish and now this!
Ms Bernhardt said the 15-month calendar had errors in October 2006, with the month starting on Saturday not Sunday, and May 2007 - which starts on a Tuesday not Monday as it should.
I'm sure glad I'm not an IT Professional (IT Amateur on the other hand...). We Have Far Too Many IT Professionals In The World! (WHFTMITPITW)

Category: STFF
Maybe they could also fix up the acting ability of Bill. (doubt it, look how JarJar Binks turned out). La Laaaa La La La La Laaaa.

Category: Catalogues
Funny lot the swedes. They also seem to have some funny dogs! (Questionable content warning)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Category: Meeja
From the Courier Mail comes this paragraph about the Boy from Oz thang:
The $20 million arena spectacular, about the brilliant career and tangled love life of performer Peter Allen, will keep Jackman busy until the end of the month. Producer Ben Gannon had suggested the $24 million musical could go on to the US for a tour of major cities.
Where does the dollar figure come from in the first place and how can it increase by 20% in the space of a single paragraph?

Category: Quote
From Paul Sheehan's astoundingly depressing book Girls Like You:
The payment of lawyers on a time basis does not provide an incentive for the efficient conduct of trials. And finally, efforts to reform the litigation system have systematically been sabotaged and wrecked by lawyers. [As Napoleon said, the administration of justice is too important to be left to lawyers.]
Arthur Marriot, QC
The Sydney Morning Herald
18 November 2005
Even in a legal system where the overwhelmingly most significant influence was the desire for justice, lawyers' payments would naturally sway process in favour of a more time-consuming procedure.
BTW (and off on a completely orthoganol topic), that attribution to Napoleon (which was not in the Sheehan book but was in the original aritcle in the SMH) was interesting to me because it was later paraphrased by Robert R. Coveyou as:
The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance
I'd thought I'd first seen that in Knuth's Semi-numerical Algorithms but when I went to the dead tree archive I couldn't find it (though Coveyou is referenced many times throughout the book). I did however find the following attributed to Knuth:
Random numbers should not be generated with a method chosen at random
The dead tree archive is a bit of a pain because there is no search button. Add to that the disastrous fonts in TeX and you have a very squinting Semi.

Category: Transport
I dunno, Knight Rider or Thunderbird 2? Still pretty cool but.

Category: Gone
The doctors had predicted sometime ago that he would die and, in a last ditch attempt to keep the bastards honest, he has.
Mr Chipp was born in the Melbourne suburb of Northgate on August 21, 1925, and educated at Melbourne University.
Where's Northgate in Melbourne?
Also, in the article DB quoted, the TTT said "He is survived by his wife Idun Welz, who he married in 1979, [and] their two daughters, Juliet and Laura" whilst the compulsory pay TV operation said "He is survived by his wife, Idun Guda and two sons". One of them has to be wrong for my money. Still, it's the Age and the ABC; we'll never keep those bastards honest!

Category: RDC
Chippy. Vale.

Monday, August 28, 2006
Category: Distributed Computing
DC Projects, like seti@home, look to be moving even closer to home. Let's hope they have more success at curing cancer than finding ET.

Sunday, August 27, 2006
Category: Work
Slatts has news of the winner of a worst job experience contest. I couldn't read it without laughing!

This article (not dated April 1) claims that:
The genitals of polar bears in east Greenland are apparently dwindling in size due to industrial pollutants.
They base this spectacularly useless conclusion on the study of 99 datapoints:
Sonne and his colleagues looked at formaldehyde-preserved genitals from 55 male and 44 female east Greenland polar bears, collected from 1999 to 2002 by about 30 polar bear subsistence hunters regulated by the Greenland government.
So these were polar bears that were slow enough to be caught. There might have been some selection going on right there.
We. Have. Way. Too. Many. Scientists. In. This. World.

Category: Big
Umm, I wouldn't try to take this on a 'plane.

Saturday, August 26, 2006
Category: Speeding
I have a real problem with folks who don't heed the speed limit in school zones.

Category: Hedwig
Short Melbourne Season but I'll definitely be there at some stage.

Friday, August 25, 2006
Category: Telly
Just sit right back!

Thursday, August 24, 2006
Category: Smokin'
The Flintstones made a commercial back "in the day".

Category: Technology
The National Carrier has said that if you have a Dell you can go to hell! (or at least you can use it in Cattle once you remove the battery -- how does that work?)

Category: Cartoons
This page contains a nice description of Wacky Races.
This page has downloads of paper models of Wacky Races vehicles.
This page talks about some recent speed records.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Category: Media
I'm a fan of the team from The Chaser Group of Companies but I still reckon they miss a bit more than they hit. It was never easy for me to watch the Friday night show but could generally catch the repeat on ABC2 on Sat'days. When they started vodcasting (or whatever it's called) I went to watching it on my iPod Video which I've been pretty happy with. It appears that I may have become a demographic! (at my age)

Category: Culture
Aging Folkie says we're going to hell in a handbag. I think he's missed more than one point here. Semi may well buy into this but surely it's a combination of Content, Demand, Production Quality and Producers delivering what they reckon folks want rather than what the artist/producer wants for the product -- let alone the ability for artists to produce content and use the 'net for subsequent distribution (although the liner notes will never look as good as the 12" vinyl sleeves did). Or am I being far, far too simplistic here? (wouldn't be the first time)

Category: Video Games
Some folks have way too much time on their hands -- traditional video games constructed from stop motion, generally avaiable objects.

Category: Truckin'
Around about a quarter of a century ago when I was part of a country band called the Techno Truckin' Cats, I wrote a song that went something like this:
We've got forty forty-fours full of foam beads
Welded to the sides of our big Mack
We've got waterproofed doors and a well greased donk
And a Mercury outboard on the back
We're going truckin' in the Carribean
It meant to be a piece of absurd humour. It turns out that I was pathetic prophetic.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Category: Ship
The Bolta has an interesting post on his blog about some deceit from the Hezbollah camp. Who knew?

Category: Ouch!
I was walking through a children's playground at the southern end of Shore Reserve in Pascoe Vale South at approx. 8:50 this morning and was attacked by a magpie. It hurt. It is still bleeding. I thought I'd better call the local council but they had no interest; in fact the woman implied it was my fault for walking through the park between August and October. I said that I thought that someone should be aware of the danger because the normal users of the playground, 3-5 year olds, would probably have little concept of August and October and given that the beast nearly knocked me out and drew blood it could probably do some real damage to a toddler. The council worker suggested I ring the Department of Sustainability and Environment. I did. The person I got through to said that there is no register kept of swooping birds and that there was no authority for me to report this to and nothing could be done.
Am I the one that has gone mad? I don't give a damn about this bird and its chicks; by not responding to situations like this we are endangering small children. The bird should be destroyed post haste. If it was a dog, it would be reported in all the local press.
Just One Guy's Opinion™.

Category: Littuhchah
The estate of the late Phillip K. Dick has a cracker of a website!

Category: Diabesity
The Hun was obviously a bit distressed at putting out an issue that didn't have anything about obesity so they beat something up.
SCHOOLS should consider dropping restrictive blazers and dresses from their uniforms so students can exercise freely, an obesity expert says.

Category: Fuel
Tim Blair pointed me at this article about fuel shortages.
D.H. Killeffer had a dire warning for gasoline-greedy Americans. The chemical engineer had crunched the numbers -- he compared the country's production of crude oil with its thirst for gasoline. "Estimates based on the most complete data now available place the end of our gasoline supply between ten and twenty years, with the odds in favor of ten rather than twenty," Killeffer, secretary of the New York division of the American Chemical Society, wrote in the New York Times.
The year was 1925.

Category: Science
From the Sunday Times via the Australian comes news of a new mechanism to deal with nuclear waste.
MADONNA and her husband, Guy Ritchie, have been lobbying the British Government and nuclear industry over a magic cleaning solution.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Monday, August 21, 2006
Category: Telly (Sets)
I curently have a medium size 4:3 CRT telly from Sony which I'm pretty happy with. My kids are starting to get some curry as their friends all have (mostly low-end) wide screen/flat screen tellys. I'm slightly confused about the LCD -v- Plasma debate (although, I'm sure Semi would sort me out pretty bloody quick if I was brave enough to ask him). I know I'm gonna have to spring for something WS/FS soon. Here's an article.

Category: RDC
Vale to both Geelong Football Club (they're still called that, aren't they?) and Victorian ALP (Cain Jr. Government (and, maybe Kirner's)). Neil Tresize died overnight -- couldn't find an on-line link but.

Sunday, August 20, 2006
Category: Telly
I for one had no idea that the three television networks had after midnight quiz shows. Those networks sometimes seem more ridiculous than the government sponsored rubbish.

Category: Science
The whole Pluto-as-planet controversy has left me a bit cold until this article. Amongst the amusing remarks:
Brown said the proposal - that a planet is basically anything round orbiting the sun - is too broad and amounts to "No Ice Ball Left Behind," cheapening the solar system.

Friday, August 18, 2006
Category: Steyn
I went to the I.P.A.'s C. D. Kemp lecture last night and managed to stay awake about 4 hours beyond my usual effort. The folks over at Diogenes' Lamp have covered the lecture very well and I suggest you go there for a nice summary. The text of the lecture (which must be read, Jack) was in this morning's Oz, here.
I only have a few shallow observations to make:
  • I went in on the 55 tram and was expecting to take a tram up Collins Street from Williams Street to the Parliamentary Precinct where the Park Hyatt has quite stealthily hidden itself. I manged to walk all the way (at the southern end of peak hour) without a single tram overtaking me. I enjoyed the walk but I should have been there earlier. "Thanks" go out to the minister for dodgy how-to-vote cards.
  • The food was flagged by the Lamp folk as being a bit "unidentifiable". That is being kind. Why don't they just put plates of party pies and sausage rolls (and maybe even the odd quichey thing or asparagus roll for the sheilas) onto the table and forget about the pretension of "dinner"?
  • Back onto the public transport topic, my homeward cab driver (Ahmad not Ahmed: was this just a strange romanisation or what?) hit the button on my arrival at home with the meter at $20.10. I looked in my wallet and found a $20 and he said "don't worry about the .10¢". I was shocked and had to reach into my pockets to find a few gold coins for him.

Category: Acronyms
My very educated mother just served us nine pizzas.

Thursday, August 17, 2006
Category: RDC
Len Evans just died. Vale.

Category: Technology
Who really uses the Caps Lock key anyway.

Category: Music Videos
All your music videos are belong to us.

Category: Posters
Star Trek Inspirational Posters -- some folks surely are weird.

Category: Fillums
Dick flicks click. (or so it seems)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Category: Laptops
The $100 Laptop, the design considerations are interesting though. Still not convinced they're shooting for the wrong target but.

Category: Milk
Amazon's gourmet food section sells Tuscan Whole Milk. The reviews are astounding! This one from Alo H. Konson is titled "Tuscan Whole Milk saved Britain":
Highly-placed British Intelligence sources have revealed how MI5 and Scotland Yard were able to foil the attempted midair destruction of several passenger jets headed from the UK to America this week. Minutes before takeoff, undercover agents surreptitiously switched the terrorists' bottles of liquid explosives with gallon jugs of Tuscan Whole Milk.

Category: Milk
Amazon's gourmet food department sells Tuscan Whole Milk. The reviews are astounding!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Category: Transport
Seque to a new Segway (or 2)

Category: Web
Happy Birthday WWW, just turned 15. Top 15 Web Sites (Tram Town gets no mention, bugger)

Category: 15 minutes of fame
Old Codger makes good. Go Him!
(hmm, or is it all a setup/hoax?) (ie continual "teasers" viz "I'm not going to tell you today" et cetera)

Category: Planets
Move My SUN that's all. (My Very Easy Method: Just Set Up Nine that's all). It's a mnemonic ya' know.

Category: Breaking News
Bush reads Book.

Category: Tradition
Funny place New England.
Rhode Island (RI) is the only state to get a holiday today/yesterday and Massachusetts (MA) has had another very successful Sales Tax Holiday. (been to both states have I -- they were both funny)

Sunday, August 13, 2006
Category: What?
It seems that Beatles album covers are systematically having cigarettes removed from them.

In this week's instalment...
  • The male partner spending time in a sauna immediately prior to conception may cause brain tumors in the offspring.
  • A common ingredient in shampoo may inhibit brain development in a fetus.
  • Two scientists (NB NOT engineers) think that we may be able to cool the oceans to tame hurricanes.
  • 3-5 yo girls' consumption of french fries may increase their chances of breast cancer in later life.
Yes folks, your tax dollars are being spent on these studies.

Saturday, August 12, 2006
Category: End of the World
Bugger, may as well cancel the service on the Magna. Seems a bit of a waste, considering. (at least we'll get the youngest's birthday party outta the way first)

Category: Robotics
Ballbot! It's a robot with, umm, well, balls! (or at least one of them)

Category: Global Warming
I don't normally post about this sorta thing but this caught my eye(s):
Personally, I don’t know what all the shouting is about. Global warming is great. Granted, maybe it isn’t really happening, and if it is there are strong reasons to doubt that humans have anything to do with it. But if the world is warming, I say “bravo.” People in most parts of the globe should have no objection to a warmer, wetter climate. If the aliens were watching they’d conclude we were making our planet more habitable on purpose.

Hey! I think I just used "blockquote" for the first time! (if it worked)

Category: Medicine
One of my more regular reads is John Brignell's Number Watch. Here is a magnificent presentation on epidemiology from him. If you spend any amount of time with doctors you should get a full understanding of the contents thereof.

Friday, August 11, 2006
Category: Littuhchah
A few weeks after the Wraith Picket (anag.) prank, the good folk over at Diogenes' Lamp have a terrific post about it...
Overall this episode is like a minor key version of the Ern Malley affair, with the difference that Ern Malley had a great deal more literary talent than Patrick White.

Thursday, August 10, 2006
Category: Food
Gourme Food. (although "artisanal cheese made with milk from a grass-fed goat that received daily shiatsu massage and affirmations from its own spirit coach" sounds pretty nice)

Category: Technology
Hmmm, Hyperactive Bob(a job?).

Category: Awards
For many years i have felt that industry awards such as the Oscars and the Emmys are a case of "a bunch of my mates got together and took a vote and decided I'm a good bloke". Ellen Burstyn seems to be considered a good bloke for turning up in a movie for a full eleven seconds.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Category: Theatre
An amateur theatre company is never a real amateur theatre company until they've performed The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.
Librivox appears to be sorta a Project Gutenberg for plays -- well worth a further look if I've gotten that right.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Category: Apple
Semi, Auffers (again) pointed me at this OSX Leopard site I reckon it's got some sorta cool stuff. I expect you to tell me I'm wrong, thanks.

Category: mp3
Purely for completeness, Auffers pointed me to this and I blogged it.

Category: Physics
John Dvorak's blog has a video of a very simple electric motor. If you can't make it work, Jack, give me a call.

Monday, August 07, 2006
Category: Apple
I'd missed this which went up recently. Apples answer to Spreadsheets? Or what? (not actually from the fruit company, but why?)

Category: Fillums
For whatever reason I came across this recently -- it's remarkably both accurate and up to date. Who writes this stuff? (colourful language warning)

Category: Temporary
Hopefully this won't last long...
Tim Blair has pointed at an ABC news page containing a photo purportedly from Lebanon which has plainly been doctored in photoshop. LGF has a full analysis.
UPDATE: Over at The Shape of Days is a fascinating analysis of the whole story from a Photoshop perspective. It could be used as a Photoshop tutorial. Well worth the read to understand what all the fuss is about. Read this one, Jack!
UPUPDATE: The ABC has withdrawn the photo and "apologised". Miracles can happen.

Saturday, August 05, 2006
Category: Green
The eco Enquirer is kind of like a National Enquirer for environmentalists. I personally wouldn't vouch for the veracity of all of the articles in either publication but they are sometimes fun to read.

Friday, August 04, 2006
Category: Publishing
DB's reference to the Melbourne Tram Book was good and the book is good but he pointed at the unswpress site which suggests a price of $24.95. The 2005 edition is $25.95. I will get good value by leaving it in the loo and looking at it every now and then. Your Mileage May Vary™. BTW, DB, I have a copy now.
Also, even with the extra buck, the supposed tear-out postcards do not have the expected perforations. Expect to use scissors rather than the suggested approach on the back of the book.

Category: Trams
As far as books on Melbourne Trams go this is an absolute cracker.

Category: Sport
Over at TownHall.com, Jacob Sullum offers some common sense about enhancing sports performance.

Category: Radio
This is a recording of sixteen-year-old John Howard on a popular radio quiz show compered by Jack Davey. He was pretty quick on his feet even back then.

Thursday, August 03, 2006
Category: Politics
From a piece by Anthony Albanese in the small paper:
Even Monty Python could not have scripted Senator Ian Campbell's decision to protect one theoretical parrot every 1000 years and block a major infrastructure project in Victoria.
The Environment Minister's decision is absurd and must be reversed.
Last week, the Herald Sun revealed that on March 10, Senator Campbell's own department recommended the project be approved and found "no direct evidence of any impact on the orange bellied parrot at Bald Hills".
In spite of this, the minister has continued to bluster.
Sounds a bit like William Ruckelshaus' decision as head of the EPA in the US to ban DDT:
Ruckelshaus became the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s first Administrator when the agency was formed in December 1970. During his tenure he oversaw a three-month hearing on DDT, after which he simply ignored the recommendations of scientists and instituted a politically-inspired DDT ban.
The difference between the two is that undoubtably the former is the right decision for the wrong reason (there are plenty of reasons not to build wind farms) whilst the latter was the wrong decision for the wrong reason and had the outcome of tens of millions of lives lost. Fortunately for many very poor people in the world, things are getting better with the recent WHO recommendations.

Category: Humour
I'm nowhere near smart enough to understand this (I have a Degree in Film Making) but Smart People may well find it funny.

Category: Parody
(I still haven't worked YouTube out but anyway). Chad Vader - Day shift manager. Episode 1 is OK but should've been tightened up in the editing and Chads gesturing -- FWIW.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Category: Algorithms
I really like this kinda stuff. (in a previous life I used to design it)

Category: Long Tail
The Day of the Long Tail is my YouTube offering for this week!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Category: Blocks
Some of you may know something about this. Or may even have seen this. Now you can own it in Lego's.

Category: Lighting
(relatively expensive) Solar Powered Bricks! Sorta cool though.

Category: Fraud
If you Google for Jesse Macbeth as of today, the first hit is an entry in Wikipedia starting as follows:
Jesse Adam Macbeth (born Jesse Adam Al-Zaid,[1] 1984) falsely claimed to be an Army Ranger and veteran of the Iraq War. He lied in alternative media interviews that he and his unit routinely committed war crimes in Iraq. Macbeth began to attract significant attention after the release of a video containing his allegations; transcripts of the video were made in English and Arabic. According to the U.S. Army, there is no record of Macbeth being a Ranger, [2] or serving in a combat unit: he was discharged from the service after having been declared unfit or unsuitable for the Army, or both, before he could complete basic training.
Terry Lane didn't bother with the search presumably because he thought the story was too good so he submitted a column about Macbeth to the TTT without even a limited check on its veracity.
Slatts (who I spent a very pleasant couple of hours with over lunch last week) asks:
  • How will The Age explain its massive blunder?
  • Will Media Watch mention it tonight?
  • Is the Pastor to be put out to paddock?
  • How long before an Age apologist uses the phrase “fake but accurate”?
And points to Tim Blair's take on the matter where, as Slatts notes, there is "[m]uch chortling and wise-acre commentary".
UPDATE: Noted in the comments mentioned above is the irony of the columns headline: Turning a blind eye to the real horrors.
UPUPDATE: Terry Lane has resigned.

Category: WHWTMSITW*
We should now be well over the notion that fish oils are an elixir of life. As stated here, analysis of trials on fish oils shows that it is difficult to see any clear benefits from taking them. What we have instead is scientists creating bizarre research linking learning ability and absenteeism with sandwiches. Also, a study of 68 people for 12 weeks lead "scientists" to believe that fish oil can have significant effect on the condition of your heart 40 years from now. Prove it science dude!

* We have way too many scientists in this world.

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