Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The only debate generated by this rubbbish is how it got published.

Monday, July 30, 2007


University of Canberra students tasked with designing an advertising campaign for selling fruits and vegetables to young men come up with a novel approach:
Their research found that using attractive, fit and scantily clad role models was most effective means of getting the message across.

"We found that the guys really reacted to the presence of a female, so what we did is we picked a very pretty girl and we had her covered by only vegetables," Ms Schuck said.
The man-haters at Larvatus Prodeo ain't gonna be happy about this.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Australia's Dr Phil, Melbourne psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Greg, worries about adolescent worrying:
Quoting recent research by the Australian Childhood Foundation, he says adolescents, usually defined as aged between 12 and 24, worry about everything from being body image to going to war.

"A third of the kids were really frightened that one day they would actually have to fight in a war,'' Carr-Greg says.

"Forty seven per cent were worried about the way they look, just over half were terrified of being bullied in the school, 35 per cent worry they are overweight, and 41 per cent said that they felt that they weren't doing well enough.
The antipodean Dr Phil somehow manages to ignore the most prominent findings of the ACF report, as noted in the media release "New study shows children fear environmental disaster":
The report, ‘Children’s fears, hopes and heroes – Modern Childhood in Australia’, surveyed 600 10-14 year-olds across Australia and revealed that:

• 52% are scared that there will not be enough water in the future

• 44% of children are worried about the impact of climate change

• 43% of children are worried about the pollution in the air and water
Maybe adolescents are worried because they're being told to worry.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


The government responds to the obesity epidemic:
A new Sydney research centre will be a key in battling Australia's obesity crisis, federal Health Minister Tony Abbott says.

Unveiling Sydney University's Institute of Obesity, Nutrition and Exercise on Thursday morning, Mr Abbott described obesity as Australia's "affluenza".

Sydney University professors involved with the centre predict it will become a world leader in its fields of research.

"What we hope this institute will do is look behind (obesity) factors and try to tell us why is it that some people lose weight more quickly than others. And why do some people put on weight more quickly that others?" Mr Abbott said.
I can save the researchers lots of time, money and effort: people gain weight when calorie intake exceeds calorie expenditure. In order to lose weight this must be reversed. It's a personal responsibility thing.

Regardless, researchers will soon recommend higher taxes on calorie rich foods.


Global warming induced high temperature has caused an explosion:
An explosion at an arms depot in northern Syria has killed at least 15 soldiers and wounded 50, the Sana state news agency has said.

Officials say the blast was caused by high summer temperatures, up to 50C, which set off explosive materials.
Just thought I'd beat the global warming doom and gloomers to the punch.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


It doesn't take much to upset some people:
Why should I buy packaged fruit in a plastic, non-recyclable tub when I can simply give my child fruit? I find this image of a child using a plastic spoon to eat out of plastic tub - an image meant to evoke health and naturalness - quite disturbing. School playgrounds are often awash with plastic rubbish - ziplock bags, yoghurt tubs, clingfilm. This generation of children is going to have to contend with the mind-blowingly huge garbage problem created by our consumerism and the mass production of plastics, many of which are basically unnecessary. Yet this advertising campaign puts the plastic tub at the forefront, almost as a love object. I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. Advertising encourages children’s fascination with packaging, so that peeling off the foil or flipping a lid becomes almost as important as eating the food inside.
The solution is simple, really: don't want it, don't buy it. In my experience -- three kids -- the apple is a favorite lunch-box inclusion: they're excellent projectiles that explode nicely on impact with solid surfaces.

Update: The "fresh is better than canned" argument isn't right:
Has the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables got you down? Tired of your fresh produce going bad in the fridge because you didn’t get to it? Well you may be happy to know that fresh isn’t necessarily better than canned or frozen. Although fresh vegetables have superior taste, colour and texture than their frozen or canned counterparts, you can rest easy knowing that you are providing your body with the same amount of nutrients (i.e. vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre) regardless of the source.

If buying frozen or canned means that you are more likely to purchase and eat fruits and vegetables than that is all that matters.
Shunning tubbed fruit might make you feel superior but it's not getting you better quality food.


Once officially known as the "state of excitement", Western Australia is now the state of fear:
Young WA women have become virtual prisoners in their own homes after dark, with a new national survey showing a State so dominated by fear of being attacked that more than half of all young women polled said they did not feel safe going for a walk at night — even in their own neighbourhood.
Always keen to embarrass the Carpenter Labor government, the West Australian adds:
In a wake-up call for the State Government, police and the judiciary, the survey compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found a third of young men were victims of violent crime or threatened with violence in the previous 12 months.
Hey, WA can be dangerous even when accompanied by a camera crew (3:30 and onward).


Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor jailed by Libya since 1999 -- on very shaky evidence -- for supposedly infecting 438 Libyan children with HIV, have been released and returned to Europe. Instead of being outraged at the long and apparently unjust detention, Europeans are grateful:
"The president of the French republic and the European Commission President welcome this humanitarian gesture by Libya and its highest leader and commit to doing all they can to help children with AIDS," said the statement released in Brussels.
This kidnapping ends with the payment of an atypical ransom:
A Libyan close to the negotiations told Reuters that EU countries had agreed to provide medical assistance for the children and to help upgrade a hospital in Benghazi, Libya's second city and the town where the infections first appeared in the 1990s.

The EU had also agreed to improve its ties with Libya and build a partnership that would include free trade, the source said.
No word yet on any possible investigation of claims the detainees were tortured.

Editing note: The nurses were originally shown above as Belgian.

Monday, July 23, 2007


City futures specialist (I don't know either) Charles Landry, hired to help Perth shed its "dullsville" reputation, suggests lowering the speed limit:
“If you build the city for cars to travel through at 60km/hr rather than 10km/hr then you can’t have boulevards with trees because if someone hits a tree at 60km/hr, they will die. But if you design roads that slow cars down (through town centres) then you can have trees and people will start to walk more.”
Traffic moving at 10km/hr, how exciting. Lynda Dorrington, arts and crafts promoter and Landry collaborator, also offers some exciting suggestions:
“We are going into a period of sustained economic growth – people are going to keep working 12-14 hour days – so exercise needs to be part of their day,” she says. “They need to be able to cycle to work, have somewhere to put their bike and somewhere to shower. And there has to be the kind of environment that people want to exercise in."
Yep, there's nothing like a good long bike ride -- at 10km/hr along tree-lined boulevards, in the dark -- after 14 hours at work. I suspect these two know nothing about 14 hour work days.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


The 80 mile-long All American Canal transports irrigation water from the Colorado River to the Imperial Valley. A modernizing project to reduce water seepage is underway -- a 23 mile section is being lined with concrete. The water to be saved is equivalent to the yearly needs of over 260,000 families of four. Saving water sounds like a good a idea.

There is a problem, however: the canal is a barrier to illegal Mexican immigrants, many of whom drown in it -- over 500 deaths since 1942. The new concrete lining will increase the risk by making the sides of the canal nearly impossible to climb. As a safety measure, the canal will be equipped with exit ladders every 375 feet. Not good enough say critics who demand lifelines be installed. Sounds silly to me; what the canal needs is bridges so that illegals aren't inconvenienced at all. I mean, it would be a damn shame if any of them came down with colds after a swim.


Former television evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Messner is dead.

Friday, July 20, 2007


The Australian Institute of Criminology has released its annual report on homicide in Australia. The figures show no significant new trends:
During 2005–06, there were 283 incidents of homicide, resulting in 301 victims and committed by 336 offenders. Since 2001–02, there has been a downward trend in the incidence of homicide. During the current year, the incidence of homicide increased by 14 percent compared to 2004–05, this represents an increase of 34 homicide incidents. There was also an increase in the number of victims killed (301 victims up from 267 the previous year). However, analysis of the time series over the 17 years found that this recent increase was not statistically significant.
A knife or other sharp instrument continues to be the most commonly used murder tool (33% of homicide victims). The next most commonly used weapon is hands and/or feet (18% of victims beaten to death). Firearms and blunt instruments each account for 14% of victims.

The registration status of these firearms is worth noting:
In 2004–05, a total of 40 (15%) victims were killed with a firearm. In 2005–06, 42 (14%) victims were killed with a firearm. Another consistent pattern is that the firearms used are unlawfully held. That is, they were not registered to either the victim or the offender, nor was the victim or offender licensed to own the firearm. The licensing and registration details of two cases in the current year were not available. Nine firearm homicide incidents were unsolved at the time of data collection. During 2005–06, 39 identified offenders used a firearm to commit homicide. Of these, four used a registered firearm (10%), and five were licensed to own a firearm (13%), reflecting a decrease from the proportion of offenders licensed and registered in 2004–05 (21 percent licensed and 17 percent registered).
Few of these guns appear to be stolen:
At least two firearms used in homicide were suspected to be stolen (case nos 32/06 and 29/06).
Most gun murders are committed by known criminals:
Not surprisingly given the low level of legal ownership of firearms among those involved in homicide, 61 percent of offenders had a prior criminal history, compared with 45 percent of victims.
Gee, with most firearm murders committed by known criminals using unlawfully held (but not stolen) guns, Australia's restrictive gun laws are most effective at keeping guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens who would never use them to commit a crime. Yep, the government can be a pain in the arse.

(Thanks to Mark C. for pointing out the AIC report.)


It looks like the media hoopla about obesity is encouraging girls to keep their weight down:
Speaking at a home economics forum in Brisbane today, a University of Sydney researcher Dr Jenny O'Dea says the rate of eating disorders among teenage girls has doubled since the last survey in 2000.

Dr O'Dea says teenage girls are being influenced by media reports about obesity.

"I think what's happened is there's been a big media panic about child obesity, there's been a lot of talk about obesity there's been a lot of hysteria," she said.

"There's been a moral panic about obesity and I think the teenage girls are picking up on that, girls from all different social class levels."
Jeez, I must be getting old; I can remember back when "moral" actually related to matters moral.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Stop eating meat.


Huge-headed super-sleuth Tim Lambert has joined the dots to make a startling discovery: Tim Blair is revealed to be the Daily Telegraph's opinion editor and he -- shock, horror -- actively solicits opinion contributions. Hell, this is the biggest news out of Lambert since he caught Blair alleging it's cold in Canada.

Seriously, Lambert reckons it's Okay that Chilean sea bass was served at Al Gore's daughter's wedding rehearsal dinner because the fish, despite being endangered, was sourced from a sustainable fishery. That may well be but aren't anti-emissions types meant to eat locally grown food?

Lambert is a verb, by the way.


The ABC reports that a "UN group" has given Australia a bad report card:
The United Nations Association of Australia has written a report strongly criticising Australia's recent record on international issues.

The report gives Australia a 'C' on human rights, nuclear disarmament and aid, while on climate change and migration Australia gets a 'D'.
In fact, the UNAA -- a lobby group not affiliated with the UN -- reports on Australia's UN performance, not its international relations performance.

Chapter one of the report, written by Dr Keith Suter, evaluates Australia's General Assembly performance. In a section titled "The Real 'Weapons of Mass Destruction'" Suter praises Australia -- sort of -- while having a dig at the US:
Australia has a similar General Assembly voting pattern to the US’s. Australia’s foreign and defence policy is very much tied to the US and so it is expected that at the UN, as elsewhere, Australia will follow the US’s lead.

However, there is one issue that certainly divides both countries. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are killed each year by small arms. The US is the world’s largest manufacturer, buyer and seller of small arms. The National Rifle Association is the most influential NGO in US politics. Gunshots are the second most common cause of death for Americans aged between 10 and 24 and the leading cause of death for young Blacks. Every year about 30,000 Americans are killed by guns (10 times more than the number of people killed on September 11 2001).

Australia has a much tougher policy on gun control. It also took an active role in the 2001 UN conference to create a small arms and light weapons control programme. The US blocked most of the initiatives in 2001 and so weakened the programme of action.

In June 2006 a review conference was held to examine the programme of action, and again the US blocked progress. Australia was diplomatic in expressing its exasperation with the US’s stubbornness but it is clear that Australia wants more achieved (if only to reduce the availability of weapons in the South Pacific region which could harm Australian peacekeepers). I understand that Mr Howard (who has strong views on gun control) has raised this issue in conversations with President Bush.
A reference to US domestic handgun deaths is an odd inclusion in a "Report Card on Australia’s performance at the UN in recent years". But given Suter's UN idealism it's not surprising:
The tragedy is that, given all the problems that need an international response, the UN could be used far more extensively to assist the planet.
Assist the planet? Disband the useless monstrosity.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


A Japanese businessman voices the eternal complaint of males on the prowl:
"Sometimes it takes too much time before I can have sex with the person I meet. "
There is, of course, a ready solution:
A Japanese maker said it started producing its life-sized and anatomically correct dolls 30 years ago, targeting initially handicapped men who might find it difficult to find a partner.

Orient Industry Co. now makes 80 dolls a month in an eastern Tokyo factory to nine designs that sell for between $850 and $5,500 each. The more expensive models are made of silicon and have 35 movable joints.
The nine doll Orient Industry range can be viewed here. For doll foreplay pointers (not work safe) go here and scroll to the inset video (about half way down the page). I don't know that I want to know what these are.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


As the owner of a placid but alert 45 kilo Rhodesian Ridgeback I feel totally safe inside my home. Not everyone is so lucky:
One in five [Britons] said they did not feel safe in their home at night and one in 20 burglary victims said they were so traumatised they moved house shortly afterwards.
Since most Britons aren't allowed guns, and many don't want a big dog, they must take alternative defensive measures:
One in three people keep a makeshift weapon beside their bed to protect against intruders, according to a survey published today.

Householders confessed to putting items such as golf clubs, cricket bats and heavy torches within reach for self-defence from burglars, researchers found, and more than half said they were prepared to use them.
If someone breaks into your house it's only sensible to assume the worst and act accordingly. A bit of trouble with the law is better than dead.

The four D-cell LED Maglite is a useful tool: dazzle the intruder with the very bright light and thump him a good one while he's trying to get his bearings.

Monday, July 16, 2007


The Malawi government's plan to introduce DDT in the fight against malaria is vigorously opposed:
Tobacco bodies such as Tobacco Association of Malawi (TAMA) are against the use of DDT in wiping out malaria saying it would compromise with the quality and purity of the countries greatest forex earner, tobacco leaf.

Director of Preventive Health Services Dr. Habib Somanje defends government decision to use DDT to destroy malaria, arguing that it (DDT) shall only be used in indoor sprays.
Tim Lambert should be pleased that the once pro-DDT tobacco interests have now seen fit to join his anti-DDT campaign.

Update: For about week Lambert's been fuming over Jason Soon comments accusing him of dishonesty. Naturally enough Soon gets Lamberted, with Lambert accusing Soon of being "very angry". Yep, Soon's really angry: he made a couple of comments back on the 7th and 8th but hasn't said anything since, until today when Lambert again made it a matter for discussion.

Anyway, it's not all that often that I agree with Soon but I'm going to support him on this one: Lambert is a dishonest prick. Oh yeah, he also has an unnaturally large head.


In the midst of a discussion of the relative threat to the community posed by guns, road accidents and medical mistreatment, caring lefty Robert Merkel comments:
The thing with these statistics is that they ignore that car crashes disproportionately kill otherwise healthy young adults, whereas medical errors kill the old and the already sick.
Well that's alright then.


Trainee school teacher and chronic language mangler Bruce still can't spell and is still posting gibberish;
All scientific facts are corrigable theories after all. That’s what separates science from dogma.

It’s also why myself and others as scientists, won’t stop discussing theory.
Here's a fact for Bruce: 100 centimeters make up a meter. Here's a theory: Bruce is nuts.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin, a McGovern for president volunteer in 1972, apparently learned nothing from the disasterous campaign:
Said Benjamin: "We need another McGovern now more than ever."
Not needed then; not needed now. Go Kucinich.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Generation Yers are self-absorbed and have poor language skills, so the current weird name binge comes as no great surprise:
Some requests are so silly the registrar is knocking them back because legally they cannot be registered as a name.

Names that did pass muster in the past year include Buzz, Chilli, Colt, Tin or Tiger for boys. And Rainbow, Synergy, Cashmere, Sunshine, Gidget, Jorjah or Phoenix for girls. The most extreme names were E-, Safe, Legend, Reel, Summar and Somer-L'ren.

Sindy Wong, of Yokine, called her two-year-old son Ocean because she believed its powerful and peaceful characteristics would embody his life.
Jeez, only an idiot would curse a child with a name like Ocean.

Friday, July 13, 2007


According to an article in Psychology Today, Muslim suicide bombers are reproductive losers looking for mates:
Suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, but according to Oxford University sociologist Diego Gambetta, editor of Making Sense of Suicide Missions, when religion is involved, the attackers are always Muslim. Why? The surprising answer is that Muslim suicide bombing has nothing to do with Islam or the Quran (except for two lines). It has a lot to do with sex, or, in this case, the absence of sex.

What distinguishes Islam from other major religions is that it tolerates polygyny. By allowing some men to monopolize all women and altogether excluding many men from reproductive opportunities, polygyny creates shortages of available women. If 50 percent of men have two wives each, then the other 50 percent don't get any wives at all.

So polygyny increases competitive pressure on men, especially young men of low status. It therefore increases the likelihood that young men resort to violent means to gain access to mates. By doing so, they have little to lose and much to gain compared with men who already have wives. Across all societies, polygyny makes men violent, increasing crimes such as murder and rape, even after controlling for such obvious factors as economic development, economic inequality, population density, the level of democracy, and political factors in the region.

However, polygyny itself is not a sufficient cause of suicide bombing. Societies in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean are much more polygynous than the Muslim nations in the Middle East and North Africa. And they do have very high levels of violence. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from a long history of continuous civil wars—but not suicide bombings.

The other key ingredient is the promise of 72 virgins waiting in heaven for any martyr in Islam. The prospect of exclusive access to virgins may not be so appealing to anyone who has even one mate on earth, which strict monogamy virtually guarantees. However, the prospect is quite appealing to anyone who faces the bleak reality on earth of being a complete reproductive loser.
The article also argues, amongst other things, that "sexual harassment" isn't sexist. It's well worth a read -- click here.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Tim Dunlop's evil corporate masters have apparently deleted the latest in a string of posts critical of the Australian. John Quiggin takes note of the missing post:
Naturally, the blogosphere has gone to town on this.
Nope, the blogosphere couldn't muster so much as a yawn: the right couldn't care less about Dunlop's continual whining and the left pretty much thinks he got what he deserved after selling out to Newscorp.

It will be interesting to see if Dunlop continues to post at Blogocracy.


The Caterham X330 uses a supercharged 2.3 liter Cosworth Ford motor producing 330 horsepower. That's 600bhp per tonne; a better power-to-weight ration than the Bugatti Veyron and the McLaren F1. I want one.

If you doubt it's fast, watch this clip of a Caterham 260 running the Top Gear track.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Lefty academic Mark Bahnisch -- author of 33 academic papers, two book chapters and two journal articles -- is not impressed with the government's intervention in remote Aboriginal communities:
I am disturbed by the attitude of many that “whatever might work” is appropriate in the face of what are clearly, in many instances, very ill thought out and probably ineffective measures.
Bahnisch is very much "impressed" by West Australian premier Alan Carpenter's attack on John Howard:
Here in Western Australia we're doing the things in Western Australia that John Howard says should be done in the Northern Territory. ... Does anybody in Australia honestly believe that what John Howard's doing is not related to the forthcoming federal election? Does anybody honestly believe that? Come on. We've seen it before. I've seen it, we've seen it with the 'Tampa', we've seen it with other pre election periods.
Carpenter was claiming to have already addressed problems only now being addressed by the federal government and accusing Howard of cynical political manipulation. It's no wonder Bahnisch found appealing this attack on Howard by a Labor politician.

Unfortunately, Carpenter grossly understated the extent of the problem in WA's remote Aboriginal communities,:
Western Australia is calling for other states and the commonwealth to send police officers to help stop pedophilia in the state's Aboriginal communities.

WA's acting Premier Eric Ripper today again rejected federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough's offer of military help to fight the problem, saying it was a police issue.

Mr Ripper said he would write to Mr Brough today outlining what assistance WA wanted.

"Additional policing resources will be on that list,'' Mr Ripper told reporters.

"If the commonwealth, or indeed others states, have police resources they can provide to Western Australia on a sustained basis to assist us to police our rather large number of indigenous communities, I for one, and I'm sure all my colleagues, would welcome that.''
The WA government is only now recognizing a long standing problem and belatedly intervening.

If anyone is playing politics with what appears to be a huge paedophilia problem it's Bahnisch, the LP crew and pretty much the whole of the left, who condemn the government for trying to at least stop the abuse of children. If that's not cynical politics, there is no such thing.

Update: LPer Kim is unconvinced that an increased police presence is appropriate. The WA government sees police as the solution, however:
The state's priorities in Indigenous communities are extra police and help with the building of police stations, schools and houses.
The WA government is now reconsidering the federal government's offer of assistance:
The Western Australian Government has decided to write to the Commonwealth to find out what help might be available to fight child sexual abuse in remote Indigenous communities, just a day after appearing to dismiss such an offer.
This is quite a change in course: WA Premier Alan Carpenter was originally so confident in his government's competence that he offered assistance to the federal government. Gee, maybe Howard's plan isn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who said he'd rather die than surrender to besieging Pakistani security forces, is dead. Warm up the 72 virgins.


A recent Nature editorial (not available online) argues that Earth Liberation Front arsonists responsible for $120 million in damage are merely "knuckleheaded" activists, not dastardly terrorists:
Equating animal-rights activism with terrorism increases the penalties for offenders and will please many of their victims. But it is not in the interests of science.

Terrorist is not a word you throw around lightly. And it is certainly not a word you apply to anyone with whom you would like to have a civil conversation. A US tendency to apply the label to militant activists who are against animal research or genetic engineering slams shut a door that might be difficult to reopen — to researchers' cost.

In a courtroom in Eugene, Oregon, last week, federal prosecutors asked for a 'terrorism enhancement' on the sentencing of ten environmental activists. The activists have admitted to a string of arson attacks in the western United States in the late 1990s and the start of this decade. They torched places where things were done of which they disapproved, including a lab that they believed was growing genetically engineered poplar trees. If the judge applies the requested enhancement, their sentences could be longer and the conditions of their imprisonment more severe.

They are criminals, to be sure. Their arson cost millions of dollars and destroyed scientific work in progress. But although some of their more knuckleheaded actions could easily have accidentally hurt someone, their ethos was to damage property, never to hurt or kill.
Go here and scroll down to read several reactions from Nature readers.

Let's see, setting fire to things of which they disapprove but not injuring anyone... hey, these guys are activists.


As noted earlier, West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter prematurely claimed success in tackling problems in remote Aboriginal communities, even offering to provide expert assistance to the federal government. Recent events have prompted federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough to offer assistance to WA:
The federal government has offered Western Australia military help if necessary to support a state crackdown on indigenous child sex abuse, after six men were charged with offences against young girls.

Mr Brough said anecdotal evidence suggested serious problems in WA, perhaps worse than in the territory.

"All of the anecdotal evidence that has come to me from people that have spoken to me in Western Australia, through the Pilbara and the Kimberley is that this is a widespread problem in Western Australia," he said.

"Some would say go as far as to say it is even worse than that is occurring in the NT.

"It doesn't really matter about the degrees, there are children being hurt, there are means that we can put to stopping that and we don't have to wait years in order to give children that protection.
The Howard government has acted to solve the pressing problem while the left continues to want to talk about the problem. Maybe the lefties will organize a concert.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Meeting Al Gore's goal of a 90% reduction in carbon emissions will require an unprecedented reorganization of the western world. Unfortunately, team Gore can't even organize a rock concert:
IT WAS billed as the concert series to save the planet, but organisers of the Sydney leg of Live Earth went to ground yesterday over complaints the event was a planning disaster.

Rina Ferris, a spokeswoman for the event's promoters, Michael Chugg and Mark Pope, would not comment on reports from concert-goers in yesterday's Herald that they had to queue for up to an hour to use the toilets and to buy alcohol, prompting some to pay up to $50 to enterprising beer scalpers.
It's the thought that counts.


Robert Mugabe has attempted to solve Zimbabwe's inflation problem by decreeing that the price of consumer goods be cut in half. Just how bad is the problem?
One Harare resident told the BBC that a single banana now cost more than she had paid for her four-bedroom house in 2000.
So I guess a half-price banana only costs as much as a small apartment. Time to eat up.


A few weeks back Western Australia's Labor Premier Alan Carpenter heaped scorn on the federal government's intervention in dysfunctional Aboriginal communities:
The federal government doesn't understand the complexities of Aboriginal child abuse but WA will offer its expertise, WA Premier Alan Carpenter says

Mr Carpenter said he would write to Prime Minister John Howard today offering to send advisers to the Northern Territory to make it more likely the Commonwealth's plan to stamp out child sex abuse will succeed.

"It appears to me that they don't really understand what it is that needs to be done or how to go about it,'' Mr Carpenter told reporters in Perth today.

"I don't think (federal Indigenous Affairs Minister) Mal Brough, John Howard understand the complexities of this issue.''

By comparison, Mr Carpenter said, WA had the experience of implementing recommendations from a 2002 inquiry into indigenous child sexual abuse headed by chair of the National Indigenous Council Sue Gordon.
As it turns out, Mr Carpenter overestimated his government's expertise:
Six men from Halls Creek have been charged with child sex offences following a police investigation into how a 13-year-old contracted a sexually transmissible disease.

A taskforce involving police, Department of Child Protection and specialist child interviewers has now been set up to investigate other offences.

Perth police today flew to the Kimberley town to join the investigation, four months after department officers reported that the girl was 22 weeks pregnant and had an STI.

Police spokesman Neil Poh said the girl refused to co-operate with police but inquiries by Kununurra detectives led to the arrest of the six men and uncovered other alleged offences committed against other girls.

The adult men are residents of Halls Creek, Warmun, Balgo and Kununurra.

They are alleged to have committed 18 offences against three girls aged between 11 and 14 between 2005 and 2007.

Police are also investigating allegations by another seven girls against another 20 men.
Carpenter's points scoring has boomeranged.

Update: Carpenter launches another boomerang:
The Premier says the best way to deal with sexual abuse is to win the confidence of Aboriginal women and children.
As note above, the alleged teenage victim wasn't won over, refusing to cooperate with investigators.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Tree-huggers are outraged that BBC car show Top Gear has driven across a dry African lake enticingly described by tour operators as "a barren, lunar landscape":
Conservationists have accused the show, hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, of leaving scars across the Makgadikgadi salt pans by driving vehicles across them.
We're talking about leaving tyre marks on salt pans, not the obliteration of the Nazca lines. What really upsets lefties is Top Gear's politically incorrect celebration of testosterone fueled danger seeking:
Top Gear, which has a large audience in southern Africa, is often controversial because of what critics describe as its addiction to speed and risk.
There'd be no problem if they had driven Priuses at sensible speeds.


Indigenous issues are a great concern for middle aged university student Vicky Kasidis, who has multiple recent posts on the Howard government's recent attempt to sort out some of the problems in remote Aboriginal communities. Kasidis is not concerned enough to consistently correctly spell indigenous, however -- is it indegenous, indigigenous or indigenous? Wonder if she can spell idiot?

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Catallaxy head honcho Jason Soon confronts reality:
I used to think Lambert was a class act but since my recent run-in I’ve concluded that he is in fact a dishonest egotistical prick.


The European Union sets itself a task:
Following failed car bomb attacks at two UK airports leading to the arrest of Muslim suspects, Brussels is pooling ideas on how to tackle radical Islam and create a more tolerant "European" branch of the faith.
Good luck to them; for many, radical Islam as an appealing alternative to Europeanization.

Friday, July 06, 2007


A passenger in a stationary vehicle has been awarded over $1 million compensation for injuries suffered in a "crash" so minor she wasn't immediately aware that the accident had even happened. Another great moment in legal history.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


If you read nothing else today, read Theodore Dalrymple's "Why Intellectuals Like Genocide" -- it's his take on the intellectual left's reaction to Keith Windschuttle's "The Fabrication of Aboriginal History".

Sunday, July 01, 2007


In the event of a fire at the Liquefied Natural Gas plant... run for the only exit.