Sunday, September 30, 2007


The environmental footprint of pet dogs and cats is apparently way too big:
Pet lovers should consider keeping native animals instead of a potentially destructive cat or dog, the NSW Government says.

"Cats really do cause absolute devastation to native animals," Verity Firth, the Minister Assisting Environment Minister Phil Koperberg, said. "If you are wanting to get a pet, think about getting a pet that is environmentally sensitive."

Christopher Cheng, the author of Locally Wild, said laws should be softened to allow native animals to be kept as pets but people should be licensed to keep them.

Mr Cheng, a former teacher at Taronga Zoo, said possums, bats, bandicoots and wombats would make good pets. Quolls would be a good replacement for cats as they can be affectionate and interact with humans.
Cats are pretty much useless but a good dog is priceless. My Ridgeback is not only a faithful companion, he's a fantastic burglar deterrent: on more than one occasion he's scared the crap out of people entering the yard in the dead of night. I just can't see a wombat or bat doing that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


It's amazing how a single bad tooth can take control of the brain. Light posting will continue until the tooth either sorts itself out -- the dentist is hopeful -- or I have it pulled.


According to Osama bin Laden all non-Muslims are to be hated:
As to the relationship between Muslims and infidels, this is summarized by the Most High's Word: "We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us — till you believe in Allah alone." So there is an enmity, evidenced by fierce hostility from the heart. And this fierce hostility — that is, battle — ceases only if the infidel submits to the authority of Islam, or if his blood is forbidden from being shed, or if Muslims are at that point in time weak and incapable. But if the hate at any time extinguishes from the heart, this is great apostasy! Allah Almighty's Word to his Prophet recounts in summation the true relationship: "O Prophet! Wage war against the infidels and hypocrites and be ruthless. Their abode is hell — an evil fate!" Such, then, is the basis and foundation of the relationship between the infidel and the Muslim. Battle, animosity, and hatred — directed from the Muslim to the infidel — is the foundation of our religion. And we consider this a justice and kindness to them.
Gee, that shoots the old root causes theory right in the arse.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Antony Loewenstein links to propaganda using sick kids to score anti-western points:
Alive in Baghdad blog takes a trip around Baghdad Hospital’s children’s ward and reveals the effect of US and UK-dropped depleted uranium.
It is absurd of Loewenstein to claim a link between depleted uranium and adverse health effects in Iraqi children when no such link has been demonstrated.

I wonder if Macquarie University, where Loewenstein is a member of the board of the Centre for Middle East and North African Studies and an Honorary Associate in the Department of Politics and International Relations, supports this cynical manipulation of sick children? The question seems fair enough considering that Loewenstein touts these academic connections at his blog.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Computing specialist and notorious anti-DDT propagandist Tim Lambert links approvingly to a supposedly myth-destroying article on DDT by fellow computer nerd Aaron Swartz. Now since damn near everything Lambert has ever written about DDT has been comprehensively debunked his link automatically makes Swartz's article suspect. And Swartz does nothing for his credibility in praising Lambert:
"...Deltoid, tracks the DDT myth and other scientific misinformation in the media."
Swartz is almost right: Lambert is a source of "misinformation", scientific and otherwise.

Anyway, lets take a look a closer look at self-proclaimed perfectionist Swartz's article, which starts off:
Sometimes you find mass murderers in the most unlikely places. Take Rachel Carson. She was, by all accounts, a mild-mannered writer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—hardly a sociopath’s breeding ground. And yet, according to many in the media, Carson has more blood on her hands than Hitler.

The problems started in the 1940s, when Carson left the Service to begin writing full-time. In 1962, she published a series of articles in the New Yorker, resulting in the book Silent Spring—widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The book discussed how pesticides and pollutants moved up the food chain, threatening the ecosystems for many animals, especially birds. Without them, it warned, we might face the title’s silent spring.
It would be helpful if Swartz specified exactly which problems he's referring to but it doesn't really matter because Carson didn't leave the Fish and Wildlife Service until 1952. Also, the New Yorker "articles" didn't "result" in Silent Spring; rather, the magazine printed excerpts from the soon-to-be-released book.

Swartz obviously hasn't done his homework and certainly can't be regarded as a reliable source of information on a complicated topic like DDT's use in the fight against malaria. As always, nothing Lambert writes or links to can be assumed to be accurate.

Note: the article linked by Lambert contains no links -- to read it with links go here.

Friday, September 21, 2007


An unnamed Swedish doctor describes himself:
"I have a personality disorder, or rather a syndrome, a form of Aspergers. Just like Bill Gates or Einstein, for example," he told Aftonbladet.

"I have made it impossible for myself within the healthcare sector because I behave childishly sometimes. I am different, but cleverer."
If this guy's so clever, why is his specialty anal massage?


Australia's lone male rugby league cheerleader admires the view.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Roland Browne of the National Coalition for Gun Control on state governments allowing armed children to roam amongst us:
In 1996 the Commonwealth and the States and Territories decided upon a response to the mass shooting at Port Arthur in Tasmania.

In that shooting 35 people were murdered and 18 people grievously injured by a young man using two high powered semi-automatic rifles. Australia was stunned by the lethal capacity of these weapons in the hands of a civilian.

The response was swift.

Led by Prime Minister John Howard, only months into his first term of government, the National Firearms Agreement between the Commonwealth and States and Territories introduced a set of minimum standards for the possession, use, storage and availability of rifles and shotguns across Australia. One of the key resolutions in the Agreement was that the minimum age for a gun licence in Australia was 18 years. No exception to this rule was provided for.
Eleven years later, the National Firearms Agreement and the buyback of weapons around Australia has been very successful.

However, it has not yet fulfilled the principal criteria set by the Prime Minister in 1996. That is, to lead Australia well away from the American gun culture.

All States and Territories are in breach of the National Firearms Agreement in numerous and varied ways. Of particular concern is that in every State and Territory children under the age of 18 are able to obtain a permit for the possession and use of a firearm.
Why our leaders are content to allow children as young as four or five or six in WA and NT (where there is no minimum age limit), and as young as 12 in NSW, Tasmania and Victoria, and 11 in Queensland, to carry guns and use them is mystifying.

I know the shooters claim this early use is necessary as training for kids. In my view it is indoctrination; kids neither need a gun, nor to know how to use a gun.
Well, apparently all the youngsters engaging in playground shootouts and knocking-over corner shops are carrying unlicenced weapons:
Under Section 10 of the Firearms Act the minimum age for the issue of a license or permit in Western Australia is 18.
Maybe governments should address the much bigger problem posed by kids with rocks.

Update: This rock-throwing thing is getting out of hand:
A teenage boy is in a critical condition with head injuries after being hit by a rock thrown though an open car window at Allambie Heights, in Sydney's north.

The 17-year-old Brookvale boy tonight remained in a critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery at Royal North Shore Hospital.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Al Qaeda is unhappy with Swedish artist Lars Vilks's drawing of a dog with Mohammed's head:
"We call for the liquidation of the cartoonist Lars who offended our prophet," said the statement issued in the name of the group's leader Sheikh Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.

"We announce a reward of $100,000 to anyone who kills this infidel criminal. This reward will be raised to $150,000 if his throat is slit," said the statement whose authenticity could not be verified.
Also on offer is a $50,000 reward for the murder of the editor of the newspaper that published the cartoon. A number of Swedish firms face unspecified threats.

Jeez, this al-Baghdadi guy has no sense of humour.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Last Friday Sydney lawyer Irfan Yusuf went on the offensive following my recent posts on his gratuitous disclosure of contrarian commenter Daniel Lewis's address:
Some readers will have noticed that I have started to allow some of the more racist and offensive comments through my moderator's sieve. In fact, there have been a large number of comments that I have not allowed through. With the help of a number of colleagues, I have managed to locate the source of some of the more offensive comments.

The main purpetrator [sic] has been a rather interesting chap whose blog can be found here.
Now while it's possible some of the comments were written by persons arriving at Planet Irf via my blog, I certainly didn't write any of the comments and haven't commented at his site for quite some time (and none of my comments were remotely racist or offensive).

It's pretty hard to believe that a guy whose job depends on the accurate use of language -- he is a lawyer -- could inadvertently make it seem that I wrote the comments in question. Then again, I can't imagine there are many lawyers who can't spell perpetrator.

Anyway, Irf is still miffed at my posting of his publicly available contact details:
I now reproduce some of the nastier comments. My reason for doing so is that this chap has taken the extraordinary step of publishing an address of mine where I no longer reside and a phone number I no longer use. No doubt, he has done this so that some persons of similar ilk to him might decide to attack or harass those who do reside at this address.
The New South Wales Law Society has responded to Irf's request that his contact details be updated by omitting all phone numbers but the address remains unchanged. And as a helpful reader points out, the online White Pages still show an I. Yusuf at the address cited by the Law Society. If Irf is so concerned about the harassment of innocents he should probably have the incorrect address corrected straight away.


According to Age letter-writers the U.S. is to blame for 9/11, no matter what:
After 9/11, a number of conspiracy theories were floated that are understandable, since it is well known the US Government is not above killing its own. But the biggest flaw in the theories is they ignore the anger built up in the rest of the world — anger as a direct result of US actions. The attacks were not acceptable but were clear and predictable — an application of the law of cause and effect. Who caused 9/11? Maybe it really was the US Government. Nineteen men allegedly hijacked the planes, but the ultimate cause was US policies. And with the same policies continuing to this day in the form of threats to Iran, doesn't this seem logical when there is always a concerted and deliberate attempt to incite a violent reaction.
An octogenarian sleuth says it was an inside job.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The left's death wish:
This is certainly not the first time in history that elements of the left have come around the back end of the political circle into an open embrace of the far-right – an embrace, one should note, that is almost never returned except through a kiss of death. In the Middle Eastern context, consider what happened to the leftist groups that promoted the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, who was seemingly a model of “pluralism and democracy” until he consolidated his power and began executing his former allies.
Useful idiots.

Friday, September 07, 2007


The other day I posted blogging-lawyer Irfan Yusuf's publicly available (online) address and phone number. Irate, Yusuf emailed me that the address I gave was his parents', that he no longer lives or works at that address and that he'd asked the New South Wales Law Society to correct his details. The Law Society site now shows no phone numbers for Yusuf but the address remains the same. Someone seems to be confused.

Yusuf's email also advised:
I have referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police for investigation. You might hear from them shortly.
Well, either the AFP have better things to do with their time than investigate frivolous claims of wrongdoing or they're very slow off the mark. Maybe when APEC is finished...

Update: Yusuf's judgement is, well, questionable.


Miss Politics is -- shock, horror -- confused:
It appears that the NSW Police have pretty much taken over in Sydney. Not only have they succeeded in having a Court ban APEC : Georgy Butcher Bush protesters from passing through Martin Place during Saturday's rally but they have also arrested the Chaser boi's for doing what they do best; political satire.

The NSW Police are seriously beginning to be annoying no thanks to the special legislation Howard put through giving them increased powers and taking away our civil liberties in one foul swoop.
Enhanced police powers were, of course, granted by the New South Wales (Labor) government. Miss Politics should probably stick to sex posts.


On August 18th Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda published a Lars Vilks cartoon of a dog with Mohammed's head. Even though Nerikes Allehanda is a local paper and did not make the cartoon available online, worldwide outrage resulted:
Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and the 57-nation Orgaization of the Islamic Conference have all lodged official protests and demanded punitive action.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt attempted to defuse the volatile situation by meeting with 20 Muslim ambassadors:
Reinfeldt said that he had "explained how Swedish society works and that we don't have elected representatives making editorial decisions", adding that "this is an open country, a tolerant country".
The reaction of Iran's ambassador to Sweden shows this to be a waste of time:
"Causing offence does not belong to the concept of freedom of speech."
Causing offence is the essence of free speech, dickhead.


Anti-Bush activists "Bums Not Bombs" hoped for a record setting protest:
A game group of anti-war protesters are planning a cheeky protest against a visit by US President George W. Bush - baring their bottoms in what they hope will be a world-record moon.

In a leaflet to possible supporters, the group calls for 4000 cheeks - er, 2000 people - to "tell Bush what we really think about his visit.''
Numbers fell well short of the thousands desired:
Around 50 people have bared their bottoms in protest against APEC and the visiting US President George W Bush.
The poor turnout comes despite arse-baring apparently being something of a national tradition:
Organiser Will Saunders says its a fun and Australian way to get the anti-Iraq war message across.
Hey, we've tried to attract tourists by swearing at them, maybe the Aussie moon should be our next enticement to visit down under.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


During a discussion of the pluses of drug use, marijuana's downside is revealed:
"... smoking dope... can be the conduit for people to start smoking tobacco".
And anyway, drugs are nowhere near as dangerous as professional sports:
Not half as dangerous as football itself. Has anybody calculated the cost to the taxpayer of retired footballers on disability pensions because of the way they continuously smashed up their bodies while younger? Not that I think they shouldn’t get those pensions.
The nutty comments are easily explained:
Welcome to the reality of the Queens of the Stone Age: “Nicotine valium vicadin marijuana ecstacy and alcohol Co-co-co-co-co-cocaine…”

In the past eight days I’ve consumed 5 of the 7 drugs mentioned.
That last comment nicely sums up the Larvatus Prodeo experience.


Tanveer Ahmed observes Blair's Law in action:
"I remember going to a protest (in Sydney during the recent Hezbollah-Israel conflict in Lebanon) and seeing environmental groups going Allah Akhbar (God is great) in harmony with some Lebanese groups,'' Dr Ahmend said.
Fittingly, Dr Ahmed is a psychiatry registrar.

Link provided by Mark C.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Sending children into harm's way is a winner for Palestinian rocket-firers:
The IDF explains that the Palestinians make a practice of sending children to collect the Qassam launchers. However, in this case, the children killed were not collecting launchers. The first two were killed while collecting carob fruit and the next three - according to the IDF's own investigation - were playing tag. But even if we accept the IDF's claim that there is a general trend of sending children to collect launchers (which has not been proven), that should have brought about an immediate halt to firing at launcher collectors.

But the IDF does not care whether its victims are liable to be children. The fact is that it shoots at figures it considers suspicious, with full knowledge - according to its own contention - that they are liable to be children. Therefore, an IDF that fires at launcher collectors is an army that kills children, without any intention of preventing this. This then is not a series of unfortunate mistakes, as it is being portrayed, but rather reflects the army's contempt for the lives of Palestinian children and its terrifying indifference to their fate.
Why should the IDF have higher regard for Palestinian children than that shown by the Palestinians?

Sunday, September 02, 2007


France has slipped to number three on the tourist destination list. Hoping to reverse the downward trend, the tourism minister offers has some tourist-friendly suggestions for the hospitality sector:
Be the first to say 'bon jour' when faced with a tourist.

Do not throw the change on the counter. Be patient in transactions.

If you do speak some English, do not pretend you don't - be brave, and generous, and use it.

If tourists try to speak some French, be patient.

Postal counter workers should wear flags showing the languages they speak.

Hang a 'bienvenue' sign on your shop door. An added 'welcome' or 'willkommen' doesn't hurt.

If none of the above is possible, then smile.
The French being civil to foreigners? Ain't gonna happen.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


Literacy problem solution:
Children will be asked to draw pictures instead of spelling words as part of a new strategy to improve literacy test results in primary school.
Female polar bears frustrated:
Polar bear penis bones are shrinking in Eastern Greenland, according to Christian Sonne of the University of Aarhus in Denmark and colleagues.
Pressure on children increasing:
Pre-schoolers are stressing themselves out about kindergarten six months before they even have their first day of school, new research has found.

Melbourne child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said that parents were often the cause of children’s anxiety before starting school.
Party animal:
A Double Bay man got more than he bargained for when he took his highly agitated kitten to a veterinary clinic after it had been accidentally locked in a cupboard overnight - only to discover it was high on cocaine and benzodiazepines from a wild weekend dinner party.
Birdsville races on despite lack of horses:
Punters will instead be able to bet on jockeys riding hobby horses flown in for this year's meet, which has been disrupted by the outbreak of equine influenza (EI).
Manhood gone:
A Thai woman is at large with her husband's penis today after discovering the man's unfaithfulness.


Bethlehem mayor Dr Victor Batarseh explains why Palestinians need do nothing in attempting to secure peace:
Our side, we are the weaker side, we are the occupied, we don't have an army, while Israel is the, has the most powerful army in the Middle East. It is a nuclear power, it is one of the first five powerful armies in the world, Israel, which is the mightiest, should give in a little bit to the Palestinian people.
By "give in a little bit" Batarseh apparently means Israelis should all die:
The 90-strong crowd at the event applauded when a member of the audience called for "the complete destruction of Israel".
Just in case you're curious, mighty Israel is number 29 on this list of comparative military strength.


Academic Paul Norton decries compulsory school dress requirements:
Dress codes and uniforms imposed by dominant groups on subaltern groups are invariably designed to signal the lowly status of the wearers.
Requiring females to wear skirts or dresses not only demeans, it encourages cheating:
Said colleague observed a female student sitting the exam, wearing a medium-length skirt, and intermittently hitching up the skirt and looking at her thigh. At one point the colleague glimpsed what were presumably crib notes written on the students’ thigh.
The cheaters are not exclusively female, and it's not really their fault that they cheat:
Similarly, schools which force their boys to wear shorts in certain grades or at certain times of the year likewise have themselves to blame if the lads resort to the same ruse.
The highly educated Norton offers a simple solution:
The only remedy would seem to be prevention, namely the imposition of an exam dress code which requires the wearing of long trousers for students of both genders. At University level this should be unproblematic.
Like it would be really difficult for a cheater to writes notes on his (or her) leg above the ankle to peek at by pulling up the pants leg. Hey, maybe compulsory knee socks held up by compulsory garters under those compulsory pants are the go. Cheaters are going to try to cheat no matter what they're made to wear.