Wednesday, January 30, 2008


So, you've heard about the new medical marijuana vending machines but don't know where to find one. Try the Timothy Leary Medical Dispensary, of course.



The second pro-whaling, anti-Australia video makes some valid points but overall it's pretty silly, not to mention far too long. And considering their treatment of the Ainu, the Japanese might want to lay off with the racism crap.


Now here's something to get all worked up over:
A plan by a Swedish band to symbolically burn a witch on stage in the country's Eurovision heats has led to outrage from feminists.
Outraged feminists, imagine that.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Lefties do not like this advert. Amazing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


This is maybe a bit over the top coming from Australia's national broadcaster:
Tasmania's record on Indigenous affairs is far from glorious. White settlers there once hunted Aboriginal people for sport.
Yeah, there were teams, a league and a season.

Monday, January 21, 2008


So, how do you make some money if you're an unemployed Irish paramilitary? Steal farm equipment, of course:
Hundreds of tractors and other valuable pieces of agricultural equipment are being stolen across Britain and shipped as far away as Australia in a bizarre farm crimewave.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Shamelessly stolen from David Letterman:
10. NASA mission to turn down the sun's thermostat

9. Federal subsidies to boost production of Cool Ranch Doritos

8. Fast track Rumsfeld's "Colonize Neptune" proposal

7. Convene blue-ribbon committee to explore innovative ways of ignoring the problem

6. Let Hillary worry about it when she takes over

5. I dunno---tax cuts for the rich?

4. Give the boys at Halliburton 90-billion dollar contract to patch hole in ozone

3. Switch to celsius so scorching 98 becomes frosty 37

2. Keep plenty of Bud on ice

1. Invade Antartica


Trouble's a-brewin' in Holland:
The Dutch government is bracing itself for violent protests following the scheduled broadcast this week of a provocative anti-Muslim film by a radical right-wing politician who has threatened to broadcast images of the Koran being torn up and otherwise desecrated.

During a visit to the European Parliament in Strasbourg last week, Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria, said that, were Wilders was seen to tear up or burn a Koran in his film, 'this will simply mean he is inciting wars and bloodshed ... It is the responsibility of the Dutch people to stop him.'
Yep, the Dutch are war-provokers from way back.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Iran's Press TV reports the death of "chess genius" Bobby Fisher:
Former chess legend Bobby Fisher who described the Sept. 11 attacks as 'wonderful news', saying America should be 'wiped out', has died.

The Cold War icon, said to have an IQ higher than Albert Einstein's, gained fame after defeating the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky in 1972.
Fisher's death is almost incidental to the story, with his anti-American views most prominent – how could such a great genius be wrong about the Great Satan? Well, Fisher might have been really good at chess but he was one twisted guy.

Update; In April 2005 Switzerland-based UBS notified Fisher that it intended to close his account and asked where he wanted the money sent. To cut a very long story short, Fisher refused to cooperate because UBS refused to explain why it was closing his account. UBS closed his account (and liquidated associated holdings) on 10 August 2005 and transferred 2,355,000 Swiss francs plus 115,7o3.53 Euros to Fisher's Icelandic bank. The money was sent back to UBS on Fisher's instruction. As of February 2007 UBS was still asking Fisher where he wanted his money sent, you know, so UBS could send it to him.

Here's Fisher's summary of events:
UBS and the Icelandic government collude to plunder all of Bobby's savings account at UBS

UBS to Bobby: "Get out of our high-class bank right now you filthy dog you!" Click here for the shocking UBS--Bobby Fischer file: 115 pages. There's a new (2006) Swiss movie out based on the collapse of Swissair called "Grounding." We gather that the movie depicts the entire Swiss business, banking and political Establishment as ruthless, corrupt, cowardly, incompetent and above all unreliable. In real life UBS could easily have saved Swissair but instead they callously and many would say unpatriotically chose to let it go under...

It's official. Having already stolen a large portion of Bobby's cash and assets in his UBS savings account 230/562.317 in the year 2005 UBS now freezes all the rest.

UBS in their February 26, 2007 letter to Bobby's attorney Mr. Arni Vilhjalmsson of LOGOS legal services has announced that unless Bobby knuckles under and accepts and cooperates with UBS's thievery and dictate that Bobby will never see a penny of the rest of his money at UBS. Of course UBS knows that Bobby will never go along with this outrage. So all of the remainder of Bobby's money at UBS is frozen--actually stolen for good. UBS are simply liars, thieves and criminals. End of the story. Furthermore, the filthy dirty CIA-controlled Icelandic government by failing to retaliate against UBS for UBS's brazen thefts and other crimes against Bobby (see the complete UBS--Bobby Fischer file above) is in complicity with UBS in those very thefts and other crimes against Bobby. Clearly, the Icelandic government is thoroughly rotten and corrupt and are nothing but pimps and whores for the giant transnational corporations like Alcoa and UBS, etc. Let the robbery in broad daylight of all of Bobby's hard-earned cash and assets at UBS to the tune of millions of swiss francs and other assets be a warning that no one should open a savings account at UBS or for that matter with any other Swiss bank...
If you click the link above you'll find letters handwritten by Fisher; the guy had some serious issues. In the extensive correspondence with UBS neither Fisher nor his lawyers say anything about the supposed plundering of his account. The whole thing is, well, weird.

Friday, January 18, 2008


As previously noted, Australia's Greens Senators take a pro-Sea Shepherd position in a post at their blog – the post was actually written by Tim Norton but it's on the Senators' official blog. Realizing that the Senators and Tim Norton probably wouldn't take any notice of a post from a hobby-blogger with very few readers I also lodged a comment at Greensblog, the comment sarcastically concluding:
Hunting whales is called whaling, not fishing, by the way.
Tim Norton provides a long but evasive response to my comment, sarcastically concluding:
I don’t think I ever referred to the practice as ‘fishing’, but thanks for the clarification.
Thinking I must have made a mistake I looked at the Greensblog post, which reads:
Meanwhile, the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking has still not been sighted in whaling waters, despite being launched recently to ensure Japanese whalers do not operate in protected waters.
Hmm, I'm certain that's not the original wording and Google cache (as of 16 January 2008) proves I'm right:
Meanwhile, the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking has still not been sighted in whaling waters, despite being launched recently to ensure Japanese whalers do not fish in protected waters.
The change in wording is in itself of no importance. It is unacceptable, however, that the content of a post at the official blog of elected members of government was stealthily edited. It's just not the done thing.

Update: As pointed out in comments I am indeed a dick for getting Tim Norton's name wrong – I had it as Morton. Lucky thing I didn't get Sea Shepherd wrong.

Update II: Tim Norton's response is, well, confusing:
JF Beck - apologies. You might have been looking at an earlier draft of this post.
When I first saw this I felt a bit guilty for hammering at the poor guy to the point where he felt it necessary to apologize. Having thought about it I've changed my mind; his response is a responsibility avoider if I've ever seen one.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


One of the articles in the January 2008 issue of Climate Change:
Parallels in reactionary argumentation in the US congressional debates on the abolition of slavery and the Kyoto Protocol
No, your eyes do not deceive you; here's an excerpt from the abstract:
This article explores similarities between the rationalisation of slavery in the abolition debates and the rationalisation of ongoing emissions of greenhouse gases in the US congressional debates on the Kyoto Protocol.
My head hurts.


Like we didn't already know this:
"... children do not like clowns and even older kids are scared of them."
It's not like I've ever been afraid of clowns but to this day being close to one sets off my DANGER, EXTREMELY WEIRD ADULT detector.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


GreensBlog is the official collective blog of Greens Senators Bob Browne, Christine Milne, Rachel Siewert and Kerry Nettle. The site's most recent post is Whaling, Pirates & the Japanese. The post is riddled with errors and misrepresentations – the whole post is reproduced below with nonsense highlighted in orange.
A complex situation has arisen in the Southern Ocean where the Japanese Whaling fleet run by The Institute of Cetacean Research is attempting to slaughter nearly a thousand whales for the purpose of ’scientific research.’

Greenpeace located the fleet and claims to have chased the whalers out of hunting grounds. With the Australian Federal Courts’ recent decision, there is now legal precedence that Japanese are targeting humpback whales in the Australian whale sanctuary in contravention of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The Japanese do not recognise Australia’s claim, and responded by ignoring the judgement.
As far as I know the court's ruling concerns whaling in general; humpbacks are singled out by the Senators because Australians are likely to be more concerned about them than about minkes, which make up most of the kill. Have any humpbacks been killed? Do the Japanese plan to kill humpbacks? Japan is not alone in not recognizing Australia's Antarctic exclusion zone: only New Zealand, France, Norway and Britain recognise Australia's claim.
Now the Sea Shepard have put two of their members aboard a Japanese Ship from their ship Steve Irwin and claims they were tied to the mast, thrown overboard and are being mistreated. Despite the Japanese Government saying the activists would be released, the ships captain refuses to do so, unless certain demands are met.

The Japanese are calling for Sea Shepard to vacate the area, and cease all interference, including monitoring, filming and recording of Japanese fleet movements. Sea Shepard Captain Paul Watson has refused to respond to the demands, describing the actions of the Japanese as ‘an act of terrorism’.
Sea Shepherd crew have consistently been the aggressors; the Senators should not slavishly repeat their unsubstantiated claims. Tied to the mast preparatory to a flogging, like in an old pirate movie? Or were they tied to a rail? No one was thrown overboard. The situation is very confused at the moment – no one at this stage knows for certain that the whalers have made any unreasonable demands. The best I can tell the whalers are correct in claiming the two boarders are pirates. Holding them is not an act of terrorism just as briefly tying a pirate to a rail is not torture.
This all comes within a week of the posting of an inflammatory YouTube clip, with English and Japanese subtitles, accusing Australia of white supremacy, exclusionist nationalism, a racist ideology and of prejudice towards the Japanese. The clip includes images of slain dingoes, wallabies and kangaroos, whilst also using footage from the Cronulla riots.
Freedom of speech can be a bitch.
Meanwhile, the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking has still not been sighted in whaling waters, despite being launched recently to ensure Japanese whalers do not fish in protected waters.
The Oceanic Viking recently got underway. She was launched in 1996. The mission is to observe whaling operations. She is crewed by civilians but does mount two .50 caliber machine guns. The on board Customs officers can do nothing to stop whaling operations. Whales are not fish. But if this post is any indication, Greens Senators are idiots.

Update: The GreensBlog post was actually written by Tim Norton, apparently a member of Senator Rachel Siewert's communications staff. No matter, the post appears on what is proclaimed to be the Greens Senators' official blog. If the Senators aren't already vetting Norton's posts they definitely need to do so in the future.

I was imprecise in saying "As far as I know the court's ruling concerns whaling in general..." The Federal Court ruling applies specifically to Antarctic minke whales (Balaenoptera bonaerensis), fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). My point above remains valid, however: I do not know that the GreensBlog post is correct in stating that the Japanese are "targeting humpback whales" but I do know that in the past they have targeted the less attractive minke and fin whales. The GreensBlog post tries to stir emotions by mentioning only humpback whales.


The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service plan to trap and remove problem horses in Kosciuszko National Park has upset environmentalists, who want the animals killed from the air:
Andrew Cox from the National Parks Association says aerial shooting is the only real solution.

"I think we need to be realistic with this, we need to employ the best methods and the parks service has even acknowledged that aerial shooting is an effective method," he said

"It is humane, the RSPCA has endorsed it and if done by professional shooters, we will be able to get the results we want, which is to reduce the numbers of horses in KNP and to stop the environmental damage that's being caused."
Aerial shooting of horses is somewhat controversial; for one thing, achieving quick one-shot kills from a helicopter is very difficult, with many animals dying slowly after being shot multiple times. Oddly, one of the main anti-whaling arguments is that harpooning is cruel because many of the animals die slow painful deaths. Maybe horses are too stupid to notice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The Sea Shepherd loonies, who have been boasting about their plans to ram Japanese whaling vessels, are begging for outside intervention:
Sea Shepherd is calling for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to lay kidnapping charges, as crew on a Japanese whaling vessel in Antarctic waters detain two of the marine conservation group's activists.

The whalers say the two activists were being held in an office aboard the ship, and accused them of throwing acid onto the ship's decks.

"It is illegal to board another country's vessels on the high seas," said the director general of the Institute of Cetacean Research, Minoru Morimoto.

"As a result, at this stage, they are being held in custody while decisions are made on their future."
Go take them back, you pussies.

Update: The Age's headline and teaser:
Whale activists 'captured'
Australian and Briton activists taken hostage in the Southern Ocean.
Quotes around captured but not around taken hostage; nah, it's not like they're taking sides. Actually, since The Age reckons it's war down in the souther ocean, these guys are prisoners of war. Uh oh, remember what happened the last time Japan had Australian and British POWs? Fortunately there are no railways under construction.
Update: Related content here and here.


He's quietly exited the public stage but still occupies the thoughts of Howard haters. Behold the Best. Cartoon. Evah.

Cartoon? It's a short story with some incidental drawings. This, on the other hand, is a great cartoon – that's Mark Bahnisch, by the way.


It looks like Tim Blair is paying the price for the alcohol-soaked, fat-drenched long lunches to which all capitalist war-mongers are partial: he has cancer and is scheduled for surgery. I wish Tim a speedy and full recovery.


David Kane offers a seemingly sensible suggestion to Lancet Iraq advocate John Tirman:
Your comments are interesting and important. But, despite [Tim Lambert's] best efforts, a blog is not an ideal medium for scientific dispute. So, why not a debate?

I would be happy to arrange a debate at Harvard between you and me on the accuracy of the Lancet surveys. Or, if you would like to have someone else to speak for the Lancet side, that would be fine. (Any of the authors would be great choices, but I realize that they are very busy.) Or, if you prefer, we could hold the debate at MIT. The room that Burnham used for his talk last year was excellent and the video production and distribution facilities first rate.

The very heart of the academic enterprise is open discussion and debate, especially between folks who disagree.

Any interest? My schedule is wide open.
Tim Lambert's loyal commenters are less than enthusiastic:
Hilarious, a debate is even less suited for scientific dispute.
An alternative is suggested:
In fact a blog is a much better forum for an exchange of ideas such as this where responders can think and research before they respond.

Which, of course, is why lying scum greatly prefer the debate format to any other.
Lambert and his commenters are rightly famous for such insightful commentary. Lambert is rather sensitive to name-calling, however, deleting some of my comments and banning me supposedly because I called Deltoid commenters toadies.

Go here for background on Kane and Lambert's ongoing jousting.

Update: No debates for Tirman:
David, no debate, sorry, one reason being that I am not competent in statistics. ... My interest is not in scoring points on arcane matters of number crunching, but in seeing the causes of violence clearly and hoping perhaps that such knowledge will help prevent more violence, in Iraq or elsewhere. Without such knowledge, the U.S. military could be led into more foolish exertions of power. The scale of the carnage is important, and the ways in which people are being killed, and where, is also crucial to understanding the nature of the insurgents' violence in particular. Only large-scale death really explains an insurgency--really, many insurgencies-- that is decentralized, without apparent ideology, linked to no known groups (the AQ portion is small), and remarkably persistent. The most logical explanation for this is that many people have been roughed up and they are fighting back, believing that they are defending their tribes, towns, etc. This is not a brief for the insurgents, mind you, but a very plausible explanation. And the higher the violence, the more it makes sense. (See opinion polls of Iraqis and this view--and high mortality--is even more convincing.)
It beats me how Tirman gets all that from the Lancet Iraq surveys. And here's a more logical explanation for the violence. Iraq is made up of many competing factions held in check by Saddam prior to being deposed. These factions are competing for power at every level and settling old scores in the process. It's simple yet complex.


Sounds like an exotic sexual position but it's actually about violence on the high seas:
The militant environmental group Sea Shepherd said Monday that it had located the Japanese whaling fleet near Antarctica and threatened to ram them if they resumed slaughtering the giant sea creatures.
What next, an A380 crashed into an abattoir?

Monday, January 14, 2008


With five posts over the past few days (99 in the past year; 156 in total) drawing more than 400 comments, Lancet Iraq is a hot topic for truth-bending scientist Tim Lambert. With that many comments spread over five threads it's damned difficult for a casual reader to keep up with what's been going on so I've decided to provide a quick overview.

Before looking at comments let's dispose of a bit of silliness from Lambert, in which he attempts to silence those who allege Lancet Iraq bias owing to the funding involvement of George Soros. Lambert argues that this line of thinking also discredits pretty much anything on Iraq produced by the pro-war Murdoch media. This is, of course, a bogus comparison. Hands up everyone who trusts journalists to produce factually correct writing on any topic, much less Iraq. The Lancet Iraq studies are on the other hand meant to be factually correct scientific products. Now I don't know that Soros helped fund Lancet Iraq hoping to skew the results but his involvement certainly raises bias concerns. And with many of those involved with Lancet Iraq known to be anything but neutral, the studies are looking increasingly iffy.

Right, back to comments. Lancet Iraq critic David Kane politely but persistently stands his ground while copping heaps of crap from Lambert and his one-eyed commenters – like at Tim Blair's, Lambert's comments section is something of a meat grinder; but unlike Blair's commenters, Lambert's take themselves very seriously and are neither clever nor funny. Anyway, in the first of the five most recent Lancet Iraq posts – on Neil Munro's National Journal article – Lambert invites a stoush with Kane:
To my knowledge, David Kane has never conducted a door-to-door survey in Iraq or anywhere else. Why is his uninformed opinion presented by Munro? Oh right, he said something that suited Munro's agenda.
Lack of supporting data. The survey teams failed to collect the fraud-preventing demographic data that pollsters routinely gather.
As noted earlier, this is an outright fabrication by Munro.
Kane responds (my bold):
But this is true! I have examined the data. Have you, Tim?
For background, it is standard in a survey to collect demographic data so that you can check that your survey sample matches up with the population, especially in a case in which you are worried about inexperienced interviewers. So, for each household, you should tabulate something like:

1) male, age 46 2) male, age 20 3) female, age 10 ...

Sex and age are the minimum background demographic variables that you should collect. Whatever the survey document says, the Lancet interviewers did not do this.
Kane repeats this many times. Lambert responds with a Roberts quote affirming the demographic data were indeed collected. Meanwhile in another thread Kane writes:
The debate here is whether or not demographic household data (specifically the ages of each member of the household) was collected. [Lancet] Author Shannon Doocy told me it was not. Tim quotes Les Roberts saying it was. Someone is mistaken!
Lambert responds by calling Kane a liar:
David Kane: "Author Shannon Doocy told me it was not."

Perhaps you could provide a quote from the email?

Consider this scenario: Ages have been removed from the data set given to David Kane to protect the privacy of the respondents. Kane tells Munro that ages were not collected. When called on this, he invents an email from Doocy.
Kane calmly replies:
Funny! Unfortunately, I do not like to quote from someone's e-mail without their permission. Fortunately, in this case I don't have to. I e-mailed Doocy to confirm (after all, I could have been wrong about this) and cc'd Tim. She replied and cc'd Tim. No age information was collected for the households.This means:

1) Munro is not guilty of "fabrication." Tim owes him a correction and apology.

2) Roberts has been lying (on more than one occasion?) about this. Why?

3) It is very hard to confirm that the L2 sample is representative without age information. Was there fraud? Without age information, it is harder to tell than it should have been.
Lambert is now confused:
Since I have contradictory information from two of the Lancet authors, I've asked Les Roberts for a clarification.
Hey wait a minute, Kane corresponds with the Lancet authors, why doesn't he ask Roberts about the age data? Simple, Kane says Roberts told him to "not just to stop e-mailing him, but to stop e-mailing any of the Lancet authors." Jeez, some of these science types are downright secretive. And how silly is it for Les Roberts to post at Deltoid but not to field any of the comments leaving Lambert to do it for him. This creates the ludicrous situation where Lambert has to email Roberts to clear up questions raised in comments.

Roberts eventually responded to Lambert's email about age data:
I was wrong! ... I was mistaken when I spoke to Steven Moore, and I was mistaken when I wrote to you.
This pretty much forced Lambert to correct his post:
Correction: I was wrong. While the plan was to collect ages (hence the instructions above), during the survey this was dropped to speed things up. Les Roberts explains here. My apologies to Neil Munro.
Lambert doesn't like admitting he's wrong so he placed the correction below the fold on the oldest of the five Lancet posts where the fewest readers will see it. In another post Lambert gets stuck right into Kane for questioning age data collection and rubbishes his request that Lambert seek clarification from Roberts:
I'm not going to waste [Roberts] time just so you can call him a liar yet again. The claim that they didn't record it is a fabrication. I suspect that you are the one who fabricated it, and Munro is just your dupe.
Well, Kane was right about the missing age data but Lambert doesn't acknowledge Lancet Iraq coauthor Doocy's email until a reader prompts:
Tim, can you tell us how Doocy responded to the email you were cc'd on?
Lambert's response is rather muted:
Doocy's email was:
You are correct, age was not collected for all household residents.
That's the closest Lambert gets to correcting in this thread but he should correct here because the missing age data was discussed at length.

It should be obvious to anyone with even half a brain that Lambert's main aim is scoring political points and he couldn't care less about the truth. Funny how Lambert and Roberts have teamed up, now ain't it?


Health economist Eric Finkelstein poses a naive question:
"People make choices, and some people will choose a weight that the public health community might be unhappy about. Why should we try to make them thinner?"
Finkelstein obviously doesn't realize our calorie intake is controlled by the likes of KFC, Coca Cola and McDonalds and that only government can save us from the corporate conspiracy to make us fat.

Friday, January 11, 2008


An academic – a professor of applied language studies, no less – praises a red-necked Queenslander:
"Which reminds me, of course, Pauline Hanson and the xenophobia thing, when she was asked about it, and wasn't sure about the meaning, she said, 'Please explain', and was probably criticised by people for not knowing.

"Whereas in fact, she was showing commendable honesty to make sure she knew what it was all about."
This guy is gonna cop some shit back at the office.


Les Roberts of Lancet Iraq fame (or infamy depending on your point of view) replies via Tim Lambert's Deltoid to a Wall Street Journal editorial. This isn't surprising since Lambert is an obsessive Roberts supporter. But if it's possible to judge a person by the company he keeps, posting at Deltoid damns Roberts: just about everything Lambert has written about DDT and the fight against malaria is at least misleading with much of it being outright lies. Now Lambert's DDT nonsense has nothing to do with Lancet Iraq but is indicative of his total disregard for accuracy when reporting on important issues.

If Roberts was looking for a safe place to post, there's no safer place than Deltoid; it only took three comments before Lambert intervened to crush impure thinking:
TCO, why don't you use your awesome trolling powers for good, and post over at Climate Audit?
It's amazing how intolerant liars can be.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


A Canadian woman has won a judgement against her drug dealer for selling her a substance he knew to be dangerous and addictive, as if she didn't. She overdosed on the meth, suffering numerous complications including possibly not being able to have children. Dark cloud... silver lining.



The New South Wales government stands accused of neglecting public housing tenants following the discovery of a man whose death went unnoticed for up to a year:
Distraught neighbours yesterday lashed out at authorities for not checking on the man earlier.
There were a number of such sad discoveries in 2006 prompting the New South Wales government to promise six-monthly checks on its elderly tenants. This scheme has apparently yet to be put in place. But what difference does it make whether a dead body goes unnoticed for a year, six months or a few hours? Really, monitoring the welfare of tenants seems pointless unless it's done continuously in real time.

Oh well, I guess it's fair enough for public housing tenants to expect the authority that gives them a place to live to also keep tabs on them to make sure they're Okay. I mean, the welfare of those living nearby isn't a neighbourly concern and government is always looking for new responsibilities to assume anyway.


In making the rounds of news outlets it's damn near impossible not to notice the continuing coverage of the cricket crisis – at one point yesterday eight of the top 10 stories at one of the Fairfax sites was cricket related. The best thing I've read today comes from cricket writer Robert Craddock who succinctly sums up the situation:
These are sensitive times.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


There's been a falling out amongst anti-Zionist intellectuals on (need I say it?) the fringe-left. Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky are warmly embracing Hezbollah but Antony Loewenstein has his doubts:
... I wonder how wise it is to express any kind of true solidarity with Hezbollah ... I’m not sure of the political wisdom of prominent anti-Zionists befriending such forces.
Cozying up to Hezbollah a bad idea? Bad ideas from Chomsky and Finkelstein? What the Hell's wrong with this boy?


Dr David Lundberg a senior lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of South Australia makes a prediction in an article lambasting America's appalling political processes:
Polls indicate that the January 8 New Hampshire primary will confirm the momentum building for lawyer and Illinois Senator Barack Obama to become the 2008 Democrat presidential candidate, despite the substantial party establishment and financial support for lawyer, ex-First Lady and New York Senator Hillary Clinton.
Well, the polls got it wrong, now didn't they? But Lundberg's right about one thing, neither of the front-running Democrats has the necessary experience.


It's appropriate to preface this post by saying that I haven't paid much attention to cricket over the past few years – lack of knowledge landed me in a bit of strife in comments at Tim Blair's yesterday – but the opinions I'm about to express don't require detailed background knowledge. This post is simply meant to clarify my position.

In my opinion:
  1. A comment passed from one player to another is not newsworthy.
  2. Such comments, unheard by umpires or members of the public, do not merit scrutiny by higher authority.
  3. Harbhajan Singh should not have been suspended.
  4. The Australian side plays the best cricket in the world.
  5. The Australian team has the worst attitude of any team.
  6. Nearly every concerned party has massively overreacted.
  7. Those of the general public who have invested more than 30 seconds in this story, and that includes me, need to get a life.
Now don't bother starting on me about how racism in sports is unacceptable. I agree, but this isn't about institutional racism, it's about something allegedly said by one player to another. If Harbhajan Singh called Andrew Symonds a monkey it was a stupid thing to do; Symonds should feel pretty good about himself, secure in the knowledge that he'd never stoop so low.

If my position on this offends or disappoints you, too fucking bad.

Update: The inter-RWDB stoushing clearly refutes the lefty-promoted notion that Blair's commenters are lock-steppers, by the way.


It is not uncommon for hunters to be shot by their dogs.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Another brilliant environmental idea that isn't:
Home wind turbines are significantly underperforming and in the worst cases generating less than the electricity needed to power a single lightbulb, according to the biggest study of its kind carried out in Britain.
Those who do invest in personal wind turbines better be in it for the long haul:
... the figures indicate that it would take more than 15 years to generate enough 'clean' energy to compensate for the manufacture of the turbine in the first place.
Nuclear is looking better and better.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Writing in the LA Times, Tina Susman and Raheem Salman account for Iraq's economic stagnation:
Years of political turmoil, U.S.-imposed sanctions and war have devastated Iraq's workforce.


While they're great for some applications, compact fluorescent light globes can be an expensive pain in the arse – the last of the $10 CFL spotlights in my kitchen just failed having lasted for nowhere near the predicted 6,000 hours. I knew the life of CFLs in my kitchen, where the lights are frequently switched on and off, would be reduced but I expected them to last far longer than they did. On the other hand, a couple of CFLs that aren't often cycled on and off are still working after many years, but their brightness is somewhat diminished.

Anyway, I'm sitting here looking at the spent CFL wondering what to do with it. There is no local CFL recycling scheme so in the past I simply put them in the general recycling bin. But that can't be a good idea; general recycling contains lots of empty bottles (the bottles can be clearly heard smashing together as each bin empties into the recycling truck) that are almost certain to smash any CFLs thus liberating the small amount of mercury inside.

The hazard posed by mercury in CFLs is so great that Europe classifies fluorescents as absolute hazardous waste: there is no quantity of the waste so small that isn't considered hazardous. Steve Milloy pointed out the CFL mercury hazard and other drawbacks some months back. Even though Milloy's article is spot on lefty biologist P. Z. Myers isn't impressed (my bold):
Steve Milloy, junk science peddler and loser, has a new crusade: he is opposed to compact fluorescent light bulbs.

I guess hysteria sells better among the global warming denialists.
Apparently unable to discredit Milloy's article Myers goes for the personal attack. But really, if anyone's being hysterical, it's Myers. Here's what the EPA says about disposing of intact CFLs:
EPA recommends that consumers take advantage of available local recycling options for compact fluorescent light bulbs. EPA is working with CFL manufacturers and major U.S. retailers to expand recycling and disposal options. Consumers can contact their local municipal solid waste agency directly, or go to or to identify local recycling options. If your state permits you to put used or broken CFLs in the garbage, seal the bulb in two plastic bags and put it into the outside trash, or other protected outside location, for the next normal trash collection. CFLs should not be disposed of in an incinerator.
The EPA on dealing with broken CFLs (same link above):
1.Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.

2.Carefully scoop up the fragments and powder with stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a sealed plastic bag. Use disposable rubber gloves, if available (i.e., do not use bare hands). Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the plastic bag. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

3.Place all cleanup materials in a second sealed plastic bag. Place the first bag in a second sealed plastic bag and put it in the outdoor trash container or in another outdoor protected area for the next normal trash disposal.Note: some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a local recycling center.Wash your hands after disposing of the bag.

4.If a fluorescent bulb breaks on a rug or carpet: First, remove all materials you can without using a vacuum cleaner, following the steps above. Sticky tape (such as duct tape) can be used to pick up small pieces and powder.If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken, remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister) and put the bag or vacuum debris in two sealed plastic bags in the outdoor trash or protected outdoor location for normal disposal.
Having read the disposal instructions even Myers' faithful commenters think a CFL broken on thick carpet might require drastic clean-up measures:
I suspect the answer there might very well be "cut out the area of contaminated carpet and replace".
So, CFLs do pose a small risk, especially if broken, but with the push to replace hundreds of millions of incandescents with CFLs the general risk also increases:
Environmental scientist Dr David Spurgeon said: "Because these light bulbs contain small amounts of mercury they could cause a problem if they are disposed of in a normal waste-bin.

"It is possible that the mercury they contain could be released either into the air or from land-fill when they are released into the wider environment.

"That's a concern, because mercury is a well known toxic substance."
None of this solves my disposal problem. Should I multi-bag the CFL and put it in the general rubbish or toss it unprotected in the recycling bin where it'll probably get smashed possibly contaminating the people who manually sort the recycling (wonder if they've been warned, by the way)? I'm just guessing but I'll bet millions of used CFLs go out in the general rubbish every day. Oh well, all that mercury in rubbish dumps will just give environmentalists more to howl about in the future.
Update: In comments Jack Lacton points out something I forgot to emphasize above: just think of the millions of plastic bags required to double-bag every discarded CFL. Thanks for reminding me, Jack.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Indian ecologist Sujoy Chaudhuri poses a question:
Can you imagine what having badly sterilized monkeys running around will do to the levels of aggression?
Can't say I've given it much thought.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


While she's not into it herself, Skatje, daughter of high profile lefty biologist P Z Myers, thinks sex with animals is no big deal. Her 644 word post is ripe for the picking and a creationist opponent of daddy Myers can't resist a bit of fun at Skatje's expense by posting this quote:
Sexual relationships between humans and animals come as such a shock to people, but it doesn’t to me. There can be very deep, meaningful relationships between humans and their pets.
I’m refraining commenting on the morality of human-animal sex in this post, but human animal sex just sounds plain icky, ICKY with a capital “I”. Imagine you are the proud parent of a young lady, and then she introduces you to her prospective fiance, the “man” she wants as her husband:
Immediately following is a photo of a pig. This provoked howls of outrage from this guy and from daddy Myers himself. And Skatje's right in there feeding the controversy, yesterday posting this:
I’d rather have sex with a non-human than with a young earth creationist.
Skatje probably couldn't go wrong by shutting the Hell up.


Child psychologist and capitalism-hater Oliver James tries to boost sales (irony alert!) of his latest book:
By far the most significant consequence of "selfish capitalism" (Thatch/Blatcherism) has been a startling increase in the incidence of mental illness in both children and adults since the 1970s. As I report in my book, The Selfish Capitalist - Origins of Affluenza, World Health Organisation and nationally representative studies in the United States, Britain and Australia, reveal that it almost doubled between the early 80s and the turn of the century. These increases are very unlikely to be due to greater preparedness to acknowledge distress - the psychobabbling therapy culture was already established.

Add to this the astonishing fact that citizens of Selfish Capitalist, English-speaking nations (which tend to be one and the same) are twice as likely to suffer mental illness as those from mainland western Europe, which is largely Unselfish Capitalist in its political economy. An average 23% of Americans, Britons, Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians suffered in the last 12 months, but only 11.5% of Germans, Italians, French, Belgians, Spaniards and Dutch. The message could not be clearer. Selfish Capitalism, much more than genes, is extremely bad for your mental health.
James is operating from a false premise: according to a peer reviewed study by Wittcehn and Jacobi, 27% of Europeans were affected by a mental disorder in the preceding 12 months. The authors also noting, "little evidence seems to exist for considerable cultural or country variation." Well, that shoots James's selfish-capitalism-drives-you-nuts notion right in the arse, now don't it?

Update: A 2005 European Commission Green Paper on Mental Illness states:
More than 27% of adult Europeans are estimated to experience at least one form of mental ill health during any one year.
So, Europe and the English speaking world have virtually identical mental illness rates.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Best-selling author Antony Loewenstein gives some uncharacteristically frank interview responses:

Your book My Israel Question condemns the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the power wielded by the international pro-Jewish lobby. What motivated you to write this book and what has been the response from the Jewish community?

Well, I've always wanted to be a journalist and author but can't write for shit so I decided to create attention-generating controversy by becoming an outspokenly anti-Israel Jew. The ploy worked a treat but didn't really help book sales much. The response from the Jewish community was both warranted and accurate.

You have received many death threats. Do you take these threats against your life seriously?

Nah, I made up the whole death threats thing.

What is Israel’s geo-political significance to the US?

The US wants continued access to Israel's petroleum reserves. It's as simple as that.

Tell us a little about your latest project.

I was writing a book about the Australian media being controlled by Jews but my publisher wimped out: it would cost more to rewrite the book than it would ever make in sales. I had to come up with a new idea to pitch to a new publisher. The publisher jumped at the chance to produce a book about internet censorship by repressive regimes – that I offered to cover printing and distribution costs probably helped, just a little.
Okay, maybe there are a few transcription errors in there. You can check out the original here.


Where have I been? It all started off with an infection that spread from a tooth into my jaw where the nasty little critters were determined to establish a permanent home. Next my 10 year-old Ridgeback got sick and died. I was distracted, not 100% healthy and got behind in my work and had to put in extra hours to meet pre-Christmas deadlines. Then just to round things out nicely I got involved in, well, a dispute with a person of some prominence who said some rather unkind things about me – fair enough if true but they aren't so it isn't. (Don't bother asking; the matter isn't resolved so I can say no more.)

Anyway, poor little me wasn't feeling the best, was upset about losing a loyal companion, had too much work to do and was really pissed off so I decided rather than possibly blog something I might regret I'd give blogging a miss for the rest of the year. It was a spur of the moment thing. My apologies for not explaining sooner.