Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tsunami music

The Ventures perform Wipeout live:


Parliament is no place for babies

West Australian Labor politician Rita Saffioti and her supporters argue that she should be allowed to take her new-born baby with her onto the floor of Parliament because it is, after all, 2010 and not the dark ages:

Ms Saffioti says she can keep tabs on parliamentary debate by watching it on TV in her office while she nurses Grace.

But she wants to be able to take Grace into parliament when a vote is taken on various pieces of legislation.

At most, her baby would be in the Assembly for only a few minutes, she said.

Ms Saffioti said she would not breastfeed her baby in the Assembly, but would feed her with breast milk in a bottle.

She believed a woman had the right to breastfeed her baby in parliament if she wanted to.

There are dissenters, however:

But National Party MP Vince Catania argued that the Assembly was no place for a baby.

"Imagine have a screaming baby in the chamber when you are trying to debate vital legislation."

Taking a baby into Parliament might by Okay as a one off in exceptional circumstances but certainly shouldn't be the norm. If it's alright for a mother to take her child into Parliament then it's also appropriate for fathers to do so. And where would the line be drawn? Should beloved but senile aunt Agnes be allowed into Parliament where she couldn't wander off into the bush to die of exposure? And what about a critically ill close relative who could fall off the perch at any moment? Should a bed, ventilator and a medical team be allowed? Continue the debate, ignoring the continuous flat-line beep and zapping of the defibrillator.

Nope, Ms Saffioti chose to have a baby and should now work out for herself how she's going to look after it – it is not up to her employer to accommodate her. She will perhaps need to divert some of her Parliamentary salary to child minding.

New reality show 'I Wanna Be a Rockette': Pakistan and India auditions

To the delight of the crowd and an enthusiastic cheer-squad, Indians and Pakistanis – females not allowed – give it their all hoping to someday strut their stuff as Rockettes. You go boys!


Pacific tsunami alert

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Israeli 'Viagra' stimulates Australians

Nothing warms antipodean loins quite like a sneaky assassination in which Mossad is said to be involved:

The Australian public is getting a good, long hard at Israeli behaviour

That headline is from Australia's best-selling language-mangler Antony Loewenstein, of course.

Update: The story's title has been stealthily edited to read The Australian public is getting a good, long hard look at Israeli behaviour.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Saddam Hussein as Darth Vader

Fringe leftist recommends computer programmer as climate expert

According to failed politician and dedicated fringe leftist Clive Hamilton, computer programmer Tim Lambert is an accurate source of information on matters scientific. This will be news to the well-informed, who rightly regard Lambert as a purveyor of half-truths and outright lies – never accept anything Lambert writes is correct unless you've verified it at a reputable source.

Shock treatment for bed wetter

A carer at a Swedish "sheltered housing" facility, tired of a disabled man's incontinence problem, dressed up as the grim reaper and demanded that the man regain control of his bladder or have his penis cut off. No report on the success of this threat but the idiot making it is apparently looking for a new job: something requiring excellent people skills, no doubt.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pseudonym doesn't protect defamer

Back in 2007 I noted some highly questionable commenting shenanigans at HotCopper, "Australia's most popular stock-market internet discussion site".

A HotCopper commenter has now been found guilty of defamation:

Legal counsel Martin Bennett has a short message for those who allow themselves to attack reputations over the internet, imagining they are safe under the cloak of anonymity. ''You can be hunted down and found,'' he said yesterday.

Mr Bennett has done just that for a Perth client, winning $30,000 in damages and costs, an apology, and undertakings from a Colac man that he won't post any more defamatory comments.



That all important last impression

Those concerned with the impression they make in their last few moments prior to interment can now choose from a range of designer coffins:

In an Australian first, West Australians can personalise their coffins with a range of designs being rolled out across major funeral providers.
The idea was the brainchild of Andrew Hogan, General Manager of Western Australian funeral division of InvoCare.
The current range has 26 styles, and features designs for surfing, fishing, horse racing, golf and cricket enthusiasts.
Families can also create one-of-a-kind coffins for their loved ones, with personal designs.

Or they could opt to be put in a cardboard box and incinerated. Works for me.

Here's a pile of money, come and get it

Anyone insulating his home would do some research aiming to get the highest quality product at the best possible price. That isn't how the government operates, however. It takes money collected through taxes, dumps it in the street and shouts out "come and get it and, oh, by the way, install what you deem to be insulation, in the homes of hapless tax payers, equal in value to the money you scooped up from the pile". This, of course, attracts every huckster, conman and fraudster within cooee, all of whom become overnight insulation installation experts.

And now that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of these insulation installations have been botched, with numerous house fires and four installers killed, the government belatedly cancels the program and offer millions of dollars in compensation to the installers, both shonky and reputable, who are now unable to to find work pending the inevitable reintroduction of a new version of the government subsidised insulation scheme.

The Prime Minister has now accepted responsibility for this debacle, this in order to take the pressure off the cognizant minister, Peter Garrett, who wouldn't have a clue. Voters will hopefully remember, at the next election, that the current Labor government has shown exceptionally poor judgement in throwing cash around quite irresponsibly.


Dying woman denied second liver transplant

Claire Murray, a 24 year-old mother of two, received a new liver last year and now needs another but has been excluded from the liver transplant waiting list. Claire is, you see, a chronic drug abuser, doctors attributing the failure of her transplanted liver to continuing drug use. Her family says Claire isn't to blame:

Her father, Michael Murray, believes his daughter's drug addiction began after she was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and prescribed dexamphetamine at the age of 12.

Mr Murray has rejected claims by doctors that her drug addiction was responsible for the failure of her first donor organ

The Western Australian Health Minister Dr Kim Hames is standing firm:

This is a complex and emotional case and the decision not to put Ms Murray back on the waiting list for a liver transplant was made by a team of experts in the field.

As with so many drug abusers, it looks like Claire Murray's lifestyle choices will kill her, despite the medical system giving her a second chance – most people get only one shot at life, there's no reason why Claire should get three.


Monday, February 22, 2010

The knife: weapon of choice

Handguns are bulky, hard to conceal, costly and difficult to obtain. Knives, on the other hand, are light, readily available and easily concealed.

Perhaps more importantly, a knife is a man's weapon – any girl can stand back and blast away with a gun but a knife is an up close and personal weapon used by only the most macho, or so wielders delude themselves.

Regardless, the knife is now the weapon of choice:

Some researchers believe teenagers and young men carry knives for defence, while others believe they carry them because they think it is cool.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieren Walsh says unlike guns, knives are easy to obtain.

"One of the things that we have detected is that some of these weapons are normal household domestic kitchen knives or steak knives, which are very easy to grab from the kitchen as you are leaving the house," he said.

"We see quite a variety of injuries - on the weekend specifically we saw some stabbings to the abdomen, the chest and also to limbs.

And of course, many young people acquire the knife-carrying habit at school, where bullying is rife:

The school principal speaking out is Tony Simpson from Melbourne Copperfield College.

Speaking to The Age newspaper on Saturday, he confirmed the entrenched culture of denial by schools about what is happening.

He says principals fear losing enrolments and damaging the image of their school, but says for him it is too late in his career to worry about that.

Mr Simpson says all the theories about knives in schools are true, but that social disconnection is the main reason why teenagers bring knives to school.

Educators in denial: amazing!

Tasmanian GP links mystery toxin to cancer epidemic

Tasmanian general practitioner Alison Bleaney says drinking water taken from the George River is sickening and killing locals:

Dr Bleaney says there is an unusually high rate of cancer in the region. She started to look at the local river when oysters at St Helens died during a flood in 2004.

"I realise I see many things now ... that many GPs would never see one of these cases in their working lifetime," she said.

"Clearly in a population of less than 3,000, to have these rare diseases, to have this chronic ill health, there must be something on the go to explain this."

Dr Bleaney provides not a scrap of evidence to back up her gut feelings, however, and an outside analysis of her records found nothing unusual:

Tasmanian director of public health Dr Roscoe Taylor said that Dr Bleaney's results had never been substantiated.

"Our investigation included an audit of patient charts in her general practice, which did not suggest any abnormal clustering of particular disease types," Dr Taylor said.

"We have also monitored cancer rates for the area, and there has been nothing to suggest anything out of the ordinary or adverse trends, including in the more recent reports from the Tasmanian Cancer Registry."

Marine ecologist Marcus Scammell reckons eucalyptus plantations are the source of this unspecified natural toxin:

Dr Scammell says the tests show the river contained toxins from a type of plantation eucalyptus tree that has been introduced to the state, Eucalyptus nitens.

He says six separate laboratories in Australia and the United States have found the water in the George River is toxic.

"When we took the leaves and extracted their contents and checked them for toxicity, they were indeed very toxic," he said.

Toxic eucalyptus leaves and toxic drinking water are two entirely different things, of course – the eucalyptus oils are notoriously toxic.

This is a fear based campaign designed to link plantation timber to adverse health effects – Oh My God, cancer! – in order to discourage the growth of plantation eucalypts that would provide feed stock for operations such as the controversial Gunn's pulp mill.

Once the cancer bogeyman is claimed, it's almost impossible to refute, with no amount of scientific analysis calming public disquiet.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Japanese whalers beyond Australian law

On a recent refueling stop in Fremantle, Western Australia, Paul Bethune, skipper of the now sunk Ady Gil, was photographed in pensive pose next to a painted-on-the-hull-list of fighter plane style victories naming "rammed" Japanese vessels This list clearly lays claim to, even boasts of, violent intent. Yet Sea Shepherd now ironically claims Bethune intended no malice in stealthily boarding a Japanese ship on the high seas:

He went on there with no intent to cause any damage or harm ...

No matter his intent, Japanese whalers are still detaining Bethune and seem determined to transport him back to Japan for prosecution.

More irony from Sea Shepherd supporters, who demand that Kevin Rudd stop the whalers:

For the past two years, by its lack of action the Rudd government has effectively given Japan the green light to ram and sink ships and kill endangered species.

Kevin Rudd has made another promise, another deadline, yet on September 18 of 2007 there was a previous promise made and the statement clearly said: `I wish to make a powerful and clear message to the Australian public that Labor believes in enforcing Australian law, this is the right and obvious thing to do."

Unfortunately, Japan's whaling fleet operates in areas not subject to Australian law. Rudd would keep his promise if he could.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Environmental initiatives deliver death, destruction and disease

The Rudd government's incentive scheme for shonky insulation installers eager to dip into the pot of cash at the end of the subsidised home insulation rainbow has resulted in the deaths of four installers and quite a few ceiling fires. But such teething pains are to be expected when there's a huge pot to be dipped into and quite a few dippers who give higher priority to speed of cash acquisition over the quality of their work.

Now that the public outcry has grown too great to ignore – estimates are that 160,000 homes have inferior installations – Peter Garrett has suspended the scheme thus penalising reputable insulation installers as well as the fly-by-nighters. Garrett, however, refuses to reveal exactly when he received a risk assessment advising of the fire danger and the possibility of fraud.

But the insulation debacle could prove insignificant when compared to the disaster potential inherent in government subsidised water tanks, a scheme strongly supported by Garrett:

Mr Garrett said the National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative will have a major part to play in improving water efficiency and adapting to climate change.

“I encourage Kingsford Smith householders who don’t yet have a rainwater tank or greywater system to consider this rebate and help conserve our precious water resources.” Mr Garrett said.

Rainwater storage tanks are, of course, the ideal incubators for disease-carrying mosquitoes, which explains why they were years ago banned by many local governments. It's feared that now that the tanks are back in vogue, the mosquitoes and the diseases they carry will also return:

There is growing concern rainwater tanks are fuelling a mosquito problem, potentially helping to spread the mosquito-borne dengue virus around Australia.

Like solar and insulation, you could see a water tank as a worthy way of reducing the impact on the environment, and different levels of government in various states have offered various rebates for rainwater tanks.

Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research have finished a survey of three Brisbane suburbs, to see if there is a looming mosquito problem.

It found that one in two houses had a rainwater tank and 3 per cent had mosquitoes breeding in them.

It is estimated there might be 150,000 rainwater tanks in Brisbane now, which suggests a few thousand tanks breeding mosquitoes.

And with the Asian tiger mosquito getting a foothold on the mainland it looks like not only dengue fever but also chikungunya could end up being spread far and wide as the mosquitoes hopscotch from rainwater tank to rainwater tank.

The road to Hell...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lives not worth saving

A paddling pooch has been rescued:

The male bull terrier cross was plucked from rough seas on Saturday afternoon by two men who were on a day trip to High Island, about 6km off the coast of Fishery Falls, south of Cairns, north Queensland.

The poor dog was in a sad state:

The animal was in poor condition when found, with cuts along his face, lice through his coat, one testicle and a crooked tail.

The dog's rescuers are being praised, contrary to the current trend:

A fireman who saved a pet dog from a frozen pond is now facing disciplinary action for allegedly breaching healthy and safety rules.

Better to stand by and let the stranded drown.

Indian living in Australia says Australians not racists

Today at work an Indian colleague and I had a long conversation about living in Australia – she has lived and worked here for years, prior to that living and working in Singapore and Brunei. She reckons that the whole "racist Australians" thing is grossly overstated and is very pleased to live here, where she is currently working on a PhD.

She made the point that Australia offers many opportunities simply unavailable to the average Indian. She also observed that most Indians studying in Australia are from quite wealthy families and are very much inclined to flaunt their wealth, thus inadvertently making themselves attractive criminal targets.

In short, she doesn't buy the argument that Australians are racists who are targeting Indians simply because they have dark skin.

Australia likely to default on debts?

Barnaby Joyce, the opposition's finance spokesman, a few weeks back speculated that Australia is in danger of defaulting on its government debt. Joyce was slammed for irresponsible comments that could unsettle world financial markets. Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens today entered the fray with a comment that is schizo at best:

There are few things less likely than Australia defaulting on its sovereign debt - we never have, there's never been a default by this country, I don't think there's ever been a default by any of the states.

So according to Stevens an Australian default is a near certainty but is highly unlikely. That should calm the markets.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Islamofascist PR campaign fails

Both the Taliban and al Qaeda aim to kill foreign forces in order to not only deal a blow to the enemy but also in hope of undermining support for the various Western military missions. This strategy has backfired in a big way:

Support for the military operation in Afghanistan has increased strongly since the death of two Swedish officers and a local interpreter on February 7th, according to a new poll by Synovate, published by Sveriges Television (SVT) on Tuesday.

According to the poll, 48 percent are now in favour of Sweden's participation in the UN operation in Afghanistan, with those against dropping to 26 percent.

When SVT Rapport/Synovate conducted a similar survey at the end of October, 34 percent of Swedes were in favour of the troops deployment, while 37 percent were against.

Even the Left has realised that killing Islamofascists is the only way to go.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sarah Palin discovers the hazards of being a public figure

Sarah Palin is none too happy with the creative talents responsible for the Family Guy:

Former US vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has attacked the portrayal of a character with Down syndrome on the Fox animated comedy Family Guy.

In a Facebook posting headlined "Fox Hollywood - What a Disappointment," the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and current Fox News contributor said the episode, which aired in the US on Sunday night, felt like "another kick in the gut".

Palin's youngest son, Trig, has Down syndrome.

The episode features the character Chris falling for a girl with Down syndrome. On a date, he asks what her parents do.

She replies: "My dad's an accountant, and my mom is the former governor of Alaska."

Such pot shots are inevitable given the improbable nature of Palin's success. Toughen up woman, or get out of politics.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Study in Australia: Curtin among the best

As previously noted, Perth is not only a fanastic place to live, it offers fabulous tertiary study opportunities. Edith Cowan University, the University of Western Australia and Notre Dame are all highly regarded but not having attended them I can't make meaningful comment on what they're like. But I have studied at Murdoch University and Curtin University of Technology and was very pleased with both.

Murdoch gets a plug as one of Australia's ten best international universities, but Curtin doesn't get a mention; as a public service I'm correcting this oversight.

With roughly 12,000 international undergraduate students and 3,000 international postgraduates out of a total population of close to 40,000, Curtin is obviously successful at attracting both domestic and foreign students. Part of Curtin's appeal is its convenient location and excellent transport links but the university also offers a huge range of courses and unparalleled security for students and staff.

Now whereas it was quite a few years ago that I attended Curtin, even back in the days before universities had to compete for students, Curtin staff  were always friendly and accommodating and, most importantly, teaching staff were always friendly, accessible and helpful, taking a genuine interest in their students. And any university that can tolerate a reactionary like me must be pretty accommodating. I therefore unhesitatingly recommend Curtin for anyone contemplating tertiary study. And don't be put off by Curtin's designation as a "university of technology"; it also  offers degree programs in non-technical fields such as education.

It is now easier than ever to attend Curtin, the university expanding into regional Western Australia and establishing campuses in Sydney, Sarawak and Singapore. Curtin has also been innovating, establishing industrial and tertiary links around the globe.

So if you're considering studying in Australia there are a number Western Australian universities to choose from with Curtin well worth further investigation. Study in Perth while enjoying a lifestyle most people can only dream of.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Warning to parents: Teenagers should be in bed by 9pm

Late night sport has landed a Perth teenager in trouble:

Police have charged a 15-year-old Thornlie youth with throwing bottles from a highway overpass.

Police on patrol at 1.55am this morning saw a young male throwing bottles from the overpass at the intersection of Roe Hwy and Spencer Rd.

The vast majority of teenagers, needing their sleep, cannot function in the middle of the night and should have, by this time of the morning, been tightly tucked into their snug little beds, as argued by tennis sensation Bernard Tomic:

Teenage prodigy Bernard Tomic has taken aim at Australian Open organisers after battling into the early hours of Thursday morning, where he lost gallantly in five sets.

The 17-year-old wildcard silenced a string of critics and bookmakers when he took Croatian Marin Cilic, the 14th seed, to the edge but ultimately lost 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.

A match that lasted almost four hours ended after 2:10am (AEDT) after starting about 10:20pm the previous night.

Tomic complained of feeling tired after the match and blamed tournament officials for poor scheduling.

A paediatric sleep expert agrees:

Medically speaking, and when you look at sleep physiology, he's absolutely right, because a 17-year-old playing at two o'clock in the morning is a whole lot more tired than even a 19-year-old or an older person," he said.

Now that's because teenagers are more affected by sleep loss, so if you say everyone playing tennis at two o'clock in the morning at that level will be more tired than at nine o'clock in the morning, that's true, but he would be more tired in general as a 17-year-old, and he would be a whole lot more tired.

When you think about the science of it, he's actually correct, and at that level of tennis and elite sport a little bit of compromise between one player and the opponent can mean a big difference in the outcome.

So we'll likely hear that this sleep-deprived bottle-thrower had no idea what he was doing and that parents/guardians/care-givers are to blame for not putting the little fellow to bed at an appropriate hour. On the other hand it's likely the adults nominally in charge of this teenager were either drunk or drugged and might not even be aware they have a child they should be taking care of. Life was much simpler when personal responsibility applied to personal actions.

Update: Sleep deprived kiddies were in action in New South Wales overnight:

Fifteen people were arrested after rocks were allegedly thrown at police and a patrol car set alight at a party being held in an industrial complex at Yamba.

Thirteen of those have been so far been charged over the incident.

Police had gone to the party in response to a noise complaint from nearby residents around 11:00pm (AEDT) on Saturday

Eight of the 13 arrested and charged at 2:30am are juveniles. These unfortunate kiddies should have been at home in bed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thinking of studying in Australia? Try Perth

Perth has slipped slightly on The Economist's latest survey but still ranks as one of the top ten most livable cities in the world. This is no surprise. Sure, house prices are too high but Perth is still a great place to live.

It seldom gets oppressively hot and never gets freeze-to-death cold – I made it through last winter without once using heat and haven't hit the air-conditioner's on button yet this summer.

There's plenty of paid work, with lots of money to be made, especially if you're single and don't mind working a FIFO job (fly-in, fly-out) in the middle of nowhere. If you have a trade qualification that's in demand you're pretty much guaranteed getting paid lots more than you're worth.

The beaches are fantastic, with numerous surfing, wind-surfing and kite-surfing sites close at hand. And if you're not into water sports in a big way you can go to one of the local beaches, lounge in the sun and watch some of the world's most beautiful men and women model skimpy swimwear. Don't forget the sunscreen.

The nightclub scene in Northbridge is probably best avoided but for those into nightlife there are lots of other places to drink and party. And when you get hungry there are literally thousands of restaurants offering just about every kind of food you can think of, from burgers to Mexican to Burmese.

And if you are here to study, and can find the time, there are some world-class tertiary institutions: Murdoch University, Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Notre Dame University and the University of Western Australia, offering degree programs in everything from medicine to veterinary science to law to nursing to primary teaching.

Perth is the world's most isolated capital city but offers everything you'd expect to find in New York or Paris only a smaller scale. Avoid the isolated trouble spots and trouble makers and you'll find it a near perfect place to live. Best of all, it's neither Melbourne nor Adelaide.

Friday, February 12, 2010


A Northern Territory man has been acquitted of rape charges, successfully claiming he had sex with a woman while he was asleep and has no memory of the event. He had, of course, been drinking at the time of the unwanted penetration.

Next a Northern Territorian will claim to have been asleep and have no recollection of breaking into a neighbour's house, carting off the plasma TV, raping the wife, murdering the husband and burning down the house. Don't blame the perpetrator; he has a sleep disorder. Note to self: if ever arrested in the Northern Territory, claim to have been asleep at the time you are alleged to have broken the law, informing the police you had been drinking.

Juries elsewhere in Australia are unlikely to buy this, however. The synergistic effects of heat and alcohol are involved, making Northern Territory juries keen to acquit, go home, sit in an air-conditioned room, drink beer, watch TV, doze off and engage in sex they can't remember. Hmm, sort of reminds me of my university days.

How to be a best-selling author

Want to write reviews of books no one is ever going to read and be interviewed on obscure radio programs by far-left hosts seeking your ill-informed viewpoints? First, master sentence construction:

There are times when the Western state is exposed as outright liars.

Wyoming are a liars.

Recalled Toyota plows into dealership

Disgruntled Toyota owner Mikel Valviva does not want his recalled pick-up fixed, he wants a refund. The selling dealer refuses to oblige, of course. In an amazing coincidence, Valviva's Toyota, which had experienced no prior mechanical problems, suddenly accelerates as he departs the dealership, striking the building.

Valviva blames the now seriously damaged car's faulty accelerator pedal. Toyota is going to be a lawyers' banquet.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Palestinians frozen

No global warming for Gaza, where electricity outages somehow make it colder:

While residents in Gaza face increasingly regular power cuts, worsening the already cold conditions...

With Thursday's temperature ranging from 10º to 29º C, it's hardly frostbite weather. This is, of course, the inimitable boo-hoo-hooing of Antony Loewenstein.



Veiled surprise

An unnamed Arab diplomat, the face of his bride veiled throughout their courtship, has received a wedding surprise:

It was only when he lifted the veil on the wedding day to kiss the bride that he discovered she was cross-eyed and had facial hair.

A Dubai court annuled the marriage but refused to award the groom compensation.



Sydney surfer survives 'white pointer' attack

Michael Brown, operator of a helicopter-borne shark spotting service and a self-proclaimed shark identification expert, today observed a shark attack on fellow swimmer Paul Welsh only meters away:

Mr Brown, who has been pushing for greater protections against sharks, said the animal that bit Mr Welsh appeared to be a two-metre great white, by the look of its tail.

"[He] just had a big bite mark in his leg and blood just streaming out of it," he told the ABC.

"I'm quite shaken and I spend my life researching, following and working with sharks, but to be that close to an actual attack and to be faced with the fact that it could've been my child, it's definitely had a life-changing impact. There's no two ways about that."

The victim was released from hospital around midday after doctors found a tooth fragment in his leg.

With bitee Welsh selling his story before even reaching hospital there was obviously money to be made here. The only thing is the "white pointer' was actually a lowly wobbegong; Brown's sensational misidentification pretty much destroying has credibility as a shark expert – wobbegongs can indeed inflict a nasty bite but look nothing like a white pointer and are unlikely to remove appendages much less kill anyone. Thus a hey-look-at-me moment has backfired.



Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Nintendo pirate to pay huge damages

New Super Mario Bros, a $100 Nintendo game, has cost a game pirate dearly:

A Queensland man will have to pay Nintendo $1.5 million in damages after illegally copying and uploading one of its new games to the internet ahead of its release, the gaming giant says.

James Burt, 24, of Sinnamon Park in Queensland will pay Nintendo $1.5 million after an out-of-court settlement was struck to compensate the company for the loss of sales revenue.

Nintendo says the loss occurred when Mr Burt made New Super Mario Bros for the Wii gaming console available for illegal download a week ahead of its official Australian release in November last year.

Better to buy the game from a retail outlet than take a chance on getting sprung for stealing.

Ford flexes its American muscle

The Shelby GT 500 Mustang, already a testosterone-drenched, kick-ass car, looks to be even better in 2011, with a more powerful yet lighter engine. There is no substitute for cubic inches.

How to survive a fall from 35,000 feet

Probably everyone who has ever flown has at one time or another in his mind pictured himself falling to his death. Don't be so negative; should your aircraft disintegrate at 35,000 feet, you might, if you keep your wits about you, survive. The most important thing to bear in mind?

No matter the surface, definitely don’t land on your head.

People have indeed survived falls from great heights so you might as well think positive and read the Popular Mechanics article so you'll know what to do just in case you someday find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

Monday, February 08, 2010

More than petrol pumped

Rather than conduct their love making in privacy a Darwin man and his partner were overcome by passion on a petrol station's forecourt:

The Darwin Magistrates Court has heard that 29-year-old Lionel Mark William Spratt was seen sitting with a woman in a ute parked at a bowser, near the front door of an Adelaide River petrol station last September.

The court heard the woman got out of the driver's seat and sat on his lap and he started to "passionately kiss her".

The court heard the woman was making "loud moaning noises" and moving her body in a way that indicated the pair were having sex.

Jeez, since when is it illegal for a woman to check out a man's dipstick?

Young woman bullied to death

Brodie Panlock, 19, was relentlessly bullied by co-workers, eventually committing suicide by jumping to her death. Her tormentors, with obvious vulnerabilities of their own, targeted the young woman because she lacked self-confidence:

Prosecutor Gary Livermore told a pre-sentence hearing that witnesses had seen several of the accused pour fish oil into Ms Panlock's kitbag and then pour it over her, reducing her to tears.

They had also called her fat and ugly and spat on her.

Magistrate Peter Lauritsen was told that Ms Panlock had tried to commit suicide in May 2006 by taking rat poison after being rejected by Smallwood, with whom she'd had an intimate relationship.

Mr Livermore said that after that incident rat poison was put in her bag, and MacAlpine had told her to go and take it.

At a coroner's hearing in 2008, Meghan Chester, a former barista at Cafe Vamp, said Ms Panlock had no confidence in her beauty or worth.

"I have worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years, but I have never seen anything like what those ... males did to Brodie," Ms Chester said.

In the statement read to the court, Ms Chester said that the accused had taken bullying "to another level".

Now it would be easy to suggest that Ms Panlock should have simply thrown in the job and moved on but this ignores that people can easily become trapped by circumstances. This unfortunate woman obviously came to believe that there was something seriously wrong with her when, in fact, it was her tormentors who have serious psychological problems.

Work is a an important means of evaluating self-worth. It is all too easy for anyone bullied in the workplace to assume that that they are in some way deficient rather than evaluate the deficiencies of the thugs doing the bullying. It is indeed unfortunate that the thugs who pushed Ms Panlock to the edge and then took delight in pushing her beyond her breaking point will serve no jail time. Then again, these sadistic ass-holes will hopefully be tormented by their bullying for as long as they live.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Female mutilation all too common

With Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital yearly treating between 600 – 700 females with mutilated genitalia, so called female circumcision is a problem even in Australia. Experts suggest that rather than jail those responsible, a more measured approach is required:

If we try and dictate and pontificate about this and not provide culturally appropriate care, we'll further disenfranchise those women.

Any progress will be incremental. I don't think that it's something that will stop overnight.

But I think all we can do is advocate against it, speak out, try to educate women, try to empower women, certainly in this country, and we should do our best for international organisations that are also espousing the same message.

It is unclear exactly why those of any particular group, religious or otherwise, should be exempt from prosecution for a sadistic crime. So go ahead, slice away; we disapprove but aren't going to to say anything out of fear of offending you.

By the way, the article mentions neither Islam nor Muslims yet the story's tags are "religion-and-beliefs, islam, women, australia".




Europeans accuse Australians of kangaroo cruelty

European do-gooders, concerned at the "cruelty" of kangaroo culling, are creating a ruckus in hope that the importation of all kangaroo products will be banned. Of particular concern is kangaroo shooters' favourite amusement, joey stomping:

When adult animals are killed, leaving defenceless young to fend for themselves, they are brutally killed with a boot to the head or a lead pipe brought down on them; how can this be humane?

Surely a quickly flattened skull in the wild would be a better death than being herded into a factory where the throat is slit as is halal and kosher practice. On the other hand, perhaps it's assumed that Australians are inherently cruel and actually relish head-stomping defenseless baby animals.

Regardless, kangaroo shooting (the sole means of harvest) is tightly regulated and has been closely scrutinised by the RSPCA, with the vast majority of the animals found to have been dispatched with a single shot to the head. Some have their doubts, however:

Every kill must be a head shot and when animals are skinned in the bush, no one checks. Killed animals are delivered to processing plants headless, so how can these kills be confirmed as correct?

Well you see, if the roo wasn't shot in the head, it was shot in the body, with entry and exit wounds clearly visible. Duh.

Celebrities are, of course, jumping on the do-gooder bandwagon:

Dame Judi Dench said: ''As a lover of animals and their welfare I am pleased to add my name to the many others across the world who are supporting this very worthwhile campaign. Cruelty to any animal is barbarism and killing a joey after killing the mother is totally unacceptable.''

It is widely accepted that there is no shortage of kangaroos in Australia, modern farming providing both food and water that would otherwise be unavailable, thus contributing to the growth of kangroo populations. Harvesting is conducted only on marginally productive land, however, the aim being to keep numbers down so that the land is not overgrazed, which would lead to large numbers of roos dying of starvation. Even if not perfectly humane in every case, roo shooting is still more humane than nature's population control measures, which more often than not result in a slow and painful death.

Europeans would do well to shift their attention to Norwegian whaling which involves super-intelligent animals being shot in the head with exploding harpoons; not all of these animals die quickly and painlessly, of course. Hypocrites.

Pirates thwarted

A merchant vessel in the process of being seized by pirates in the Gulf of Aden has been liberated in a joint operation involving Indian, Danish, French and Russian naval forces. The merchant crew was unharmed, the pirates apparently scampering when confronted with military force.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Shortcut to paradise? No thanks

A 13 year-old Pakistani girl recounts horrific tales of psychological abuse and beatings inflicted by those seeking to pressure her into strapping on a bomb to indiscriminately kill in the name of Allah:

My brother used to prepare bombs and my sister-in-law did too. He told me that he would teach me this. I told him no. I would not even look at what they were doing.

My father and brother told me to carry out a suicide attack. They were pressuring me to do this.

They told me: "If you do it you will go to paradise long before us." I replied: "Why don't you tell me I will go to hell long before you?"

Every day they used to tell me this. Every day. I was very young when they started telling me this. I said to them: "What about all the people I will kill? They are all Muslims."

They started beating me when I refused. They beat me non-stop. They made my life hell. I never had a single moment of happiness. They did everything other than kill me.

This young girl was fortunate to escape with her life and amazingly remains hopeful for the future:

The Taliban slaughter other people's children. They turn women into widows. They should be made to suffer too.

I want these Taliban to be burned alive.

If there is justice in this world young Meena's wish will be realised. Allah willing.




North Korea: Land of the brainwashed dwarf racist

Deprived of adequate food, inundated with propaganda and prohibited from interacting with the outside world, North Koreans have been forcibly transformed into something less than human:

Starving and stunted dwarves, living in the dark, kept in perpetual ignorance and fear, brainwashed into the hatred of others, regimented and coerced and inculcated with a death cult: This horror show is in our future, and is so ghastly that our own darling leaders dare not face it and can only peep through their fingers at what is coming.

It doesn't really matter if this culture of fear and hatred is of the left or right; but does clearly illustrate the dangers inherent in any government becoming too powerful.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Hitler's testicle(s)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Peer review reviewed; found wanting

Prestigious British medical journal The Lancet could stall no longer, finally withdrawing an "'utterly false' MMR [measles, mumps and rubella vaccine] paper":

The Lancet today finally retracted the paper that sparked a crisis in MMR vaccination across the UK, following the General Medical Council's decision that its lead author, Andrew Wakefield, had been dishonest.

The medical journal's editor, Richard Horton, told the Guardian today that he realised as soon as he read the GMC findings that the paper, published in February 1998, had to be retracted. "It was utterly clear, without any ambiguity at all, that the statements in the paper were utterly false," he said. "I feel I was deceived."

Horton belatedly acknowledging that the peer review process, which vetted and approved the MMR study, is flawed:

The Lancet had done what it could to establish that the research was valid, by having it peer-reviewed. But there is a limit, he said, to what peer-review can ascertain.

Peer review is the best system we have got for checking accuracy and acceptability of work, but unless we went into the lab or examined every case record, we can't ever finally rule out some element of misconduct. The entire system depends upon trust. Most of the time we think it works well, but there will be a few instances – and when they happen they are huge instances – where the whole thing falls apart.

This is complete bulls**t, of course, Horton almost ten years ago acknowledging the peer review problem:

Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.

Yep, that pretty much describes the current state of "science".

Via Tim Blair



Monday, February 01, 2010

Crime problem solved

Crime would be reduced if only ne'er-do-wells burned off some of that excess energy through exercise:

Western Australia's Chief Justice Wayne Martin has urged people to exercise regularly and stay fit, claiming a healthy lifestyle could reduce crime.

The 57-year-old judge, who runs or walks for an hour most mornings, said yesterday if people started running, they would be less likely to get into mischief.

As if those who take drugs, drink huge quantities of alcohol, carouse at all hours and are incapable of managing their personal finances are going to be at all concerned with their fitness. And if the crims did follow Martin's advice we'd simply end up with fitter, more capable criminals; lots of those who prey on others are very much into a lifestyle based on preying on the weak.