Sunday, December 30, 2007

Marine Masochists - Why?

I just do not get people like these.

I have nothing against adventure, but what is it that motivates people to do nutty things like row from New Zealand to Australia. Only 31 days and 2,000 kilometres.

"Pain you can manage," Mr Gates said.

"Our medical kit was designed to get you through.

"The fact that everyone is still walking today is testimony to some of the drugs in that medical kit, but it's the mental toughness when you're stuck in that rear cabin."

Eleven metre seas and massive storms forced the crew of two men and two women to shelter in the 3m x 1.8m cabin early in the journey.

"When you're stuck in there for four days with three people, you've got condensation running down the walls, everything's wet, you're wet, nothing's dry and there's no room, so if one person moves they kick the other person in the head - that's pretty tough," Mr Gates said.

As well as the storms, Mr Gates said the four rowers encountered sharks, whales, pods of dolphins and narrowly avoided a collision with a ship.

As we speak another couple of people are kayaking the other way.

Hello. This is the season of crass consumerism. How is this kind of behaviour propping up the Antipodean Economy.

Based on my own experience of kayaking, that would be a pretty boring trip. I think that I will stick with tedious reruns and unpacking boxes.

Photo Hunt: Messy

Hannah and her friend love to make dinner with everything in the garden. Sand, leaves, flowers...anything. Very creative and great fun but very messy to tidy up. Hannah tends to not be as interested in that part of the activity, so guess who does the clean up.

More Photo Hunters

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I wonder if they will send it in the mail?

I must be on the this guys a sucker list for all these scams judging by how many I get. I liked this one. I wonder what you would do with 800 kg of gold dust and how much it would cost to ship to Australia.




show details
06:03 (15 hours ago)


We are so glads to write you this time to introduce our company to you, we are a small skill mining company which we base in Accra (GHANA) We have a total of Eight Hundreds Kilos (800 Kilos) of GOLD DUST in our storage please if you are interested kindly inform us immediatly so that we can send our FCO to you . if you are interesting in purchase the Gold Dust revert bact to our direct e-mail address as follow: mineralgdss@yahoo.com mineralgd@gmail.com

Thanks and God bless you,

Best Regards

Dr. Ahmed Suleiman

I'll be on the plane this weekend.

Hannah Hits the Big time

Create Fake Magazine Covers with your own picture at MagMyPic.com

This is a fun time waster.

Thanks Lady Banana

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cricket or Yachting for Boxing Day?

One of the great Ocean Races, the annual Sydney to Hobart, which always starts on Boxing Day is under way in perfect conditions. The winner for the last two years, Wild Oats XI leads the field and is favourite to win again, but weather conditions are likely to preclude a new record. The race includes a wide variety of yachts from the Super Maxi's which complete the trip in less than two days to smaller yachts which can take a week or more depending on weather conditions.

There is an excellent web site where you can track the yachts, read updates and see some excellent photographs if you are nautically inclined. I know James is.

Here in Australia, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race vies with the Boxing Day Cricket Test Match held annually in Melbourne as the major sporting events for this part of the year. For the record over 60,000 people and a huge television audience saw Matthew Hayden hit his 28th test century as India fought back to be marginally ahead after day one with Anil Kumble getting five wickets. Everywhere you go for the next few days, people will be watching and listening to the cricket. Even my mother in law set aside today to just watch the cricket and sew. Many are hopeful of a more competitive series than the Poms last year and it looks like they may get one.

As for me, I prefer the cricket.

Photos from the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Official Site and Cricinfo

Cross Posted at Nourishing Obscurity

Bathroom Design Ideas

As part of our planning for our new house, we have been evaluating remodelling and design alternatives for our bathroom. We like this one. There are many more inspirational designs here.

So Beauteous.

Thanks Interior Design Consultant Paulie from Never Trust A Hippy

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Obligatory Christmas Post

You Are Comet

A total daredevil, you're the reindeer with an edge!

Why You're Naughty: You almost gave Santa a heart attack when you took him sky diving

Why You're Nice: You always make sure the sleigh is going warp speed

A Christmas Poem I saw somewhere.

On Dancer
On Prancer
On Comet
On Visa
On Mastercard

Merry Holiday Season Everyone. May our kids be very happy with our Visa Bill.

Photo Hunt: Light

Sun streams through our new living room during our recent three day paint the whole house before we move in project. Next time, we are hiring someone.

More Photo Hunters

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'm Purple

Your dominant hues are red and blue. You're confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right (My wife would strongly disagree with this}.

Your outlook on life can be bright or dark, depending on the situation. You are flexible and see things objectively.

Still moving house and blogging vicariously. We all stayed at the house last night for the first time. Lots of improvisation. It is amazing how dependent you get on a structured living arrangement. Back to do more packing today.

When we moved from Singapore, we had a corporate move and had 4 guys packing for four days before loading it into a sea container. Everything was meticulously wrapped and placed in boxes and all the furniture was shielded.

Our move from the US to Australia was less organised. I was in the US and Elizabeth and the kids were in Australia after being denied entry (Thanks Osama). We had to get out quickly before the house was repossessed. I did all the packing and three guys came to help me load it into a container. Elizabeth then had to go and do all the customs stuff, which always involves visits and fees to 37 different organisations, with two young kids and a stroller and arrange for it to go into storage. Joy Joy.

This time it is a bit of a hybrid of the others. The moving people underestimated our pile of prized possessions and so we are left with about half as much again to move. When they quoted, they thought that there would be a little left over, not another truck load. "No worries" he said when he quoted. We'll just send another truck. Well yes, but they are busy until mid January, so we had to call around to get somebody else to help. It is incredible that we have about 80 cubic metres of stuff. What to do with two hoarders and two young kids. Still a gigantic pain in the ass.

So although I am not in the middle of a purple patch, at least I am not too blue since I can see the end coming. I like the first part of the description about getting things done. That is true, but often in a chaotic way.

Anyway I like purple and can live with being defined by that colour. The purple carrots reminded me of our rabbits, which I managed to catch after over six months of running free around the neighbourhood. They were not happy to be back in their hutch. We thought long and hard about whether to bring them given that they were very used to our neighbourhood and coming to visit to feed every day. I really like having them around. We will have to go through the same process of getting them used to our new neighbourhood. Luckily there is a cubby house, which I have modified to keep them in while they get their bearings. Elizabeth has offered to get a cat if the kids tame the rabbits. Not very likely I think. We will bring them over today and that just leaves the budgies, Mr Quail, the goldfish and 10 gazzillion boxes.

Thanks the very blue Lewisham Kate and the spacefem.com html color quiz

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Carnival of Australia Bloody Christmas Edition

My Christmas Outfit Darlings. Wouldn't I look Special?

Welcome to the SuperWoopdeeDooMega Just Before Christmas Carnival of Australia with the usual mix of the wierd, the interesting, the serious and the down right wacky. A veritable cross section of some of the best Aussie Blogging. This is a bit late and patched together with not too much due care and attention due to our family situation. We are right in the middle of moving. This week has been three days of painting, two days of packing and tomorrow we move and on the twelfth day, we may rest.

I am composing this after having a stand up fight with Optus and finally getting the modem that they sent to us to work at our new house. We have nothing here except a Christmas Tree and some camping chairs, but broadband is up and running and the laptop is humming. Modern technology can be so exasperating, but very bloody useful.

Anyway less of the tedious personal stuff. On with Peace and Love and Goodwill to all Peoples.

With Christmas being a time for kids, Megan has a competition to keep kids safe. Go and win some Christmas Pocket Money. The more who enter the more you can win.

Gavin R. Putland presents Complete solution to vertical fiscal imbalance posted at Gavonomics.

In Australia, as in most federations, only the Federal government may impose customs duties (i.e. tariffs on imports) or excise duties (see s.90 of the Constitution). But whereas most countries understand excises as taxes that counteract tariffs by discriminating against locally produced goods, the High Court of Australia has ruled that excises include all inland taxes on new goods. Consequently the Australian States, unlike their U.S. and Canadian counterparts, cannot impose retail sales taxes.

If the alcohol and food on Christmas Day does not put you to sleep, this might. Important stuff all the same. I can attest to the nasty state taxes having just paid a huge wad to the state in stamp duty on our new home. Was this not one of the taxes that the states were supposed to give up?

Suzie Cheel and Des Walsh have been to Blog Vegas Real life link love in abundance as Suzie schmoozed with the A List Bloggerati including John Cow and Wendy Piersall. Posted at The Abundance Highway.

Based on my own experience, the best thing about Las Vegas was leaving. Such great scenery including the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Death Valley a short drive away.

Sue Bayliss likes Raymond James, an Irish Aussie. "Eirinn Go Brach" is his heartfelt cry ... posted at Spasmodic Dysphonia.

As always Meg comes up with some useful stuff. This week it how to add a YouTube Video to a WordPress Blog posted at Dipping into the Blogpond. Useful!

Cellobella makes the case why My husband is a woman! posted at SultanaBlog.

Groover loves cooking, can keep a fantastic house, makes the bed like a nurse, disciplines the kids, manages the money and irons beautifully.

Me I am a women only in the cooking department. I am hopeless at all the other womenly attributes.

SimoneM presents Beating the Bored Room: How to Stay Motivated When You Work From Home posted at Outfit Inspirations.

But when the conventional office is replaced with the home office, our roles can be less distinct. If your partner is off work with a cold or visitors arrive from out of town, it can be difficult to justify staying hunched over the laptop with the blinds drawn.

As we are not “at work”, other jobs can also be absorbed into our work day, such as picking up the dry cleaning, doing the grocery shopping or waiting around for the plumber to fix the mysterious leak.

Very interesting. I have done at home consulting a few times and realised that it was not for me. I work part time and could work from home more, but I know that I would get nothing done. There would always be some diversion that I could use to justify not working (like blogging).

And just in time for Christmas, Craig Harper presents Living in Fat City. posted at Motivational Speaker.

If you live in Australia, the US, the UK, Canada or New Zealand, then you live in the same place as me; Fat City. Fat City of course, being more of a collective mindset, and a culture of eating too much and moving too little, than any geographical location, or 'literal' place. And while it's not a literal place, it is very real. If you know what I mean.

Thanks for spoiling the seasonal gorging and grogging Craig! I'm going to be doing it anyway.

Addy discusses a very serious topic in Get Me Through December: Losing a friend to suicide posted at "All That I Am, All That I Ever Was".

I was listening to the radio this morning and for all the "Good Times" associated with Christmas, this is the worst time of the year for depression, sadness and loneliness and some of the more extreme outcomes. If you know someone who is by themselves this Christmas, make an effort to be in contact with them. I can think of three people that I know who have lost family members this year. Even people who have lost them many years ago find this a difficult time. Go on Give Someone a Hug!

Riayn presents a very sad story.What the?? posted at Dancing About Architecture.

This is a devastating story and worth a read. In a previous life I looked after foster kids. To be abandoned again after many years would be too much. It made me think about the Animal Shelters who are overflowing at this time of year. How can humans treat other humans like this. It is bad enough that we abandon animals... Rant over.

Karen is getting all Hamletty on us as she discusses being indifferently honest posted at Miscellaneous Adventures of an Aussie Mum.

Cheer up Karen. I've been there and it is amazing that my wife didn't kick me out. It was a sure sign of depression when I didn't wash the dishes or clean up after the kids. Hope you are feeling better.

Albert Foong has some good advice for those feeling low inPsychology’s unique contribution to your Compassion and Self-Esteem posted at Urban Monk.

As Albert says

One of the biggest myths about self-esteem: someone with high self-esteem feels themselves superior to others.

But that is simply not true: you must have seen it for yourself. Those who feel superior to others hide a shame, a fear, of insecurity.

Amen to that!

Kevin Dayhoff presents a happy story from Yanqui Land, not too far from where I used to live in Maryland, where they haveOperation Christmas Tree. Posted at Kevin Dayhoff - Soundtrack Division of Old Silent Movies.

Mark Simkin from the ABC goes to America to find a good Christmas story.

"He said that Australia has troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and this is a “wonderful Christmas story, mate.” He described how the Australian news will broadcast the story “all across Australia and eastern Asia.”

And the Carnival of Australia! We just got our Christmas Tree from a local tree farm. What a great smell. Now the kids have to decorate it.

Megan suggests that we go and readAustralia Lacks Courage on Climate Change posted at The Body Shop Australia's Values & Campaigns Blog.

This is an interesting campaigning blog and well worth a read. They also need suggestions for a name.

And if you are bored in Brisbane over the holidays, you can go and see some FREE! Christmas Movies at Suncorp Piazza posted at Life in Brisbane - Queensland - Australia.

Anyway have a great holiday season everyone. We will likely be using our new pool and unpacking. Not very exciting, but important. I hope you all have more interesting plans.

This concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of carnival of australia using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Technorati tags: carnival of australia, blog carnival.

Environmentalists to eat Worms and Grass for Christmas Dinner this Year

This kind of thing makes me sick. Get a life. If people have to feel guilty about getting together with their family and having a meal at Christmas then the world has gone to pot and beyond by a long way. This kind of thinking can just fuck right off immediately.

From the BBC

Carbon cost of Christmas dinner
Christmas lunch
Some ingredients are imported from across the world
A carbon footprint equivalent to 6,000 car journeys around the world will be produced by the UK tucking into Christmas dinner, researchers say.

It is claimed the UK's love of the traditional turkey dinner will generate 51,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Academics calculated the production, processing and transportation costs of the festive ingredients.

The Manchester researchers estimate a dinner for eight generates 20kg (44lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions.

They arrived at the total emissions figure by assuming one third of the UK population eats a typical Christmas meal.

My dead Grandmothers would be horrified by this kind of thinking. Christmas is a family time. Have they worked out the carbon cost of all the alcohol that is consumed? Have they worked out all the carbon emissions related to going to the toilet. Shall we stop doing that? Shall we all dig holes and sit tight for a few months. Lets all stop living........I could rant a bit longer, but I will stop because I have another 50 boxes to pack.

Merry Christmas Carbon Tallying Grinches (Not!)

Kangaroo Island Fires Under Control

A fire the size of Singapore has been brought under control on Kangaroo Island to the southwest of Adelaide. These are exactly the types of fires predicted by scientists as Australia gets hotter and drier. Luckily only one person was killed, but over 30,000 hectares or about a fifth of the island was burned. Thousands of volunteer firefighters from all over the state have been living in tent cities trying to control the fires. A massive relief effort was mounted by the government and supported by volunteers and the Salvation Army, who mobilised to feed and shelter the volunteers. There is grave concern for the tourist industry which forms a huge part of the economy there. This is early summer and it is already very dry and hot across the state. This kind of event could happen at any time.

The western part of Kangaroo Island is quite sparsely populated, but a fire like that brought smoke to Adelaide and Port Augusta and displaced large wildlife populations. Kangaroo Island has many kangaroos (Well D'uh!) and koalas. So many infact that there are organised culls. Based on my trip there in 2007, many are killed on the roads. What they don't need is for their entire habitat to be wiped out. No doubt it will rebound, but not necessarily quickly.

A fire on the Cape York Peninsula in the last few years killed 9 people and burned huge areas of farmland. These kinds of natural hazards are likely to become more normal here in Australia. Even my garden is very brown, with the limitations on watering. I wonder if this is a public safety issue even in suburban areas?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Smokers Welcome 364 Days a Year in Adelaide

Adelaide could become the first smoke-free city in the world, under proposed legislation to be debated in state parliament next year. The Tobacco Products Regulation (A Smoke-Free Adelaide) Amendment Bill 2007 would ban smoking in Adelaide for at least one day of the year, with maximum penalties of $200 to go to the Cancer Council. The bill is being put forward by Opposition police spokesman David Ridgway and will be introduced to parliament on February 13 next year. "This legislation would not be about punishment but an opportunity for Adelaide citizens to experience a day without smoking," Ridgway says. "Community involvement is the cornerstone of this bill and in turn, I hope that the whole city will reap the benefits." The bill was released for public comment yesterday.

Smokers in South Australia must feel very put upon. Not content with banning smoking in public transport, offices, pubs, clubs, restaurants, cars with young children and other public places.... now we are to have a token smoking ban throughout the whole city. Don't get me wrong, I am a virulent anti smoker, but this just seems a little too much. I mean some of my work mates smoke, but they don't impose it on me. I can live with that.

Human Rights for Worms?

In a sure sign of local councils having more money than sense a New Zealand worm business has been forced to prove that no worms were psychologically harmed by eating human poo during the development of their compost product.

A Kiwi who invented a toilet that uses worms to produce compost has had to prove the worms are not traumatised by the experience before authorities would approve his product. An Auckland Regional Council official told Coll Bell to get an expert's report on the psychological impact on the worms."She felt that the worms were being unfairly treated, being expected to deal with human faeces, and that it could affect them in a psychological way," Bell says. The official told him to find someone with the necessary qualifications to say the worms are happy. Bell says his "wormorator" was finally approved after a vermiculture expert reported the worms were in excellent health and breeding happily.
Well thank goodness for that. I regularly commit worm genocide by maintaining a worm farm in a hot part of the world. The worms are all around during the winter, but they get fried and disappear when the temperature hits 30 degrees. I wonder if I will be held to account for multiple counts of inhumane worm accommodation violations?

Wouldn't it be great to be a local council official with an open ended agenda and budget to investigate everything that needs to be understood better so that they can sleep soundly at night, not having nightmares about worms chomping down human faeces.

Thanks DD McNicolls from Strewth.

Gas Masks as Fashion Statement

Gas Mask looking hooded jackets are flying off the shelves as sections of the younger UK populace adopt the zip up goggle face jacket. I wonder if these will be banned in public places aka Burquas.

Pretty confronting. Target market? Hoons and Bankrobbers?

Antipodean Nessie?

No just a kangaroo out for a swim.

I had no idea that they liked to swim. Perhaps it is just wave jumping. As you know most Aussies like surfing. Perhaps he is just getting started.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

John Howards Legacy

When John Howard became Liberal Party Leader in 1995, the Liberals were in power everywhere except the Commonwealth Government. Well things have changed quite a bit during his tenure. It seems that his concern about wall to wall Labor Governments was what Australians wanted.

Thanks Crikey

Friday, December 14, 2007

Animal Humour


A guy is driving around the back woods of Southern Scotland when he sees a sign in front of a rather bedraggled looking farmhouse: 'Talking Dog For Sale.'
He drives on a bit until curiosity finally gets the better of him and he returns to the farmhouse. He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there.
"Do you talk?” he asks.
“Yep,” the Lab replies.
After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says “So, what’s your story?”
The Lab looks up and says, 'Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was just a pup. I thought I could put my talent to good use by working for the government, so I made contact with military intelligence. In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country working for MI6, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. Every time my guy left to use the facilities, I'd be picking up the juicy stuff they didn't want him to hear. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running but the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn't getting any younger, so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at Glasgow Airport to do some undercover work with the Customs officers, standing 20-30 feet away from the desk and picking up all sorts of revealing information. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals. After a while, even that became a bit tiring so I chucked it in, got married, had a load of puppies, and now I'm just retired.”
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog.
“Ten pounds,” the guy says.
“A tenner? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheaply?”

“Because he's a fucking liar. He never did any of that shit.”

And his relative, the duck.

A Duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of bitter and a ham sandwich.

The barman looks at him and says, 'But you're a duck'.

'I see your eyes are working', replies the duck.

'And you talk!' exclaims the barman.

'I see your ears are working', says the duck, 'Now can I have my beer and my sandwich please?'

'Certainly', says the barman, 'sorry about that, it's just we don't get many ducks in this pub. What are you doing round this way?'

'I'm working on the building site across the road', explains the duck.

Then the duck drinks his beer, eats his sandwich and leaves.

This continues for 2 weeks. Then one day the circus comes to town.

The Ringmaster of the circus comes into the pub and the barman says to him, 'You're with the circus aren't you? I know this duck that would be just brilliant in your circus, he talks, drinks beer and everything!'.

'Sounds marvelous', says the ringmaster, 'get him to give me a call'.

So the next day when the duck comes into the pub the barman says, 'Hey Mr.Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money!'

'Yeah?' says the duck, 'Sounds great, where is it?'

'At the circus', says the barman.

'The circus?' the duck enquires.

'That's right', replies the barman.

'The circus?' the duck asks again.

'Yes' says the barman

'That place with the big tent?' the duck enquires.

'Yeah' the barman replies.

'With all the animals?' the duck questioned.

'Of Course' the barman replies.

'With the big canvas roof with the hole in the middle', asks the duck.

'That's right!' says the barman.

The duck looks confused.

'What the f * ck would they want with a plasterer?'

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Paris Pitches Champagne by the Can Tacky Tacky Tacky

Sad Sad Sad

Zorbaborigine the Greek

I Just Wanna Be Free

The story here.

That is an incredibly powerful instinct at work. I can remember watching bears catch fish in Alaska. They would just sit on the falls and wait for a big juicy one to try to jump up the fall. These guys are jumping into a flowing pipe so that they can go 50 metres into the river where the water is coming from. That is a lot of power.

Thanks Environmental Graffiti

Maxine Gets Her Knickers in a Twist

Maxine serves the Ex PM on behalf of the Australian People.


Goodbye and Goodnight.

Now that feels better.

Some of the readers of the august Canberra Times were put off by the photograph, considering it a little too revealing for a dignified person like the Honorable Member for Bennelong.

Goodbye John Winston Howard. Hope we don't see you too much going forward.

Update: How Maxine won the seat. Her own perspective. Interesting. She only won by 2,000 votes after all the votes were distributed, so some clever stuff must have been in place.

Sticky Tape Shenanigans

This made me laugh, what with packing to move and Christmas all at the same time.

Thanks Matt.

Australia Considers Day Night Test Cricket


Really bad idea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I am Worf

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Men of Discerning Taste

My work colleagues discuss their drinking preferences.

Thanks Yobbo

My working class coal mining grandfather (and no fuckin' poofter him) always had a bottle of Drambuie in his drinks cupboard. Personally I prefer Baileys.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Be a Jetson in Real Life

Personal Jet Packs ala Jetsons are set to debut next year.

Widgery’s company, JetPack International, has spent the past two years developing a device that fulfills those Jetsons-era fantasies - and can keep you airborne for all of nine minutes.

The original jetpack, introduced by Bell Aerosystems in 1961, could fly for a mere 23 seconds and was not commercialized. It wasn’t just the short flight time that hampered development of jetpacks. The hydrogen-peroxide fuel - like the disinfectant but in far stronger concentration - was prohibitively expensive at $2,000 a flight, to say nothing of the risk of running out of fuel in midair. No wonder only 11 people have ever piloted such machines.

Soon he hit upon the idea of using three small jet turbine engines, powered by jet fuel, and a pack constructed with lightweight carbon fiber. Fuel for a single flight would now cost just $20.

Thanks Dane Carlson

PS. How come my site is always worth $564.45? Just curious like?

My son thinks this would be a great way to get to school.

Shades also has a cool recreational activity. Not so dangerous, but dizzy making and only good for getting to work if you live at the bottom of a hill. Getting home would not be so good. Perhaps you could combine the jet pack and the ball.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Google's Modest Goals a Threat to Privacy?

Google apparently wants to know and control everything on the internet. Some Austrian researchers are concerned about this.

An Austrian university study argues that Google is creating unacceptable monopolies that will allow it to control information flows and invade privacy.

A research team led by Professor Hermann Maurer, chairman of Graz University's Institute for Information Systems and Computer Media, argues that Google is creating unacceptable monopolies in many areas of the worldwide web.

According to his research, around 61 billion internet searches are conducted each month. In the United States, on average 57 per cent of searches are conducted with Google, and up to 95 per cent of internet users use Google sometimes.

"Google's open aim is to know everything there is to know on Earth," the researchers concluded. "It cannot be tolerated that a private company has that much power: it can extort, control, and dominate the world at will."

Stopping the insidious aspects of Google was however not possible by a head-on strategy, as the company was too powerful, the Austrian researchers warn. Rather, they say, the "Google effect" can be minimised by the introduction of special-purpose search engines that are better in their areas of application that the larger company is.

Only about ten years until we can switch our brains off and just rely on the Google microchip plug in that will be permanently plugged into our frontal lobes at birth. To trust Google is to believe that their business goals are benign.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Reuters 100 Best Photos of 2007

99 More Here

Thanks Reuters

More Wordless Wednesday Here

Dick Ponders His Options to Build Backlog for his War Machine Manufacturing Buddies

Who can we annihilate now?

Another Google Attempt to Take Over the World Bwaaa Haaa Haaa Ha!

The Evil Empire with plans to take over the world aka Google (OK a little exaggerated)have done it again with plans to make everybody in the world get a GoogleID. The new Blogger commenting form makes it difficult to comment and link your comment to you or your blog without it. Mean Google. Bad Google.

Unless you use blogspot Blogger, your blog url is not linked to. This is in addition to the fact that blogspot default linking is set to nofollow; which means that links were not counted for pagerank purposes anyway. Google is penalizing bloggers once again, after so recently downgrading pagerank for those using paid for links. I am really peeved that my freedom in using the internet is being eroded once again and do not like to be controlled in this way.

This move goes against the basic nature of blogging, that of bloggers linking to each other in the spirit of give and take and community building. How can you build up a relationship with another blogger if you do not know where to find them. This move is bound to reduce the amount of commenting on Blogger blogs. Therefore ALL bloggers are being disadvantaged - both blogspot and non blogspot users.

Sue has some suggestions including politely corresponding with Google, although judging from the reactions on blogs, Wordpress may be a major beneficiary.

Me, I will be here for a while.

Thanks Sue

What is it with these guys. Is commenting and communicating not what blogging is about?

Monday, December 03, 2007

So Many Things to be Scared Of

So Little Time

What are you scared of? It is likely here.

Here is a short extract from C with some well known and not so well known.

Chionophobia- Fear of snow.
Chiraptophobia- Fear of being touched.
Chirophobia- Fear of hands.
Cholerophobia- Fear of anger or the fear of cholera.
Chorophobia- Fear of dancing.
Chrometophobia or Chrematophobia- Fear of money.
Chromophobia or Chromatophobia- Fear of colors.
Chronophobia- Fear of time.
Chronomentrophobia- Fear of clocks.
Cibophobia- Fear of food.(Sitophobia, Sitiophobia)
Claustrophobia- Fear of confined spaces.

Rudd's Scouts Promise

Kevin and the Boy Scout Troop were sworn in today, with Rudd fulfilling an unspoken election commitment by promising not to eat earwax in the Parliament when the television cameras were on.

We will see if he can stick to his word.

Cubans to Vote for Tito Castro

From The Australian

Fidel Castro has been nominated as a National Assembly candidate, signalling that the ailing Cuban leader is not yet ready to give up politics and could even return to the presidency.

The 81-year-old communist leader, not seen in public since he temporarily stepped down in July 2006 following surgery, was included on a list of candidates for national elections to be held on January 20 in Santiago de Cuba, where he has traditionally been nominated for office.

To applause and cheers of “Viva Fidel, viva the commander in chief”, municipal officials in Santiago de Cuba unanimously approved Mr Castro’s nomination on a list of 25 candidates for the National Assembly.

They are going to have to tilt the bed quite a bit to get him to stand. Actually I am surprised that he has be elected. I thought that he was a dictator for life if we are to believe our American Friends.

Perhaps he is emboldened by the Venezualan President Hugo Chavez's attempt to rule for ever. Seems the Venezualans rejected that plan. Unfortunately our Russian friends seem happy to trust Mr Putin with this kind of power. Look out for some serious sabre rattling in that part of the world. I doubt that there will be much ammo dumped on Tehran in that environment. That and Musharaf in Pakistan, who is a raving loony and he has nuclear weapons. Unfortunately not too much oil, which may explain why there is such subdued sabre rattling by our Yanqui War Wishers, along with soothing democratic whispers.

When are these Dictators going to take their nutty ideas out on some punching bags in the gym and leave their monstrous egos in the bedroom.

The world may well be a better place if this was to happen.

Kandy Ripper

I wonder if Murali will get a gig on Kath and Kim now that he has finally overhauled Shane Warne? Paul Collingwood the unlucky batsman, out for 45 in Murali's home town of Kandy. I wonder if the locals noticed?

Next milestone probably heading for 1000 test wickets. Bring on Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and it may happen in the next five years.

World Aids Day

Lady Banana reminded me that Saturday was World Aids Day.

I was listening to the radio last week and heard a related story about Washington DC, where I used to live off and on for over 10 years. Washington DC has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the US, with 12,500 people infected. It is a city of huge contrast, with extreme wealth and poverty, largely divided along race based geography in a relatively small area.

At a time when the US President is proposing to spend millions in Africa to combat AIDS, how about using some of it at home.

When I lived there in the 1980s, AIDS was just coming out of the closet. I have a vivid memory of all those young and predominantly white faces on the huge AIDS Quilt that was constructed on the mall. At that time, there was very little knowledge and people did not know how to protect themselves and were dying, often very quickly. Now the knowledge is significantly better, drugs are available, methods of protection are understood. People can live longer, yet predominantly people of colour continue to be infected. Surely public education and better public policy can change this.

That said another article I read lately said that the rate of infection in Australia is growing again as young people don't take the threat seriously. That needs to be addressed urgently.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

They Must Have Had Cravings for Budweiser

The Gardai are on the hunt for an audacious thief, who calmy drove his rig into the Guinness Brewery in Dublin and hooked up and took off with a large quantity (around 40,000 pints) of Budweiser and some of the local beer, loaded on a trailer.

The local Guinness spokesman seemed a little naive in his response to the media.

"The haul has a significant value given this time of year. We have more trailers coming in and out this time of year as we are coming up to Christmas.

"What could they possibly want with all that beer?"

How about drink it?

I visited the Brewery in the mid 80s and did the tourist bit. Very fun. I was interested in the even larger heist last year when half a million pounds worth of cans of lager were taken. Now that would be easier to fence than kegs of Guinness.

Real Estate Code Words Mask the Real Story

With the flooding of the real estate market in the US, there is more pressure on real estate agents to talk up properties. I have always been interested by the phrases that are chosen to describe a property. Here is a good primer.

I was driving around our neighbourhood today and there are quite a few homes on the market. It is very boyant here in Adelaide. We just bought and the real estate agent and the loan broker were saying that there is a shortage of houses on the market, which is driving up prices, especially in an optimistic market. Adelaide prices are cheap compared to some of the outrageous prices in the other states. There were quite a few "Perfect Starter Home" and "Great First Home". All this for around $300K with at least $150K required to make the home liveable, based on our own real estate search.

Having just gone massively into debt again it boggles my mind how some new entrants can get into the market. We have a fairly solid combined income, but even then our mortgage payments will be double what we currently pay in rent. There is not the same certainty that there is in the US with 30 year fixed. The longest here is about 5 years and that is around 8 percent now. Although many people have done well with property investments in the last 10 years, it is painful to enter the market now.

That said it is nice to have your own home. We are looking forward to everything except the mortgage payment and physically moving.

Sue Yoo

Great Name for a Lawyer. She is available to sue you.

Grand Opera over the Telephone?

John Elfreth Watkins writing in the Ladies Home Journal in December 1900 predicts a radically different world for the next 100 years. Fascinating perspective on a changing world.

Highlights include the loss of C, X and Q from language. Russian will be the second most widespread language. There will be no wild animals and mosquitos will be practically eradicated. Cars will cost less than horses and air ships will be developed , but not as a major mode of public transport, where trips to Europe are likely to be made by fast boats.

I wonder what we can expect in the next 100 years. Clearly our mindset is very controlled by a very narrow perspective based on our own current world view. Whatever happens most of us will be dead.

Tables Turning on Men in Adland?

I showed this article on politically incorrect portrayals of women in advertising, to my wife and I was interested by her response, which was that the tables had turned and that it was more often that men are portrayed negatively in the medja and in commercial advertising now. Not being one to watch too much commercial television I cannot say that I had noticed it too much other than portrayals of lazy,slovenly, beer drinking, football watching, do nothing men that are often the standard fare of beer commercials. That got me thinking and asked Uncle Google to enlighten me. Jim McNamara writing in an Online Opinion Article Dissing Men: The New Gender War addresses this very point.

Feminism has drawn attention to and fought against stereotypical and sexist portrayals of women in mass media, but new research shows that media portrayals of gender have largely done an about face in the past decade or so. There is a new “gender war” and the main target of discrimination is no longer women, according to research - it is men.

He continues.

To the extent that the negative views of men and masculinity in mass media reflect social attitudes, these findings have alarming implications for men and boys and for societies generally. Just as women have struggled against misogyny, men today face an increasingly misandric world that devalues and demonises them and gives them little basis for self-esteem.

In our kids school they have had programmes in place to support learning for girls and they are starting to see a big improvement and there is now concern that boys are falling behind. Programmes are now being designed to emphasise learning for boys. Seems like it is very similar to the issues discussed in the paper.

NaBloPoMo The Verdict

Well I managed to post 28 days out of the 30 days of NaBloPoMo.

I missed the 10th of November which was Ryan's scary party and a very busy time. I also missed yesterday. We spent the day packing and doing errands and were at the Adelaide Guitar Festival.

I found it pretty easy generally to post at least once a day. I normally try to post daily. Interesting to have the goal of posting every day and I am happy to have tried to complete it. Perhaps next year. Perhaps not.

What I did find was that after some early enthusiasm, posting on two blogs did not work. I abandoned my NaBloPoMo one, although I did have my posts posted in the side bar. Perhaps next year it would be good to have the option of having the primary blog posts placed more prominantly on the page. That way if you choose to post on your primary blog then you could still be seen and credited on the NaBloPoMo Page. Far too many of the NaBloPoMo pages that I looked at were very static.

How did you do?

Photo Hunt: Red

We made this scary concoction for one of the games at Ryans Scary Party for his seventh birthday. The very simple recipe involves eight packets of raspberry jelly, some warm water and some body parts. The kids had to dip their hands in and retrieve the body parts. Very successful judging by the amount of screaming.

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