Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Australias energy future is likely to include a wider variety of energy sources, especially if a carbon trading scheme is to go ahead. Australia is one of the best positioned countries for a stable energy future, with a mixture of energy options, including 600 years of brown coal reserves. Although sustainable sources such as hot rocks geothermal, wind and solar energy are significantly more expensive per kilowatt hour and don't supply a base load, they are increasingly likely to be a larger part of the mix, with operating costs likely to dramatically reduce in the next two decades.
There seems to be an assumption from the generators that nuclear power will be part of the mix, with the assertion by the power generators that all their modelled options were cheaper with an element of nuclear power generation capacity, although most Australians are strongly opposed.
All the modelled scenarios suggest energy is going to cost a lot more in the coming decades.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
Droughtbusting Aussie Bucketeers are taking matters into their own hands and recycling water from the house, to keep parched gardens alive. This potentially subversive activity is documented in the Age. And yes, I am one of them.
In related matters, the Prime Minister and Minister for Water have followed up their multi billion election bribe, with a promise that we will all be drinking sewage before too long. I am not opposed to it per se, I just think that there has to be a nicer way to say it. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I hear it verbalised. I really don't want to know. Just get on with it, the technology is proven and nature does a good job anyway over time. The vision of flushing the toilet and the water going straight into the water tank is the challenging image to dispel.
Here in South Australia, Premier Mike Rann was first to jump on the yuck factor, ruling out recycled sewage as an option. Ditto, Steve Bracks in Victoria, who despite a thumping election win last year still has it in the too hard basket.
The funny thing is that much of the water we drink in Adelaide has been through the bodies of many humans and animals all the way down the River Murray. We are all drinking recycled sewage every day. Even so, drinking poo poo and wee wee are just too difficult as political issues. Let's stick to law and order and stamp duty.
In other news, an Adelaide based scientist, who lead the development of Australia's Drinking Water Guidelines says he wouldn't touch the stuff. Don Bursill says that while the technology is there, the back up systems to ensure the reliability of the supply is not there yet.
In Queensland, recycled sewage will be on the menu next year because of the dire water supply situation there. A promised referendum has been poo pooed, to move the sewage drinking plans forward.
And finally, the State Opposition want to build a $400 million desalination plant, similar to the one in Perth, to meet up to 25 percent of urban water needs in Adelaide. They have even proposed locations, an abandoned refinery being one. The State Government is poo pooing that one, claiming it will be too expensive, require too much power and be a disposal option. This despite the fact that they are building one in conjunction with the developers of the huge new mining development in the north of the state. Good enough for construction workers and miners, but not good enough for the good citizens of Adelaide.
An Australian has used half his annual leave to build a scale replica of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for an exhibit. 11,000 pieces of commercially available Lego was used to complete the project. Apparently this is the second attempt. The first was built in his house with $5,000 worth of Lego he purchased himself.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
I mean totally gross.
"At the moment neither David nor Victoria are majorly famous in the States, but starring in their own show on one of America's biggest channels would catapult them to instant stardom," a source told People.Another good reason for not watching Fox.
Sydney's culture of the relentless pursuit of property, perfect bodies and status has British psychologist and author Oliver James worried. As part of research for his recently released book, Affluenza, he travelled to seven countries to research the effect of consumerism on happiness.
He found the obsessive pursuit of money and possessions was not buying happiness. The affluenza virus was worst in Sydney, where he found interviewing locals a depressing experience. It was, he said, "the most vacuous of cities. The Dolly Parton of cities in Australia."
Adelaide and Melbourne had a "different vibe" and did not strike James as being as materialistic as Sydney. He had not been to Sydney before and expected a "philistine nation" of "jolly, uncomplicated fun-seekers". Instead, he found a city in thrall to American values and a puritan work ethic that robbed life of joy and meaning. Middle-class Sydney, he writes, is "packed with career-obsessed workaholics". When they are not working the longest hours in the developed world, they pursue perfect bodies through joyless fitness regimes, or obsess about property prices. Always, they are looking around anxiously, in the hope that others aren't doing better than them.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Based upon the democratic process, most of the people who have had their chance to vote on what Shane Warne should do next, believe that he should be a cricket umpire.
A little Dickie Bird could be his mentor. Hard to imagine him not appealing for all those wickets with the bowler.
Next up, Why is the English Cricket Team so crap?
Research material here and here.
Who would have thought that we would see this picture six months ago. John Howard, one of the worlds greatest climate change sceptics a short time ago has now embraced the inevitability of the phenomena, embracing radical policy change as soon as the polls showed that he was woefully out of touch on the issue. Now he is shaking hands and congratulating the "enemy", somebody, who he probably rubbished only a few months ago. Mr Flannery has in turn promised to hold the Howard Government accountable on this issue. Perhaps Honest John forgot who Tim Flannery was when the selection of Australian of the Year was made. Perhaps he thought he was a cricketer or a cook.
Tim Flannery was based in Adelaide, where he was Head of the South Australia Museum. He was very involved in the development of sensible, practical solutions to our impact on the environment. I hope that he can use his influence to continue this work.
In a somewhat related matter, this little excerpt was buried in a puff piece in the Australian. I seem to remember that when Kim Beazley confused Karl Rove with Rove McManus last year, that was paraded all over the front page, as another example about how he was not fit to lead this hot continent, with all kinds of medical explanations and associated baloney. For Mr Howard, no dramas Mate (He's our guy).
Mr Howard's reception at his Canberra residence for the Australian of the Year candidates was not an entirely gaffe-free affair. At one stage, Mr Howard was heard asking one candidate, mathematician Terence Tao, "When did you come to Australia?"
"I was born in Adelaide," replied Professor Tao, who last year won the Fields Medal, the highest scientific award for mathematicians.
Must have been because he was Asian in appearance. Teflon John strikes out and again nothing sticks.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Many will eat haggis and drink whiskey at numerous Burns Suppers around the world. These are generally pretty formal and stuffy events, based upon my experience of attendance at one in Singapore about ten years ago. Generally, drunken people get up and talk funny and then tuck into haggis and the required embellishments. Although I am quite partial to haggis now and again, whiskey you can keep for the most part.
A little background for the uninitiated.
Haggis is a traditional Scots dish. It is a wechtie pudden traditionally served wi chappit neeps an tatties.
Altho the'r monie recipes, some uisin deer emmledeug, for ordinar it's makkit wi the follaein ingredients: sheep's hert, liver, an lichts, minced wi ingan, aitmael, shuet, spices, and saut, mixt wi bree an traditionally byled in the beast's painch for several hoors. It is amang the maist muckle kinds o sassenger. The'r recipes athoot maet an aa, speceifically for vegetarians, that tastes gey seimilar tae the maet-based receipts.
There's even a wee Haggis poem by Robert Burns. This is the first verse of Tae a Haggis, spoken prior to the ritual decapitation of the poor wee beastie prior to being devoured.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Sidney Blumenthal analyses Emperors Bush and Cheney's latest adventures in Mesapotamia . The latest strategy is to completely ignore public opinion and deny reality. Reminds me of a famous children's story.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
One of the things that I struggle with is making interesting school lunches for my kids. This is one of my jobs in the division of labour in our house.
Breezy Easy Articles like this make me sick or laugh uproariously. The thought of investing the time to make something like this beauty for my kids is laughable.
When I was in Primary School at New Gilston Primary School, population about 20-30, we all had a nutritious (and often revolting), steamed and overcooked lunch, served by Mrs Buchanan. At least my parents didn't have to provide lunch. I perish to think what that would have been.
Here in Australia, there is no school lunch provided and parents are forced to be creative, knowing that most of their work will be ignored or picked at. The old staple of Vegemite sandwiches has raised many generations of Aussie kids, but I do try to be a little more creative.
The only thing that you can guarantee will be eaten will be the treat. As the kids get older, there is even more pressure to provide junk food. Healthy food, described in this article and presented in the hopelessly unrealistic photograph, just does not cut it for the most part. Provide a container of chips, lemonade, biscuits, roll ups and the like and you can be sure that it will be polished off.
With the start of the school year, next week, I vow to accept my lot and not get too upset as I empty out half eaten lunch boxes in the evening.
If Billary is elected next year, a Bush or Clinton Family Member will have been President for almost a quarter of a Century.
The all have endearing legacies.
The Elder Bush made war in Iraq
Billary the First made love in the Oval Office
The Younger Bush made war in Iraq
What would Billary II get up to?
It is clear that the environment and water will be centre stage as the Coalition tries to be Greener than the Greens and Labor, with the promotion of Malcolm Turnbull to Minister for Environment and Water. What does a Merchant Banker know about Environment and Water? Perhaps it is just that he is not Peter Costello. Perhaps this is Honest Johns last stab in the back to his loyal Treasurer, setting up somebody else to be leader. At least my dumb namesake Ian "Orange Belly Parrot" Campbell has been sent out to pasture.
Despite all the rain we have had, things are still pretty dry in the catchments.
Monday, January 22, 2007
|You Are: 80% Dog, 20% Cat|
You and dogs definitely have a lot in common.
You're both goofy, happy, and content with the small things in life.
However, you're definitely not as needy as the average dog. You need your down time occasionally.
|You Are: 20% Dog, 80% Cat|
You are are almost exactly like a cat.
You're intelligent, independent, and set on getting your way.
And there's no way you're going to fetch a paper for anyone!
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
From Saxon Times
One Language - Euro-English?The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem
of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.
If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.
Friday, January 19, 2007
They bought a 10 acre block in Koolunga, a very small town about two hours north of Adelaide with a 17 pupil school, a garage, some kangaroos and a few houses. In true Australian style, it doesn't have a store, but there is a pub. They are renting and considering how to develop it. It is a very beautiful part of the world, with the stark dry Australian landscape broken up by beutiful dark green gums and other native trees. I admire their plan in some ways, but I am done with country living. I'm a City Boy now.
I grew up in the country in Scotland and going there made me feel all nostalgic, especially since it was raining (a rare occurrance here). It didn't make me want to do the same thing. Things that I like are the safe environment that a small town provides for children, the access to nature, seasons, pets, chickens in the bag yard and the freedom that a rural life allows.
What I don't like are the flies and insects, half hour round trips to get basic provisions, two hour round trips to get other items and access to doctors and other services (before you wait in the wating room), the isolation, the boredom, coordinating children and their friends and activities as they get older. At least in Australia it is warm most of the time.
Good Luck to them, but I have come to enjoy the convenience of city life and Adelaide has a good balance, with access to the country when and if you want it. Next up, the four hour trip to pick up Hannah on the weekend.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
From The Age
The BBC is planning a documentary on the history and use of the C-word.
The program, to be titled The History of the C-word or I Love the C-word, depending on which newspaper you read, will examine why the rudest word in the English language has become more mainstream in recent years.So are we witnessing the end of the last truly, wonderfully offensive swear word? And, if so, where do we go from here? Do we need to start creating new swear words? Will it continue to be considered a swear word, now that it is mainstream? Is this the descent into crudeness and vulgarity that we all crave (just a little bit)?
Mr Eugenides is set to host.
The Englishman has all the background that you could possibly need and more.
And if that doesn't work, you could always send a card.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
| My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:|
Grand Duke Colin the Radiant of Giggleswick under Table
Personally I prefer this one. Delusions of Grandeur I think.
| My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:|
His Eminence the Very Lord Colin the Euphonious of Helions Bumpstead
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title
And if that fails, I can always hope that my fortune cookie comes through
| My Fortune Cookie told me:|
Basking sharks are plotting to extract your thoughts.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune
Damn! I hate sharks. The beaches are lovely here in Adelaide, but I worry about going too deep. I worry about my limbs rather than my thoughts with those guys.
Blundstones, an iconic Aussie branded work boot will close all manufacturing operations in Tasmania and move production to India and Thailand. 300 workers and a good deal of goodwill will move overseas. The company is still owned by the original family and has made boots in Hobart for many years. I have had a few pairs of these boots and can vouch that they are very comfortable. My current pair are a little underused, since I am a bit of an office slug most of the time. They are still very comfortable and I love the fact that there are no annoying laces to do up.
Economic dislocation continues apace as companies cannot be competitive with Australian labour rates. There is only so much extra that people will pay for an Aussie product.
Our kids school has a requirement from the uniform contractor that all items have to be made in Australia. It certainly means that they are of a high quality, but the cost is about 50 percent more for some items. It is a challenging business proposition to do that in a larger market with many similar competing products.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Sunday, January 14, 2007
An Adelaide groom collapsed and died of a heart attack on the dance floor at his wedding reception in front of 700 guests and his wife of a few hours yesterday. Take it easy future grooms. He hadn't even got to the bedroom. I feel so sorry for his wife.
Talking of Kings and Queens, perhaps we can have a whip around and buy it for Charles and Camilla, so that he can be King before he dies (and she can be Queen). I imagine this would be Charles's kind of place. No paparazzi, no stupid public speaking and ribbon cuttings, no architecturally blemished buildings, no pollution, eco friendly environment, renewable energy from wind and wave power and you could catch your own fish and grow your own vegetables. Final benefit for Camilla. Her mother in law probably wont visit. Paradise for Chuck and his Gal to ruminate in the wind and the rain.
Arnotts have just reissued these biscuits, presumably to lend support to the embattled US President. They were used as Australian troop rations through both World Wars. All the manufacturing equipment went to Papua New Guinea, when demand slowed here in Australia. A special order of 304,320 were made and dumped on the market with no advertising over Christmas. The supermarkets here have been overflowing with them for a short time. Wonder if it is the name. They are actually quite good. Bit like a sweet Rich T.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
I find the impact of SMS on written English very jarring. What to say? I am over 40 and a bit of a stickler on spelling and the like. Of course you can use the programme in reverse for those tricky indecipherable cryptic notes that sometimes appear on my phone.
Translation for our more smsavvy viewers as follows.
I fnd d impact of SMS on ritN en vry jarring. w@ 2 sA? Im ovr 40 n a bit of a stickler on sp n d lk. Of corZ u cn uz d prog n reverse 4 doZe tricky indecipherable cryptic notes dat sumtyms appear on my ph
Based on previous work done by Australian government scientists, politicians pontificating emissions rank second to cow farts in greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.
Friday, January 12, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
AGL Energy Ltd says its planned $14 billion merger with smaller rival Origin Energy will provide an improved platform to launch further acquisitions.
AGL, Australia's largest gas and electricity retailer, is also considering spinning off a new national independent energy generator/retailer to dilute its customer base and get around any competition concerns caused by the merger.
AGL Energy chief executive Paul Anthony said there would be a lot of synergies in an alliance, with AGL "long on customers and short on gas reserves" while Origin is the opposite, with fewer customers but more reserves.
So does that mean that gas and electricity prices will come down?
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
The Australian Attorney General's single handed campaign to drive an Australian Citizen from Adelaide, who had the misfortune to be in Afghanistan when the Americans arrived, insane seems to be working. I just do not believe it is fair, the way that David Hicks has been treated. Five years in a concentration camp on an annexe of one of the last remaining communist dictatorships, with no charges, mostly in an isolation cell. Where is the fairness? Based on the latest comments, it is more baloney from Ruddock, Downer and Howard. More and more people are angry about the denial of basic due process to an Australian Citizen. Will Honest John pull an election year rabbit trick and have him miraculously released?
My son was worried that there would be no more instant noodles when he heard this story. Momofuko's theory was that a full belly would contribute to world peace. Based on the numbers of these around in the supermarkets, I don't think that was right.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Regeneration of the economy is an important short term and longer term goal. The governments goal is to "control costs and make the right long term investments". The government is working on tourism, mining, war machine building, and education as sources of growth. Manufacturing is under severe pressure as the local economy becomes more uncompetitive as a base for manufacturing. Much of the infrastructure is a bit delapidated.
The economy was shell shocked with the collapse of the State Bank in the early 1990s and the state only recently got their Triple A credit rating back. They are now making some limited big ticket investments. The limited tax base makes it difficult to make the large investments that the state needs. State debt is set to rise by 70 per cent this financial year and continue to increase dramatically through 2010.
Many of the big ticket investment projects, primarily in transportation have blown out in cost, sometimes by 100 percent. Health spending is out of control.
Outside experts predict that spending will have to be reined in and the question was not whether, but where and when the axe would fall.
One example of the delapidated infrastructure is the train system which is old and in need of significant investment. The rolling stock and especially the ticketing system is third world in standard. When I asked one of the conductors about it, she quickly quipped that we are a small state and we can't afford it.
The road network needs a significant upgrade, but at a huge price. One of the underpasses proposed for a major arterial has jumped in price by over three times.
South Australia lags the other states in water saving investments like rainwater tanks, water saving taps, grey water recycling. In the last six months, only 17 rainwater tank grants have been approved. In Queensland investments in similar water saving devices would earn more than twice the rebate.
It is not all doom and gloom, but it is a challenge. Part of the attraction of Adelaide is the scale. This just makes it more of a challenge to make some of the investments required going forward.
Nobody doubts Warne's genius, but I doubt that he could work with Duncan Fletcher and I doubt that the stuffed shirts at the ECB could sleep at night worrying about tomorrows headline in the Sun.
The Spine has his unique take on the story.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Inspired by The Hopes of a Nation , where you can find a longer list of the quirky hairdressing salons of Adelaide.
He was a CIA Puppet Dictator, controlled, funded and managed by our Yanqui Double Speak Apperatchiks over many years. Later in his career, the monster got out of control and had to be brought back into line and silenced.
Juan Cole has more details.
Thanks Curious Hamster
We're a week into 2007. Do you know what you want to achieve by the end of January? Have you set goals to reach by the end of the first quarter? How is it for you on the morning of January 6th
I am really not a goal setting type of person. This is one of the compromises I make in participating successfully in work.
For January, I have two training assignments for work which have to be finished by then. That is a good goal for me.
For the first quarter, I plan to complete one of my modules for the MBA that I have been working on for the last 10 years. Only a few to go, so time to finish it.
January the 6th dawned warm and a little windy. I am comfortably esconced in front of the computer availing myself of blogger and hanging out with the kids who are watching kids programmes.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
As in "This article is typical of the patronizing fuckwittage spewed out by the ES most days. "
Courtesy of Jeremy Jacobs
Sounds like a Worzel Gummage for adults type of word.
There has been a wide variety of views around the internet
The Australian View
From After Grog Blog (Aussie Cricket Fanatic if ever there was one. Don't go here for sympathy if you are a Pom. It is relentless)
Dads Army 5 Duds Army 0
From the BBC Cricket Team
The English Commentators View (Self deprecating, humorous, zen like, despairing...)
"That was amazing," he says. "Pietersen going third ball has made me genuinely happy. As if all the pain, the lack of sleep, the humiliation, frustration, longing, anger, regret, bitterness, churlishness, and fear engendered by the last couple of months has vanished in one beautiful edge. I want to have a party. I want to kiss you all. I feel euphoric and free and weightless and joyous. I feel 17 again. It's my first kiss, my first sunset, my first steps rolled into one. Is anyone else feeling like this? I don't understand it but it has changed my life. Any Australians out there I pity you, because you will never experience the true euphoria of one who has hit rock bottom discovering that bottom is merely a door to another purer world. I am zen. I am cricket. I am the ball. I am love."
Comments from a Frustrated English Fan
The Tin Drummer said...
On the other hand - what is there to say? If I were a commentator, what _would_ I actually say?
"Welcome to the f***ing SCG, it's a f***ing rubbish day and E****** are f****** s***, going down by *** wickets again..."
Jeez man, what the hell are you supposed to say in the face of epoch making incompetence??? Given that it took my pathetic life savings to see 1998/99 I feel qualified to comment here - I love England but by God I hate cricket sometimes.
Australians also sledge and bat better
Pietersen to Symonds "Here comes the professional fielder" Symonds response, a match changing innings of 156.
Collingwood sledges Warne and Warne comes back with "An MBE for making 8 at the Oval", heard clearly over the stump cam on the radio commentary and a match changing innings of over 70.
Interesting that in the last Ashes series in England that it was a spinner (Warne off Pietersen), who "Dropped the Ashes". This time it was Giles (off Ponting).
In my office yesterday it was like communal last rights as huddles of my colleagues sat around the two television sets quietly enjoying the last moments of this Ashes series. I just enjoyed the last few moments of Kerry O'Keefe, the funniest commentator going.
Now on to the big bash and the tedious triangular series. I will have to find some other form of entertainment until March 14, when the cricket haggisbashers get their day in the sun in St Kitts and Nevis with the Australian One Day Team.
At least the Scots are good at sledging.
|Your Political Profile:|
|Overall: 30% Conservative, 70% Liberal|
|Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal|
|Personal Responsibility: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal|
|Fiscal Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal|
|Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal|
|Defense and Crime: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal|
This is 'merican y'all. Here in Australia, Liberal and Conservative is the same thing.
Friday, January 05, 2007
From the Age
The Darwin Awards have been announced for 2006.
The Australian Police Commissioner talking about the huge seizure of liquid ecstasy in Sydney yesterday talked about another candidate who died when a condom full of cocaine exploded in his stomach. Apparently there has been a huge increase in drug smuggling into Australia.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
On the other hand, you could go here and here and here for a more familiar tone.
With less than 5% of the global population, the USA has more than 20% of the world’s imprisoned people. Yes that’s right, of the nine million or so prisoners in the world’s gaols, two million are in the USA. The rate of imprisonment is 714 per 100,000 there, which is not just slightly or even significantly higher than in comparable countries. It’s wildy higher.
For example, the rate in England and Wales is 142 per 100,000, in Canada it’s 116 and in Australia, 117. In non-English speaking countries some of the rates are even lower: 75 in Sweden, 96 in Germany, 58 in Japan. The only nation of any size that comes even remotely close to the USA is Russia (532).
What to say?