Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
The Motorcycle Riders Association of Western Australia has urged the State Government to look at ways to improve road safety for motorcyclists.
The group spoke out in the wake of the death of a 24-year-old man on the Goldfields on Saturday, taking to 33 the number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists this year.
Police say the man's motorcycle and a semi-trailer collided on the Goldfields Highway.
The Association's President David Wright says the increase in the number of fatalities is a worrying trend.
"The year isn't over yet so hopefully we don't get any more, but obviously there's a lot more motorcyclist's on the road and there's a lot of people who come back to motorcycling that have sort of retired and have been out of it for a few years, " he said.
"We think there should be a bit more training for novice motorcyclists.
"A lot of the other state governments, Victoria, Queensland do an awful lot of education for motorcyclists and training and also for other road users for keeping an eye out for motorcyclists basically.
"Over here the State Government doesn't seem to do anything at all in the way of advertising."
The WA Motorcycle Riding Association is trying to be proactive in the area of road safety because motorcyclists make up an disproportionate amount of deaths on WA rads (33 out of 205 so far this year). There have been more than a few where it is the fault of the car that has killed the motorcycle rider by pulling out in front of them either because they didn't see them, thought they could beat them or just didn't look for them.
Grant Dorrington's response:
He says motorcyclists should be responsible for their own safety.
"It's just very obvious, you get on a motorbike, they're very powerful, you drive the thing quicker than you should, you're just very vulnerable and unfortunately the road deaths with motorcyclists is an alarming statistic," he said.
So if we use that reasoning, why is Grant supporting even more restrictions of car drivers, and in particular, P-platers. Why can't we all 'be responsible for our own safety'?
And why does the Road Safety Councils recommendations almost always consist of lowering speed limits and more speed cameras when speed is only a factor in 17% of all fatal accidents?
How can we get rid of the current Road Safety Council and put some people there with a real clue in helping save lives on the roads through better training and improved roads, not just by setting arbitrary speed limits with cameras around every corner?
Thursday, November 22, 2007
That is just great.
Here are some more:
Rocky in 5 seconds
300 in 5 seconds
Here is a search page on YuTube for all these clips.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Another RBA meeting, another interest rate rise. Seems to be a common occurence lately. And, of course, during an election campaign an event like this, in a country addicted to credit like we are, brings out all the fear mongers and blame stormers.
Back at the last election, John Howard made a promise to keep the interest rates low if he was reelected. Part of the electorate knew it was complete hogwash and ignored the statement, but the rest of them who over extended themselves in the wuest to get into their 'Australian Dream' got scared and believed the snivelling little
cunt fellow and proceeded to vote to keep him in power. That said, Latham wasn't really an effective adversary and wouldn't have been a good choice anyway.
Now we come to this election and the Coalition have changed their tune to try and keep the voters they scared last time round by saying that even though interest rates are high now (13 year high actually), the rates would be higher if Labor gets into power. The Coalition use the 17% interest rates that lead to the end of Keatings reign as the reason to say this. Sadly, it seems that the voting population are believing this tripe. Do any of them learn about the things that affect them? Or do they just rely on the spoon fed garbage that passes for news in this country?
A quick history lesson... Back in the 70s when the Fraser government was in power, the interest rates were still controlled by the government and thus were kept low as a government policy, consequently inflation was high. Then came along the Hawke government, which gave the RBA the job of setting monetary policy to keep inflation down and employment high as well as floating the Australian dollar on the world market. As a consequence of this, interest rates ballooned to over 17% to control inflation and spending.
The peak interest rate of 17% was reached in January 1991, after which the interest rates starting dropping rapidly during the 'recession we had to have' and by January 1995, interest rates were back below 9%. When John Howard came to power in the 1996 election, interest rates were continuing on a downward path. By December 2001, the rate had dropped to 4.25%. Since then however, the rate has been climbing in line with Australia's booming economy.
Even though the Howard government enjoyed taking credit for the lowest interest rates in 20 years or more (actually it was from programmes put in place 10 years earlier), in reality, the government no longer has a direct say in what interest rates are doing. The policies of the government can influence the economy and that in turn drives the decision of the RBA.
You can almost guarantee at least another 2 rate rises over the next 6-9 months regardless of who wins the election on November 24. But after that, I don't think anyone knows for sure. Both parties are promising loads of tax cuts (up goes inflation) as well as large projects (up goes spending) which will no doubt affect the economy and influence further rate rises. If rates keep climbing, it will put pressure onto a sizable segment of the public who are already close or are over extended in their borrowings and all sorts of excrement will hit the rotating air movement device if they go to the wall.
In the end though, I wish the electorate would see through the tax cut and welfare gifts and just want things to be properly funded and properly managed and then we might start to get a decent government. But, I don't see that happening anytime soon...
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
It seems that absolutely every product on the market these days is going pink in support of or raising money for breast cancer research. There is bottled water, MP3 players, t-shirts, lighting, hair products, chcoclate biscuits, soft toys, etc.
And now even portable storage devices are going pink...
Just weeks after Western Digital colorized its Passport line of external hard drives, the firm is at it once more with a metallic pink iteration. This particular unit, however, promotes something a bit more important than your obsession with nightly backups, as WD has pledged to donate an undisclosed amount of cash to the National Breast Cancer Foundation for each one purchased from now until February 29, 2008. The drive comes stocked with 250GB of space, gets its juice directly from your USB port and is available now for $199.99 for those interested.
The pink wave that is flooding into all consumer products may just be a good marketing move by companies looking to cash in on those that are considered to be the most consumerist of the sexes, females. The companies make a good PR move, increase their profits a bit and keep their shareholders happy.
The bad side to this obvious manipulatiopn of our consumerist culture is that other cancers are being left out of the research funding pie, even though they affect just as many lives.
What I want to know is when the brown coloured products are going to start appearing to raise money for prostate cancer research. Prostate cancer affects more men than breast cancer affects women. In Western Australia alone, the incidence of protate cancer is approx. 120 cases per 100,000 population and the incidence of breast cancer is approx. is 115 cases per 100,000 [abs.gov.au]. Yet breast cancer receives more publicity and more funding. In 2004, the Federal Government gave $6.4 million to breast cancer research and only $2.5 million to prostate cancer research [National Health and Medical Research Council].
With Movember starting tomorrow, hopefully a whole heap of guys growing bad porn moustaches might start to even up this skewed playing field. If you can, flick some coin to two of my friends that are growing a mo':
- Nick - Member No: 91097
- Dale - Member No: 66071
Thursday, September 27, 2007
This trend is only a relatively recent phenomenon but everytime I see a vent on a modern car, it is nearly always a non-functional device designed to hold an indicator lamp.
Fender vents like those on the Holden HG Monaro and the classic Aston Martin DB4 actually served a purpose in releasing hot air from the high pressure zone inside the fenders aiding cooling and reducing drag.
Here are a few examples:
The Starter Button
Probably the wankiest of all ideas in recent times. I can understand a seperate starter button in a race car, where all the electrical circuits are isolated from each other to reduce the chances of failure. But why does a car like the Jaguar XK8 need a big red starter button?
Jaguar XK8 Cockpit
What was wrong with a single hand needed to put the key in the ignition and twist it? Was it really that hard?
They have gone backwards in adding a starter button to most cars, starting your car has gone from a single hand, single motion action, to a two hand, two motion action. Even worse is the completely ostentatious starter buttons that are starting to turn up in cars like the new Ford Mondeo.
Ford Mondeo Starter Button
Clear tail lights
The Lexus IS200, or Altezza in Japan, was the first car to come with clear tail lights. In certain colours like silver or black the clear tail lights looked okay, but when you moved to white, in particular, the tail lights just seemed to blend in and ruin the look of a decent looking car.
I don't blame Toyota for this fad, I blame this one on the aftermarket 'tuners' and their quest to turn something gimmicky into a fad. And then I blame car manufacturers for thinking they needed to use clear tail lights to appeal to the younger demographic. There are some absolutely horrid examples of OEM clear tail lights:
I won't go into the 3rd party clear tail lights, because they are usually much worse than an OEM attempt. If you want to see some crappy clear tail lights, just go to SEMA's website.
If you haven't seen a Bangle-butt up close, you have yet to see one of the worst pieces of design ever to occur on an automobile. A Bangle-butt is defined by the bootlid being much higher than the rear guards with a squared off edge to both the boot and rear guard, creating a stacked appearance. The best (worst) eaxample of the Bangle-butt is the BMW 6-series. Here it is:
As with the clear tail lights, I really don't mind if a single car or manufacturer has a bad or ugly design theme. What I do mind is when other manufacturers pick up on that bad design and apply it to their cars. In this case, the Bangle-butt has been used by Mercedes, Toyota and Honda. The sooner the Bangle-butt has a thighplasty, the better.
A good car design is all about getting the right proportions between the different parts of the car. The Ferrari 250GT, Jaguar E-type and Datsun 240Z are perfect examples of getting the bonnet length and rear overhang proportions just right.
But there seems to be a fad running through car designers that are having a competition at our expense. They seem to be trying to make the headlights on cars as big as possible whilst still making sure they sell.
Way back when, a headlight had a purely functional purpose. All it did was provide light and concessions were made in body shapes to accomodate this important piece of equipment. But over time, as with all other parts of a car, the headlight has become another piece in the stylists and designers little box of tricks.
The first car that came to mind with oversized headlights was the Honda Fit/Jazz:
Look at the size of those headllights. They nearly go all the way to the back of the bonnet. Admittedly, the bonnet is pretty small, but those lights are still huge. The last Celica is another good example of headlights that have grown too big for their britches:
Both of the examples shown are pretty girly cars (yes, the Celica is a girly car and has been for 20 years). Just like the way that females find big baby seal eyes to be cute, it may just be working on these cars. I don't care, I hate them.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Best email I've had for a while from the land of the long white cloud.
It certainly applies here too I think, so this is a message from another hard worker!!!
Message from a hard-working Kiwi
I work, they pay me. I pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit.
In order to earn that pay cheque, as I work in the timber industry, I am required to pass a random urine test, with which I have no problem in passing.
What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people who don't have to pass a urine test.
Shouldn't one have to pass a urine test to get a welfare cheque because I have to pass one to earn it for them??
Please understand - I have no problem with helping people get back on their feet.
I do on the other hand have a problem with helping someone sit on their arse drinking piss & smoking dope all day.
Could you imagine how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test to get a DPB cheque???
Please pass this along if you agree or simply delete if you don't.
Hope you all will pass it along though, because something has to change in this country, and soon!
Nevermind that you are required to take a urine test for safety and financial reasons for the company. The safety reason is an obvious one, the financial is not so obvious. Compensation payouts, lost production, reduced productivity all affect the bottom line of your employer.
But, you must take this whinge in context.
Of the total welfare budget of $96 billion, it is broken down in the following way:
- $34.5 billion for the aged
- $29.7 billion for familes with children (day care allowances, family assistance, baby bonus, etc.)
- $13.1 billion for those with disabilities
- $6 billion for veterans and dependents
- $5.3 billion for the unemployed
- $2.4 billion for administration (running Centrelink)
[figures from the 2007 Federal Budget]
The current rate of regular cannabis (most common illegal drug) usage in Australia is approximately 20%.
So we can estimate that 20% of dole users (maybe more) use cannabis on a regular basis. If you drug tested these people and eliminated them from the dole pool, you would save around $1 billion.
That $1 billion represents less than 0.4% of the total federal budget. Chasing 300,000 people for a urine test would be a big undertaking. How much would that cost, a few hundred million?
Really, is it worth it?
When $3 billion has already been spent on deploying troops to an illegal war, I reckon chasing some dole bludgers is the least of our concerns.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
After a vote, the New 7 Wonders of the World has been announced. As expected, the event didn't pass without some complaining (but that is just Sydney people for you).
The new list is:
- Colosseum, Italy
- Taj Mahal, India
- Great Wall of China
- Petra, Jordan
- Christ the Redeemer, Brasil
- Machu Picchu, Peru
- Pyramid at Chichen Itza, Mexico
For the most part, I agree with the list. But there is one glaring 'Wonder' that is the odd one out. The only 'Wonder' in the list that is less than 100 years old.
I really think that the City of Angkor in Cambodia should have been on the list. Built between 900 and 1200 AD, the city ruins contain over a thousand temples. The most impressive of these being Angkor Wat, which holds the distinction of being the world's largest single religious monument.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
As with any winter, there are always a few good influenza viruses that get passed around and we all get sick at least once. Some of these viruses give you a headache and make you feel crap for a few days, while others that hit you and you are confined to bed with fevers for days on end.
Last weekend Calvin (3 and half now) came down with a massive fever and slept for nearly all of Sunday. His fever was quite severe but we did what you should do and gave Nurofen or Panadol to bring the fever down and if necessary put him in a tepid shower to help bring the temp down.
By Wednesday he was back to normal, although he has had a nose like a dripping tap for the last few days.
Then on Thursday the news came out that 3 children under 5 died in Perth due to the flu and issued a warning through the media that medical help should be sought if a child started showing signs of respiratory illness. The full announcement by the health department gave details on how to spot the symptoms. Now the fun starts...
The news, at their sensationalist best, reported the 3 deaths and that parents should be on the lookout for a high fever and a cough. Pretty much standard fare for any good flu.
Here is the result:
Hospitals packed in flu scare
HUNDREDS of concerned parents have packed hospital emergency departments across Perth following an influenza warning from health authorities after the deaths of three young children.
Their action was prompted by a call from Western Australia's Department of Health urging parents to seek early medical attention for young children showing signs of respiratory illness.
What a wonderful way of making sure you have something to report over the weekend.
Now multiple news outlets are reporting that hospitals have been inundated and have started turning the reports into attacks on the government for not funding the hospitals properly. Of course, the media don't accept any fault in the panic they caused.
The 3-step program for mainstream media:
1. Half-report and sensationalise a potentially serious issue
2. Sit back and watch the panic
I hate mainstream media...
Monday, July 02, 2007
Farmers miss out on rain
FARMERS in WA's drought-stricken wheatbelt region have received only scattered rain from powerful storms which lashed parts of the state.
Several frontal systems passed through WA's south-west at the weekend and today brought more than 60 millimetres of rain to parts of Perth.
But struggling farmers in the central and northern wheatbelt, including three communities receiving exceptional circumstances funding after six years of drought, have largely missed out.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Steve West said those areas received little rain.
"It's been patchy, the falls in general have been between 5mm and 10mm. There are showers off the coast there now so there are a few more millimetres for them," Mr West said this afternoon.
WA Farmers Federation president Trevor De Landgrafft said it was not enough.
"It's unfortunate, they were quite small showers," Mr De Landgrafft said.
"They keep things going, keep the dream alive."
"But most people haven't had any good falls at all to have made an impact on being able to seed some land or getting a germination of land that was seeded."
"The central and northern Wheatbelt are really looking quite dire."
I've had enough, when will these farmers stop bleating about a lack of rain and doing something to try and fix their problems?
The farmers are a victim of their own profession, the very process of creating their farmland is reducing the rainfall they get. In recent years, lots of study has gone into the effects of deforestation. It has been found that deforestation is linked very closely with reduced rainfall [1, 2, 3]. With reduced vegetation less moisture is transpired back to the atmosphere, and with the accompanying increased ground exposure, base cloud levels are driven upward (warmer air) and are less likely to produce rain when they reach areas of increased altitude.
If you go for a drive through the wheatbelt of Western Australia, you can drive tens of kilometres in between seeing sections of native bush. The wheatbelt was once covered with bush that was cleared to make way for the crops. Removal of this much vegetation has got to have an affect on the environment, in particular, the hydrological cycle.
As with rising salt and erosion, I would be pretty confident that (re)planting more trees would help rectify these situations. It won't have an immediate effect, just like clearing the land in the first place didn't have an immediate effect on the climate but it is a start. It may mean the loss of some farmland but isn't that a bit better than losing your whole farmland and livelihood through lack of rain?
Farmers aren't the only ones to blame for this, but they are the ones whinging loudest. Stop your bleating and do something about it...
Friday, June 29, 2007
The people over at Rupert Murdoch's news empire must be finding it hard to find some real content for their news site News.com.au.
Just look at what the biggest story of the day is:
The sub story anout Prince WIlliam being snubbed by John Howard to be a future Governor General of Australia is non-news as well.
Can't they find something better?
Thursday, June 28, 2007
...about the new Apple iPhone that everyone seems to be wetting themselves over:
iPhone: the Paris Hilton of gadgets. Pretty, thin, expensive and missing some key features.
Until the iPhone gets 3G connectivity, it ain't worth buying for the price.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
A Victorian strip club has hit upon a great idea, the winner of their weekly poker night gets a free half-hour voucher for the local brothel. This is marketing at its best, instead of the standard in advertising of alluding to sex (although some go way further than others), this strip club just gives it away.
But, of course, there are some folks who think this is a bad thing...
A VICTORIAN strip bar has sparked outrage by rewarding the winner of its Saturday night poker tournament with a brothel voucher.
Alley Cat Hotel owner Fred Scharkosi says the prize has made it the busiest Texas hold 'em poker house in Geelong.
"Some venues offer a drink card or a chicken parma - ours is a free half-hour session at the local bordello," Mr Scharkosi said.
Family groups are disgusted.
"We are seriously disappointed that a local business thinks that a brothel voucher is an appropriate prize to hand out in a public venue," Australian Family Association president Angela Conway said.
What the fuck is this family group smoking. It isn't exactly a public venue. It is a strip club for god's sake. The people who frequent these establishments are looking for a specialised form of entertainment and the prize for twinning the poker tournament is the pinnacle of that entertainment.
And anyway, if people don't want to win a half-hour voucher at a brothel, they don't have to enter the tournament. And even if someone that was married and/or had a family, I reckon he would give the voucher to a single mate in exchange for a carton or three. Everyone wins...
Whenever there is a complaint like this, the Australian Family Association are generally the wankers responsible for the ruckus. What happened to the notion that people can choose their own path. With my, albeit limited, experience with strip clubs, I would be guessing that there would be a fairly wide crossover between the patrons of strip clubs and brothels.
I went looking for some more information about the Australian Family Association and found it here http://www.family.org.au/, in all its 90s HTML goodness.
The objectives for which the Association is established are as follows:
(i) to cultivate within society an appreciation that the integrity and well being of the family is essential to the stability, morale, security and prosperity of the Australian nation;
(ii) to analyze laws and policies for their effect on the family and to formulate and promote corrective measures as necessary;
(iii) to support initiatives taken by other individuals and organisations in support of the traditional family;
(iv) by means of conferences, seminars and the active involvement of individuals and groups, to create public awareness of the fundamental importance of the family unit;
(v) to facilitate research and act as a resource centre for the effective pursuit of the Association's objectives;
(vi) to facilitate programs in family education;
(vii) to promote and encourage the development of services to assist families in difficulties; and
(viii) to do all such things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.
How does complaining about a strip club poker tournament fit into those objectives? I'd really like to know.
They have action plans in the following areas:
- Stem cell research - They are against all stem cell research on embryos, regardless of whether they have been fertilised or not. Nevermind the non-fertilised embryos would never have been a baby in the first place...
- Internet pornography - They actually want all internet traffic in Australia to be filtered to stop all porn from being accessed by anyone, that includes adults who apparently aren't mature enough to make their own decisions.
- Gay marriages - No gays allowed to marry.
- Abortion - I don't think this will ever be resolved, regardless of religious intervention.
How does banning stem cell research affect most families in Australia? Thinking about it, I would have to say that banning stem cell research would be more detrimental to a family. Embryonic stem cell research seems to offer the most hope for finding the answer to cure many illnesses that rip families apart. The eggs that are used in somatic cell nuclear transfer stem cell research are eggs that are donated and would probably never be fertilised and be discarded after 3-5 years on ice.
As a long time user of the internet (>12 years now), I think I have seen a fair proportion of what is out there. There is some pretty sick stuff and I would never let my kid see it. But I don't see why the government should be made to enforce a ban on all internet pornography. Why doesn't the AFA push for more education to help parents know how to protect their own children from porn? Of course they wouldn't do that because they want to control us, not let us make our own informed decision.
It seems like most of their action areas have more to do with controlling how people choose to live their lives, rather than improving the situation of families.
Don't they have anything better to do with their time? It seems not.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Or 70% more likely to be gay.
Roy Morgan did a survey into sports fans and their habits. Primarily
to help advertisers know how effective or how worthwhile it is to
sponsor a footbal club.
You can find it here.
And going by some of the results, I reckon there would be some big companies that were quite happy with spending their sponsorship dollars. See the following:
- West Coast Eagles supporters are 35% more likely to have eaten at a Hungry Jack’s outlet in the last four weeks
- Essendon Bombers supporters are 20% more likely to have 3 Mobile as their mobile phone service provider
- Sydney Swans supporters are 38% more likely to have Vodafone as their mobile phone service provider
Along with the serious results of the survey, it managed to find a few results that I found amusing:
- Richmond fans are gay - Richmond Tigers supporters are 70% more likely to agree that "I consider myself a homosexual"
- Carlton fans are gay too - Carlton Blues supporters are 36% more
likely to agree that "I consider myself a homosexual"
- And we now know why the Eagles play harder to beat Carlton and
Richmond - West Coast Eagles supporters are 17% more likely to agree
that "I believe homosexuality is immoral"
- Adelaide fans are dole bludgers - Adelaide Crows supporters are 11%
more likely to agree that "I think it's the Government's duty to
support those who can't find work"
- Brisbane fans are a little slow - Brisbane Lions supporters are 45%
more likely to agree that "I need a mobile phone to access the
- Freo fans like BBQ Chicken - Fremantle Dockers supporters are 99% more likely to have eaten at a Red Rooster restaurant in the last four
- Freo fans are a group of handy folk - Fremantle Dockers supporters are
35% more likely to have made a purchase from Bunnings in the last four
- Saints fans are bogans or ricers - St Kilda Saints supporters are 54%
more likely to have made a purchase from Autobarn in the last four
- West Coast fans are (surprise, surprise) snobs - West Coast Eagles
supporters are 50% more likely to agree that "It only feels like a
holiday if I leave Australia"
- Footscray fans are tossers - Western Bulldogs supporters are 118% more likely to have made a purchase from Colorado in the last four weeks
Here is the full list of results:
When compared to all AFL supporters:
Adelaide Crows supporters are:
• 77% more likely to have eaten at a Pizza Haven restaurant in the last four weeks;
• 40% more likely to have consumed Sunkist in the last seven days;
• 21% more likely to agree that “If I could afford to eat out every night I would”;
• 18% more likely to agree that “I would have difficulty coping with a demanding job or career”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “I avoid staying at accommodation that does not have genuine environmental policies”;
• 16% more likely to agree that “I believe homosexuality is immoral”;
• 14% more likely to agree that “TV advertising often gives me something to talk about”;
• 14% more likely to agree that “Quite often I find TV advertising more entertaining than the programs”;
• 11% more likely to agree that “I think it’s the Government’s duty to support those who can’t find work”;
• 23% less likely to agree that “I seldom have time for breakfast”;
• 12% less likely to agree that “I often take advantage of the special offers on the back of my supermarket shopping docket”;
• 10% less likely to agree that “I enjoy buying magazines”.
Brisbane Lions supporters are:
• 45% more likely to agree that “I need a mobile phone to access the Internet”;
• 39% more likely to have eaten at a Red Rooster restaurant in the last four weeks;
• 26% more likely to agree that “I often take advantage of the special offers on the back of my supermarket shopping docket”;
• 23% more likely to agree that “If I didn’t have to carry a mobile phone for work, I wouldn’t have one at all”;
• 15% more likely to agree that “I buy the same food every week”;
• 14% (of respondents aged 18+) more likely to agree that “I like promotions that offer free gifts with a purchase of alcohol”;
• 13% (of respondents aged 18+) more likely to agree that “I drink alcohol mostly at home”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “I use coupons I find in magazines or on packets”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “My job often takes me outside of mobile phone network range”;
• 11% more likely to have Vodafone as their mobile phone service provider;
• 11% more likely to agree that “I often notice the advertisements on the tops and backs of taxis”;
• 11% less likely to agree that “I choose a car mainly on its looks”.
Carlton Blues supporters are:
• 41% more likely to have consumed Pepsi Light in the last seven days;
• 39% more like to have eaten at a Nando’s restaurant in the last four weeks;
• 36% more likely to agree that “I consider myself a homosexual”;
• 31% more likely to agree that “I usually notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I go grocery shopping”;
• 30% more likely to agree that “I sometimes use force to get things done”;
• 20% more likely to agree that “Quite often I find TV advertising more entertaining than the programs”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “There’s too much change going on these days”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “I choose a car mainly on its looks”;
• 15% more likely to agree that “I’m worried about interest rates at the moment”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “I always read the business section of the newspaper”;
• 12% more likely to agree that “I often enter competitions run by newspapers, magazines or radio stations”;
• 24% less likely to agree that “Computers and technology give me more control over my life”;
• 12% less likely to agree that “I’m a bit of an intellectual”.
Collingwood Magpies supporters are:
• 104% more likely to have made a purchase from Dimmeys/Forges in the last four weeks;
• 67% more likely to have made a purchase from The Athlete’s Foot in the last four weeks;
• 22% more likely to agree that “I avoid dairy foods whenever possible”;
• 21% more likely to have consumed V (energy drink) in the last seven days;
• 20% more likely to agree that “The food I eat is all, or almost all, vegetarian”;
• 19% (of respondents aged 18+) more likely to agree that “Australian beer is the only beer worth drinking”;
• 16% (of respondents aged 18+) more likely to agree that “Imported beer is a waste of money”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “I choose a car mainly on its looks”;
• 12% more likely to agree that “None of this stuff about the information super-highway makes sense to me”;
• 12% more likely to agree that “I’m constantly watching my weight”;
• 21% less likely to agree that “I regularly go to church or my place of worship”;
• 11% less likely to agree that “I always read the business section of the newspaper”;
• 11% less likely to agree that “I like things to stay the same”.
Essendon Bombers supporters are:
• 92% more likely to have consumed Red Bull in the last seven days;
• 35% more likely to agree that “I prefer the bright lights and big cities when I travel”;
• 34% more likely to agree that “I was born to shop”;
• 23% more likely to agree that “I need a mobile phone to give me more control over my life”;
• 20% more likely to have 3 Mobile as their mobile phone service provider;
• 20% more likely to agree that “I wear clothes that will get me noticed”;
• 18% more likely to agree that “It’s important to look fashionable”;
• 16% more likely to have eaten at a KFC restaurant in the last four weeks;
• 15% more likely to agree that “I buy more of a store’s own products than well known brands”;
• 15% more likely to agree that “I would seriously consider buying a 3G phone”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “I find TV advertising interesting”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “I often enter competitions which are on packets or labels on products”;
• 18% less likely to agree that “I often notice the advertisements on the tops and backs of taxis”.
Fremantle Dockers supporters are:
• 99% more likely to have eaten at a Red Rooster restaurant in the last four weeks;
• 35% more likely to have made a purchase from Bunnings in the last four weeks;
• 27% more likely to have Telstra as their mobile phone service provider;
• 23% more likely to agree that “I always think of the number of calories in the food I’m eating”;
• 22% more likely to agree that “I often enter competitions run by newspapers, magazines or radio stations”;
• 21% more likely to agree that “Crime is a growing problem in my community”;
• 14% more likely to agree that “I’m concerned about my cholesterol level”;
• 14% more likely to agree that “I feel less safe than I used to”;
• 26% less likely to agree that “I often take advantage of the special offers on the back of my supermarket shopping docket”;
• 26% less likely to agree that “I often notice the advertisements on the tops and backs of taxis”;
• 25% less likely to agree that “I love to do as many sports as possible”;
• 11% less likely to agree that “I can’t miss seeing those big billboard signs”;
• 11% less likely to agree that “I find TV advertising interesting”.
Geelong Cats supporters are:
• 40% more likely to have made a purchase from Harris Scarfe in the last four weeks;
• 34% more likely to have made a purchase from the ABC Shop in the last four weeks;
• 21% more likely to agree that “I try to buy organic food whenever I can”;
• 20% more likely to agree that “I avoid staying at accommodation that does not have genuine environmental policies”;
• 33% less likely to agree that “I need a mobile phone to access the Internet”;
• 21% (of respondents aged 18+) less likely to agree that “Beer is often a good way to start the night”;
• 19% less likely to agree that “I often enter competitions run by newspapers, magazines or radio stations”;
• 17% less likely to agree that “I usually notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I go grocery shopping”;
• 14% less likely to agree that “I find TV advertising interesting”;
• 12% less likely to agree that “I always read the business section of the newspaper”.
Hawthorn Hawks supporters are:
• 16% more likely to agree that “I often buy take away food to eat at home”;
• 15% more likely to agree that “Terrorists deserve the same rights as other criminals”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “I’m a bit of an intellectual”;
• 29% less likely to agree that “I always think of the number of calories in the food I’m eating”;
• 28% less likely to agree “I often enter competitions which are on packets or labels on products”;
• 28% less likely to agree that “I often enter competitions run by newspapers, magazines or radio stations”;
• 24% less likely to agree that “TV advertising often gives me something to talk about”;
• 22% less likely to agree that “I would have difficulty coping with a demanding job or career”;
• 15% less likely to agree that “I find TV advertising interesting”.
Kangaroos supporters are:
• 83% more likely to have consumed Red Bull in the last seven days;
• 38% more likely to have 3 Mobile as their mobile phone service provider;
• 27% more likely to agree that “I wear clothes that will get me noticed”;
• 24% more likely to have eaten at a Subway restaurant in the last four weeks;
• 19% more likely to agree that “Freedom is more important than the law”;
• 18% more likely to agree that “I enjoy buying magazines”;
• 18% more likely to agree that “I’m shy in social situations”;
• 18% more likely to agree that “I think it’s the Government’s duty to support those who can’t find work”;
• 18% more likely to agree that “I usually notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I go grocery shopping”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “I’m a bit of an intellectual”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “I often enter competitions which are on packets or labels on products”, but
• 21% less likely to agree that “I often take advantage of the special offers on the back of my supermarket shopping docket” and
• 17% less likely to agree that “I often redeem coupons to get discounts or special offers”.
Melbourne Demons supporters are:
• 37% more likely to agree that “I always read the business section of the newspaper”;
• 27% more likely to agree that “I like to drink wine with my meals”;
• 24% more likely to have 3 Mobile as their mobile phone service provider;
• 18% more likely to have made a purchase from David Jones in the last four weeks;
• 15% more likely to agree that “A low fat diet is a way of life for me”;
• 14% more likely to agree that “The Government is doing a good job running the country”;
• 14% more likely to agree that “The Australian economy appears to be improving”;
• 12% more likely to agree that “I believe a percentage of everyone’s income should go to charities”;
• 36% less likely to agree that “I often take advantage of the special offers on the back of my supermarket shopping docket”;
• 33% less likely to agree that “I often enter competitions run by newspapers, magazines or radio stations”;
• 19% less likely to agree that “I use coupons I find in magazines or on packets”.
Port Adelaide Power supporters are:
• 197% more likely to have made a purchase from Harris Scarfe in the last four weeks;
• 37% more likely to agree that “I usually notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I go grocery shopping”;
• 34% more likely to agree that “I don’t like to know too much about what’s going on in the world these days”;
• 30% more likely to agree that “Freedom is more important than the law”;
• 23% more likely to agree that “My pet is a fussy eater”;
• 21% more likely to agree that “For my next holiday, I’d really like a total ecotourism experience”;
• 20% more likely to agree that “I avoid staying at accommodation that does not have genuine environmental policies”;
• 19% more likely to have Vodafone as their mobile phone service provider;
• 16% more likely to agree that “I sometimes use force to get things done”;
• 15% more likely to agree that “I don’t read the ads in newspapers and magazines”;
• 12% more likely to agree that “I believe in taking risks”;
• 11% more likely to agree that “It is important to have a full social life”;
• 19% less likely to agree that “I often enter competitions which are on packets or labels on products”.
Richmond Tigers supporters are:
• 70% more likely to agree that “I consider myself a homosexual”;
• 38% more likely to have consumed Pepsi in the last seven days;
• 38% more likely to agree that “My job often takes me outside of mobile phone network range”;
• 36% more likely to agree that “I need a mobile phone to access the Internet”;
• 31% more likely to agree that “I usually notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I go grocery shopping”;
• 24% more likely to have Vodafone as their mobile phone service provider;
• 18% more likely to agree that “I look for new experiences every day”;
• 18% more likely to agree that “Quite often I find TV advertising more entertaining than the programs”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “I like to be with a crowd of people”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “Threats to the environment are exaggerated”;
• 15% less likely to agree that “I often redeem coupons to get discounts or special offers”;
• 12% less likely to agree that “I use coupons I find in magazines or on packets”.
St Kilda Saints supporters are:
• 54% more likely to have made a purchase from Autobarn in the last four weeks;
• 52% more likely to agree that “The food I eat is all, or almost all, vegetarian”;
• 50% more likely to have made a purchase from Clint’s Crazy Bargains in the last four weeks;
• 31% more likely to agree that “I usually notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I go grocery shopping”;
• 16% more likely to agree that “People often compliment me on my cooking”;
• 14% more likely to agree that “I always think of the number of calories in the food I’m eating”;
• 12% more likely to agree that “I find TV advertising interesting”;
• 30% less likely to agree that “I’d consider doing some of my grocery shopping on the Internet in the next 12 months”;
• 25% less likely to agree that “Imported beer is a waste of money”;
• 21% less likely to agree that “I often enter competitions which are on packets or labels on products”;
• 17% less likely to agree that “I often enter competitions run by newspapers, magazines or radio stations”;
Sydney Swans supporters are:
• 42% more likely to have made a purchase from Gloria Jean’s in the last four weeks;
• 38% more likely to have Vodafone as their mobile phone service provider;
• 23% more likely to agree that “It only feels like a holiday if I leave Australia”;
• 19% more likely to agree that “I often notice the advertisements on the tops and backs of taxis”;
• 19% more likely to agree that “I believe a percentage of everyone’s income should go to charities”;
• 18% more likely to agree that “I regularly go to church or my place of worship”;
• 15% (of respondents aged 18+) more likely to agree that “I drink more premium beer now than I used to”;
• 15% more likely to agree that “I love to do as many sports as possible”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “I often take advantage of the special offers on the back of my supermarket shopping docket”;
• 11% more likely to agree that “TV advertising often gives me something to talk about”;
West Coast Eagles supporters are:
• 59% more likely to have made a purchase from Dymocks book store in the last four weeks;
• 50% more likely to agree that “It only feels like a holiday if I leave Australia”;
• 37% more likely to agree that “I often enter competitions run by newspapers, magazines or radio stations”;
• 35% more likely to have eaten at a Hungry Jack’s outlet in the last four weeks;
• 24% more likely to agree that “I always think of the number of calories in the food I’m eating”;
• 22% more likely to agree that “I usually notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I go grocery shopping”;
• 22% more likely to agree that “I buy the same food every week”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “I believe homosexuality is immoral”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “The Australian economy appears to be improving”;
• 16% more likely to agree that “I don’t like to know too much about what’s going on in the world these days”;
• 13% more likely to agree that “I often notice the advertisements on the tops and backs of taxis”;
• 14% less likely to agree that “I always read the business section of the newspaper”;
• 12% less likely to agree that “Homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt children”.
Western Bulldogs supporters are:
• 118% more likely to have made a purchase from Colorado in the last four weeks;
• 81% more likely to agree that “I usually notice the advertisements on shopping trolleys when I go grocery shopping”;
• 40% more likely to have consumed Sprite in the last seven days;
• 38% more likely to agree that “Quite often I find TV advertising more entertaining than the programs”;
• 37% more likely to agree that “I often enter competitions which are on packets or labels on products”;
• 35% more likely to agree that “I find TV advertising interesting”;
• 27% more likely to agree that “I always read the business section of the newspaper”;
• 22% more likely to agree that “TV advertising often gives me something to talk about”;
• 19% more likely to agree that “I enjoy buying magazines”;
• 17% more likely to agree that “I often enter competitions run by newspapers, magazines or radio stations”;
• 12% more likely to agree that “I use coupons I find in magazines or on packets”;
• 22% less likely to agree that “Nearly all TV advertising annoys me”;
Friday, June 08, 2007
TELSTRA chief executive Sol Trujillo has warned the Government that Telstra will cancel any plans to build a $4.5 billion high-speed fibre broadband network if there is no decision on who should build it by the end of next month.
Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has given the government a month to settle the Broadband stalemate
The private threat came as Telstra also attempted to ratchet up the public pressure on the Government by revealing the cheapest price for its proposed broadband network.
In a briefing to journalists yesterday, Telstra executives said the company would charge $59 a month to its rivals for access to a basic service.
But this would give users relatively slow speeds of 512kbps -- only double the current basic model and just 1 per cent ofthe maximum speeds of 50Mbps possible with Telstra's proposed new fibre network. Customers wanting higher speeds would have to pay much more and Telstra is understood to have plans to withdraw its $59-a-month price after two years.
$59 wholsale for a pissy little 512 kbps connection. You may as well sign up to Optus or Vodafone's wireless internet and get 1-1.5 Mbps for the same money. Optus labelled the announcement as an "insult to all Australian businesses and consumers". Which is pretty much standard Telstra practice.
The insult continues:
Despite the $59 entry-level pricing announced yesterday, Telstra wants its average wholesale price to be about $85 a month and its top price is understood to be well over $100 a month.
Averaging $85 a month for what I presume to be a 1-4 Mbps connection is outrageous. Is Telstra trying to find a way of not spending $4.5 billion on a new network, when they can rip off people on an old existing network?
Thursday, June 07, 2007
"I saw the ad for electric scissors during an episode of The Simple Life, which is a show that glorifies these two rich, giggling cunts who have no respect for anybody -- just vile people, awful human beings who get away with everything because they're rich...and then the blonde one'll blow you, apparently. But here's the thing: I saw that ad for electric scissors during one of the highest-rated shows in America, about these two rich fuckin' mean pieces of shit, and I vowed that I'm gonna retain that image every time I hear President Bush say 'The terrorists hate our freedom.' You know what? I hate our freedom. Me. Little old me, I'm an American (and) I fuckin' hate it. We are assholes, man." - David Cross, It's Not Funny
I thought that when Paris Hilton was sentenced to jail, the world might be coming to their senses and start treating that rich giggling cunt the same way the rest of us are. But it seems that some people are more equal than others:
Hotel heiress Paris Hilton was released from prison on Thursday for medical reasons after serving just over three days of a 23-day sentence but she will be confined to her home for 40 days, officials said.
Steve Whitmore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office said Hilton had been "reassigned" though he declined to give specific information on her medical condition for privacy reasons.
So due to some mystery medical issue after just 3 days of her 23 day sentence, she gets to go home and stay there for 40 more days. I'm sure being confined to home at Paris' place is a bit different to the rest of us.
What medical condition can show up in just 3 days of being in prison. 23 hours of her day are spent in her cell. Ummm... at what point does detox side-effects kick in after stopping drug use? Am I just starting a vicious rumour, maybe so, but it does seem a little fishy to me...
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
You won't be seeing one of these sensors in your fashioncam any time soon. Canon has built a 50 megapixel CMOS monstrosity, which is reportedly almost twice the resolution of its nearest competition, and is prepping it as a sort of large format surveillance camera for monitoring large, busy areas such as parking lots and theme parks, along with detailed work like factory part inspections. Despite the sensor's clear industrial-end aims, Canon has managed to build its prototype at 19 x 28mm in size, the same dimensions of the sensors in its DSLR cameras, so who knows where this tech could end up in the long run. So far Canon hasn't even announced release plans for this current incarnation, so we aren't going to go hawking our existing shooter just yet.
50 megapixels would be amazing. Although it introduces so many issues like processing the data in real-time and storing all those bits. Imagine the size of the RAW files that come out of this thing. If my camera (a Canon D60, 6.3 megapixel) produces a RAW file anywhere between 5 MB and 9 MB, multiply that resolution by 8 and using the lossless compression you would have to estimate (depending on the algorithm) the RAW files would be 40 MB or more...
Monday, June 04, 2007
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Stupid me. I got done for speeding this morning. 74 in a 60 zone measured, rounded down to 72 in a 60... My fault, I was watching the road (2 or 3 cars in the vicinity) and forgot to constantly look at my speedo to make sure I never went 1 km/h over the speed limit.
And thanks to double demerit weekend, it ended up being $150 and 4 points. Oh well, it was my first speeding ticket in 4 years. Grrr...
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I still find it amazing that these Frech guys managed to create such an amazing song with only 3 words repeated again and again. Then add this hypnotic video and you have a combination that would reduce someone's productivity to zero.
Here are a couple of others songs by Daft Punk:
But I am going to start a new regime of making a blog post every day. I don't care if anyone reads my posts because I find the act of writing something is a good mind exercise other than programming or working out how to answer my sons favourite question of 'Why?'.
Anyway, new blog post coming soon.
Friday, May 18, 2007
The Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, has released some sample questions from the citizenship test that will be used for potential immigrants from later this year. Some of the questions are complete no-brainers, but others I reckon most Aussies would be taking a guess at. Wouldn't it be great, immigrants will know more about Australia than the people born here.
Have a go at them and leave your score in the comments.
An exclusive insight into the likely content of a new 'Aussie values' test for potential Australian citizens which will come into effect later this year.
Sample questions devised by the Federal Government:
1. Which colours are represented on the Australian flag?
a. Green and yellow
b. Red, black and yellow
c. Blue, red and white
d. Orange and purple
2. Indigenous people have lived in Australia for ...
a. At least 40,000 years
b. About 8000 years
c. About 800 years
d. Less that 400 years
3. Australia's national flower is the ...
c. Kangaroo paw
4. Which is a popular sport in Australia?
a. Ice hockey
b. Water polo
d. Table tennis
5. Australia's political system is a ...
a. Parliamentary democracy
d. Socialist state
6. The Capital of Australia is...
7. Which animals are on the Australian Coat of Arms?
a. Wombat and echidna
b. Kangaroo and emu
c. Kangaroo and dingo
d. Lion and unicorn
8. Where did the first European settlers to Australia come from?
9. Who is Australia's head of state?
a. Prime Minister John Howard
b. Queen Elizabeth II
c. Governor General Michael Jeffery
d. Premier Steve Bracks
10. Who was the first Prime Minister of Australia?
a. Sir Edmund Barton
b. Sir Henry Parkes
c. John Curtin
d. Sir Robert Menzies
11. What song is Australia's national anthem?
a. God Save the Queen
b. Star Spangled Banner
c. Advance Australia Fair
d. Waltzing Matilda
12. What do you call the elected head of a state government?
d. Prime Minister
13. Which federal political party or parties are in power?
a. Australian Labor Party
b. Australian Democrats and the Australian Greens
c. National Party
d. Liberal Party and National Party
14. Which of the following are Australian values?
a. Men and women are equal
b. `A fair go'
d. All of the above
15. Australia's values are based on the ...
a. Teachings of the Koran
b. The Judaeo-Christian tradition
16. What does Anzac Day commemorate?
a. The Gallipoli landing
b. Armistice Day
c. The Battle of the Somme
d. Victory in the Pacific
17. In what year did the first European settlers arrive?
18. How many states are there in Australia?
19. Australian soldiers fought in ...
a. World War I and World War II
b. Korean War
c. Vietnam War
d. All of the above
20. What is Australia's biggest river system?
a. The Murray Darling
b. The Murrumbidgee
c The Yarra
d. The Mississippi
1) C, 2) A, 3) B, 4) C, 5) A, 6) D, 7) B, 8) C, 9) B, 10) A, 11) C, 12) B, 13) D, 14) D, 15) B, 16) A, 17) C, 18) B, 19) D, 20) A
I got 20/20, but I'm a nerd and actually listened when I went to school...
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Got a question for you, if you ran a business supplying a much sought after and decreasing product, would you try to A) make as much money as you can now or B) sell the product at a modest profit to keep your customers happy even though they will buy the product even if you doubled the price?
Like most people in business, I am guessing you chose option A. Now apply that situation to the oil companies. Lately as petrol prices have started to creep up, even though the price per barrel of oil has levelled off, the oil companies have been copping it from all sides. Sure they are making big profits, but that is outweighed by the limited lifespan of the business they are in.
Do people believe they have a right to get cheap petrol? Oil companies aren't there to be a charity for the masses. They are there to serve their shareholders and to make money for them. If they could charge AU$2 per litre (~US$6.50 per gallon) for fuel and people would pay for it (and the government not regulate them), I think they would. I think an old saying said it best 'Make hay while the sun shines'. At present the sun is shining for the oil producers of the world, production is at its highest levels ever and we are consuming every bit of oil that they can give us.
The oil comnpanies know that oil will eventually run out, estimates of between 20-80 years are common and there are new technologies in the pipeline (electric, hydrogen, etc) that will reduce the world's reliance on oil which will either put the oil companies out of business or force them to cut back on the scale of their operations significantly.
If people were truly pissed off with paying the current AU$1.40 per litre in AUstralia, $3 a gallon in the US or 94p per litre in the UK they would just reduce the amount they drive and use other methods of transport.
The same people whinging are also the same people that drive 4WDs, Falcons and Commodores, some of the biggest fuel users on our roads. Why don't they get a smaller car, or at least a car with a smaller engine, or convert? Stop ya whinging and find a way around it. Whinging about fuel prices won't mean shit when we run out.
Friday, May 11, 2007
I read with some surprise this morning that the NSW Government has decided to put in place a compulsory ethanol percentage in all fuel to be sold in NSW.
From ABC Online:
Ethanol to be in every NSW car
New South Wales is set to become the first state to mandate the use of ethanol in petrol.
The Minister for Rural Affairs and Regional Development, Tony Kelly, says the plan is for fuel to contain 2 per cent Ethanol from September onwards.
Mr Kelly says the move will have many benefits for the environment and rural Australia.
"The time for talk on Ethanol is over," he said.
"The Federal government has gone missing on biofuel, so it's up to the states and territories now to lead the way."
"I've outlined to Parliament the Government's intention to implement the 2 per cent mandate to meet the desired timeframe, and we'll shortly bring legislation before parliament."
"It's also fantastic for the environment. It helps reduce the effect on the environment particularly smog particles."
"It also replaces the fuel we import from overseas. A decade ago we imported $488 million worth of fuel from overseas. Last year we imported $10 billion worth."
Is this really worth an announcement? 2 per cent? Is that all. At least make a real damn effort and make it 10 or 15 per cent.
No matter what the percentage the increased use of ethanol will be good for CO2 emissions as it is much closer to being carbon neutral than the current oil based products are.
But the piece of information that got me was this:
"It's also fantastic for the environment. It helps reduce the effect on the environment particularly smog particles."
What a blatant lie to give to the public. Ethanol actually creates more smog through the emission of unburnt ethanol from a car's exhaust.
From a New Scientist article on a Stanford environment model:
The findings run counter to the idea that ethanol is a cleaner-burning fuel. Cars running on gasoline emit a number of pollutants – including nitrogen dioxide and organic molecules like acetaldehyde – that react with sunlight to form ozone.
Along with many of the same pollutants as gasoline, a large amount of unburned ethanol gas escapes into the atmosphere. That vapour readily breaks down in sunlight to form acetaldehyde, which can send ozone levels soaring.
While ethanol-burning cars will emit fewer carcinogens such as benzene and butadiene, they will spew out 20 times as much acetaldehyde as those using conventional fuel, Jacobsen found.
Ozone is one of the main constituents of smog, which carries a number of health risks.
My biggest concern with the use of ethanol is what plant matter is used in the production of the ethanol. At present in the US, the main crop that is used to produce ethanol is corn, which can produce 3461 litres of ethanol per hectare, which is considered to be quite low, and at a cost of US$142 per ton. There are many other crops which are far more efficient producers of ethanol than corn is.
A few other ethanol crops source (from Wikipedia):
Miscanthus - 14031 L/ha, US$70/ton
Switchgrass - 10757 L/ha, US$40/ton
Sweet Potatoes - 10000 L/ha
Sugar Cane - 6192 L/ha, US$315/ton
Corn - 3461 L/ha, US$142/ton
As you can see there are many other better crops for ethanol production than Corn, and for that matter Sugar Cane. I can't find the figures now, but I have read that Hemp produces 4 times as much ethanol as corn and is cheaper to produce as well.
Another very major concern with using ethanol is diverting food crops into the production of ethanol which will cause the price of food to increase. We have already had some major increases in food prices due to the drought, you just imagine what would happen if more crops and water were diverted into the production of ethanol. There is also the concern of farmland reduction due to salinity.
I don't think ethanol is the answer to the world's dependence on oil, but it could be used in the medium term until a better solution comes along. For example, there has been a fair bit of research into a process called 'Thermal Depolymerization' which is explained as follows:
Thermal depolymerization (TDP) is a process for the reduction of complex organic materials (usually waste products of various sorts, often known as biomass and plastic) into light crude oil. It mimics the natural geological processes thought to be involved in the production of fossil fuels. Under pressure and heat, long chain polymers of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon decompose into short-chain petroleum hydrocarbons with a maximum length of around 18 carbons.
At present the process is in operation, but the cost of its oil is around US$80 a barrel, a bit higher than the dino juice that it could replace. But as oil costs increase, the TDP process will become more viable. And there is no shortage of waste production from humans (US EPA estimates 4.4 pounds of waste per person per day), this process can use a wide range of waste products from offal to vegetable waste to sewage in the production of oil.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
What is Digg?
Digg is a user driven social content website. Ok, so what the heck does that mean? Well, everything on digg is submitted by the digg user community (that would be you). After you submit content, other digg users read your submission and digg what they like best. If your story rocks and receives enough diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of digg visitors to see.
Digg.com, the first of now many social news sites started off as a purely tech site that did a great job of using its users to aggregate the very best news stories. As soon as I found digg.com it was added to my daily read list (now my RSS reader) as it managed to get tons of stories much quicker than any other tech news site like Slashdot or Engadget.
According to Alexa, the unofficial internet site ranking company, Digg is now in the top 100 web sites out there and with that comes a massive readership. Unlike its forbears, as Digg became more popular, Digg diversified from purely tech news and spread into general news, politics and even video links.
All this is good stuff as it makes it easy for me to get all the news I want, albeit only the popular stuff makes it to the front page. But it has it's problems, which are listed below:
- Story Rigging - As with anything on the web, anybody with anything to sell or an agenda to push try many methods to get the maximum numbers of readers visit their site. These people have researched the Digg alorithms and worked out ways to promote their stories to the front page with amazing regularity.
- Dupe Commenters - At the speed that stories are submitted to Digg and go through the digg cycle, it is very easy to miss many stories unless you are 'plugged in' every second of the day. There is a habit for people to complain about a story previously being on Digg maybe only 4-6 hours before, but enough time has past for the story to fall off the front page.
- Zealots - Digg is not alone on this one, but through Digg's diverse nature it has attracted many types of zealots to one spot, where Slashdot seems to have the Linux zealot crowd, Digg has large amounts of Mac, Nintendo, X-Box, PS3, AMD and Linux zealots.
- Groupthink - Shown to be most evident in the recent HD-DVD debacle, there seems to be a massive sheep fest on certain issues like: the aforementioned HD-DVD issue, anti-Bush stories, Steve Jobs lovers, etc. It seems that a very loud minority gives Digg a bad name through there very vocal and sometimes vitriolic support of certain issues. I don't think that all these commenters actually believe what they push but seem to love the power given to them as a group to hide anything that goes against the groupthink.
It seems that Digg's strength of letting the users decide what gets to the front page and gets the most exposure is also its biggest weakness. No matter how it is implemented, taking any sort of editorial control will start to limit the range of stories available on Digg and then it will become just an semi-independent extension of the mainstream media. And we definitely don't need more mainstream media.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Volkswagen Caddy Life
One of those odd cars that only VW could produce. Take a Golf and stretch it vertically, add a bike carrier to the roof (nevermind low clearances) and add a million storage places in the wagon for all those bits every young adventurer would need. The idea seems a bit odd, it is, but somehow it all seems to fit together quite well. They won't sell many but that will be part of the allure for the very brand conscious demographic it is targetted at. Add in a frugal turbo diesel and you'll get the green market too.
Lotus Europa S
Based loosely on the Elise chassis, it is the car for those who want a bit more luxury than what the Elise offers. Admittedly, that isn't hard. The only downside is the pissy little 2.0 litre turbo GM Ecotec motor that is used. It needs a small grunty V6 with the option of a supercharger.
Honda Civic Type-R
I don't know if it was the colour or not, but this car demands your attention straight away. The shape is really good, it takes the bubble look of the Pug 206/207 and improves on it. The bonus of a 150 kW VTEC motor under the bonner just makes the thing seem all that more cool. If priced right, this car will be a serious contender in the hot hatch market. The question is, would you take this over a Astra VXR?
Mitsubishi Lancer Concept Sportback
Think of the Lancer and one of two things pops into your head, pov-pack Lancer coupe/sedan with steel wheels and breathless 1.5 litre single cam motor (optional Milo tin exhaust and Bob Jane special rims) or the fire breathing EVO models. If you haven't seen the new Lancer, the front end mathes this perfectly, even the base models. They have finally put some class into the Lancer line. Lets just hope the build quality improves as much as the looks have.
Mercedes Benz CL-Coupe
It is a Merc. It is a big Coupe. It is loaded with luxury and techy tricky bits. I reckon this is one of the best looking Benz' in a long time (no more bug eyes).
Subaru Factory Tarmac
At $160,000+, it would be the best way to get into a Targa capable to run at the front. If you could drive it that is. The Factory Tarmac comes with integrated roll cage, race seats, blueprinted engine, active centre diff, carbon fibre bits, FIA fuel cell, etc. A perfect way to get into tarmac rallying.
Finally a small Volvo that looks good. Can you ever forget the Volvo 440? Oh, the horror...
Ford Fiesta XR4
As one of the tiny hot hatch brigade this is gonna sell like hot cakes. The stripes look naff but the rest of the package will compete well with the likes of the Polo GTi and Swift Sport. 0-100 in 7.9 and less than 8L/100 km (PULP) should be adequate.
Nissan 350Z Convertible
The 350Z has always been one of those cars that gets a look when it drives by and the Convertible is no different. Especially in this colour. My photos don't do justice to this amazing colour. Although the colour may date quickly.
Volkswagen Golf R32
Take a VW Golf that already has adeqauate power and handling and add a 3.2 L V6 and the quattro all-wheel-drive system and you have the Golf R32. Tons of grunt and tons of grip.
Proton Gen 2
Proton previous offerings of slightly modified 5+ year old Mitsubishi models were absolutely woeful vehicles. Finally it seems Proton have developed some sort of style and engineering and produced the Gen 2. A good looking car in itself with suspension tuning by sudsidiary Lotus. The build quality still sucks but at least it has some balls to run with before the doors fall off.
Another Daewoo sourced piece of shit to replace a much superior European made vehicle. 'Nuff said.
Chrysler PT Cruiser Cabrio
The answer to the question that nobody asked. I have one question and one question only. Why? A total of 6 was sold in Australia in the first 3 months of this year so Chrysler must have high hopes.
Some were hoping the new Camry and Aurion were an indication that Toyota got rid of its bland design squad, but then the new Corolla comes along and I think the bland boys and girls have been given a raise.
Ford Focus Convertible
Unexciting convertible variation of a good car. I'm sure this will drive well and be a good car overall but the boring styling just doesn't cut it.
When will the Japanese manufacturers work out that the JDM micro car styling just doesn't work outside Japan. Take a frog and put a glass tumour on its back and you have the Micra. Of course in colours like shown above, some people (women and gay folk) will see it as cute and buy it. Use the Daihatsu Copen as a previous example.
The Absolutely Terrible
I know American made cars aren't the best made cars in the world (Chrysler 300C interior for one), but the Hummer took my opinions much lower. Let me list the things I picked up on this piece of crap in my very brief encounter with the H3:
- Doors could be moved on the hinge pins creating a loud clunking sound
- Rear door could be replaced with a timpani drum and be quieter when it was closed, plus it was possible to pop the front doors open just by shutting the rear door
- The middle rear seat passenger has to sit on a concealed dual Big Gulp capable drink holder
- Interior plastic trim comes off with a small tug, how it would survive an off-road excursion puzzles me
At this point I vacated the vehicle and escaped before the car (term used loosely) before it killed me.