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08/08/2002

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Japansese Nukes

Reports have turned up that Japan may have been on the verge of developing its own Nuclear Weapons when the Americans bombed Hiroshima at the end of World War 2.

Several historians have claimed Japan was days away from testing an atomic weapon in Nagoya when Hiroshima was obliterated by one American bomb on 6 August 1945.

This is something I've never heard of before. It offers the first realistic possibility of Japan actually beating the Allies in the Pacific. A couple of Kamakazi Japanese Miniature submarines containing a nuclear bomb, and sneaking into Sydney, Brisbane, San Francisco and Pearl Harbour could have completely turned around the course of the war.

Used tactically, a nuclear tipped torpedo or even another Kamakazi attack could destroy an Aircraft-carrier group, and certainly stop the allied advance across the ocean.

A couple of months earlier they could even have stopped the fall of Germany.

All in all, a timely reminder of why Evil Dictators leading suicidal killers need to be stopped before they get such weapons.

06/08/2002

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Artist Test

I am 35% Tortured Artist

I have some artistic ability, but it is probably a hobby and doesn't drive my life into a dark abysmal hole were I am alone and against the world.

Take the Tortured Artist Test at fuali.com

05/08/2002

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Posting

I've been writing, but I haven't been actually posting this stuff on my webpage. Blame me leaving work to early so I no longer have that gap between finishing work, and no longer having access to work email, wherein I usually access the webpage.

But I promise I'll do it today. Well unless it is like Thursday, when someone installing new desks in the office managed to DROP ONE ON MY HEAD! That got me to go home early I can assure you. All future blogging mistakes can be blamed on that little incident.

Urban Assault Vehicles

Meanwhile, I shall spend today talking about the problem of urban four wheel drives, as complained about by Miranda Devine though defended by Professor Bunyip.

I have to say that you guys are missing a very serious point. Urban 4wds are the thin edge of the wedge. As soon as they are banned for being "socially irresponsible, more dangerous, wasteful, expensive and unneeded in an urban environment" then the next target is... sports cars. Really, what one of those criticisms couldn't be levelled (accurately or not, that isn't the question) at a Porsche or Ferrari? So anyone who who likes nice sports cars, and for that matter motorbikes, should keep their mouths shut about the Landcruisers and Rangerovers. I mean they owners are PAYING for the extra expense and fuel. They aren't demanding government subsidies are they?

Actually there is a government subsidy. The import duty on "off road vehicles" is 5%, compared to 15% for passenger cars. And this is wrong. This injustice will last until about 15 seconds after Holden and Ford Australia release Australian built offroaders later this year. Then it will die. I rarely make predictions, but I'm pretty confident about this one.

Once that happens, I'll have no more complaints about off road 4wds being used in the city. Well they do restrict my view of things, but so do vans, people movers, buses, you know, just about everything that is taller than a 300zx sports car. And I don't hear people calling for them to be banned.

Of course, what is really needed, is a safe, normal, car, with the lighter weight, lower cost and safety features of a normal car, but the high driving position and macho good looks of an off roader. Why are there none of them in the market? Surely the urban cowboys couldn't tell the difference between a 4 wheel drive and a front wheel drive when they never leave the road, but they could see the reduction in fuel costs, cheaper price, and better safety every day. Anyone know why these aren't a solid and growing sector?

World Cup

Scott Wickenstein complains that Australia's bid to host the World (Soccer) Cup is a cynical exercise to sneak into the playoffs without having a decent team.

I am less critical. Yes we can't actually play. (Confession: I played soccer at school, our team got to the grand finals for our region, I was the worst player on the team.) BUT Australia is just fantastic at holding sporting events. So why not hold it, we can do the organising, and the other countries can do the chasing little white balls and not scoring. Everyone does what they are good at and everyone is happy. Ricardo's law of comparative advantage at work.

02/08/2002

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Democrats

Some interesting postulates, estimates and their conclusions

Facts

1. By holding the balance of power the Democrats determine Government policy to a large extent.

2. The Democrats are the only Australian political party where all members get equal vote on what party policy is to be, and who party leadership is to be.

3. At the recent Leadership battle between Meg Lees and Natasha Stot-Despoyja (sp?) only 3000 members voted.

Estimates

1. Given that only 3000 members voted in a nationally televised Leadership fight that was discussed in the media for months, it is probable that the numbers who bother to vote about boring policy issues is much smaller, say 2000 or less.

Conclusions

1. By joining the Democrats ($45/year) you get a bigger say in the Federal and State governments than you will in any other way other than directly bribing or blackmailing a Senior Minister (though not as much fun.)

2. With only 2000 regular voters a relatively small group of new people could seriously affect Democrat policy. Emphasising the Libertarian aspects for example at the expense of the Green/Socialist aspects.

So, my question is, is my reasoning right? And what should be done?

26/07/2002

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Moron Tax

Whacking Day brings up the hypocritical stance of so-called conservatives who support all individual freedom, unless the peasantry do something that isn't proper, such as gamble with their own money.

I like gambling, it's a moron tax. Money is transferred from the stupid and greedy to the government, so that the intelligent and well behaved have to pay less tax. What's wrong with that? The only problem with the poker machines that I can see is that the government (and hence my tax refund) only gets a small % of the take.

Lotto is a much better system, with the government skimming off about 50% of the gross.

And if you are really concerned about parents neglecting their children when they play, make a compulsory childcare centre a requirement for a pokie licence. The kids will probably be much better off in a professional childcare centre while their parents are blowing the week's dope money inside, than they would be abandoned at home while the same hopeless parents were at the track, or out drinking.

(Spending the money on a compulsory childcare centre is the same as if the government increased its take of the revenue and did the childcare itself. Except the private centre will probably be cheaper and located at the same venue as the gambling.)

25/07/2002

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It's Done

News Radio Australia reports from South Korea that a woman is 2 months pregnant with the first cloned human.

Sth Korea investigates cloned embryo pregnancy Authorities in South Korea are investigating a case which could lead to the first known birth of a cloned human being.

The inquiry follows an announcement by a scientific company, Biofusion Tech, an affiliate of the US-based company, Clonaid, which believes extra-terrestrials used cloning to start human life on Earth.

The BBC reports Biofusion Tech says a Korean woman is two months into a pregnancy with a cloned embryo.

At the moment, South Korea does not have a law that specifically bans human cloning, a draft bill is yet to receive approval by Parliament.

But health officials have warned the company could be prosecuted if anyone without medical licences were found to have been involved with the procedure.

The health and welfare ministry has said that even under the current laws any immoral medical practice could result in criminal charges.

If this kid survives then the cloning debate is all over bar the shouting.

There will be a lot of shouting. A lot. For years. But now it's been shown to be done, there is no way this genie is going back in its bottle.

I'm not sure whether this is such a bad thing, except of course for all the kids who will die or be defective when people get it wrong, that is just evil.

Predictions

I also note that my previous entry (just below) mentioned cloning, asteroids hitting the Earth, and "celebrities" being fed to sharks on TV. Since then human cloning has hit the headlines and an asteroid has been spotted heading for Earth (I'm not even going to link that, everyone should have heard about it by now, But I do agree with Tim Blair that it really should have a scarier name than TN7. How about "Willow"?) Anyway, my point is that we should therefore keep our fingers crossed about the shark thing. (Those of my readers who ARE sharks can cross their fins, or just keep drooling.)

22/07/2002

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Feed them all to sharks

Aussie bloggers Michael and Bailz are a bit critical of the new show Celebrity Big Brother on the grounds that:

Actually I think it could be a little more interesting than the guys give it credit.

Does anyone think that tryhard boxer Mundine has the brains to go 1 week in this house without getting into a fight? Anyone give him that much credit? I didn't think so.

Does anyone think that any other member of the house would survive even one punch from even Mundine?

So there is hope.

On the rest of the subject. Mundine and Sarah-Marie were the only ones I'd ever heard of. You all should have switched channels to watch Morgan FreemanSamuel L. Jackson getting eaten by sharks. (Thanks to Mike for the Name Correction)

Now THERE'S an idea for a celebrity show! Unfortunately Dave Barry's already thought of it. His analysis seems missing from his archives but in general he states that:

  1. Every show, a different celebrity is thrown into a tanks of man-eating sharks. This is filmed and shown from various vantages and in slow motion etc. With a marine biologist explaining the sharks movements using a light pen, and the various comments and before jump interviews the whole show should last half and hour easy, one hour with padding.
  2. Washed up has-beens such as are featured on all such shows would be LINING UP to jump in. These people will do ANYTHING to get in front of the camera again, even if the death rate approaches 100%.
  3. The Sharks will be happy too.
  4. For variety we can have crocodile week, pirahna week, the ideas are endless. Especially once we clone some Thylacines and Velociraptors

Legaly of course we have to wait until that euthenasia legislation gets through. Once it is legal to kill someone suffering from mental distress (such as a washed up celebrity) providing they sign a contract, then there really is no stopping the idea.

State vs. Federal Politics

Whacking Day offers some ideas about why the Labor Party does so well in State elections, but not Federal ones. I have a different approach to the problem.

The fact is that I am currently a voter for the Federal Liberal Party, but for State Labor. What leads to this perplexing state of affairs?

Well it's not that tricky really, different levels of government do different things and are suited to different sorts of management.

Federal: From the Feds I want national defense (army, navy, airforce, coastal protection, federal police, ASIO and all that), a strong growing economy and a basic level of national coordination between various rules and regulations. In return I pay tax. Quite a lot of tax actually. So I want the party that gives me more of what I want for the lowest tax bill. The Liberals give me stronger defence and lower tax.

Local: When it comes to local government I am a parasite. I consume resources (Bike paths, roads, sewerage facilities) but don't pay any rates. Yes some of my income tax and GST trickles down to the local council, but such a tiny proportion that a change in my local government will not affect my tax bill. So I vote the pro-parasite party: Labor. (The democrats are even more pro-parasite, but would do something crazy like ban powerful cars or introduce compulsory vegetarianism.)

Which leaves State: Here, the ideological difference makes no difference. I want a tightly run, fiscally responsible government that doesn't blow the education budget on white elephant boondogles and buying votes. The individual competance of the cabinet members is far more significant than what party they nominally are.

The worst of the state goverments that I can think off, late 1980s Victoria and Western Australia, were Labor. But there were some attrocious Coalition governments as well. The post Bielke-Peterson coalition in Queensland springs to mind. So I choose each side depending on Competence rather than party name, and at the moment that means Labor's Bob Carr.

Though actually when I say "competence" I mean "least incompetence", but you all knew that.

Things That Scare Me

After watching Deep Blue Sea on TV last night, I got to thinking about what actually Scares me. This depends on a combination of how bad it would be, with how likely it is to occur. So.... In order:

  1. Big Hairy Spiders
  2. Japan, or rather what happened to the once world-beating Japanese economy and how easily it might happen to us, or the USA or anyone else
  3. The Demographic crunch whereby when I'm 80 years old, almost everyone else will be too. Leaving no-one to clean my Ferrari F110 or sevice my SunSeeker.
  4. Even before I'm 80, when the majority of the Baby Boom is: living in a Gerontocracy where everything is optimised for boring old farts, who will demand huge pensions, free viagra and a 30 km/h speed limit.
  5. A 10 year bear market until American Stock dividends and earnings catch up to share prices, which will drag everyone elses market and economies down too.
  6. The Nanny State
  7. Asteroid Impact: Not just the big ones that wipe out planets, but the small ones like a random nuclear bomb going off about once every 50 years or so. Imagine one hitting Kashmir or Israel right about now.
  8. Terrorists starting to use their brains: I mean there are SO many ways that really horrible things could be done that the psychos have missed up till now. I'm not sure I should elaborate.
  9. My car getting stolen
  10. To be continued
  11. 18/07/2002

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    I guess I'vebeen lucky up till now.

    17/07/2002

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    Whacking Day and Scott Wickstein seem to disagree about the merits of Buffy but both of them think the latest shows are no good. Well I disagree!

    Do they have something against hot-girl-on-girl-lesbian-sex? Is it because the show is less happy-happy joy-joy now that the characters are taking a more realistic approach to all the death going on? Is it the terrible fighting style? (OK, Buffy can't fight. And she has no excuse any more, she has been playing the part for years, heaps of time to do some martial arts lessons.)

    I will admit that it has lost some of the carefree fun of the older series? But what would you call the musical episode? If that isn't great then nothing on TV is. (That is not entirely impossible I'll admit.)

    Evil Song Lyrics

    Tim Blair is holding a competition to find the most crazy and subversive pieces of political propaganda masquerading as popular song lyrics. Well I can't wait for my entry to be shown, so I'll replicate it below.

    SAVAGE GARDEN

    "The Animal Song"

    Especially the lines

    Animals and children tell the truth, they never lie Which one is more human There's a thought, now you decide

    From which we learn that the singer has never, in his entire life, met either an animal OR a child. As is well known, by anyone who has ever been a child, children lie their heads off. "I didn't take the cookie" "Teddy broke the window" "Yes I'm over 18" Lie, lie, lie. I defy anyone to deny this.

    Animals are a bit more tricky, because they can't talk. But they can communicate messages non verbally, and these messages are usually lies. What is a cat or dog saying when it puffs its hair up? That it is bigger than it actually is. A frill necked lizard? The same thing. Every creature with protective colouration is telling the world that it is not there, when it actually is. What about all those creatures that deliberately copy the appearance of other creatures? Usually poisonous or deadly ones so that others will leave it alone. All lies.

    I actually have a lot of trouble thinking of an animal that doesn't engage in some sort of deception. The really big herbivours like Elephants and Whales perhaps. Even crocodiles pretend to be logs in the water as prey is approaching, and sharks have colouration to hide their appearance.

    The next horrendous example is also by the same guys. Almost all of this is terrible so I'll quote the whole thing and comment.

    "Affirmation"

    I believe the sun should never set upon an argument I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you

    There goes the theory of evolution. It's because fat and sugar are GOOD for you, when you are hungry and starving. Being able to eat too much of them is a historical novelty that only occurs because of modern technology.

    I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do

    Well except for the ones who beat and abuse their kids.

    I believe that beauty magazines promote low self-esteem I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

    So he's up himself? Probably the most truthful lyric he's ever sung.

    I believe in karma what you give is what you get returned

    Which it is by definition. That's what the word "karma" means. It's just a dictionary definition not some great insight.

    I believe you can't appreciate real life till you've been burned I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side

    How does he explain refugees coming into Australia then? Are they all confused and just need to have this song played to them and then sent back home?

    I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

    I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality

    People have been controlling their sexuality for thousands of years. Maybe they would be more healthy not to (I don't believe this) but to say they CAN'T is to insult millions of self disciplined people and assume they have the animals instincts of (say) a rockstar.

    I believe that trust is more important than monogamy

    That sounds very much like a self justification to me. And what does it mean, you should sleep around as long as you remember to pick up the milk?

    I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul I believe family is worth more than money or gold

    I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair I believe the only ones to disagree are millionaires

    How about boyband millionaires who made fortunes by singing songs for a few months and getting lucky with a good promoter. Aren't they just about the MOST unfair of all? And what about this Karma thing he was on about a few lines ago. Doesn't Karma mean that someone would only get rich if they deserved it?

    I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness

    What if your unhappiness is due to cancer, or starving to death, or having terrible songs played at you? Do you forgive the cancer cells?

    I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed

    You still need to be undressed for some things. No matter how happy you are.



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