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doctorpat at bigfoot dot com

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09/10/2002

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Even More Interesting

For a true to life driver education video, you can't go past this masterpiece.

Results

And how much did I learn from the above. Well I took the Road Rage Test and got a score of: 82.5%

You are more than prone to road rage- you are prone to torture and murder! You should not be let anywhere near society let alone a car and the open road...

I think that says it all don't you? And that after my drive to Cairns.

02/10/2002

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On Holidays

If anyone is interested, I am currently on holidays in the tropical north of Australia at the city of Cairns.

I've just driven from Sydney to Cairns, a distance of 2 km through 2 states and I thought I would record a couple of observations.

First and foremost is the issue of speedtraps. It doesn't matter what side of the debate you are on: whether you regard speed limits as an unjustified limit on your personal liberty, or whether you see them as a economicly viable way of screwing money out of the poor saps who can't afford private planes or chauffers, speed traps are a fact of life that must be dealt with.

In 2000km of Queensland I saw one speed trap. In 1000 km of New South Wales I saw about twenty. So either Qld is a lot better at hiding them than NSW is (I hope not), or NSW is aiming to get a lot more money than Qld is.

A second point is that the Qld one was a mobile unit, a van sitting by the side of the road with no warning signs at all (unless you count all the people who flashed their lights as I was approaching). The NSW ones are heralded by at least two big roadside signs with blue on white pictures of a camera on them. Obviously the signs are required by law, and clearly the revenue raisers don't like them, they don't want people driving slowly, they want them to be caught.

So what do they do, they added heaps of other signs, throughout the state, that are also blue on white with a picture of a camera, and writing in the same size and font, that warns that cameras are used thoughout NSW. I'll admit I was a bit slow about working out the purpose of these, they are of course false positives so that you get used to seeing signs that look like that and so don't slow down for the real ones.

The cars on the road are a bit boring. There were two R33 Skylines, one soarer, two Silvias (one about 10 years older than the other), one Lotus Elan and two E-type Jaguars.

The E-types, and I don't care what anyone says, are ugly, weird looking cars. They look bloated and round balanced on skinny little tyres. In fact the tyres are a big part of the looks problem, because I just saw a TV show in which there was another E-type, but this one was running fat, modern looking wheels and tyres. It looked much better. Weird still, but in an aggressive way.

16/09/2002

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Very Interesting

This is very interesting.

12/09/2002

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Exercise is Bad for You

Sambo last night got a bit too physical....

We were just warming up, and were stretching over backwards till our heads reached the foor. So my head reached the floor a little faster than I was planning. It turns out that this particular bit of floor had a metal pole on it, with a chainlink fence attached, and the free ends of the wire were just poking out at random. So one bit drove into my forehead. The cut is about 3 cm long and runs down the middle, so it kind of meets the existing horizontal scar to make an L.

I think it's a bad sign when my girlfriend can tell I got a head injury from my blood-soaked legs. I was holding my cupped hands in front of my head to stop the blood running onto the floor, but they overflowed.

Blood everywhere and no-one had a camera :( Which is REALLY annoying as I had a camera in my gear bag, but had left the bag in my car for this one time.

Only needed 9 stiches though.

And I missed out on some very interesting training based on what they were practising when I got back. :(

11/09/2002

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And People Think Australian Animals are Dangerous?

I just got this in email from a workmate:

The attached pictures are of a guy who works for the forest service in Alaska. He was out deer hunting. A large...large world record Griz charged him from about 50 yards away. The guy unloaded a 7mm Mag Semi-auto into the bear and it dropped a few feet from him. The thing was still alive so he reloaded and capped it in the head. It was over one thousand six hundred pounds, 12'6" high at the shoulder standing up. It's a world record. The bear had killed a couple of other people. Of course, the game department did not let him keep it. Think about it. This thing on it's hind legs could walk up to the average single story house and could look on the roof at eye level.

You have to wonder why there aren't more bear movies. That thing could probably eat a velociraptor for breakfast. And sure reptiles are much easier to CGI and animatronic (because humans are less able to pick what's wrong with a reptile than a mammal), but trained bears will get up and act for you with no special effects at all.

Paleostine Park. Not only is it more believable to get DNA from bodies frozen in ice than caught in Amber, but there were some seriously big things back then, that are less "familiar" to us than dinosaurs. Did you catch Walking With Beasts? Except for the brontosaurs, the big mammoths, land sloths and bulldog bears (like Grizzlies, but a fair bit bigger, and with rounder faces to allow for bigger jaw muscles) were as big as stegosauruses and triceratops.

10/09/2002

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Liberal Party Policy

So, will the pro-birthrate liberal party adopt this approach?

A Swedish politician says there should be more porn on TV to help boost the country's population.

Christian Democrat Teres Kirpikli says not enough babies are being born in Sweden.

She believes that putting porn on television will put couples in the mood for sex.

Artificial Intelligence

Scientists trying to evolve an oscillating circuit have been fooled by the self assembling electronics, that turned into a radio instead. Isn't the ability to cheat on a test a good sign of artificial intelligence?

02/09/2002

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Bad Movies

I saw a video of the new Richard Gere movie "Unfaithful". I am so glad I never paid any money for that. I would normaly post some sort of spoiler warning at this point, but there is no plot and hence nothing to give away.

There is this woman see, who has a handsome, loving, rich, kind husband, so when she meets this young guy she decides to root him. They have sex for a while and she lies and tries to cover this up, but not very well and her husband finds out. So he kills the guy. The cops interview them but they keep their mouths shut and get away with it.

That's it. That's the whole plot of the movie. There was about 2 seconds of action, one funny scene, and some dark, obscure difficult to make out sex scenes. The rest of the 14 hours (well it seemed like 14 hours) was people quietly talking, or just looking at each other. What garbage.

Good Movies

After the useless waste of videotape that was "Unfaithful", I saw the new ScoobyDoo movie. This had a number of features that the first movie did not. This bit does include spoilers so don't say you weren't warned.

  1. Attractive Girls, actually Sarah Michelle Geller is the LEAST attractive of the female characters in this movie. The hottest is Isla Fisher
  2. A plot, not too complicated, but an actual plot, with twists.
  3. Action, lots of giant demons and ghosts and motor quad chases and people fighting and running and falling and things breaking. You know, what you actually want in a movie. That's why they are called MOVIES and not SITTING-STILLies.
  4. Light. "Unfaithful" looked as though the studio forgot to pay their lighting bills.
  5. People looking happy. OK they may have been possessed by demons and plotting to take over the world, but they were happy about it.
  6. A corrupted recording so I wasn't able to see the end. OK this last bit wasn't a good aspect, but I don't blame it on the studio.
  7. 29/08/2002

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    Reluctantly Resuming Exercise

    Sambo has started again this week and it seems a lot more hardcore than last semester.

    Gone are the 21 year old women, replaced by big Russian men. Yuri (the instructor) must have been advertising for guys who have already done some Sambo back in the old country. I know who I would rather wrestle with. On the other hand I also know who would be better for me to wrestle with, both in terms of improving my technique and in terms of keeping my girlfriend from forbidding me from ever going to Sambo again.

    It is definitely a lot harder to do the techniques wrongly and get by on strength now. Particularly the one we finished the night with, which involved slamming your ribs against the opponents knee until he falls to the floor, and then ripping his foot off. VERY difficult to do wrongly and not end up say... having your opponent slam his knee against your ribs.

    Sticky Feet

    How cool is this? Scientists have finally discovered how geckos can climb anything. It's a matter of having ultra fine hairs that interact with the atoms of the surface you're climbing. I know what I want for my next pair of climbing shoes.

    28/08/2002

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    Corporate Corruption

    While by no means an economist, I do work in big business and have studied Business Administration so I will offer my own meager comments on Professor Bunyip's blaming the double taxation of dividends in the USA for the corporate corruption scandals. To quote the heart of his argument:

    If dividends were taxed but once, as simple fairness would seem to demand, more companies would issue them.... Over the past 40 years or so, they have largely dispensed with dividends and concentrated on boosting share prices, which has allowed investors to take their profits in another form....The result, at a minimum, is a far greater degree of volatility in share prices as investors hitch their portfolios to the latest trends. And in the extreme, it produces the Enrons and WorldComs, whose crimes were entirely devoted to boosting their stock prices.

    While the double taxation of dividends, and the resulting emphasis on company growth, may well be a contributing factor to America's corporate corruption, it can't be blamed here in Australia where we do not have double taxation.

    Yet we still have HIH, OneTel and Ansett.

    Luckily, Ansett leads us directly to a 2nd cause of Executive misbehaviour: The death of the hostile takeover.

    In the year before Ansett's collapse, Singapore Airlines tried to take it over, but this was stopped by the Oz government when the racist left/right alliance (One Nation types combined with Labor left and the Democrats, divided on rhetoric but united on policy) started screaming about [Asian] Foriegners taking over our economy. Well I hope they're satisfied. One is reminded of the Vietnam war era line that "we had to destroy the [company] in order to save it".

    In broader terms, the scarcity of corporate raiders means that company management can grow fat and happy, secure in the knowlege that they can divert hundreds of millions of dollars into their own pockets without the threat of a corporate raider swooping in to grab that money for himself.

    And what stopped the old corporate raiders, why government regulation of course.

    27/08/2002

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    How much can you make it beep??

    Why do they keep trying to spoil our fun? These oppressors of the underclass have made a new device for parents to install in their vehicles that monitors and records their teenagers' driving behavior.

    The device, known as a black box, bolts under the passenger front seat and is easily self-installed in vehicle models 1996 and newer... The black box software tracks the vehicle's speed, odometer reading, number of miles driven, how quickly the vehicle was stopped, and provides detailed measurements on the G-force on the driver and the passengers while the car is moving. The black box also sounds a warning tone when driving behavior is less than par...

    Of course my Dad had one of these in the car when HE got his license in the 1920s or whenever. To be precise, a container filled with water on the floor. Hard braking, turning or acceleration results in water spilling out. If you want to monitor the kid when you aren't in the car you lock the container in the boot or something.

    The problem with that is exactly the same as the problem with the computer one, any kid old enough to borrow the car would be able to work out how to hack the readings.

    Dad would tell me about the water thing, but never actually tried it on any of us. I suspect it's because he found it too easy to fake the results when he was young and knew we would be the same. And because we drove mums car with no locking boot.

    Meanwhile, in the Forest

    Radio National this morning had a segment on Federal subsidy of the logging industry. Once again, I can not see why this is not seized apon as the basis for an "unholy alliance" between the economic "drys" and the greens. The Drys oppose all industry subsidies, the greens oppose all industry, (with the possible exception of meditation and yoga classes, held naked, in a natural area, so long as you don't leave any footprints or breathe out any carbon dioxide) so it seems obvious to me that both groups would be happy to remove the subsidy on just about every industry you could mention.

    We're at War, Right?

    Alan Anderson writes, in response to some fool asking if we are at war, that

    We are, in fact, an active participant in the War on Terror, and have SAS troops in Afghanistan at this moment engaged in that conflict.

    To which I can only add that we all seem to have forgotten that we also have thousands of troops in East Timor, who have successfully saved that country from groups of nhilistic, armed men, seeking only to maximise destruction and terror in the support of a political cause, and allegedly armed and controlled by an officially uninvolved country. If that isn't part of the War on Terrorism, then why not?

    21/08/2002

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    Nat's Gone

    Natasha has quit as head of the Democrats. Is Australia turning into a one party state? Won't someone, anyone, with a descernable personality and/or clue please join any Federal party besides the Liberals?

    Maybe Costello or Reith should join the Labor Party, just so we could get some actual Opposition happening. Their only other hope is Latham.

    20/08/2002

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    Jane Galt's Counter-Factual

    LFTWTC has an interesting exercise at the moment, asking what would happen if nuclear weapons had never been developed.

    Most people think that WWIII would have started by about the mid 1950s, but my take is slightly different.

    Everyone has been basing their timelines from mid-1945. But I suspect that without the prospect of nuclear weapons the Americans may have changed their strategy a bit earlier.

    As has been pointed out, the Russians were relying to an enormous extent on American supplies. For example all their long distance logistical support was by train, and America supplied 98% of the locomotives. There was also a selection of "High tech" advantages, like American multigrade oil, which meant Russian tanks could be started in winter when the Germans were still melting their oil by lighting fires under the sumps.

    Anyway, without the looming prospect of unbeatable super bombs, would the USA have been so happy to keep supporting the USSR once the defeat of the Germans was assured?

    Wouldn't there have been a slackening of supplies by the beginning of 1945 so that there was less chance of the two sides clashing in the middle of Germany?

    This could well have slowed the Russian advance to a crawl, resulting in the Anglos getting full control of Germany as the Eastern front gradually sputtered to a halt in late 45.

    This much weaker USSR in turn would have not been able to support Mao as much, if at all. Anglo influence would have been a lot stronger in China, if for no other reason than, without Nukes, it would have been worth while diverting all those Russian supplies to help the Chinese defeat the Japanese army that was still largely in Manchuria.

    A delayed invasion of Japan (1948?) would still probably have been needed, probably using a large % of Chinese troops with Western equipment. The need to keep pounding Japan from the air would have led to the continued development of the heavy bomber. These would have been flying out of China for the last couple of years.

    So in 1950, a smaller, weaker, USSR, whose troops ground to a halt in about mid Poland fighting the last of Nazis, would face a west allied with China and equiped with a long range bomber fleet (probably based in China) that had just proven it could vapourize entire Japanese cities using conventional munitions. (These killed more people in Tokyo than ever died in Hiroshima, just it took more time)

    The USSR would have not started anything at this point, and the West would have packed up and gone home. Then the cold war would have started again, but with a much higher chance of China and Russia having a go at eachother.

    19/08/2002

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    I'm Back. Not that Anyone notices I was gone

    After a week at a training course, I am busy catching up on my correspondance.

    A few short things:

    This test claims I am 26% Gay, and also claims that I should be gayer.

    Meanwhile, John Quiggin mentions that the first step, supportable by both the free traders and the greens, should be the elimination of Government Subsidy for polluting industries like Aluminium.

    Surely this is an obvious tactic for the [economic] right?

    With Green and Democrat support, the free traders could eliminate subsidies for the Aluminium industry, on the grounds that they are polluting. And then the steel industry. And the car industry. And the....

    Before you know it, no subsidies for any industries at all. Even the solar and wind power industry will be attacked once the Greens get the bit between their teeth. And then... one of the major planks of the free traders will have been achieved.



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