Tram Town
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Category: Farenheit 666
Mark Steyn reviews the Michael Moore movie and it's well worth the read. A couple of quotes:
Here's the way it works: if Bush is wearing the blue boxer shorts, they're a suspicious personal gift from Crown Prince Abdullah. If Bush is wearing the red boxer shorts, it's a conspiracy to distract public attention from the blue ones he was given by Crown Prince Abdullah. If he's wearing no boxer shorts, it's because he's so dumb he can't find his underwear in the morning.
Imagine if, on September 11, the USAF had blown four passenger jets to kingdom come. Moore's film would be filled with poignant home movies of final Christmases and birthday parties and exploitative footage of anguished parents going to Washington to demand the truth about what happened that day and an end to the lame Bush spin about "threats" to public buildings.

Category: Food
Imre Saluszinsky (that's his name, not an anagram!) ate at McDonalds for a full week and lost 2.5kg. I'll never be able to trust leftoid US documentary makers again!

Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Category: Names
This addition of names to landmarks on Sydney Harbour will make some people happy I'm sure. But tell me, isn't Bennelong Point already an Aboriginal name? My guess is that they have trouble thinking of it as Aboriginal because of its other association as in "the member for".

Category: Apple
Bloody Big Screens and they seem to also have a wall mount kit available as well.

Category: Cracker Night
Jeez, I still sure miss Cracker Night. Maybe when this technology hits consumer level we can re-instate it for our children's sake. I'm not holding my (compressed) breath but!

Category: AFD
"San Serriffe is an island nation, also known as Hoaxe, in the southern oceans. It is most usually described as being in the Indian Ocean, but owing to a peculiarity of ocean currents and erosion its exact position does vary. A recent report locating it in the Bering Sea was presumably an error"

Category: Iraq
A small comparison between Germany at the end of WWII and the current supposed quagmire.
Also... how long did the all-important withdrawal of troops from Germany take? 59 years and counting!
And... Germany didn't really have full sovereignty until 1990!

Monday, June 28, 2004
Category: Trans-sexuality
If you had to share a jail cell with someone who was keen on a bit of the horizontal, I suppose it would be better if that person was a transsexual who had implants and was taking hormones, wouldn't it? The Hun managed to find a different "angle" on Paul(a) Denyer's latest attention-seeking nonsense. I say that if he's asking them to cut his equipment off the authorities should take the earliest possible chance to do so!

Sunday, June 27, 2004
Category: Batteries
DB says I am a bit of a nut when it comes to what I consider a major weakness in portable electronic equipment: the batteries. I have an otherwise perfectly good phone that I can't get a new battery for and it gives me the dry iritz. For a long time I've thought that some sort of liquid-refreshable device that is a rough standard that all manufacturers could use. We could, then, recharge at any outlet that could carry bulk quantities of the liquid. Toshiba hasn't quite created a standard but this report goes quite some way towards my dream. Pump-free no less

Category: Vale
The force behind ASCII (how did they manage to leave out × and ÷ when computers of the time were mainly used for computing?), Bob Bemer, died last week.
Bob's ASCII license

Category: More
I'm looking forward to Michael Moore Hates America but I don't hold out much hope of it getting a showing in Melbourne.
In the meantime, a hyper-intelligent comment from a punter having seen Farenheit 9/11: "We loved the movie, which gave us real hope that freedom and democracy will return to this great country in November [at the presidential election]". Was it meant to be irony or is he getting the cart before the horse? My read is that he is saying that once the US has had its presidential election it can go back to being a democracy. Unless Bush wins again in which case it will not be a democratic outcome (or should that be Democratic?).

Saturday, June 26, 2004
Category: Politics
I have always loved Protest Warrior. Today via Slatts and John Ray, this story of an 18yo at a school where "My socialist history teacher was on another kick about how articulate Noam Chomsky was, when I finally reached my limit". Well worth the read!

Friday, June 25, 2004
Category: Science
Well Bizarre Science actually. Louis was on the job yesterday commenting firstly on the assertion that there are way too many scientists out there and then, slamming home the point, an article about a peer-reviewd paper that purported to show that "praying for women seeking to become pregnant could double their chances of success using in vitro fertilization".

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Category: Big Tellies
Jeez, you'd be dark on this. (Free Subscription may be required).

Category: ET
SETI@home goes BOINC! Buggered if I know what it all means but.

Category: Iraq (again)
Published fairly broadly (yes, even the SSS TTT) but smothered by the so-called atrocities of Abu Ghraib, a sarin bomb injured two soldiers in Iraq last month. I guess many of you will have heard about this but I keep hearing people express ignorance of a WMD being used against the US military so I thought I would post here for a reference point.
AEBrain wrote a very interesting article "Facts about Sarin, Binary Agents, and 155mm Shells" on the Command Post.

Category: Iraq
Again with the good news, Chrenkoff!
One comment regarding the BBC World Service being the most listened-to broadcaster in Iraq: "I guess it's better than al Jazeera". That should become part of the BBC's corporate image: BBC - Better than al Jazeera.
BTW, if you are looking at this sometime after late June, you might have to go searching Chrenkoff's archives. The particular article referred to here was published on the 23rd of June 2004.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Category: Humour
I found this powerpoint presentation on poor signage very funny.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Category: Space
A private space flight is way more interesting than anything a guvmint agency like NASA can do!

Category: Headlines
For our local readers who don't take the Foxtel Entertainment package, Jay Leno's Headlines segment from his Monday (Tuesday Oz) show always makes me laugh.

Monday, June 21, 2004
Category: Humour
I'm not sure whether this is funny. (Warning! Audio Stream!)

Saturday, June 19, 2004
Category: DeepBurner
DeepBurner is a CD/DVD burning software package that is free and seems to work at least as well as most of the others I have used. Well worth a look at.

Category: Happenings
tism@acmi might be well worth a look. (By jingo, it might be just a Mac/Safari kind of thang but I have a shocking time with the ACMI web-site!)

Category: Science Fiction
Paul Allen has just recently opened the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. Looks sorta' interesting if not a bit under populated. (So that's where all of my M$ dollars went to!)

Friday, June 18, 2004
Category: Students
I found this story about a Berkeley law professor treated appallingly by his students quite disturbing.

Category: Pravda
In the fine tradition of a magnificent news agency: Pravda.ru. As well as reporting on Russia's "imminent" signing of Kyoto, the following science gems:
Russians conquered Mars 30 years ago and Extraterrestrial visitor in Russian province

Thursday, June 17, 2004
Category: History
Keith Windschuttle runs a website called The Sydney Line. Amongst other things it has a hyper-precis of his controversial book from November 2002 called The Fabrication of Aboriginal History

Category: Melbourne
The Abbotsford Convent is having an open day on Sunday. Should be very interesting.
UPDATE: The first link with some nice pictures is at a site that I can only describe as unusual. Explore at your own peril!

Category: Google
A seminar entitled Google - Finding Needles in a 20 TB Haystack, 200 Million Times per Day. Looks interesting. I'll be there.
UPDATE: Went. Was good. Perhaps a tad shallow given the huge, extremely geeky audience and the fact that he didn't go into any detail but expected the audience to understand what an eigen vector is. He was a very good presenter. That is all.

Category: Billboards
I'm going to be working inside a giant billboard!

Category: Mathematics
This has gotta be a good thing: Furman University Mathematical Quotation Server.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Category: Technology
This could surely be a bit of fun.

Category: Merlin
Merlin is a hopeless joke. Tool around with the URL and make him say what you want. We should probably make a donation because it's costing this guy. You may even have to go to Tim Blair's blog (scroll down when you get there to a comment by Brett Milner) so that you are an acceptable referrer.
UPDATE: It definitely doesn't work. I am in the process of making a donation so we might become an acceptable referrer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Category: Politics
I know it has been said by a number of people but it's true for me as well, every time I see Peter Garrett in the news, I think of Cheryl Kernot (and I wonder which sitting member the "singer" is having an affair with).
My personal take on Mark Latham's approach to the current electoral campaign is that he doesn't feel that he can change the expected outcome much but, by throwing a whole lot of balls in the air, he thinks that he can fatten the tails of the possible outcome. Perhaps I'm being a bit too statistical here, what I mean is that nobody knows what effect Latham's wild statements might have but when you know you are staring at electoral bankruptcy, why not take a few wild bets.

Category: Restaurants
One of my favourite local restaurants.

Category: Transparency
I can see clearly now.

Category: Fillums
We watched this fillum last night and, by jingo, I'd forgotten what a cracker it was. I didn't remember it being quite so violent but. I mean it's not as violent as this but, then again that was directed by Mr. Scorsese whilst the former was directed by Mr. Howard -- No! Not that one this one.

Category: Texas
Kinky for governor? Why not?

Saturday, June 12, 2004
Category: Technology
I really want an iDuck.

Friday, June 11, 2004
Category: Iraq
I don't recall reading about this anywhere: Australia to write off wheat debt. The Tullamarine Trotskyite Tribune carried a report which came from its New York correspondent, Caroline Overington. Why did the news eminate from NYC? Umm...
AWB [Australian Wheat Board] has recently become embroiled in controversy over wheat sales to Iraq under the UN oil-for-food program, which is being investigated for corruption. Iraqi officials have alleged that many of its food suppliers - including Australia - were forced to pay kickbacks to Saddam, in exchange for business.
The farmers appear to be taking it on the chin but it must be hurting them. How many of them have to share in this $100mill haircut? Or is it perhaps the AWB that takes the thumping so they are one step away from the problem? Whatever, selling on credit to Iraq must have been know to be a risky venture way back then.
The New Zealand Herald seems to understand it as well as most...
The outstanding amount was US$480.4 million, although sales were insured to a maximum of 80 per cent through Government insurer EFIC, which previously paid that amount to growers.
The balance owed to growers was $98 million.
Australia dominated Iraq's wheat market during the years of Saddam Hussein, exporting up to 2 million tonnes of the grain a year to the country after Baghdad authorities refused to buy US wheat after the Gulf War of the early 1990s.
Near as I can tell, just South of $400mill ($20 each I guess) is being picked up by you and I as unwilling proprietors of the EFIC. Does anyone understand this any better than this idiot?

Thursday, June 10, 2004
Category: HTML
Thanks to the Brain guy, yet again, who thanks Utterly Boring, yet again, the Random Website Generator.

Category: War
Kev Gillett states some hard-but-true facts.

Category: (Their) ABC
Follow Tim Blair's instructions to find the meaning of the term Aboriginal Suitcase.

Category: Politics
The Herald Sun has done a little investigative work and come up with the fact that Peter Garrett is married to a 92-year-old woman and he doesn't vote.
UPDATE: If I had known that the press was going to run with this as a serious issue, I would never have posted it. It is an amusing aside. There are plenty of issues to do with Peter Garrett worth airing, this is NOT one of them. But please, remember when considering the big bloke's past, people are allowed to change their minds. Heck, I used to be a leftoid dunce!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Category: Technology
Way cool! Self Cleaning Glass!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Category: Politics
Pre-selection woes for the safe Labor seat Kingsford Smith. I only mention it so that I can quote the Gnu Hunter: "It's all about the Oils".

Category: Audio
This is so way cool! I want one. (not sure how I'd use it at the moment but).

Monday, June 07, 2004
Category: Oil
From the Britannica:
Although it is recognized that the original source of carbon and hydrogen was in the materials that made up the primordial Earth, it is generally accepted that these two elements have had to pass through an organic phase to be combined into the varied complex molecules recognized as crude oil. The organic material that is the source of most oil has probably been derived from single-celled planktonic (free-floating) plants, such as diatoms and blue-green algae, and single-celled planktonic animals, such as foraminifera, which live in aquatic environments of marine, brackish, or fresh water.
Or not! It seems that the abyssal, abiotic (meaning occurring deep below the surface and not involving an organic phase) theory much touted by genius/crank Thomas Gold has been the standard theory of Russian and Ukrainian scientists for 50 years and more. In fact, the Russians are apparently using the theory as a means of predicting the whereabouts of substantial oil and gas fields:
Most importantly, the modern Russian-Ukrainian theory of deep, abiotic petroleum origins has played a central role in the transformation of Russia (then the U.S.S.R.) from being a “petroleum poor” entity in 1951 to the largest petroleum producing and exporting nation on Earth.
The Geological Society of London has an announcement for a conference that was to be held last year which was to:
Discuss the evidence and data for an organic and abiogenic origin of petroleum; discuss the types of tests that could be designated to determine the mechanism for the formation of petroleum; discuss the similarities and differences in exploration strategies using an organic model compared to an abiogenic model for the origin of petroleum; discuss and debate these exploration strategies; discuss the ramifications of an abiogenic origin of petroleum in estimating basin resources and in determining field reserves; and discuss the significance of an abiogenic origin of petroleum to the future supplies of petroleum.
It seems that the conference, a Hedberg Conference organised by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, which was to be held in Vienna and for which 80 abstracts had been recieved had to be cancelled "due to recent world events", presumably the war in Iraq, and "will be rescheduled in 2004". There is no sign of the rescheduling thus far in 2004.
Some of the supporters of the theory are way out there but also asking a question I have always had in the back of my mind:
What about an 800 foot thick coal seam in Australia? How many miles thick must the plant matter have been to form such massive pure carbon deposits?
All in all it is smelling like a Kuhnian paradigm shift took place in Russia about forty years ago and is potentially going to take place in the West imminently. Anyone for hundreds of times the projected reserves of "fossil" fuels? Watch this space!

Category: Culture
This got my hopes up. I'd imagined that maybe I could swap mine for something useful. An X-Box maybe?

Sunday, June 06, 2004
Category: Death
Cold War victor Ronald Reagan dies at 93.
The Wikipedia is up to date already, in fact I found out there (less than one hour after the sad event) rather than any of the news feeds I had looked at. So far the Britannica has not noticed the event. The Wikipedia is a magnificent tool.
UPDATE: From the Washington Post article pointed at above:
Mr. Reagan graduated to major movies with a small but significant part in the 1940 film "Knute Rockne -- All American," which starred Pat O'Brien as the famed Notre Dame football coach. Mr. Reagan played George Gipp, a Notre Dame football player who died of pneumonia and years later was the inspiration for a Rockne halftime pep talk in which he exhorted his team to "win one for the Gipper." Four decades later, this nickname was revived by reporters covering the presidential campaign, who routinely called Mr. Reagan "the Gipper."
I didn't know that.
CLARIFICATION: I knew they called him the Gipper, I just didn't know why.

Category: Science
From the Wikipedia, the entry for Thomas Samuel Kuhn who brought the term "paradigm shift" to common usage through his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Saturday, June 05, 2004
Category: Iraq
This essay by David Warren, an Ottawa Journalist (but read his bio because that hardly covers the David Warren story completely), claims that the June 30 handover of power will be largely symbolic but not for the reasons most people think. He makes a strong case for the notion that the handover has already occurred.
The formal transfer of power from Paul Bremer's occupation authority to the new Iraqi government waits till the end of the month, but with the self-dissolution of the interim Iraqi Governing Council, we have witnessed an effective transfer. From now on, American advisers won't be running Iraqi ministries -- won't dare try -- and allied troops on the ground will be consulting Iraqis before launching new raids on assorted bad guys. Best of all, the region's governments, including nefarious Iran and Syria (up to their eyeballs fomenting trouble within Iraq), will know it's too late to sabotage the hand-off -- because it has already occurred, by surprise, ahead of deadline.
Great reading and a bunch of ideas that will never appear in the TTT.

Category: Chomsky
If you're hard up for reading material, this is the site for you...
This blog is dedicated to the permanent and total discrediting of the work of noam chomsky and his fellow travelers. VIVA LA COUNTERREVOLUTION!
And it's only been around for a couple of weeks.

Category: Music
The RIAA is looking into biometric identification for so-called security. I think it is going through a slow but painful death. Just One Guy's Opinion™.
Of course even if they succeed we can use gummy bears to spoof the machines.

Category: Music
Just for the record... SpectroPop Express is a must see site. Straight to the pool room.

Friday, June 04, 2004
Category: Climatology
Bizarre Science pointed me at the Global Warming Sceptic page and what a cracker it turns out to be.

Category: Clinton
Slatts alerts us to some Clinton gags including:
Clinton lacked only three things to become one of America's finest leaders: integrity, vision and wisdom.
Clinton was doing the work of three men: Larry, Curly and Moe.

Thursday, June 03, 2004
Category: Back
Rachel Lucas has been back for a whole month and nobody told me. This is going straight into the Pool Room.

Category: Rumsfeld
Talk to the hand?

Category: DRM
Oh my goodness, my rights are being protected again! But I feel confident as they're being protected by my old friend amongst others.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Category: PDA
Bad news for the Palmsters, Sony pulls out of the US PDA market!

Category: Implausible
According to the TTT (Tullamarine Trotskyite Tribune), Microsoft has been granted a patent for the "double-click". Given that their first mouse came into being in 1983, this would seem a bit hard to swallow. TramTown appears to be about a month off the pace on this news as the patent seems to have been granted on April 27. It was filed on July 12, 2002. Reading a bit further, they are talking about about double-clicking buttons on a limited resource computing device...
One such palm-type computer is Microsoft's Palm-size PC. The Palm-size PC has a touch screen display. A stylus is used to input data into a user interface displayed on the touch screen display. The user interface is similar in appearance to a Windows user interface displayed on a desktop or laptop PC. A taskbar, used for launching application programs, is displayed at the bottom of the touch screen display. Applications are launched by using the stylus to select the desired application from a taskbar menu. Using a stylus can be cumbersome for users. Therefore, as an alternative to launching applications by using the stylus, the Palm-size PC contains a plurality of buttons (called application buttons) that are used to launch the more common applications installed on a Palm-size PC. Applications can be launched in a variety of states. In the past, the actuation of an application button caused an application to be launched in a particular state, for example a view state. The user was required to take further steps to invoke additional application functionality, such as opening a document. It is desirable to more easily launch applications in various states. The present invention is directed to increasing the functionality of application buttons so as to accomplish this result.
So the "invention" is not mouse-related at all. It is, however, still trivial and if Microsoft make even one cent of royalties I will be very surprised.
ASIDE: While researching I came across a BSOD gallery with a couple of shots from hereabouts.

Category: Alcohol
Kimberly Pamela Gill from Laverton sure knows how to drink. In further research, I went to the UofO Police Department Blood Alcohol Calculator and discovered that I am way better off overweight than being scrawny as far as my drink limits are concerned. Useful fact. Interestingly, though, RU Pissed.com has me at .03% after 8 cans in 3 hours, while OnlineConversion has me at .045%. The UofO PD suggest I would be at .08% and Intoximeters (who have a barrel to push) have got me at .124%. That's a heck of a range, maybe Kimberly has been using the RU Pissed site.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Category: Hollyweird
The Day After Tomorrow is apparently a terrific disaster movie for those who like the genre, but some have doubted its credentials as an important eco-flick. The screenplay is based on a book by Art Bell and his good buddy Whitley Stieber and have these guys got credentials:
And Bell and Strieber aren't political hacks. Bell became prominent hosting the popular late-night radio show Coast-to-Coast AM where he discussed UFOs and things paranormal. Strieber is a novelist. Most of Strieber's early books were thrillers, but after publishing Communion, his true-life account of being abducted by aliens, he took to nonfiction.
His subsequent nonfiction work--the books Transformation, Breakthrough, and Confirmation--all dealt with his continuing experience with otherworldly visitors. As did his 1997 The Secret School, in which, as Publisher's Weekly summarizes it, "He contends that, as a child in San Antonio in the 1950s, he and other children were taken in the middle of the night to a secret school run by aliens in the middle of San Antonio's wild Olmos Basin."
This film could bring down the Bush(II) administration.
UPDATE: and by the way, it should be The Day after Tomorrow with the "after" not capitalised. "Do not capitalize the following: ... prepositions, regardless of length"

Category: Parking
Those crazy Italians have come up with a way to avoid having their genitals cut off! Important safety tip. Thanks Egon.

Category: Labor
Labor takes pre-selection seriously, very seriously!

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