Tram Town
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Category: Fillums
I have seen two Wes Anderson pitchers in the past week, both with Bill Murray, Anjelica Huston and Owen Wilson. The films are The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Royal Tenebaums. Wes Anderson's style has grown on me. Both seem to be promoted as comedies but if you are expecting a good old fashioned laugh you will be disappointed. I'd recommend them if you don't mind non-linear story lines and "adult" themes.
8.0/10.0 for both of them.

Category: Katrina
What the Media Missed
This article over at Real Clear Politics is over a year old but I had not seen it before. It gives a fairly thourough coverage of what really happened in New Orleans in the days after the hurricane. Remember the horror stories?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Category: Birds
I've filled up a memory stick for my camera and I'm going through what's on it and came across this image of a swan:

I've always considered swans to be evil creatures despite their grace and beauty. The reflection in this shot captures the evil.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Category: Architecture
I've never thought about it before but why is the Pentagon shaped like a pentagon?

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Category: Electronics
With the push for the use of Compact Fluorescent Lamps over the incumbent General Service incandescent lamps, a bloke by the name of Rod Elliot has written an article entitled "Should There be a Ban on Incandescent Lamps?". It's a touch long but it is worth reading to get a well rounded view of the issue. I found the following point especially illuminating:
[...] lighting is normally used at night (this will surprise no-one). In Australia, electricity companies offer very cheap rates at night, because they have MegaWatts of capacity just spinning around with not much to do ("spinning reserve"). The lights that we use domestically offer very little loading, so where's the saving in greenhouse gases? The alternators aren't just shut down, because it takes up to 12 hours to get a large coal-fired alternator on-line.

Saturday, May 26, 2007
Category: Apocaholism
This article about Apocaholism is by Gary Alexander, Recovering Apocaholic. It starts:
Hi, I’m Gary and I’m a recovering Apocaholic. I am currently Apocalypse free for nearly 18 years. I left the church of the Religious Apocalypse in 1976, over 30 years ago, and I resigned from the secular church of the Financial Apocalypse in 1989. Yes, I still feel the urge to proclaim the end of all things, from time to time, but I white-knuckle my way to a history book for a little perspective, and then I breathe easier. If you wish to join AA, the only requirement is that you give up the adrenaline rush of media-fed fantasies.
It's quite an entertaining read.

Thursday, May 24, 2007
Category: Ejakashun
Michelle Hamer gets three cheers from this part of TramTown for her article entitled "Ignorance and prejudice feed Deveny's myth of 'snob' schools". Catherine Deveny's article is linked here for completeness' sake but I wouldn't bother reading it if I were you; the title of Hamer's article tells the whole story. Even worse is the tripe coming out of the mouth of novelist Shane Moloney in the article that Deveny links to.

Monday, May 21, 2007
Category: Words
According to the Wikipedia, "an eggcorn is an idiosyncratic substitution of a word or phrase for a word or words that sound similar or identical in the speaker's dialect". Until this morning, I had not encountered the Eggcorn Database. It is fascinating reading and I fully expect to have read the entire site by noon.

Sunday, May 20, 2007
Category: Birds
Another of my indulgent bird posts...

I reckon it to be a White Plumed Honey Eater. What say you, Susan?
UPDATE: Susan has verified that it is highly likely to be as stated.

Category: News
Another day, another story about a 737 getting stuck on a city street.

Category: Science
Here is a nice discussion about what makes a scientist. It is written by Brian Dunning from Skeptoid.com. I subscribe to the Skeptoid podcast and enjoy it enormously. It is possible to read transcripts for the bandwidth-impaired.
Brian also runs Thunderwood College. It is a proudly non-accredited organisation.
Also, while we're talking science, the Royal Academy gets a bit of a pasting in this article on Sp!ked. Well worth the read.

Friday, May 18, 2007
Category: Truth
A very grand category selected on my part but one which just works for this article by Thomas Sowell. The BoltA pointed me at it. I know I will go back and read it again and again.
If no one has even one percent of all the knowledge in a society, then it is crucial that the other 99 percent of knowledge — scattered in tiny and individually unimpressive amounts among the population at large — be allowed the freedom to be used in working out mutual accommodations among the people themselves.
These innumerable mutual interactions are what bring the other 99 percent of knowledge into play — and generate new knowledge.
That is why free markets, judicial restraint, and reliance on decisions and traditions growing out of the experiences of the many — rather than the groupthink of the elite few — are so important.
This is a different angle on Adam Smith's all important invisible hand. Great writing by Sowell, T.

Category: Ejakashun
Regular readers will know that I often specifically address Jack in suggested reading. Jack as it happens is a long retired educator and educator of educators. Having spent most of his working life in the ed biz, he topped it off with a gig as a haberdasher's assistant. I'm not sure which career he found more fulfilling. Jack wrote this particular note in his head some time ago and we now publish it on TramTown. We hope he will write many more of these.

When new-age teachers rejected all forms of student assessment they ushered in the egalitarian or "Oz" education era. Remembering how the Wizard gave the scarecrow a diploma to make him feel he had a brain, our teachers have adopted an educational philosophy that all kids should reach year 12 and graduate with equal "Oz" diplomas.
What if this egalitarian mania was to be exploited by a sinister government? They could achieve great savings by amalgamating the Registry of Births with the Education Ministry. When each child is born the new Department would issue a combined birth-academic diploma. Grade-by-grade, teachers would be seconded — given high sounding titles — to work at the Registry writing year-by-year reports to be attached to the birth certificate. Perhaps a higher pay could help avoid union action. After 12 years all teachers would be officers at "The Registry".
Classrooms would be empty with school grounds sub-divided. Kids could hang around looking unkempt like scarecrows but with excellent certificates. Gradually the Registry Officers could be replaced by computers. Our country would be cleansed of class snobbery and take its place on an equal footing with the most ignorant of third world nations.

Category: Wharfies
Hal G. P. Colebatch wrote an opinion piece for the Oz about waterfront strikes that occurred during the second world war. It's fascinating stuff.
Here's another article in which Colebatch describes an incident in 1919 on the Western Australian wharves when his father was the Premier of that state.

Thursday, May 17, 2007
Category: CO2
Prof. Phillip Stott quotes an interesting fact in this article:
The EU, which politically and militarily wants to be compared to the US actually produces more CO2 per unit area, more CO2 per person and more CO2 in total than the USA.. But who knows that?
Well... TramTown readers do now.

Category: Bread
This interesting article over at the Junk Food Science Blog highlights the dangers of bread. I now have the JFSB on my regular reading list.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Category: Health
This article over at TCS doesn't quite stay on the subject that it is really discussing but it is well worth the read.

Category: Culture
Dali on What's my Line! Yes.

Category: Warmening
A company named RepuTex has created a "Climate Change Growth Index". Hey Blogless Clive, are you going to replicate that one?
Meanwhile, CarbonCreditKillers.com is "On a Mission - Taking Away Al Gore's Carbon Credits...". You've gotta love that!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Category: Nonsense
That Sol Trujillo had the nerve to suggest that there is a direct relationship between a Fibre To The Node network and Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming™ is bizarre. That newspapers thought it sensible to repeat these claims (with NO smiley faces) is astounding.
UPDATE: When I wrote the above I considered using the word chutzpah but then I thought "who am I kidding? I can't even pronounce it!". Terry McCrann had no such misgivings but he did consider Trujillo's claims just as bizarre as I did:
Boy, it's a good thing that Trujillo doesn't have a taste for hyperbole. Or he'd have been spruiking broadband as the means to cure cancer.

Friday, May 11, 2007
Category: DDT
Here is an interesting article about Rachel Carson. The author draws attention to the fact that Carson never insisted on the total ban on DDT use when commenting on the million or so deaths attributed to malaria each year:
Carson cannot be blamed directly for these deaths. She didn't urge total bans in "Silent Spring." Instead, on the single page obliquely acknowledging DDT as an anti-malarial agent, she writes, "Practical advice should be 'Spray as little as you possibly can' rather than 'Spray to the limit of your capacity.'"
It's interesting, then, to see the amount of evil that has been done in her name.

Category: Typo?
Amongst other things this article has Eddie McGuire claiming (or at least implying) that he can walk and chew gum at the same time. The real interesting point, though, is that it places the channel nine studios in Ballarat Street.

Thursday, May 10, 2007
Category: Coombs
Over at Diogenes' Lamp, the man points at the transcript of a discussion with Warren Mundine and Gary Johns that is very critical of Nugget Coombs' attitude to Aboriginal affairs. Well worth the read (both Diogenes' post and the transcript), IMHO.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Category: Obesity
Larissa Dubecki has written an extraordinarily sensible article on obesity in, of all places, THE A☭E.

Category: Politics
The Bolta has an interesting piece about Labor Party pre-selection in today's little paper. Now some of the unfortunately named Kelly Hoare's apparent behaviour is hard to approve of but I don't really feel I have any right to judge her on that. The Party, however, seems to be engaging in very questionable behaviour. Surely this incident provides pretty serious disincentive to potential candidates in the future. The attitude seems to be that if you are in a safe seat you should not expect to have job safety.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Category: Punk
This looks worth a further look, although I've only seen the first half of the Siouxsie clip. (looks like I'm a bit of a music roll here)

Category: Music Parody
Looks like Spinal Tap are reforming to combat Global Warmening. There's also a 15 minute promo video there but I've not had time to watch it yet.

Category: Politics
I had missed this article in the small paper a few days ago. It reports on the ETU secretary's belief that the Labor IR plan would allow him to apply compulsory unionism.
The ETU boss also sparked outrage when he said it was "going to be fun" coercing employers under Labor's IR plan.

Category: Ejakashun
The Kerplunk blog has an interesting post about teachers in NSW wanting to sue the RateMyTeachers web site. You will definitely want to read it, I reckon, Jack.

Monday, May 07, 2007
Category: Barren
Bill Heffernan is without a doubt a bit of a dill for his comment about Julia Gillard's fecundity but the situation is not as clear as I had understood. It appears that he made the comment about a year ago and it was reprised in The Bulletin recently seemingly with his approval. Piers Akerman tells some of the story here. Unfortunately Piers' column wanders off into allegations regarding sanity and the end of Rudd's ascendancy. It is worth reading the column anyway.

Category: Obesity
I heard on the radio this morning a new study on Australian Obesity:
The results, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, found that children who were overweight or obese were up to nine times more likely to become overweight adults. But Professor Alison Venn from the Menzies Research Institute in Hobart says the research also found that many people who had healthy weights as children became overweight or obese during adolescence.
So fat kids become fat adults and skinny kids become fat adults. Who would've thought?.

Category: Liberator
Yesterday we happened to be on the Geelong Road just south of Werribee and we noticed a sign signifying an open museum. We went in to see a B-24 Liberator in the process of restoration. It is well worth the visit if you are down that way. And you will drop a few bob more than the $2/adult entry fee into the box, won't you?

Friday, May 04, 2007
Category: Free
This site provides free carbon credits. It even provides you with a PDF of a certificate that you can print out. I ordered bajillions and it really is a load off my mind.

Category: Warmening
Counterpunch happily accepts the epithet "America's Best Political Newsletter". I'm not so sure about that, it leaning seriously to the left and all. However, this article sheds some new light on the likelihood of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming™ and is well worth the read. It starts...
In a couple of hundred years, historians will be comparing the frenzies over our supposed human contribution to global warming to the tumults at the latter end of the tenth century as the Christian millennium approached. Then, as now, the doomsters identified human sinfulness as the propulsive factor in the planet's rapid downward slide.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Category: Construction
Ron, DB and I were trying to find the entrance to a much signed restaurant with little success. We despaired when, at the end of the path that seemed to lead to said portal, we came across this stairway:

We admitted defeat and asked someone for directions. Oh, the shame!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Category: Who Knew?
From the Financial Times comes [what I hope is] a summary of an investigation into Carbon Credits. This is a classic example of the nonsense that happens in the name of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warmening™:
Blue Source, a US offsetting company, invites consumers to offset carbon emissions by investing in enhanced oil recovery, which pumps carbon dioxide into depleted oil wells to bring up the remaining oil. However, Blue Source said that because of the high price of oil, this process was often profitable in itself, meaning operators were making extra revenues from selling “carbon credits” for burying the carbon.
So, they get credits for bringing up otherwise unreachable oil which will be used as a fuel that has CO2 as one of its major "waste" products? Imagine presenting this stuff to a publisher as Science Fiction, say, thirty years ago; you'd be laughed out of the office!

Category: Politics
YouTube link of the [time period]:

It won't eat into your download budget much, Jack, and it is worth a look.

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