Wed, Jul. 7th, 2010, 09:52 pm
Fanfic recs, anyone?
Does anyone out there know where one can find half-decent fanfic in Jack Vance's Cadwal Chronicles (Araminta Station et. seq.) or Demon Princes universes? Straight, slash, dark, fluff, even PWP. I'll read anything once.
Bonus points if it's on LJ, DW or JF.
Sat, Dec. 26th, 2009, 12:55 pm
Merry Christmas to all...
...and to all, a good night. :)
(Yes, I know what my timestamp says - but where I actually am, it's still Christmas Day.)
Tue, Jul. 21st, 2009, 02:20 am
40 Years since humans first walked on the moon, but have we advanced?
The landing of human beings on the moon, with their safe return, is humanity's greatest triumph.
They last did so in my lifetime (the last mission was in December 1972).
It is the greatest disgrace of the United States that the nation which put men on the moon has not since been back there. If Barack Obama cannot twist NASA's arm to do so in LESS time than it took from Kennedy's commitment until Armstrong's first step, then he is utterly lacking in vision, drive, or ambition.
The US military should never have been locked out of the space race, as it was back in the 60s. If the military had been conducting spaceflights, it would have insisted on the ability to launch reliably at short notice, at any time of day, in most kinds of weather and to be able to turn a ship around (refuel, rearm where applicable, and perform essential maintenance) in a very short time (say, 24 hours). The most recent Space Shuttle launch was plagued by five launch cancellations, and I'm pretty sure that if they tried to launch again in 24 hours, all sorts of corners would have to be cut - probably too many.
The military needs to be allowed back into the Space Race - or at the very least, new ships with 21st century technology (as opposed to the "Apollo 11 on steroids" currently favoured) should meet military standards of reliability, toughness, durability and serviceability.
(It goes without saying that Moon Hoax believers who post here will be banned and their stupidity frozen in the comments for all to see. If you're going to say nothing good, say nothing.)
Tue, Jul. 7th, 2009, 10:50 am
We hope that Boeing or Airbus are not truly this stupid.
Ryanair on board with stool-seatingTuesday, July 07, 2009 » 09:50am
Irish carrier Ryanair said it was in talks with US planemaker Boeing about adapting its aircraft so that some passengers could be placed in 'vertical seating'.
The low-cost carrier, which in recent months has suggested heavy passengers pay a 'fat tax' and travellers pay to use its on-board toilets, said it wants to get more people onto its aircraft by ripping out traditional seating.
Ryanair is in discussions with Boeing 'in relation to adapt the aircraft to allow people to travel in vertical seating', Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said on Monday.
Passengers 'wouldn't be fully standing, they would have something like a stool to lean on or to sit on', he added.
McNamara said Ryanair was looking into removing four rows, or 12 seats, of traditional seating on its planes to accommodate the standing room.
Chinese carrier Spring Airlines was in discussions with European planemaker Airbus about a similar plan, he noted.
Like I said in the header, I hope that the airline companies aren't this stupid. Air-safety experts would argue that the current seating standards are not strong enough - in their perfect world, we'd be travelling backwards (as soldiers do on some long-distance military transports), and/or wearing four-point restraints, to protect us in event of a survivable crash. We fine
people for not wearing seat belts in cars
, for heaven's sake! Now these idiots are proposing that passengers be allowed to stand, or at least rest their backsides on a stool, for the duration of a flight when every airline I have ever been on
insists that passengers sit down with their belts on for even the slightest turbulence.
This is a nonsense idea. The bottom line is money, here; making the maximum amount of profit by squeezing the most passengers onto an existing airplane. It's a great way to wind up with horribly mutilated passengers. If these aircraft are built, and one crashes, the family of every standing passenger will be entitled to sue and it will be an open-and-shut case. The airline (at least Ryanair; I don't like the chances of success for a class action in the PRC) will go under for negligence in offering this seating, and the aircraft manufacturer will go under for being so negligent as to build the aircraft.
My fear is that the bean counters, the dollar symbols whizzing behind their eyes as they contemplate orders and profits, will insist on this and the engineers will be so cowardly as not to stand up to them.
If this happens, I would suggest the best course of action is for would-be passengers with these airlines to refuse to fly unless the airline can guarantee
that the seating plan is conventional (all-sitting), and to be willing to walk off the aircraft if one discovers otherwise.
If the executives of the airline companies are reading this, I would implore them to reject all talks with airlines for such seating at once
If any Boeing or Airbus engineers are reading this, I would implore them to have the courage to stand up to the executive if necessary and to refuse to design the "seating" plan these airlines demand.
Sat, Jul. 4th, 2009, 09:47 pm
News of the World.
1. Proof, as if any were needed, that the burqa is a bad idea: GUWEI'IYYA, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - The legs are long, the eyes are big, the bodies curvaceous. Contestants in this Saudi-style beauty pageant have all the features you might expect anywhere else in the world, but with one crucial difference -- the competitors are camels.
Clearly, this is what happens when you don't see enough of your women.
2. Police foil radio control zeppelin jailbreak.
Yes, you read that right. MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police said on Friday they had foiled an Italian drug trafficker's plan to break out of jail in the Canary Islands using climbing equipment and a four-meter-long zeppelin. "The plan consisted of using a remotely controlled zeppelin to bring him night-vision goggles and climbing equipment with which to escape," a National Police statement said.
Anyone from Livejournal's steamfashion
watching? No doubt the band Abney Park
could find some inspiration here - Airship Pirates
3. From Turkey - the game show where you gain your soul: ISTANBUL (Reuters) - What happens when you put a Muslim imam, a Christian priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk in a room with 10 atheists? Turkish television station Kanal T hopes the answer is a ratings success as it prepares to launch a gameshow where spiritual guides from the four faiths will seek to convert a group of non-believers. The prize for converts will be a pilgrimage to a holy site of their chosen religion -- Mecca for Muslims, the Vatican for Christians, Jerusalem for Jews and Tibet for Buddhists.
A team of theologians is on hand to make sure that the atheists are genuine when they start and the winner is genuine when he or she finishes. Much like Queen Victoria, Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate is not amused. I have to admit, I agree with them on this one. Game shows are tacky enough as it is, and this IMO is in pretty bad taste. Plus... what do they do if the winner says they want to be a Hindu?
4. And from Latvia - the bank loan that might see you lose it! RIGA (Reuters) - Ready to give your soul for a loan in these difficult economic times? In Latvia, where the crisis has raged more than in the rest of the European Union, you can. Such a deal is being offered by the Kontora loan company, whose public face is Viktor Mirosiichenko, 34. Clients have to sign a contract, with the words "Agreement" in bold letters at the top. The client agrees to the collateral, "that is, my immortal soul."
This (AFAIK) is Viktor Mirosiichenko.
Would you entrust him with your immortal soul?
Fri, Jul. 3rd, 2009, 11:38 pm
News of the World - Mixed Messages?
1. The Naked Passenger: A US Airways plane was forced to divert from its path after a naked passenger began running around inside. New Yorker Keith Wright, 50, stripped down in front of 148 passengers and refused to put his clothes back on.
Rather distracting, wouldn't you say? The naked maniac was eventually brought to heel, of course...Passengers helped to hold him down while Wright's ankles and wrists were handcuffed to a row of seats.
...but was it just what he wanted all along?
2. The Naked Crew: Thousands of Air New Zealand passengers will from this week get their flight safety instructions from staff wearing nothing but body paint. The airline has decided to expand its use of body painted staff from advertisements to the in-flight safety video used on 737 domestic flights.
Sounds enticing, until you realize that given Air NZ's cultural context, what you're possibly going to get is a 6ft, 250lb muscle-rippling specimen of maleness in Maori war paint, quite possibly armed. Read the safety card or else!
3. Michelin-starred British chef and television personality Gordon Ramsay's restaurants in Britain have suffered a 90 per cent drop in profits as the recession began to bite, it has been revealed.
Viewers in Australia at least will know that Gordon Ramsay is as famous for spicy language
as culinary talent, so I think it's less about the f****ng c*** of a recession we're going through and more about the f*** language he f*** well uses.
Fri, Jul. 3rd, 2009, 04:28 am
piece of brilliance has to have been made with Twilight in mind, yes?
Sat, Jun. 27th, 2009, 11:26 pm
Book Review: "Who Killed the Avro Arrow?", by Chris Gainor.
"I, said the Sparrow. With my bow and... oh wait."
This is one of those books that sends aviation enthusiasts into fits of razor blade-wielding depression, and details a scandal which, for Canadians, is the equivalent of the TSR-2 misery that afflicted the British aircaft industry a few years afterwards.
The Arrow was a supersonic (Mach 2+) fighter designed to a specific requirement of the Royal Canadian Air Force, that was successfully developed to prototype stage and flown in the last 1950s... and then abruptly cancelled. Vindictively so, too, depending on your viewpoint - all the prototypes and their construction jigs were destroyed, and only the front fuselage of Arrow Six remains.
The major justification at the time was that ICBMs had just become a technical probability (Sputnik I was launched on the day of the Arrow's rollout), and that with the obsolescence of the manned bomber, the manned fighter also seemed not-all-that-necessary. Gainor contends that regardless of how beautiful an aerodynamic achievement it was, the Arrow was a long way from being a complete weapon system (integrated airframe, radar, attack computers and missiles), and there was still a lot of money to be spent on the thing before it was a viable combat aircraft.
This may or may not have been true. Things can't have been helped by vacillation over the weapon system: Avro Canada were offered the Hughes Falcon missile and an associated radar/air combat computer as a package, but although Gainor mentions the RCAF's refusal of the missile, he doesn't go into the reasons why. The RCAF chose the much more advanced Astra combat computer (which was discontinued as its development costs soared) and Sparrow II active-homing missile (an even more difficult technological ask - the British had dumped their much larger Red Dean as an unreachable goal not long before, although it was briefly considered for the Arrow's armament), which added hugely to the projected cost of the aircraft. (So in one sense the Sparrow did kill the Arrow, by making the whole project unachievably expensive, but nobody can fault the RCAF for wanting the best possible weapons for their new baby - and the RCAF was not alone in wanting such a missile.)
Gainor may have a point here. It's easy to judge in hindsight, without standing in 1950s shoes and trying to look forward, and he certainly tries to do this and offer a balanced case for its cancellation. He also seeks to exculpate the United States for its alleged role in getting the aircraft cancelled so that it could sell its alternative to the RCAF. Unfortunately, I don't think his point holds completely. When you consider what the RCAF ended up with (American BOMARC surface-to-air missiles with a shorter range than the Arrow, but which could not intercept ICBMs, and American F-101 fighters armed with the Falcon missile and its associated Hughes attack computers), the charge that the Arrow and its armament were insufficient for future requirements rings rather hollow.
Gainor's claim that the Arrow was unsuitable for the task the RCAF was assigned in Europe (low-level strike with conventional and/or nuclear weapons) also seems hollow - it's amazing what a good airplane can be modified to do when the designers put their minds to it (witness the F-15E, a magnificent strike aircraft which has evolved out of a pure air-combat fighter which was never intended to lift so much as a single bomb, but which in its current form carries more than a dozen).
In exchange for almost entirely local spending (the missile and fire control were offered to Avro virtually for nothing) and an indigenously-developed interceptor, the Canadians got an almost entirely foreign purchase of less aerodynamic and strategic-tactical capability, and all of Avro Canada's aeronautical and systems expertise was dispersed to the US and the UK.
I may not agree with Gainor's conclusion, but I think he does present a valid case for not automatically screaming OMFG DIEFENBAKER U HOR, U KILLED OUR GLORIOUS AIRPLANE. My call is that the decision to kill the Arrow project was clearly wrong, but this book does offer a very useful springboard for discussing the reasons why. It is available for sale from the North Atlantic Aviation Museum, Gander, Newfoundland and probably also on the Web.
Enthusiasts have since built full-scale models of the Arrow, and an airworthy version is being spoken of. The Arrow may yet live on!
Thu, Jun. 25th, 2009, 09:16 pm
News of the World.
1. Mystery man unveiled: Formula One legend Michael Schumacher was on Sunday unveiled as "the Stig", the mystery man who test drives cars on British cult motoring show Top Gear.
He wasn't the only man to play the role, but he is surely the most appropriate.
2. Slimy creature admits crime, avoids realistic penalty: R&B singer Chris Brown has pleaded guilty to assaulting former girlfriend Rihanna and will be sentenced to 180 days of community service for the attack, lawyers said.
He's also on probation for five years with a "stay away" order, but that's not good enough for me. He should go to jail for those five years (at least), and all the profits from his extant works should be appropriated for battered women's shelters.
3. They'll make a film about anything
these days: Oscar-nominated film-maker David Fincher is in talks to direct a Hollywood movie based on the rise of social networking website Facebook, reports say. Fincher, who earned an Oscar nod for his period romance The Curious Case of Benjamin Button earlier this year, is in advanced negotiations with Columbia Pictures over the possible movie, Daily Variety reported.
A musical will surely follow.
Lead singer: She friended me!
Chorus: She friended him, she friended him, she frieeeeeeeeeeeeeended him!
4. So that's
what causes crop circles! Things are really hopping in Tasmania where wallabies are getting stoned on the state's opium poppy crops and creating crop circles. The wallabies are breaking into the poppy fields and making the circles while they're high.
The poppy crop is for medical morphine - no need to panic there - but stoned marsupials?
My beloved carlanime
always did say Australia was weird; I'm starting to agree with her!
5. As my wedding approaches, the rain is pouring down. In India, they have it the other way round, but it's no ordinary wedding: Two frogs have been married in a ceremony in the western Indian state of Maharashtra to usher in the delayed monsoon rains, a report says.
Future mother-in-law asks the obvious (QWP)
question: how do you make it stop?
Fri, Jun. 19th, 2009, 10:41 pm
In which the United States of America finally grows a pair - or does it?
NASA launches probes to the moon
My commentary in bold
NASA blasted two probes into space on a landmark lunar exploration mission to scout water sources and landing sites in anticipation of sending mankind back to the moon in 2020.IIRC, Kennedy set the goal in 1961 of a manned return trip which was attained eight years later. That was forty-eight years ago; is NASA really saying that with today's technology and the wealth of previous experience, it can't be done in less than eleven years?
The launch marked 'America's first step in a lasting return to the moon,' a NASA official said moments after a rocket carrying the probes launched at 5:32 pm (2132 GMT), on Thursday, a day after the US space agency scrubbed the shuttle Endeavour launch for the second time in a week because of a nagging hydrogen fuel leak.The shuttle technology is thirty-plus years old. In all that time, and with two shuttles destroyed in accidents, it beggars the imagination that NASA hasn't expanded the spaceplane fleet - either with additional shuttles to the same design, or with a more advanced concept.
The liftoff of the dual LRO and LCROSS missions atop an Atlas V rocket from Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida occured one month shy of the 40th anniversary of NASA's historic first landings on Earth's natural satellite in 1969.Granted, the Shuttle is not the ideal launch platform for everything, but the Atlas itself is based on an ICBM first mooted in 1954. Have there been no advances in launch-platform technology in the interim? I hope this Atlas is a very different beast to its originator!
Americans have been the only people to walk on the moon -- with the last such outing in 1972 -- and the new mission is the first step on the long journey to launch manned missions further into our solar system, to the planet Mars and beyond, from lunar colonies.
US President Barack Obama has said the program, dubbed the Constellation project, needs to be reviewed, but so far has not cast doubt on its goals.One hopes that "needs to be reviewed" does not mean "can be sacrificed on the altar of economic expediency". This sentence alone is worrying.
'The robotic mission will give us information we need to make informed decisions about any future human presence on the moon,' program manager Todd May told reporters earlier this week.
The Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) in particular looks set to be one of NASA's most spectacular bids at discovery for years.
To seek out water ice on the moon -- a critical component for any planning for manned lunar colonies -- the probe will analyse data from ejected lunar material after the separated portion of the rocket, named Centaur, crashes into a permanently shadowed crater, on the dark side of the moon that never sees sunshine.This is either bad phrasing or utter crap, the latter of which makes me despair at the standard of science reporting today. At best it posits that the impact point is so shielded by the lip of the crater that it never sees sunlight, which might be accurate. To state that the 'dark side of the moon' - i.e. the (very inaccurate name for the) one we cannot see from Earth - never sees sunlight is utter bullshit.
After examining the moon matter, the explorer will follow the rocket's lead by also hurling itself into the moon at approximately 2.5 kilometres per second -- some 9,000 km/h.Thus proving what? I assume the LRO mentioned below - or Earth-based probes - will examine the results of this second impact, but it's very badly put. And it seems a waste. I can see why impact probes are useful - they're cheap, because they don't have to be much more than a minimally guided bullet, and more sophisticated instruments in orbit can analyse the matter thrown up - but why not put a rover down on the surface which can drill or dig, and refresh your knowledge of soft-landing procedures?
In total, NASA said, the two impacts will excavate some 500 metric tons of lunar material and begin the search for a long-frozen water source. The project will also examine the moon's mineral makeup.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, hopes to learn more about the moon through a one-year stay at an orbit of about 50 kilometres -- the closest continual lunar orbit of any spacecraft.
LRO's $US500 million ($A630.91 million) mission is designed to provide NASA with maps of unprecedented accuracy, which will be crucial for scoping out possible landing sites.
Both missions, May said, will help NASA model the nuances of lunar lighting and temperature range, and provide future moon travelers with information on the cosmic radiation the moon is exposed to due to its lack of atmosphere.
The probes' four-day, 384,000-kilometre return to the moon 40 years after humans first set foot on its surface is expected to illuminate our closest extra-terrestrial neighbour like never before.
'Earth is subject to erosion processes from air and water,' noted May. 'The moon itself doesn't have this process.... LRO will send back pictures daily on things we have barely seen before.'These things together cost about a hundredth of what our government (Australia) has recently assigned on "stimulus packages". It annoys me that Australia - with its own long history of rocketry research (shared with the British at Woomera) - can't do something like this. It's good that NASA's doing it, but it should have been doing a lot more. And we should start doing it as well.
Mon, Jun. 8th, 2009, 07:07 pm
Whoever came up with this idea for a shipborne children's-charity gala dinner really wasn't thinking, were they?
Thu, May. 21st, 2009, 11:43 pm
Victor Frankenstein might approve, but could he afford it?
"...since the rump of the company's organization still possesses a small number of men of ideas and brilliance, we have seen fit in the last few weeks to place with the company two small study contracts to a value of about £10,000 each as an inexpensive way of making use of their brains."
Source: John Forbat's brilliant and entertaining The Secret World of Vickers Guided Weapons.
Tue, May. 12th, 2009, 09:08 pm
Your Mileage May Vary
Cat's pee taste helps define New Zealand's sauvignon blanc
CAT'S pee and sweaty passionfruit are hardly flavours to make your mouth water but it seems Kiwis can't get enough of them.
These are the core aromas of New Zealand's world-leading sauvignon blanc, according to a six-year study by a team of lucky wine scientists.
The team spent more than $12 million defining the flavours of the country's most popular grape variety, which has a unique flavour and character that has captured the world's interest.
They concluded it was a winning combination of sweet, sweaty passionfruit, asparagus, and cat's pee.
The tests were carried out by an expert sensory panel trained to distinguish between sixteen flavours, including canned and fresh asparagus, stone fruit, apple and snowpeas.
A wine region called Wairarapa, near the capital of Wellington, was found to be the top spot for cat's pee influences in the white wine.
Sauvignon blanc in the celebrated South Island wine region of Marlborough had an intense "sweet, sweaty passionfruit" and asparagus flavour, a flavour a panel of ordinary wine drinkers ranked their favourite.
Plant & Food science research leader Dr Roger Harker said wine connoisseurs routinely describe wine using the terms such as cat's pee and capsicum and now the market place was also catching on.
One winery, Cooper's Creek, had already caught on, calling its sauvignon blanc Cat's Pee on a Gooseberry Bush.
Sue Blackmore, a wine science lecturer at New Zealand's Lincoln University, said the flavours were only found in moderation.
"We're talking about parts per billion, very tiny amounts to make the wine more complexing and interesting," Blackmore said.
"If you had a whole lot of the compounds that give you cat's pee it obviously wouldn't be great but it's amazing what a little can do."
One wine retailer said New Zealanders would not be fazed by the unsavoury associations in their favourite wine.
"Most wouldn't stop to think about it," he said.
"Most people drink purely for enjoyment - they don't stop to analyse the wine."
I don't know about you, but my philosophy dovetails neatly with that last sentence - it's good if I want another sip, very good if I want the rest of the glass, outstanding if I want the rest of the bottle.
I simply can't believe the professionals actually got pretentious enough to compare good wine to cat piss and do so with a straight face. And yet they did.
And... how the hell do they know what cat piss tastes like, anyway? And do I really
want that question answered?
Sat, May. 9th, 2009, 07:01 am
Why Prescription Pharmaceuticals Should Not Be Advertised Directly To The Public
From a post on Orac's
It's no wonder physicians are losing their patience with with patients (yes, I did mean to write that) who come in insisting on getting the medicine they saw on TV.
One of my coworkers has a 6 year old son who told his pediatrician, "TV said I should ask you if Cialis is right for me."
(Hyperlink within quotes is mine.)
Fri, May. 8th, 2009, 08:05 pm
News of the World
Fri, May. 8th, 2009, 07:31 pm
1. Turkey steaks - amount to suit
2. Lemongrass, lime and ginger spice powder (liberally shaken)
3. Lime juice (a few squirts, judge by eye)
4. Lemon juice (likewise)
5. Soy sauce to cover the meat
6. 2 cups fried rice (thank God for rice cookers!)
7. 1 can of assorted Asian vegetables
Chop #1 up into bite sized bits and marinade as desired in a mix of #2 through #5.
Drain and retain marinade.
Stir fry the meat, add the can of vegies, warm it all nicely and then stir through the rice and add marinade.
See title of post.
Thu, Apr. 16th, 2009, 12:47 pm
Snakes on a Plane, Australian Edition.
Sun, Apr. 12th, 2009, 08:33 am
Happy Easter to all.
Fri, Apr. 10th, 2009, 06:59 am
Too awesome not to post.
Tue, Apr. 7th, 2009, 12:52 pm
Because I know I've got dog-lovers on my friendslist...
Dog gone, island life's rough
Tuesday, April 07, 2009 » 01:52am A canine castaway lost at sea has been reunited with her owners after spending more than four months living off goats on a Queensland island.
Owner Jan Griffith said her family were devastated when their cattle dog, Sophie Tucker, fell off the side of their boat in choppy waters off the Mackay coast in north Queensland in late November.
But unbeknown to them, their hardy hound swam five nautical miles to St Bees Island, where she survived until last week by hunting baby goats.
She was last week returned to her family after rangers captured what they believed was a wild dog.
Ms Griffith said she and her husband had contacted rangers after friends suggested the dog - who had earned a name for herself on the island - might be their long-lost pet.
Last Tuesday, the couple met the rangers' boat as it ferried the dog back to the mainland and were blown away to find Sophie Tucker on board.
'We called the dog and she started whimpering and banging the cage and they let her out and she just about flattened us,' Ms Griffith said.
'She wriggled around like a mad thing.'
But even more unbelievable was hearing how their domesticated 'inside' dog had survived, she said.
'She had looked really poor (on the island), the story was, and then all of a sudden she started to look good and it was when the rangers had found baby goat carcases so she'd started eating baby goats,' she said.
'We think she'd swum close to five nautical miles from the boat where she went in and then some people believe she went backwards and forwards from Keswick to St Bees (islands).'
Ms Griffith said their pet had been quick to embrace her now easier existence - complete with air conditioning.
Goat for dinner, anyone?
Sat, Apr. 4th, 2009, 08:49 pm
For all the Star Wars fans out there (spoilers for prequels).
Sun, Mar. 22nd, 2009, 09:30 pm
A Sri Lankan-born man who came to Britain 17 years ago is reportedly refusing to serve customers in his post office unless they speak English.
Deva Sumarasiri, 40, whose shop is in a racially mixed inner-city area, believes he has to stand up for the English language because otherwise the social fabric of the country will disintegrate.
Asians, eastern Europeans and others coming to his post office in Nottingham, central England, to claim state benefits or post letters must speak English or they will not be served, he said.
'If you don't want to be British, go home,' he told the Daily Mail newspaper. 'The fabric of the nation begins to unravel if we don't all speak the same language.'
What do people think?
Wed, Mar. 18th, 2009, 09:18 pm
Just a little question...
Here is a link
to an article in The Australian, the national daily, in which the author of the article quotes US Vice President Joe Biden. Biden allegedly said, of a woman struggling to keep her business afloat:it may very well be that she’s in a circumstance where she is not able, her customers aren’t able to get to her, there’s no transit capability, the bridge going across the creek to get to her business needs repair, may very well be that she’s in a position where she is unable to access the - her energy costs are so high by providing smart meters, by being able to bring down the cost of her workforce
I don't know for sure whether it's Biden or not. All that I know is that he sounds completely incoherent.
Can anyone out there:
a) confirm that Biden said this, and
b) explain what the fucking hell he's actually saying
? Because if that really is the Vice-President of the United States talking, God help America if something happens to the President.
Hey, wait... haven't we heard that warning before?
Wed, Mar. 18th, 2009, 01:41 pm
Pathology Update, Day 2.
Yes, I know it's been a few days down the track, but only my being as sick as a dog has given me time to write this update!
First up in the morning was Dr Lester Thompson again, talking about "What is a Small Round Blue Cell Tumour anyway?" The small round blue cell tumours (SRBCTs) are a cluster of relatively unrelated malignancies that have a distinct habit of resembling each other in clever ways, but which - thanks to the miracle of modern science - are now easily told apart for dealing with in appropriate fashions.
The SRBCTs can be tricky in Dr Thompson's area of expertise (head and neck pathology - yes, there really is a need for such a subspecialty!) because most of the tumours he commonly deals with are NOT amenable to the fancy tricks. Fortunately there is a handy mnemonic to help us remember which are by far the most common ones: MR SLEEP.
Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma
Peripheral neuroectodermal tumour
...and he followed this up with diagnostic tests that would tell them all apart. Very helpful and practical.
Next was the symposium on lymphomas. As I suspected, one would have to be not only a high-functioning Aspie, but a full-on autistic savant to be able to stay awake for all of it. The beginning and the end were not so bad - as the entire talk centred around what's new in the World Health Organization classification of lymphomas, and as the presenters were mostly Dr Who nuts, a few fanvids were thrown in, and jokes about "the new WHO" were made. The middle was truly sleep-inducing, apart from one lymphoma type whose acronym (not yet official, and I hope it never is) was such a mishmash of letters that I caught myself saying "This is what Who fans type when they see bad fanfic."
The exhibitors' stalls were being pulled down at that point, so I sprinted over to the medical bookshop stall and bought "Potter's Pathology of the Foetus, Infant and Child" and "Biopsy Pathology of the Upper Aerodigestive Tract and Ear". And then had to lug them around everywhere. *grizzles at heavy textbooks*
After lunch was the liver tumours talk. I couldn't face this, as I have heard similar talks and they are insomniac, so I ambled over to the Forensics session instead. Dr Jo Duflou talked on "Ultralight aircraft accidents", highlighting the terrible lack of regulation and oversight of this fun, but very much living-on-the-edge industry, and the likelihood that a lot of pilots who die in ultralight accidents do so as a result of medical disasters (e.g. heart attacks or hypoglycaemic attacks) which in turn cause the crash. This was punctuated by vids of crashing ultralights, including the disastrous irony which befell a pilot who fitted a parachute to his aircraft so that if there was a disastrous structural failure and a wing came off, the rest could float safely to the ground. Only problem was, the chute was faulty: it deployed on takeoff and killed all his lift and thrust, and he was not quite so high that it would work as intended, nor so low that the smackdown Mother Earth gave him was survivable.
Dr Chris Lawrence followed, with all the things that can go wrong in SCUBA diving, and what one needs to look for when one autopsies the diver. The presentation bore the fateful words "Shark attacks [in Australian waters] in recent years have been few and far between", true up until very, very recently! To his credit, he corrected it verbally.
Both of these talks were entertaining, and made me wonder why the anatomical pathologists can't be as lively. Perhaps it's because working constantly with all the most violent forms of death makes one just a little too eccentric to be boring?
Last was really quite depressing. ( Cut for depressing stuff. )
And then it was time for the long drive home! So tired was I that I'd already taken one of my books out of my bag (a chess book I'd found when buying carlanime
's presents) and became absolutely frantic when it wasn't in the bag, nor in the car... was just about to ring the convention centre up to ask them to look for it when my eyes lit upon it!
And then there were two busy days, and then I woke up feeling like crap this morning! Therefore - a day home in bed was compulsory.
Think I will have a little lie-down soon, and concentrate on something other than the internet!
Sat, Mar. 7th, 2009, 09:52 pm
Everything old is new again... sort of.
So anyway, last year my old laptop - venerable survivor of horrific abuse since late 2005 - decided it had finally had enough and was going to go on strike. Already ominous things were happening to the screen (vertical discoloured lines permanently on view), and from the way it was crawling piteously through every task, it looked like everything else was giving way too.
Not long after I bought its replacement, it stopped working altogether for more than a few minutes at a time, and I tought "Well, thank God I replaced that heap of crap!"
EXCEPT... that heap of crap has now had its memory scrubbed, and everything is gradually getting reinstalled. If not for the vertical lines, and the fact that it lacks a webcam, I would almost not have bought this new one. (Useful webcam is useful!)
AND... as the new one has now developed ominous clickings in the hard drive bearings, with effects that include the utter corruption of Outlook, I have decided it might be best if it went in for repair. While I'm about it, I might get a better hard drive put in and even some more memory (another gig, for what it's worth). But it will be nice to actually have a laptop while the New Beast is being repaired.
Tue, Feb. 24th, 2009, 10:04 pm
News of the World
1. US Library To Restrict Books on Sex!
screams the headline, and I bet you're thinking "Oh shit, those fucking abstinence-only morons are at it again." You'd be wrong, though. A library member was charged Jan. 22 and jailed for not returning the book that she borrowed last April
. So the only restriction is to the not-for-loan section - so that everybody else gets a turn! As Austin Powers would say: Yeah, baby; yeah!
2. In Harry Potter
, Molly Weasley asked the kids to de-gnome the garden; but how do you de-gnome an entire city
, when you don't even know who's putting them in there? Shadowy forces are clearly at work...
3. I've always thought it was dangerous to provide entertainment that references current events, on the basis that the verdict of history could leave your interpretation looking rather stupid. However, I'm seriously tempted to give a pass to this one: An internet entertainment company has launched an online videogame called Trillion Dollar Bailout which allows players to 'slap' or reward chief executives.
Methinks that 'slap' function will be getting quite a few uses, especially among the recently unemployed who have more time to play it...
4. It takes quite a lot to win an acting Oscar after you're dead, it seems: so much so, in fact, that the only two people ever to manage the feat are Australians. The late Australian actor Heath Ledger has won the Oscar for best supporting actor. Ledger, nominated in the best supporting actor category for his performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight, was favourite to win.
Ledger died 13 months ago from an accidental prescription drug overdose aged 28. He is only the second actor to win an Oscar posthumously. Peter Finch, also an Australian, was the first when he was named winner of the best actor for Network in 1977, just three months after dying from a heart attack.
And finally, an amusing excerpt from the chess book I was reading this evening as my virus and spyware killers drove their eager tendrils through my laptop. The book is Winning Chess Strategies
by Syrian-born American Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan. Seirawan is discussing the concept of 'hole squares', those from which pieces cannot be driven by the far less valuable pawns. He uses metaphors including "devouring" and "snacking upon" these squares almost as one would capture a piece, and then unleashes the crowning glory:Why not make use of this tasty hole?
Why not indeed, given that the winning player in his example is well on his way to a successful... er... mating attack.
Mon, Feb. 9th, 2009, 10:10 pm
Harry Potter Poetry
Inspired by a post at Livejournal's badfic_quotes
, and crossposted as a reply.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sad Grey Orbs
It's bad enough that I get slashed with Potter and with Snape
But now I find I'm no more than a colour and a shape
But given who writes Potterfic, I guess it's no surprise
I'm a Sueified blond Slytherin with sad grey orbs for eyes.
I know I've been a coward but I have to say I'm pissed,
When they make me sing these Muggle songs that don't as yet exist,
And keep wrist-slitting company with emo girls and guys
As a Sueified blond Slytherin with sad grey orbs for eyes.
I'd happily fuck Potter if the Suethors would refrain
From writing about single tears upon my cheeks like rain
Every time his penis finds its way between the thighs
Of this Sueified blond Slytherin with sad grey orbs for eyes.
And now we've reached the epilogue, the story of my life
I've become so unimportant they won't even name my wife.
And my son is off to Hogwarts, and the post-war fics reprise
A Sueified blond Slytherin with sad grey orbs for eyes.
Mon, Feb. 9th, 2009, 04:15 pm
Obama's Mad Science!
Wed, Jan. 28th, 2009, 10:36 pm
Humour - apologies if I've already posted this.
Apologies if I've posted this before...
You know you’re Australian if....
You know the meaning of ‘girt’
You believe that stubbies can either be worn or drunk
You think it is normal! To have a Prime Minister called Kevin
You waddle when you walk due to the 53 expired petrol discount vouchers stuffed in your wallet or purse
You’ve made a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering the garden
You understand that the phrase ‘a group of women wearing black thongs’ refers to footwear and may be less alluring than it sounds
You pronounce Melbourne as ‘Mel-bin’
You pronounce Penrith as ‘Pen-riff’
You believe the ‘L’ in the word ‘ Australia ‘ is optional
You can translate: ‘Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas’
You believe it makes perfect sense for a nation to decorate its highways with large fibreglass bananas, prawns and sheep
You call your best friend ‘a total b*stard’ but someone you really, truly despise is just ‘a bit of a b*stard’
You think ‘Woolloomooloo’ is a perfectly reasonable name for a place
You believe is makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that’s twice as big as its $2 coin
You understand that ‘Wagga Wagga’ can be abbreviated to ‘Wagga’ but ‘Woy Woy’ can’t be called ‘Woy’
You believe that cooked-down axlegrease makes a good breakfast spread
You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up, at which point they again become Kiwis
You know, whatever the tourist books say, that no one says ‘cobber’
You believe, as an article of faith, that the confectionery known as the Wagon Wheel has become smaller with every passing year
You still don’t get why the ‘Labor’ in ‘Australian Labor Party’ is not spelt with a ‘U
You wear ugh boots outside the house
You believe that the more you shorten someone’s name the more you like them
Whatever your linguistic skills, you find yourself able to order takeaway fluently in every Asian language
You understand that ‘excuse me’ can sound rude, while ‘scuse me’ is always polite
You know what it’s like to swallow a fly, on occasions via your nose!
You understand that ‘you’ has a plural and that it’s ‘youse’
You know it’s not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle
You biggest family argument over the summer concerned the rules of beach cricket
You shake your head in horror when companies try to market what they call ‘Anzac cookies’
You still think of Kylie as ‘that girl off Neighbours’
When returning home from overseas, you expect to be brutally strip-searched by Customs - just in case you’re trying to sneak in fruit
You believe the phrase ‘smart casual’ refers to a pair of black tracky-daks, suitably laundered
You understand that all train timetables are works of fiction
When working at a bar, you understand male customers will feel the need to offer an excuse whenever they order low-alcohol beer
You get choked up with emotion by the first verse of the national anthem and then have trouble remembering the second
You find yourself ignorant of nearly all the facts deemed essential in the government’s new test for migrants.
You will immediately forward this list to other Australians, here and overseas, realising that only they will understand!!
Fri, Jan. 16th, 2009, 02:47 pm
One-day game (50 overs a side) - Australia won the toss and is batting first, which will mean that this evening becomes a South African "run chase" - something they're very good at, and which potentially makes for a pretty exciting second half, provided the Aussies don't have a collapse and fuck it up.
I'm very grateful that South Africa are back in the game - they proved right from the start of their post-apartheid cricketing rehabilitation that they are a dangerous side to take for granted. Australia and South Africa are still only the first and second teams ever to make 400+ runs in a fifty-over session, and they did it against each other and in the same game. South Africa, batting second, won against a disbelieving Australia, who had every reason to expect it couldn't be done again in a hurry.
ETA: One wicket for eight runs, two and a half overs in. This is NOT GOOD.
ETA2: South Africa by a whisker. A damned close-run thing.
Wed, Jan. 14th, 2009, 05:15 pm
The Seven Samurai?
Yet another episode in the list of people who wouldn't lie down and let bad shit happen to them. These two idiots
are akin to a previous idiot I let you know about, in that they decided it would be a really good idea
to pull an armed hold-up on a restaurant where the chefs are required by the nature of the cuisine to work extensively with long, sharp knives.
And now, on with our story...Waiters stab armed robber to death in Paris restaurantAn armed robber has been stabbed to death by a group of waiters in a busy Japanese restaurant in Paris.
Two men carrying a knife and an electronic stun gun stormed the Planet Sushi restaurant in the city's Latin Quarter on Sunday night, demanding money from the till.
But the team of Japanese staff turned on the men, stabbing one to death with a fish knife used for preparing sushi dishes, while the other was pinned to the ground outside the restaurant.
A witness said the restaurant was full when the men burst in.
"They pointed an stun gun at a waiter and demanded the cash from the till, but the staff grabbed kitchen knives and charged at the men," he said.
"They fled outside, chased by waiters, where one was stabbed and the other was held to the floor.
"It was like a moment from Tarantino's Kill Bill films."
Police, who arrived at the scene in rue Monge minutes later, said the stabbed robber, aged 22, died while being taken to hospital.
His accomplice, also 22, and seven Japanese staff have all being taken into custody for questionning, police said.
The bold is mine. The only question I would ask is, why bother to take the staff into custody? Give them all a medal for bravery and let them return to work.OTT and being pedantic, note the errors in the last line of the article - this has been copy-pasted as is, and is evidence of serious decline in the editing standards of newspapers, in print and online.
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009, 03:26 pm
So... it being hot and all that, and cooking over a hot stove being rather oppressive at times, my eyes recently drifted to my gas barbecue, which has not been used for some time. After duly scrubbing and cleaning, soaking hotplates and all that, it looks fairly all right to go, and a brief test on the weekend with all the burners lit showed no problems.
All seemed right for the big test, and out I marched last night with the sausages all ready to go, lit 'er up, put the sausages on, and away they went. Because I've had experience with this BBQ being relatively slow, I thought I'd drift over and start stuffing old boxes into the recycling bin. And it was then that I heard the ominous whoof
What should I see when I turned my head, but a sheet of flame a foot high, licking around the hose, the gas regulator, and the valve of the top-full 9kg gas cylinder.
- with visions of being explosively co-mingled with my dinner running through my head - is the moment at which this post got its title.
Fortunately, there were a couple of old dishrags lying close to hand, with which I had been cleaning the old beast. Several hefty beats at the flames later, the small inferno was clear enough of the valve that I could reach in and turn it off.
Needless to say, I now trust neither barbecue nor hose nor regulator. Barbecued pathology_doc
? DO NOT WANT.
Fri, Jan. 9th, 2009, 10:11 pm
Is it just numbers that dwindle?
newsblog article poking a stick at the alleged "dwindling number of climate change deniers"...And I don’t think we are the ones dwindling. They are the cretins who insist on having their rallies and parades in sub-zero temperatures. I stay inside when cold and all my bits are present and correct.
Tue, Jan. 6th, 2009, 12:03 am
MEMO TO SELF
IF YOU LOVE SOMEONE'S BOOKS THAT MUCH, WRITE TO THEM AT ONCE!!!!!!
The cause of my sorrow: I read the books in 2006-2007. I rediscovered them again just this year over the Christmas holidays. I wanted to write to the author and tell him how much I'd loved them. So I googled and wiki'd to try and find him.
He died just last April.
This is the third time this has happened. You'd think I would have learned by now.
Sat, Jan. 3rd, 2009, 09:58 pm
Productivity, pain, and bizarre musical combinations.
So in between varnishing a footstool and sanding down some wood for a bookshelf, I was catching up with the latest Australia vs. South Africa Test cricket match
on TV, and there came one of those agonizing moments when the ball and the batsman's groin take on a close association. Needless to say, that player was down for quite a few minutes and one of the commentators remarked "...he's on his hands and knees, groaning...", an accurate summation of what happens when a thrown object collides with one's testicles at anything approaching 130km/hr (protective 'boxes' notwithstanding).
I wonder what his fellow commentator was thinking, however, when he added the words "As only a New South Welshman
mental picture is a whole different kettle of fish (and makes me sort of glad I was born in South Australia instead).
As a reward for my woodworking efforts, and also for getting the garage cleaned up, I took myself down to one of the local cafés for something caffeinated. Normally there is overhead music, but due to an equipment fault, patrons were subjected to the Country Music Channel. And thus it was that I finally found out exactly who it was who put Warren Zevon's immortal "Werewolves of London" in a metaphorical musical blender with Lynyrd Skynyrd's equally immortal "Sweet Home Alabama" and (to his eternal credit) managed to add a half-decent melody line. The result is here
, and IMO doesn't sound half bad, even if the video-clip is somewhat exploitatively centred on the topic of bikini-clad young women. But hey, what else do you expect from Kid Rock?
The other song that caught my ear was this one
, from a young country & western singer called Jasmine Rae. Yet another C&W tale of broken hearts, cheating boyfriends and the end of love - but as is increasingly common these days, the tip of the cowgirl's boot has a cowboy's backside on the end of it, so to speak. And not only his backside, because the first verse of this Garth Brooks song
hints at an alternative - and equally effective - placement.
Which brings me back to what I saw happen at the cricket this afternoon...
Sun, Dec. 28th, 2008, 06:53 pm
Have just got home after three and a bit days in Adelaide. I am friended, relatived, gifted, and fed (in the gastronomic sense!) to the eyeballs.
In short, it's been Christmas. *grins*
Now I want to wave a magic wand, turn the clock back, and do it all over again; this time in Canada. I miss my carlanime
very, very much.As far as "being fed to the eyeballs" in the gastronomic sense is concerned, I have just remembered that somewhere there exists a B-grade schlock-horror SF novel about alien conquest of Earth called The Flying Eyes. Perhaps I worded that sentence rather badly. *looks nervously over shoulder for ophthalmologically-based doom*
Fri, Dec. 19th, 2008, 10:37 am
Fairytale places for sick children
Was just checking my email, and the ISP was showing an ad for Westmead Children's Hospital's "Bear Cottage", obviously a decorporatized, morally clean version of Ronald McDonald House, advertising it as "Where life is for living".
Really? I thought Bear Cottage was a place where naughty little girls broke in, ate others' food, broke their furniture, smeared their muddy little feet all over their beds, and then decamped when discovered without so much as a by-your-leave.* :p
* Yes, I realize there are takes on the story where the bears get a meat dinner that evening, of which the best and wittiest IMO is still Roald Dahl's. But you know what I mean.
Thu, Dec. 11th, 2008, 11:43 pm
Techno Gamer Geek Help Wanted
Is there anyone out there who knows the "Cossacks" games, particularly "Cossacks, Back To War", esp. to the level of getting down into the guts of the thing and playing with the variables?
I ran it very well under WinXP, but my WinXP laptop has a terminal case of being stuffed (the battery refuses to charge, and it's totally dependent on AC power for one; plus, it keeps locking up and strange vertical lines are appearing on the screen). So now I run it under vista, because I must.
It works, but "dmcr.exe" stops working as soon as it starts, and it has to be run from csetup.exe.
Does anyone know of a reliable fix or patch? Yes, I can get it to run time after time, but the mod. included on the BTW disk depends absolutely on dmcr.exe to run. So unless I can find a way to point csetup at the mod version, it's useless!
And also, does anyone know strategy hints and tips? Not necessarily cheats - I know all those already - but things like the inner workings of the AI, how it lays its plans, best sequences to upgrade units in etc.
Tue, Dec. 9th, 2008, 10:08 pm
Advertisements and their wording.
So... as we all know, many internet and communication providers offer downloadable music, streamed music, podcasts and heaven alone knows what else - all the music you want, when you want it, so to speak.
My particular internet provider seems to offer something more...
Does anyone want to play? :p
Mon, Dec. 8th, 2008, 12:56 pm
Creatures of the Night
|Which creature of the night are you? |
Your Result: Cthulhu Spawn
You are really an alien thing, aren't you? I can't describe you because you are beyond. We say "left field" and you say "Krn Grth Thchrang." You are the wild card of the bunch, the unknown quantity
|Which creature of the night are you?|
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
Wed, Dec. 3rd, 2008, 10:38 pm
News of the World
1. When the Federal Opposition wants the Government to do something, it should consider radical tactics. Coalition frontbencher Joe Hockey knows how to play the game:"I tell you what, I will make this promise - and it's not a pretty promise - [I] will walk naked through Martin Place in Sydney the day this government builds a second airport outside the Sydney basin."
The primary site within
the Syndey basin is at a place called Badgerys Creek, and has been the subject of furious protests by local residents. This is the site that has been considered for the last ten years, as Kingsford-Smith airport gradually approaches overcapacity. The alternative involves a dedicated rail or road link with significant travel times involved, which many believe is unwise (Badgerys isn't exactly close to the Sydney business district to begin with). Mr Hockey is gambling here; the Government's eagerness to transform him into a horseless Lady Godiva may be tempered by the horror of what lies beneath the clothes. Watch this space. Or not, as you prefer.
2. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly denied his country was involved in the Mumbai attacks, saying the gunmen were "stateless actors" seeking to hold the world hostage.
The Indian Government begs to differ.
3. Colossal squid stops traffic in Wellington
OMFG THE STARS ARE RIGHT. IA IA CTHULHU F'TAGN...
4. So, which race or nation really has the biggest dicks? Someone did a study, and if he doesn't win an IgNobel for this, the world is an unfair place. The results show Frenchmen on average claim to need 15.48cm-long condoms, about 3cm longer than Greeks, whose condom-size requirement was the most modest. The institute's director Jan Vinzenz Krause says the data was collected over a period of eight months.
He did not want to comment on how honest he thought the Frenchmen had been in reporting the data.
5. Speaking of genitals, Britons are fighting recession blues with theirs. As Britons tighten their belts to cope with the credit crunch, a new poll showed their favourite leisure activity is whipping off their pants for a quick roll in the hay. According to the YouGov survey conducted over the Internet, 37 per cent of Britons rank having sex at the top of their list of freetime activities.
So, they may be tightening their belts against recession, but they're loosening them against boredom.
6. Good on you, guys: Mumbai's top Muslim clerics have vowed to block the burial of nine Islamist militants who killed 183 people in a three-day rampage last week, saying their acts were an affront to Islam.
"Such demons - they will not find an inch of land in any Muslim cemetery," said Maulana Sayed Moinuddin Ahsraf, secretary of the All-India Sunni Jamiat-ulema.
Say it loud and say it strong. Ahsraf has characterized these creatures well.
Thu, Nov. 27th, 2008, 11:41 pm
Music Posts - moving right along...
is not the sort of song I would normally be posting, but I thought the tune was catchy when it first came out.
The other reason I like it is the filmclip. Setting aside the chorus dance routine, which I can do without, I was quite amused and interested by the way the singer makes her way through the scenery. It's sort of like parkour on valium in parts, then suddenly quite unrealistically superhuman in others (the bridge jump and the final sequence).
On a similar but more consistently active (and realistic) note, Madonna has more recently given us this.
Thu, Nov. 27th, 2008, 10:08 pm
For the record:
Fri, Nov. 21st, 2008, 12:09 pm
Global Warming believers bring the lulz
Don't ever stop failing, guys:
Picture (and context) found in this blog.
Tue, Nov. 11th, 2008, 01:13 pm
No prizes for failure?
In the politically correct 21st Century, everybody wins a prize.Tim Blair.
Monday, November 10, 2008 at 10:24am
Congratulations to Melbourne playwright and screenwriter John Romeril:
Romeril, 63, was announced yesterday as the latest winner of the Patrick White Award for writers judged not to have received adequate recognition for their work.
Shouldn’t that award have gone to someone who didn’t win it? Emphasis by blog author.
Plenty of comments follow, but this one is gold:What?!? Why, my stuff lies veritably buried in obscurity, unread by hundreds of millions, scoffed at by publishers who denigrate its lack of ennui, alienation and existentialist “oomph!”, scorned by academics who view it as a specimen of literary whoopee cushion. I demand a prize for stoically maintaining my position in the midst of the lowing herd!
The fact that there is a "hard-done-by writers' award" is still sort of boggling me.
Tue, Nov. 11th, 2008, 11:11 am
LEST WE FORGET.
...that the First World War was won by the Allies, through the defeat of the German Army and those of Austria-Hungary and Turkey.
Tue, Nov. 11th, 2008, 10:55 am
No you don't, you bastards.
Brown wants vote on a republic
Greens Senator Bob Brown will today introduce legislation to enable a vote at the next federal election on whether Australia should become a republic.
Senator Brown says discussion of whether Australia should become a republic should be back on the agenda and voters should be able to have a say at the next election, which would most likely be in 2010.
"This is a bill to have a plebiscite with the next election in 2010 to ask people whether they want a republic - yes or no," he said.
"That would lead onto a further vote down the line if people vote yes - and I believe they will - as to what sort of a republic."
Senator Brown denies it's the wrong time to revive the Republican debate amid the global financial crisis.
"I think people have got to have a spectrum of things to be thinking about and looking forward to and the country doesn't stop because of the financial crisis," he said.
"This is a thing about values and how we value our nation.
"It's a stimulus to put the issue back onto the agenda."
In 1999 a referendum to change Australia to a republic was defeated.
Defeated, and RIGHTLY SO. The Australian modification of the Westminster System works very well
, thank you - the guardian of the constitution is (or ought to be) responsible to the Crown and not to the Government of the day, and may sack that government if it is engaging in unseemly behavious (as Sir John Kerr did to Gough Whitlam 33 years ago today). In matters of grave import, the combined Prime Ministers of the dominions may enforce their will upon the monarch (as they did upon Edward VIII to force either his abdication or his rejection of Wallis Simpson).
If this is a "thing about values and how we value our nation", maybe Mr Brown should ask himself whether he really values his. My personal opinion is that the Greens and the Australian Labor Party are motivated in their republican agenda by a virulent streak of anglophobia, with Labor additionally bearing a grudge for what was done to Whitlam. I think both parties have chips on their shoulders, which they think a change to the system of government would rid them of.
It used to be that the Governor-General was chosen from the United Kingdon, which made them completely independent of the Australian Government and utterly non-partisan. I would like to see not only the retention of the constitutional monarchy but a return to the system of external imposition.
I do not want to see a popularly elected president in this country. I fear what we would have is a political version of Australian Idol, with the victory going to the candidate who raised the most cash and looked best on TV. Nor do I want to see a president chosen by Parliament (even a vast majority of Parliament) unless it is graven immutably upon the constitution that the candidate(s) must never, ever, ever have had any significant ties to any political party.
I do not trust the republican movement in this country - not one little bit. I think they, particularly the politicians who have an investment in it, want it for all the wrong reasons. I will vote NO in any plebiscite or referendum that is put on the matter.
I am proud of my country, of its system of government, and of the cultural heritage which gave rise to both. To vote for a republic would be to betray that pride, and would in my mind be tantamount to treason.
Mon, Nov. 10th, 2008, 10:18 pm
Evidence that Kirk/Spock slash is not canon.
Source: the novelization of "Star Trek: the Motion Picture." The novel is attributed to Gene Roddenberry, and if anyone would know what canon was, he would. I hadn't read this novelization in a long time (possibly as much as 25 years), and knowing what I know now about Kirk/Spock slash, I was most surprised (and amused) to find the following.
On p18 of my (hardback!) edition from the local library, an "in-universe" footnote references the Vulcan term t'hy'la
, and the text of the footnote is as follows:
EDITOR'S NOTE: The human concept of friend is most nearly duplicated in Vulcan thought by the term t'hy'la, which can also mean brother and lover. Spock's recollection (from which this chapter has drawn) is that it was a most difficult moment for him since he did indeed consider Kirk to have become his brother. However because t'hy'la can be used to mean lover, and since Kirk's and Spock's friendship was unusually close, this has led to some speculation over whether they had actually indeed become lovers. At our request, Admiral Kirk supplied the following comment on this subject.
"I was never aware of this lovers rumor, although I have been told that Spock encountered it several times. Apparently he had always dismissed it with his characteristic lifting of the right eyebrow which usually connoted some combination of surprise, disbelief, and/or annoyance. As for myself, although I have no moral or other objections to physical love in any of its many Earthly, alien and mixed forms, I have always found my best gratification in that creature woman. Also, I would dislike being thought of as so foolish that I would select a love partner who came into sexual heat only once every seven years."
There are many ways around that, of course. Kirk could be lying within universe. The relationship could have developed after the comment was given. The feelings could be subtextual and never expressed as anything more than a close friendship. One can always say "Fuck canon - that's what fanfic is for!" (a position which I strongly support). But I found the whole thing quite fascinating, as Spock himself might say. The book, oddly enough, bears no copyright date - but someone has scrawled in the front the date "21/5/80" among other used-book sale-price data, and IIRC the film came out around 1979 - plenty of time for Roddenberry to have become aware of fanon Kirk/Spock and to craft a response.
My personal position? There is more than enough support for Kirk/Spock in canon. It's one of those slash pairings I find very easy to believe.