Hello Cruel World
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Good News, Bad News?

A kangaroo that helped save the life of a Gippsland man has been awarded the RSPCA's highest honour for bravery, the Purple Cross.

Len Richards was knocked unconscious by a falling tree branch on his Tanjil South farm (150 km (93 miles) east of Melbourne) last year. His pet kangaroo, Lulu, came to his rescue by barking to attract his family's attention.

Mr Richards says it also seems Lulu applied some first aid. "My nephew when he got to my side said she'd actually tipped me on my side and vomit was coming out of my mouth so she'd actually saved me from choking," he said.

He says Lulu has shared a strong bond with his family since they rescued it from its dead mother's pouch by a roadside. "We proceeded to bottle feed it with a proper formula and that's how Lulu the kangeroo came about," he said. "She's a free ranging kangeroo, she visits around at different farms and then she comes back to our house at 6:00 o'clock on the dot, taps on the door for a teddy bear biscuit. If it's cold outside she'll walk in and go and lie right in front of the open fire."

Kangaroo wins award for saving farmer
Wed 28 April, 2004 04:04

Roo tucks an award in pouch
By Cameron Smith
April 28, 2004

Sydney firm has security in a bubble
April 27, 2004
IT sounds like something out of a science fiction movie - an invisible "forcefield" which protects landmarks and high-security installations from terrorist attack.

But it's a reality and the early warning weapon in the hi-tech war against terrorism has been developed in our own backyard.
A Sydney firm has invented an invisible "bubble" that can be thrown around buildings, ports, airports and even parts of the sea using thermal imaging technology.
Castle Hill-based Zone Products Australia' system can detect a tank at 15km in pitch black conditions and warn of the presence of chemicals, gases, radioactive and other materials in a protected area.
It is capable of providing an intrusion protection shield from the seabed to low-level airspace - a world first ....
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
www.nytimes.com/2004/04/15/technology/circuits/ 15lett.html?ex=1083124800&en=ff7582d22c3ac074&ei=5070
The Ultimate Dictionary
To the Editor
I enjoyed “Looking It Up, No Keyboard Required’’ (Online Shopper, April 8), on online and offline versions of the Oxford English Dictionary, but it missed a key point.

Most public libraries and university libraries offer free remote access to wonderful reference databases. Even better, you don’t even have to visit the library to access them. They can be reached via the Web 24/7. All you need is a library card.

A great place for finding your local public library’s Web site is www.libdex.com. But here are a few examples of research links: the New York Public Library ( www.nypl.org/branch/iresources.html ); the Queens Public Library ( wwww.queenslibrary.org/internet/refsubj.asp ); the Brooklyn Public Library ( www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/alpha_eresources.jsp ) and the Westchester County Library System ( ).
Silver Spring, Md.
The writer, a librarian, edits and compiles the ResourceShelf Web site ( http://www.ResourceShelf.com ).
There's a bunch of things happen close to Anzac Day. Remembering some
One small piece noting the 125th birthday of Royal National Park, Sydney

Also the anniversary of the Chernobyl incident.

We are coming up to anniversaries of the victory of the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War, and also the Port Arthur Massacre (Tasmania, not the Port Arthur incident in the Russo-Japanese war). Will have to find links for all of these. Though may be for the next anniversary <ahem>
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Some old links - just adding odd ones here



Art or porn?
The Good Old Naughty Days, released this week, is a smorgasbord of amateur porn from cinema's infancy. But can you tell it apart from the highest expressions of the seventh art? Have a look at these ten pictures, and for each case answer one simple question: art, or porn?
Saturday, April 24, 2004
This was headed: "Satire is Dead"
No matter how weird I try to make my fiction, I can never quite come up with anything as bizarre as the real world, though. I mean, assuming this report in Strategypage ( www.strategypage.com/ ) is actually not an April Fool's Day piece that came out a couple of weeks too late:
(Extract from the Dirty Little Secrets section, on April 18th, 2004)
In order to comply with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulations, and at a cost of about $5.2 million per ICBM, the rocket motors on 500 Minuteman III missiles will be replaced with new ones. These rockets will emit less toxic chemicals when used. ... Thus, if the Minuteman III ICBMs have to be used in some future nuclear war, their rocket motors will not pollute the atmosphere. EPA regulations do not apply in foreign countries, so no changes are being made to reduce the harmful environmental effects of the nuclear warheads.

Entry for ANZAC - a little early
Not sure if there's just some strange spooky coincidence that this -- cartoons as linked, coffin photo fuss -- is happening in America during the run-up to Anzac Day in Australasia (and at overseas postings). Thought they shared their main war remembrances with the UK (other countries?) at Armistice/Remembrance day, November 11.

Am typing this on Anzac Eve, having clipped a large bunch of rosemary from my father's memorial garden bed and given it to the chap organizing a local Anzac Day Ceremony to use for everyone's sprigs. Sometimes it coincides with Easter even more closely, making the connexion of sacrifice & memory between the two very evident.

It is always particularly poignant when we have troops (whatever branch of services) on active service as now.
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Rewriting history yet again
John & Belle Have a Blog

April 19, 2004
I see that one W. Folsom has written a book entitled The Myth of the Robber Barons (scroll down the Amazon page for some good reviews and a humorously instructive list of what customers who bought this book also purchased www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0963020315/103-9488332-0417417?v=glance). Well, as a direct descendant of the most bastardly of all the robber barons, Jay Gould, I'm not taking this lying down. I'll have you know that he fully deserved his monicker "The Mephistopheles of Wall Street", not to mention the evocative nickname "Robber of Widows and Children." Let's just look at some of the highlights of his career ...
Christian Bök
Eunoia by Christian Bök (Coach House Books)


[There is a note: "Are the online books free? Not exactly. You are asked to ‘tip the author’ – that is, give them a small royalty for reading their work online. Authors deserve to be paid for their work. And while you’re at it, order one of their print publications too."]

Some other related sections which might be of interest:
www.chbooks.com/online/nicholodeon/ booksupp.html

and Nickel Linoleum (images: Christian Bök; animation: damian lopes)
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Some parts of the UK site where you can blog from your mobile phone - send messages, still photos, video or audio. They can be set up as shared blogs so several people can post, say on a shared theme. This is one like that: www.moblg.net/cblog.php?show=126 Mysterious Doors

And this is more like a personal blog: www.moblg.net/blogs.php?show=71 The Damndest Thing, by Melinda


This is a picture of me having a really bad day. [image]

If one more person comes to me with something that HAS TO BE DONE BY TWO O'CLOCK I'm going to sodomize them urgently with a toner cartridge. A big one. I'll use the colour printer stock because it's more expensive and then they can spend the rest of the afternoon bleeding from their asses and shitting rainbows.
I like this man's head (tho' here I'm showing you is mainly his links to other people & places)

matt jones | work & thoughts
I am loving Newsmap ( www.marumushi.com/apps/newsmap/ ) - a flash visualisation of Google News I found via the equally dazzling angermann2 ( www.angermann2.com )

April 8, 2004:
Wake up
From Barbelith:
"...imagine what would happen to Pulp Fiction if, when the character of Jules looked into the briefcase, he "woke up" in mid-scene and not only realized that he was a character in a movie, but also realized that he "was" also Mace Windu and Shaft and a bunch of other characters in realities he can scarcely comprehend, while also glimpsing an uber-reality where all of those realities are just movies and he's an actor called Samuel L. Jackson."

Happy Eostre. I'm off back to Wales.



The Google CityBlock Project:
multi-perspective panoramas of city blocks
The panorama above (at right) is a portion of the north side of the 300-block of Castro Street in Mountain View. This panorama was constructed by aligning and pasting together narrow vertical strips extracted from consecutive frames of a video sequence captured by a sideways-looking video camera mounted in the back of a slowly-moving car. Click here to view the original one-minute video (14MB, JPEG compressed for quicker downloading). Click here to view the computed multi-perspective panorama (210 KB JPEG file, but beware - this image is 6000 pixels wide!)


moneybox     Daily commentary about business and finance.
[So you can allow for the biasses of financial types.]
Capitalists for Hillarycare
Look who's supporting universal health care now.
By Daniel Gross
Posted Friday, April 16, 2004, at 1:21 PM PT

... Companies that provide health care to employees put themselves at a disadvantage to competitors—domestic and foreign—that don't. And because uninsured people frequently receive care—from the government or hospitals—those who pay for health care are essentially subsidizing those who don't ...

Saturday, April 17, 2004
Sydney Morning Herald: Wild City www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/04/17/1082140102789.html

Derelict London is an unusual photographic portrait (of over 550 pics) of the nations capital.

This is not a compilation of familiar tourist sights, as another of those is hardly needed,
but a depiction of an (often un-picturesque) view of everyday life in London

This site is obviously not taken to illustrate London at its most beautiful or most successful ... not everything within this site is of derelict areas and everyone has their own definition of derelict.

All pictures were taken by myself (mainly within the last year) during many miles of walkabouts around the great capital. After years of travelling via car or public transport I realised just how little I had seen of London (ie just stepping back and looking at buildings and people). I've enjoyed putting this site together and will continue to add more pics. Try not to be too critical because I'm no professional photographer ...............
Any places you think should be on this site?
Let me know! Also info (however trivial) on any of the buildings would be appreciated

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Solitude and the Fortresses of Youth
By MICHAEL CHABON, Published: April 13, 2004

www.lordsgymclermont.com/home.htm push-ups for Jesus? (see logo)
Easter gets people thinking
nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/005007.html Teresa's 'Things I believe' post.
There's quite a lot, it includes
I believe in the God of the Burgess Shale, Who not only made creation stranger than we know, but stranger than we could ever imagine.

I believe that the God who made (among other things) light, and space, and number, and time, and the spiral curve of Fibonacci numbers, must be acknowledged to understand more than I do about why there’s pain in the world.

Crucify God, resurrect art, by Jack Robertson, April 9, 2004
... you can Google up a strong, credible, authoritative set of ‘proofs’ for every Human opinion or idea every argued thus far - The Holocaust did happen (208,000 sites and falling); The Holocaust Didn’t Happen (128,000 sites and climbing) ...

... It’s not dumbing-down, but the precise opposite: these days we’re all far too smart to be smart enough to be stupid enough to believe in our own fiercely hopeful fictions as we weave them – much less to believe them so long and so hard that they become true, like our stories of Yahweh and God and Allah have done over the centuries.

The problem with those established religious fictions is that they are now increasingly destructive ones, since the world’s artists and intellectuals copped out of believing in God’s stories long ago, leaving the zealots and power-players unchecked, free to twist them into real world horror stories.

What we need is for more smart people to start believing in God, and if like me you can’t stand any of the Big Three, then you ought to pitch in and help ... invent a new one ...

The more people who help invent a new belief, the more chance there is that it’ll become believable, and thus useful in more than the abstract world.

Alas, the internet as it stands kills all hope of this gauche game – let’s call it trying to get idealism to fly - as massed cynicism has always eventually done ... given enough time ...

Only now the destruction of idealism happens almost instantaneously, and we can witness and record this, our own on-going creative-death-by-sophistication, in self-accelerating real time ...

God certainly knew what she was doing when she wrote the story about the Tower of Babel ...

I think that this Easter (or soon) we Humans need to crucify God and resurrect Art. We need to make ourselves dumb enough to be smart enough to seize the brilliant opportunity presented by the fertile temporary concatenation of global technology, Millennial angst, epistemological anarchy (a new cyber-cosmic soup, if you like), Luddite World power-political uncertainty (or vulnerability) and universal spiritual hunger, and finally figure out a way to transcend the triangulating neutralisation inherent in the Big Three religious narratives ...

We don’t even have to create the new fictional script(ure) ourselves. All we have to do is act it out in the real world, believe in it long and hard enough until it becomes just as true as the wholly-fictional ‘One God’ in whom, in barely discernible but deadly ways, three different kinds of religious zealots all believe so absolutely, after several thousand years of practise, that they are prepared to kill each other in the concrete world to prove it ...

(on Margot Kingston's Webdiary, part of the Sydney Morning Herald site)
Monday, April 12, 2004

California Energy Crisis Comes Home To Roost

From respectfulofotters.blogspot.com/ 2004_04_01_respectfulofotters_archive.html#108151557644466542

Remember when everybody knew that the 2000-2001 California energy crisis was entirely the fault of deregulation and overly strict environmental standards?

Quoting money.cnn.com/services/tickerheadlines/for5/ 200404081547DOWJONESDJONLINE000842_FORTUNE5.htm
A federal grand jury in San Francisco has returned a six-count indictment against a unit of Reliant Resources Inc. (RRI) and four of its officers in connection with a 17-month federal criminal investigation of the manipulation of California's energy markets.

The indictment alleged that in June 2000, Houston-based Reliant Energy Services Inc. intentionally drove up the price of electricity in California by shutting off its power generation to create the appearance of a shortage. As a result, the company allegedly reaped millions of dollars in illegal profits.

In one phone conversation a few days after the company allegedly first shut down power plants, a Reliant trader explained: "It started out on Monday losing $3 million, market just fell out of bed. So, then we decided as a group that we were going to make it go back up, so we turned like about almost every plant off. It worked. Prices went back up. Made back almost $4 million, actually more than that, $5 million."

One hopes that this will be the first of many indictments, but it seems more likely that other companies involved in the market manipulations will get away with paying fines. According to the Contra Costa Times, "prosecutors said the decision to charge the company was based, at least partly, on its refusal to fully cooperate with the investigation." So probably the others will fall in line, release documents, behave contritely, and give up some portion of the enormous profits they won from choking off California's energy supply.

But still, it was nice that Ashcroft and his Justice Department took a few minutes off from their critical antipornography operation to announce the indictments. [Insert your own joke about "the real obscenity" here.]
// posted by Rivka @ 4/9/2004 08:59:44

Thursday, April 08, 2004
Disappearing History
As of now -- it may change suddenly -- this is the direct address of the
www.liberal.org.au/default.cfm?action=4&page=4. This page has lost its links from the other pages on the Liberal Party of Australia official web site.

The text currently consists of:

Our History

In 1944, the Liberal Party of Australia was founded after a three-day meeting held in a small hall not far from Parliament House in Canberra.

The meeting was called by the then Leader of the Opposition (United Australia Party), Robert Menzies.

Robert Menzies had already served as Prime Minister of Australia (1939-41), but he believed that the non-Labor parties should unite to present a strong alternative government to the Australian people.

Eighty men and women from 18 non-Labor political parties and organisations attended the first Canberra conference.

They shared a common belief that Australians should have greater personal freedom and choice than that offered under Labor’s post-war socialist plans.

Robert Menzies believed the time was right for a new political force in Australia - one which fought for the freedom of the individual and produced enlightened liberal policies.

In his opening address at that meeting, he said :

"......what we must look for, and it is a matter of desperate importance to our society, is a true revival of liberal thought which will work for social justice and security, for national power and national progress, and for the full development of the individual citizen, though not through the dull and deadening process of socialism."

It is often said that Robert Menzies stood for the ‘forgotten people’ of Australia; those mainstream Australians whose goals, needs and aspirations had been ignored by Government.

On October 16, 1944, the name The Liberal Party of Australia was adopted, uniting the many different political organisations. Two months later, at the Albury Conference, the Party’s organisational and constitutional framework was drawn up.

The name Liberal was chosen deliberately for its associations with progressive nineteenth century free enterprise and social equality.

By May 1945 membership of the Liberal Party had swelled to 40,000.

It fought its first election in 1946 with some success and in 1947, the Liberal Party won State Government in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria. In 1949 the Liberals, in coalition with the Country Party, were first elected to national government.

Sir Robert Menzies went on to lead Australia and the Liberal Party for 17 years, before he retired from politics in 1966.

The Liberals Party has become Australia’s most successful postwar party; it was elected to Government for 23 years from 1949 to 1972, and for another term of more than seven years from 1975 to 1983.

In 1996, the Australian people again re-elected the Liberal Party, in Coalition with the National Party of Australia, to govern Australia in a landslide win, and in 1998 and 2001 that government was reelected

Authorised by Brian Loughnane, Liberal Party of Australia, Cnr Blackall & Macquarie Street, Barton ACT 2600

Well, that's their story, and they're sticking to it.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Next time you're having a birthday party ...
Some catering ideas:


second person, singular - a blog with nice thoughts nicely put

Lisa's personal favourite phobia sites:

The Phobia Clinic

Lisa's top phobias so far:
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia or Sesquipedalophobia: Fear of long words
Paraskavedekatriaphobia: Fear of Friday the 13th
Logizomechanophobia: Fear of computers
Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth
Geniophobia: Fear of chins
Hellenologophobia: Fear of Greek terms or complex scientific terminology
Opiophobia: Fear medical doctors experience of prescribing needed pain medications for patients
Walloonphobia: Fear of the Walloons

Alternatively, identify your Ancestral Clan Mother:

(I must look up a diagram of the Hypothetical Ancestral Mollusc again sometime ... ah, memories!)
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Centre for "Independent" Studies man says rate of disablement going up despite changes in work that should lower it. He smells rat.

I disagree.

If people were exposed to, say, asbestos between, say, 40 & 10 years ago, the rate of asbestos-related diseases will still be rising for another decade or two as the diseases may take that more than two decades to develop. This is despite the amount of exposure to asbestos declining sharply in the last, say 10 years.

Similar 'tails' are happening with many other now-banned substances and work practices which have been improved over time, but whose working-out through damaged people will take some while yet.

Similarly, the accumulated damage to people's health will usually show up as they grow older. Their ability to either recover from ongoing wear & tear, or the inherent strength of youth which masked the results of earlier injuries both decline. It's not just developing the diseases of age. I don't know that his easy dismissal of this effect of aging is fully acceptable

Further examples:
Footballers who have done awful things to their joints & muscles from, say, age 15 to 30, start to seize up badly with osteoarthritis, etc, in their forties & beyond, even if they haven't played or done heavy exercise for 10 or more years.
Noticed how you can't stay up drinking & dancing 'til late, then still do a decent day's work after a handful of headache pills & ingesting some bracing nutritive 'cure' these days? Even if the drinking & dancing & lateness aren't as much as they used to be?

Very many environmental problems show the same characteristics. The consequences of what we have done & are doing now will echo down the years far beyond a single human lifetime.

We are living now with things people did (in religion, politics, society, technology) sometimes hundreds of years ago, and often forget or don't recognise it. The Millennium fuss didn't bring this out as much as I'd hoped. At least they've been discussing the effect of WW I on Iraq recently. Then there's the "Passion" debates ('Compass' & SBS had some good programs on how early Christianity developed recently, but how many watched compared to that?).

Hooray for ABC radio too, with the RN history programs & James Valentine's weekly discussion.

Alas, not so many of the TV history documentaries or dramas make the connexion between what happened then & how things are now. For instance, no epilogue on the religious conflict still bubbling in Ireland or the other four hundred-odd years of consequences of Henry VIII's reforms in the recent brief TV treatment of his life.
{Today's New South Wales State "mini-budget", brought down by NSW Treasurer, Michael Egan. Don't have full details, only what I've heard people saying. My off-the-top comments on some prominent issues.}

First: Developers keep complaining when they have to pay levies & claim that "all the burden" of helping to provide not just for infrastructure that people using their developments will need over the next century or two, but maintaining existing infrastructure, is on them, & therefore on their buyers. (Strangely, despite this, Meriton's head, Mr Triguboff, just got onto the Forbes Rich List this year.).
I always considered Stamp Duty the way of getting this extra infrastructure funding (needed beyond the bare subsistence funds raised through council rates for basic needs) from users of the infrastructure beyond the first owner, paid at the time you 'crystallized' the asset of your house. It is surely more sensible for the vendor making the profit to pay that tax directly rather than the buyer, but I suppose under the old way it did indirectly.

Second: So many times over so many years we've heard that the Australian tax system is skewed badly in a way that encourages people to invest in real estate instead of supporting businesses, research or all the other possible investment opportunities.
This not only means many projects or businesses may either fail or have to sell out overseas for lack of local funds, but that the market in real estate is not really reflecting housing needs.
Surely this rearrangement should help balance the tax burden more evenly, taxing investment real estate more than owner-occupied, so that non-real estate investments become more attractive.
[The disastrous tale of Japanese real estate should put paid to the 'they're not making any more' and 'you can't lose' myths.]

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 / . Lives in Australia/New South Wales/Sydney, speaks English. Eye color is hazel. I am what my mother calls unique. My interests are photography, reading, natural history/land use, town planning, sustainability.

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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.