Archive for the 'Politics' Category

My New Blog!

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

I have created a new blog here: My Robot and Other Stuff

Shark Charged With War Crimes

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Sharky McFinnigan is to be extradited to The Hague to face numerous charges including crimes against humanity and terrorism.

Sharky was cornered late last week by a heroic group of fishermen who had tracked him across the southern Indian Ocean.

It is believed Sharky will use the, ‘I was only following instincts,’ defence. This has been compared to the, ‘I was just following orders,’ defence often used by Nazi death camp guards, but is probably better than the, ‘if humans did not want to be eaten why do they taste so good,’ defence used by other shark terrorists.

Human rights groups have been vocal over what they say were harsh interrogation methods used by fishermen and in particular the controversial practice of air boarding. This is where a fish is repeatedly brought to the surface to induce a fear of suffocation.

The head of the anti-fish terrorism task force, Mr Donnie Williams said that, ‘these methods are important tools in the toolbox to prevent the sort of undersea terror that these evil fish are willing to risk their lives to commit.’

A spokesman for celebrities against antiterrorism terrorism John Pilger responded to this saying, ‘now with the extrajudicial slaying of Osama bin laden, and the defeat of the fictitious Al Qaeda the West needs a new scapegoat. Sharks are to be to the West what Jews were to the Nazis.’

Lord Monckton disagrees stating, ‘John is plainly bonkers. Over a period of many years sharks have convinced the majority of us that they need protection. Did you know that in many parts of the world you can be thrown in prison for swearing at a shark? Wait, I’m not finished. These evil sharks are the people behind green movements around the world. Sharks don’t need protection, in fact they have been plotting the downfall of Western civilisation ever since their precious Soviet Union collapsed. Shark protection laws have also caused massive increase in shark numbers and it is this increase and the corresponding increase in fish flatulence that is the real reason behind global warming. I’m afraid, Chris, that the only good shark is a dead shark.’

Sentiments echoed by the Premier of Western Australia the Hon. Colin Barnett, who was heard to say while standing on one of Western Australia’s pristine white beaches, ‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the oceans, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!’

It is not a good day to be a shark.

Is Rudd drunk at the wheel?

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The Prime Minister said on Q&A last night that he wouldn’t mind the drinking age being lifted to 21.

This is probably the dumbest idea since cutting back on the solar panel rebate. Lifting the drinking age would be counter-productive and unfair.

It is stupid for a number of reasons:

  1. It would instantly double the number of underage drinkers making the problem that much worse. A problem that is already impossible to police would be even more difficult to stop.
  2. Instead of getting drunk under supervision legally at home or in a pub young people will go to the local park instead and get paralytic with a bunch of their friends. Raising the drinking age is supposed to cut down on drunken violence in the city, but all it would do simply shift the drunken violence to the suburbs. In a park there is no bartender to cut you off or bounces to break up fights.
  3. It is incompatible with our culture. The drinking age has been 18 now for so long that nobody considers it a bad thing to drink at that age. It is a rite of passage to finally be allowed to drink. At high school I knew the odd person that waited to till 18, but I just can’t imagine anyone waiting for 21.
  4. You can’t drink responsibly if you are drinking illegally.
  5. May increase access to other illegal drugs. If I remember back to when I used to drink underage in a park or at someone’s house whose parents were not home, there was always a group of guys on the couch smoking pot and a bunch of girls in the corner popping pills. If you are already doing something illegal you may as well do something that is only slightly more illegal.
  6. It is bad for the economy. There are many clubs out there that cater solely for those under the age of 21. What would happen to these clubs and the people who work at them?
  7. It is moving the goalposts. Many kids have been waiting for 18 and suddenly changing the age to 21 is just unfair. An age has to be picked where a kid is finally accepted as an adult.

Binge drinking, alcohol fuelled violence and drunk driving are all serious problems that kill teenagers, but increasing the drinking age is not the solution and might even make those problems worse.

Driving while drunk is already a criminal offence. Is somebody who habitually drives drunk going to remedy their behaviour if drinking at their current age is now illegal? If you live in the real world the answer is of course no.

iPad without ebooks

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

We are now officially living in the future as Apple have finally released a tablet. The name made many people cringe, as it kind of sounds like something that belongs inside women’s underwear when it is that time of the month.

Anyway, it looks fantastic and I’m sure it will be a success. Everybody will want to use the iPad to read ebooks. Ebooks are not available on iTunes instead you need to download the iBooks application and buy ebooks through that. Alternatively you could still buy ebooks online from Fictionwise or somewhere like that. This is a minor irritation compared to the fact that due to geographical restrictions the vast majority of ebooks aren’t available in Australia.

I want my ebook

According to the Fictionwise website ebooks are not available in Australia due to the way the book publishing industry works. The publishing industry has always worked on the idea that the rights of books could be sold to publishers according to geographical region. This idea is basically incompatible with the idea of the Internet, but these contracts still apply to ebooks. Publishers are legally obliged to make sure their ebooks adhere to these contracts.

The result is different publishers produce the same titles in different countries and each individual publisher needs to release ebooks in the different countries before they can become available.

Even if a company wants to sell all ebooks to Australians they can’t. That is correct: I can’t buy ebooks because I’m Australian.

Legally that is

This forces many e-book fans to download ebooks illegally using filesharing networks. I personally do not feel comfortable doing this and would much rather be able to buy ebooks legally.

There is also the choice of buying them illegally by using a foreign friend’s credit card or using IP masking techniques.

Why me?

The inability to buy ebooks is an irritation for most people, but there are many people who can’t physically read a book. Someone with muscular dystrophy such as myself can have great difficulty holding a book and turning the pages. With an ebook all you need do is press a button or click a mouse. There are mechanical page turners available, but they are very expensive and don’t work so well. I am also not a fan of audio books as it tends to go in one ear and out the other and what about people who can’t hear.

E-book crusade

I am hoping that the release of the iPad will increase the number of Australians wanting to read ebooks and this will force the hand of publishers to be more ebook friendly.

I also plan on finding out as much as I can about the reasons why ebooks are not available in Australia and to fight for the rights of Australians to read ebooks.

The graph goes up not down

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Andrew Bolt continues to use a certain graph to confirm his hypothesis that there is no such thing as global warming.
Much to the great frustration and amusement of many people who are far more knowledgeable than me the graph does not show what Andrew Bolt believes it does.

Even blind Freddy can see the overall trend of this graph is positive. I would use this graph as proof of global warming. Using it as proof against global warming is frankly… bizarre to say the least.

“But the graph shows the world has got cooler since 2001…” Anyone that did statistics at high school would know to look at the trend not at the peaks and troughs.

In the sport of diving they remove by the highest and lowest scores for determining the average in an effort to eliminate bias. I’m not saying the peaks and troughs should be ignored, but when viewing the graph people should understand that there is a natural variance from year to year and just like biased judges they will be far higher or lower than average.

Recently Andrew Bolt has been caught fudging the figures and blatantly misrepresenting the data. He needs to be held to account just like any journalist would be for peddling lies, but instead he continually gets held up as a representation of the conservative viewpoint.

I would find this funny if it wasn’t such a serious issue. Anyway, I will make sure I keep my calculator handy in case I run into Andrew Bolt.

What Next From The Denialists?

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Global warming deniers do seem to get a lot of airtime a lot more than they probably deserve.

Over time I believe more and more people are becoming convinced that global warming is a fact. The Black Saturday fires no doubt convinced many Australians of the fact of global warming. We see glaziers around the world shrinking and Greenland actually turning green.

As people shift from the sceptical camp only the more extreme deniers are left over -there are some people who will never be convinced. Some people see conspiracies around every corner. They don’t trust the governments, scientists, corporations or any kind of organization. Generally they are called the black helicopter people. Many of these people are fearful of the creation of a new world order or world government. This is an umbrella conspiracy theory built on the foundation of thousands of other conspiracy theories.

The other great conspiracy theory is of course that global warming is a myth. Lord Christopher Monckton former adviser to Margaret Thatcher has developed a unique method of fusion, unfortunately it is not the kind that could save the world.

Lord Monckton has fused the two greatest conspiracy theories ever into one unified theory. Did you know that the Copenhagen climate change treaty will create a global Communist government? The treaty will supersede the constitution of every country that signs it. Don’t ask me how this is possible. The Lisbon Treaty that created the current European Union constitution took years and years for every country to sign it. Every individual country needed to have a referendum.

Constitutions generally have defence mechanisms against sweeping changes such as signing over sovereignty. A referendum needs to be held for changes to a constitution and referendums are notoriously difficult to achieve agreement on.

Where do these denialists come from and why do they have so much power? On many news shows there is a desire to present balanced information (or appear to). On topics where there is a scientific consensus such as global warming it would be difficult to find people that are able to argue for the negative in a scientific way. Instead news shows grope for pundits such as Andrew Bolt and Lord Monckton who have no scientific training. The problem is both sets of arguments are presented as being equal, for those watching it is difficult to know what to believe.

In this environment extreme views seem proliferate with those who can shout the loudest or is more extreme than anyone else gets the attention.

Anyway, here is the video that inspired this post:

The Flat Earth Party

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

There are a few things I don’t understand about these rabid climate change sceptics that are tearing apart the Liberal party at the moment.

1. Why the Earth is Flat

Forget the science, forget the sceptics, forget the climate change evangelists, forget the climate cliques, cables and secret societies. The whole debate boils down to a very simple idea.

Remember 20 years ago when there were people around who were still a little sceptical about the dangers of smoking. Back then I would say to smokers, “Breathing in smoke is never going to be good for you.” All the science of the anti-smoking lobby did is prove what any person with half a brain could have figured out for themselves.

The climate change debate is exactly the same. Is cutting down half the Earth’s rainforest going to be good for the environment or bad? Is paving over a surprisingly large percentage of the Earth’s surface going to be good or bad? Digging up coal and sucking oil out of the ground and burning it is going to affect the environment, no?

There is such a thing as natural climate change, but to suggest that humans do not have any meaningful impact? Well you better start smoking because cigarettes do not cause cancer. You haven’t seen proof that the earth is round, better start believing it is flat – just to be safe.

2. Who’s your sceptic?

It continues to amaze me the impact that green house sceptics have. It seems to me that most of them are geologists who at one time or other worked for the coal or oil industry. Scientists are sceptical by nature; they have to be as they are continually having to come up with new ways of testing each other’s theories.

A theory is only valid if it can stand up to testing and experiment. In this scientific world it is very difficult if not impossible for a lie or mistake to go undetected for long. It is only after a theory has been tested by multiple individual scientists and universities that anybody outside that world ever hears of it.

The theory of man-made global warming has undergone more testing than any other theory you can think of. It is different from many other theories in that it is difficult to perform experiments on, as we don’t have more than one Earth. Instead scientists use increasingly detailed simulations. They are also able to find ways of looking into the Earth’s past, such as analysing gases trapped in Antarctic ice for thousands of years.

The average person isn’t going to understand the intricate detail of the science. We are not scientists, but we can come up with thought experiments like mine above to figure it out. We can also choose to believe science. You believe in science every day when you drive your car or use your computer. Science is more than a group of nerdy men and women, it is a system that has given us amazing things. In this world it is really the only thing we can trust.

What these liberal rebels don’t understand, is that if you don’t know you should defer to an expert, preferably an expert whose work has been backed up by other experts.

3. It All Comes Down To Warcraft

I think that the many Australian politicians who are sceptical of climate change believe that it doesn’t really matter if they are wrong, because Australia only releases 1% of the world’s greenhouse gases. This assertion appears correct when you first look at it, but under analysis it is quickly proved false. Consider this example:

A few years ago my brother and I were playing World of Warcraft. WoW was all about killing monsters. Some monsters are so big they require cooperation to beat them. For the biggest monsters 40 players would need to gather together and form a raid group. Every player would need to do as much damage as magically possible to bring down the boss.

One day my guild was completing the dungeon Molten Core. We had one more monster to kill his name was Ragnaros. We were all there ready to kill the monster, but one guy’s mum wants him to go walk the dog – now or else. So 39 of us start killing the monster and we are succeeding. We get him down to 50% health and after a bit longer 9%. At this stage people start dying and the amount of damage that the group can deal plunges down. The numbers tick down slower and slower. Finally we get to 1% and the last one of us dies.

What this example shows us is that: everybody needs to do their bit. If every other country that only releases 1% emissions also decided to do nothing – that really would matter.

4. Did John Howard Complain?

I don’t understand how the Liberal rebels are unable to follow what the majority of their party has decided. I’m not sure if they fully respect democratic tradition. The majority decide on a course of action and those in the minority have to respect it -without resorting to drastic measures. When John Howard was in charge there was no way in hell that this would have been allowed to happen. When Howard lost his seat he respected what his electorate had decided and he never complained.

The rebels are also going against what the majority of Australians want. They seem to think they know better. Or they are playing some strange political game that involves tearing apart the party they were elected to represent.

RIP Liberal party

I am not the biggest fan of the Liberal party, but I will feel sad if it does die. Australians don’t like it when political parties are unable to contain internal disagreement – look at the Democrats.

One of the things that makes Australia such a good place would have to be its political stability. I believe the two-party system plays a big part in this even if it pisses us off sometimes. One thing I am just itching to see is the polls – although it isn’t difficult to predict which way the Liberal party will have gone.

Maybe a new party will form led by Tony Abbott. It doesn’t take a climate change scientist to figure out what that party should be called…

Q and A and Refugees

Friday, November 6th, 2009

David Marr is good on media watch but he really gives me the shits. Everything he says sounds rehearsed and he can’t help being condescending.

I do find him irritating, but he said a few things about the refugee crisis on last night’s Q&A that set me thinking. He said that Kevin Rudd is being way too weak with the opposition and the Australian public.

It is no surprise to anyone that a large portion of Australians seem to fear refugees. Kevin Rudd needs to tell us that there is no real crisis and that our fear is unjustified or something along those lines. Maybe he could also compare our refugee intake with that of other countries. He should underline the problems with the Pacific solution on the grounds of expense, practicality and the unfair treatment of asylum seekers.

David Marr also criticised Indonesia’s appalling handling of the asylum seekers on board the Oceanic Viking. The Indonesian government won’t accept the asylum seekers if force is used to remove them from the Oceanic Viking.

The thing is on any commercial vessel after rescuing asylum seekers the captain would go to the nearest port and drop the rescued people off, if they were belligerent force would be used. If force cannot be used in this situation and a ship is found in distress the captain has a very difficult decision to make. Being stuck in port with one hundred asylum seekers on a ship not designed to carry passengers and your cargo rotting away. It would be a lot easier and no doubt better for the career to sail on past. After all there are plenty of other ships out there one of them is bound to stop.

Kevin Rudd has been sucked into this asylum seeker crisis and really it isn’t his fault. Instead of just being carried along by it he should stand up and fight back.

Deport the Mad Monk!

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

It seems the asylum seeker issue is now firmly back in the political arena. With the sudden dip in opinion polls that have no doubt gone down because the Oceanic Viking saga it is still a hot topic for the electorate.

I think it was extremely unfair of Tony Abbott to blame the sinking of a vessel and the probable deaths of 11 asylum seekers off the Cocos Islands solely on the shoulders of the Prime Minister. Tony Abbott says the dismantling of the Pacific solution and abolition of the Temporary Protection Visa is directly to blame for this incident.

There were many things wrong with the Pacific solution. Asylum seekers were taken against their will to Pacific Islands and kept in inhumane conditions at enormous cost to the taxpayer. Most of the people kept in detention on these islands ended up in Australia anyway.

The Pacific solution was about the ends justifying the means. There are just some things that a civilised country shouldn’t do no matter what. To treat people inhumanely on the chance that people will mysteriously stop arriving in boats is wrong – simple as that. Despite what many liberal politicians say there is absolutely no proof that the Pacific solution did anything.

My personal opinion is that the arrival of asylum seekers by sea is directly related to the level of conflict around the world. The Tamil Tigers are defeated by the Sri Lanka, surprise surprise there is a sudden influx of Tamil refugees. The rest of the world needs to stop feeling sorry for Sri Lanka and use the strongest diplomacy to stop the persecution of Tamil civilians.

It is not like we are drowning in asylum seekers, we don’t get tens of thousands a year like some European countries or the United States. I also don’t believe a change to our refugee policy is needed as it would probably be a pointless waste of money.

New Computer and Other Stuff

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

I haven’t been able to blog for the past week because I’ve been busy setting up my new computer. The excitement of getting a beast of a computer is sort of ruined by the pain of installing all the software, getting all the drivers working and setting the preferences so the computer is just right.

Here is my new computer:

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Intel Core i7-870 CPU
Antec 900 Advanced Gaming Case
4 GB of RAM (needs more, 16 GB maybe)
NVIDIA GTX 295 graphics card
Seagate 1.3 terabyte HDD

A very nice machine.

One good thing about setting up my new computer is it forced me to go through the my documents folder to find what I wanted to keep and wanted to throw away. I have got into the habit of writing comments I leave on other blogs in Word before I submit them. In this way I don’t lose the comment when I accidentally hold down backspace or the cat decides to jump onto the keyboard, but it also allows me to keep a record of comments. Look at these few gems I dug up. I don’t know the blogs I left them on and I don’t know when I left them.

In this one I was obviously having a discussion about the health system with a bunch of libertarians. They believe in a user pays system and that the government should but out on any kind of regulation at all.

Ra, SB, Yobbo,

I have spoken to many people who have lived in the US. Their number-one complaint is the nonexistent public health system. You really want to live in a country where you have a car accident then have many operations to get put back together then receive a $50,000 bill?

You’re a moronic, uncaring fool if you want the same for us.

Yeah I know you’d rather the money spent on public health care went back into your pocket. I don’t know how greedy people like you sleep at night.

I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be alive today if it wasn’t for our public health system. If you don’t like the way things work in Australia go live somewhere else. We happen to be a caring nation. Deal with it.

Can we still be considered caring with Kevin Rudd’s refugee policy?

This next one is from when I made the mistake of leaving a comment on an ultra-right-wing site. As I found out they don’t like having their views challenged.

“…site for leftoid scumbags or pretentious wannabe intellectuals to strut their pathetic wares.”

The problem for someone like me who visits a site like this is that none of you want to engage in a legitimate discussion. What happens to so many people who have firm views is they engage in personal attacks, instead of defending their views using reason. How can you hope to convince anybody of your beliefs if you are unable to defend them without verbal violence.

Of course all of you are entitled to your opinions and I would fight for your right to have them even though I disagree with them. I believe that opinions should have a firm foundation if they are to mean anything. This means a lot of discussion a lot of thought and argument.

I would really love you guys to make me think. Tell me what is actually wrong with what I have said and why.

See you, I probably won’t be back.

I seem to be really good at getting into fights on my blog. I dared to write a post about the protests in Tibet just before the Chinese Olympics in 2008 and a Chinese person by the name of Yun really didn’t like what I had to say. This started a very heated discussion in this post that just degenerated into pointless insults. I agreed to disagree, but this wasn’t enough for Yun and he started to spam my site with copyrighted material supporting his views. I was forced to ban him.

Yun, you are setting a marvelous example to the rest of the world of the quality of people in China. In case you can’t realize, I’m being sarcastic.

This is my favourite quote of yours, I feel it demonstrates your true character: “I will lay back and enjoy more of the terrorists masterpieces in the years to come. And I will have no sympathy for you westerners at all. YOU GUYS WELL DESERVE IT!” In Mao’s day, they would line someone like you (a nationalist) up next to a mass grave and stick a bullet in the back of your head (see, I can be nasty too).

I hope to hear more from you in the future.

I am a bit ashamed about my reaction. Suggesting that someone deserves a bullet in the back of the head is not a worthy thing for anyone to say. I find it very scary that there are people around with views such as his.