Archive for October, 2005

Bullshit: Blowing In The Wind

Monday, October 31st, 2005

The documentary Blowing in the wind, was recently brought to my attention by David and Margaret on At the Movies. David Stratton gives this movie a great description on the At The Movies website:

“It suggests that the American armed forces are using uranium waste, radio-active material, in their weapons; that shells and bullets coated with depleted uranium are being used as armour-piercing devices and that, as a result, wherever these weapons are used there is wide-scale radioactive contamination.”

Apparently the documentary also suggests that these radioactive weapons are used in training in this very country.

Of course this radioactive contamination is going to be responsible for a massive increase in the amount of tumours and specifically lung cancer.

In reality this is bullshit. For one depleted Uranium is not what we usually think of as radioactive waste as it is not the left overs from a nuclear reactor. When natural uranium is mined out of the ground it is only mildly radioactive. This is because it is a combination of 0.7% of the highly radioactive Uranium-235 and 99.3% of the slightly radioactive Uranium-238. A nuclear reactor can only run on Uranium-235 meaning it needs to be removed from the vast bulk of Uranium-238. This process is called enrichment.

There is a huge amount of Uranium-238 left over. There is a big deal made about the 4.5 billion year half-life of depleted Uranium. This is not a bad thing, but a good thing. It means that a very small amount of radiation is released, not enough to seriously damage a human being.

If depleted Uranium were going to be a massive problem, it would already be immediately apparent. 350 tonnes of the stuff was dropped on Iraq in the first Gulf war. According to New Scientist magazine Scandia National Laboratories undertook a two-year study and found there is no seriously increased risk of Iraqi civilians developing cancer and Iraqi children do not have an appreciable increased chance of birth defects. During the first Gulf War only a few veterans inhaled enough depleted Uranium to increase their risk of lung cancer by 1%.

According to the Federation of American Scientists Military Analysis Network:

“In military applications, when alloyed, Depleted Uranium [DU] is ideal for use in armor penetrators. These solid metal projectiles have the speed, mass and physical properties to perform exceptionally well against armored targets. DU provides a substantial performance advantage, well above other competing materials.”

This issue will not be considered a serious one by Government because of the scientific evidence against the dangers of depleted Uranium. This entire thing is just scare mongering.

See you in the comments.

Terrorists watch Myth Busters

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

I was watching the morning news and what do I see, a suicide bomber detonating a cement mixer. I knew that someone probably died in the explosion, but I could not stop myself laughing, because terrorists watch Myth Busters!

This attack is obviously a nod to the Myth Busters Adam and Jamie; last season they blew up a cement mixer to prove/disprove the myth that concrete can be removed from the inside of a cement mixer by using explosives. The myth was proved probable, but the Myth Busters have a love for large explosions so they blew the cement mixer to pieces anyway.

This deadly suicide attack proves one of two things: terrorists have a sense of humour or they have a very poor imagination and went for a monkey see monkey do style of attack. Either way it proves they watch Myth Busters or they have a superabundance of broken down cement mixers in Iraq.

This is a worrying trend. Terrorists think it is funny to blow people up or they want us to think that they think it’s funny to blow people up.

If you had a secret guilty chuckle when you heard about this tragic event or you strongly disapprove of me finding this funny please tell me in the comments.

One last thing, the Myth Busters explosion was bigger!

The Martyr Factory

Monday, October 24th, 2005

Chief Minister of the ACT Jon Stanhope has released the draft anti-terror laws to the public by publishing them on his website. Being a freedom loving person I was very worried about these laws and Jon has done us a service by allowing us to see a draft.

There are one or two parts of the draft legislation that are a bit of a worry to me. Sedition is a word that went out of use 100 years ago but John Howard is trying to bring it back. Here is an extract from the legislation.

seditious intention means an intention to effect any of the following purposes:
(a) to bring the Sovereign into hatred or contempt;
(b) to urge disaffection against the following:
(i) the Constitution;
(ii) the Government of the Commonwealth;
(iii) either House of the Parliament;

(c) to urge another person to attempt, otherwise than by lawful means, to procure a change to any matter established by law in the Commonwealth;
(d) to promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different
groups so as to threaten the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth.

Now C and D are probably ok but what the hell is A about? The Sovereign of Australia is Queen Elizabeth II. Now if I think she’s an ugly old cow and I hate the bitch, and want other people to hate the bitch, I should have a right to say that. But under these new laws I won’t. Now here I’m just being silly, but what if in a few years Charlie takes the throne this law would be broken left, right and centre.

B is also a worry. Disaffection means alienation, or disloyalty to the government or established authority. There is a long history of both left and right distaining established authority known as ‘the man’. Standing up to ‘the man’ could be an act that sends you to jail.

Another section under sedition is this gem.

Urging a person to assist the enemy

A person commits an offence if:

(a) the person urges another person to engage in conduct; and
(b) the first-mentioned person intends the conduct to assist, by
any means whatever, an organisation or country; and
(c) the organisation or country is:
(i) at war with the Commonwealth, whether or not the existence of a state of war has been declared; and
(ii) specified by Proclamation made for the purpose of paragraph 80.1(1)(e) to be an enemy at war with the Commonwealth.

If these laws come into force John Pilger could be in a considerable amount of trouble. John Pilger is a far lefty; so far left he is in danger of turning right. He has recently come to the attention of the mainstream media for comments he made on Lateline. Pilger thinks that we depend on the Iraqi resistance to defeat the Americans to stop them going on a rampage throughout the Middle East and Asia. He also says that foreign troops, including Australians, in Iraq are legitimate targets because they are invaders.

I disagree strongly with Pilger, but I would still defend his right to have those views. This is partly because I enjoy my own freedom of speech, and I really enjoy arguing. It would be extremely difficult to argue with John Pilger if he was in jail for seven years. Locking someone like Pilger up would romanticise their views similarly to the way Chopper Reid is admired by some sections of the community.

In other words these laws would be completely counter productive and make the problem worse. A martyr factory could be a way to describe them.

Bastards!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

I was just reading Clem Bastow’s Weblog and the nazi’s that run Box Hill Institute Library have denied me access to it, right in the middle of the page. Bastards.

Access to this site has been denied in accordance with the Box Hill Institute’s Communications Policy.

The requested document, http://lightningstruckitself.blogspot.com/2005/10/sucked-in-bitch.html, will not be shown.

Reason: DDR score = 82. This page will not be displayed because it contains prohibited words or it has exceeded its tolerance of questionable words.

Where did they get this friggin software? Obviously the bible belt of the US of A. This is an adult institution and I am adult enough to make up my own mind what I can and can’t read. This is a disgusting invasion of privacy I have a right to look at anything I want on the Internet. It is a public place and I do realise why they limit access to porn sites. But counting the number of times the f-word (I can’t use the word —- either see) is used on a page? Come on!

This is political correctness gone nuts, and I?m going to start a crusade or jihad depending on your religion or a war. This has got to stop.

What am I going to write?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

I apologise for not feeding my blog very much of late. It is coming to the end of the year for my writing course and all my writing is going into my course and not my blog.

My Non-Fiction class ended early, meaning I have a 2 hour break before Industry Overview. Industry Overview is where a professional writer, poet, children?s writer, journalist, self-publisher or music critic gives a lecture or talk about the Industry. The class that I was most looking forward to was when Bikini modelling, c-bomb dropping, blogger, music critic, and Editorial Coordinator of Inpress Magazine Clem Bastow, talked to us about Rock Journalism. But alas Industry Overview will not be very interesting this week. I?ll probably spend the entire session thinking about World of Warcraft. Sad I know.

This is the first post I have ever written on a computer other than my one at home and I have a time limit, 9 mins and 21 seconds to be precise. Then I have to sign on to the tafe computer for another half an hour. But 50% of the time it —– up and kicks you off the computer, losing your precious blog post. So to prevent a potential tragedy I am saving now.

Only 6 minutes and 20 seconds until D-Day.

Oh my God and what the —-, when I saved that it deleted the word —–. Whoever is in charge of these computers has a serious god complex. Like the other day I tried to get onto www.worldofwarcraft.com and I got a warning. This domain is inaccessible, please read the library computer code of conduct, something like that anyway.

1 min 37 secs.

No one is meant to blog under these conditions!

Thank God I have another half an hour, now I just need to copy it into micro$haft word, do a spell check and post it.

Please spend a minutes silence in remembrance of all the swear words that died in the making of this post, then send all your hate mail to 1000 Whitehorse Road Box Hill!

Don’t you hate haters!

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

It was only a matter of time before some idiot blamed the earthquakes in India and the floods in South America on someone. Usually it’s Pat Robinson blaming those evil homosexuals or an Iranian Islamic cleric blaming western culture.

Being the demented fool he is President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez has blamed global capitalism!

Unfortunately, the blogger, Evil Pundit, has used this opportunity to attack the left. Hugo Chavez identifies himself as a lefty so that means that all lefties believe that global capitalism is to blame for the tsunami, the earthquakes in India, the floods in South America, anal sex in San Francisco and my addiction to World of Warcraft!

Of course, I had to leave a comment on his blog:

You?re as demented as Chavez himself if you think his views represent what the left think. It’s really quite sickening how people like you EP use every opportunity to sling shit at the left.

It’s quite pathetic really.

We all know that Chavez is as nutty as Hitler and if given the opportunity would probably do as much damage.

You are a complete lunatic if you think people like me support people like him.

Time to Come Out of The Closet

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

No, I’m not gay. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. (God that line is getting old.) I’m addicted to World of Warcraft. A friend of mine got me onto Warcraft about 7 months ago. For those that don’t know what Warcraft is. It is the latest game from Blizzard Entertainment. Warcraft started many years ago when Blizzard brought out Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994. A year later Warcraft II was released. It was then a wait of many years for Warcraft III to come out. Warcraft III finally came out in 2002.

The Warcraft games up to this stage were all real time strategy. This is where you create buildings and units to attack and kill an enemy. World of Warcraft when it came out in 2004 was a massively multi-player on-line role-playing game (MMORPG); a huge departure from Blizzard’s previous titles.

World of Warcraft allows thousands of players to interact in a virtual world. Players are able to make friends, form groups and kill monsters. To be a successful player you need to earn gold. Gold can be obtained from killing monsters or selling loot acquired from monsters. Players can also participate in the economy by using trade skills to manufacture goods for sale. This means the game actually has a functioning economy.

Guilds also are an important part of Warcraft. Most players belong to a Guild. Guilds are an on-line club that your character belongs to. Members of your Guild help you form groups to go on raids or enter instanced dungeons. Some Guilds even have their own bank. Most dungeons are instance dungeons that only your group can enter. A new instance is created every time a group enters. This prevents ratbags from stealing your kills.

Characters have many levels. They start at level 1 but as you gain experience from killing monsters you gain levels. The highest level is 60. After you have got to level 60 you can continue making your character better by getting better items.

The best items are obtained in forty player raid dungeons. To kill the hardest bosses you need an a dedicated army of players willing to sacrifice their weekends. This is the reason I have not been blogging as much as I used to. Every weekend I do a forty player raid on a dungeon called Molten Core. Gradually over the last two months my Guild, in alliance with several other Guilds, have managed to get to the last boss, Ragnaros, once. At the moment our raid manages to get to the second last boss, Majordomo Executus, every weekend.

I have a level 60 human mage with several items from Molten Core. If you wish to meet me on-line my name is Agamenon (it’s a miss-spelling of Agamemnon the character from Homers Iliad) on the Draenor server. You can also visit my Guild site (designed by me) Order of Redemption.

If you are a fellow Warcraft addict let me know in the comments.

If you wish to know about Warcraft, there is an incredible amount written on Wikipedia.

Electoral Changes: If it aint broke don’t fix it!

Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

Special Minister of State Eric Abetz is considering a number of changes to Australia?s voting system. The changes under consideration are abolishing prisoners right to vote, abolishing compulsory voting, closing the electoral roll when an election is called, extending terms in the lower house to four years, abolishing above the line voting in the senate and increasing the secret threshold for donations to $10,000. Most of these changes will be damaging to Australian democracy.

The most dangerous is getting rid of compulsory voting. Compulsory voting is one of the best things about Australian democracy it forces minorities to vote, meaning they will get representation in Parliament. Everybody has had their say, this means they cannot whinge about government policy as they voted them in. Compulsory voting means that there are enough voting booths for every one; there is no queuing around the block to vote. There are too many good reasons why compulsory voting should be kept and only one for why it should be abolished. Is it unfair for the government to ask for half an hour of someone?s time every three years?

Thankfully Special Minister of State has repeatedly said that changes to compulsory voting are not even being considered for government policy.

Closing the electoral roll when an election is called is one of the more insane proposals. Nearly everyone first signs up for the electoral roll when an election is called. Over 100,000 people would miss out on voting. How is someone meant to know when an election is to be called? If they wish to sign up on Friday and an election is called on Wednesday, they miss out when they had every intention of voting. This proposal is simply unfair.

Getting rid of above the line voting in the senate will only increase the amount of donkey votes. With every man and his dog going for a senate position it is a recipe for RSI how many friggin boxes do we have to mark. Most sensible people have only ever voted below the line once this was to prevent Family First getting a Victorian senate seat.

Abolishing prisoners right to vote is a very cynical grab for votes. It’s also a very old idea, but I think it’s unfair. If everybody else is forced to vote why shouldn’t they? Most prison terms are probably less than 3 years anyway. Meaning that scrubbing them off the electoral roll will only be creating more paperwork for no reason. It’s not worth the hassle.

Increasing the secret threshold for donations from $1,000 to $10,000 is also a little curious considering political parties already get government funding. It is unfair that some parties get a lot more money for publicity than others. The government should consider banning donations completely and raising the amount of government funding.

The only really good idea is to increase terms from three years to four. I don’t believe the change goes far enough. If the terms are going to be changed, it should be four years fixed terms like in the US. This way there is no calling elections when the polls suit the government. It would also end six months of media speculation every three years. There is an incredible amount of time wasted trying to guess when the government will call an election and frankly I’m sick of it.

There is also nothing wrong with our electoral system. It works just the way it was designed. We don’t have to queue and we have the smoothest elections in the world and we get a result by the end of the night. Not many nations can say such things about their voting system. It would be the height of stupidity to try to fix a system that isn’t broken. The only thing that this will do is wreck the current system. There is one thing it would be good to change and that is adding fixed four-year terms.