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30 August 2004

Back in 5 minutes

I think I'm going to make this a private journal.

29 August 2004

Aging Old People

[Alan] Greenspan has suggested in earlier comments on the subject that Congress should look at tying the retirement age to future increases in life expectancies so that the age for full retirement will keep pace with the longer period that retirees will be drawing benefits. Forbes

I was thinking they should do this just the other day. After all, we're not just getting older, we're getting healthier. In fact, relative to total retirement years, total working years should be increasing. And the government is only having to pay to educate people once, but they're getting more years out of them. So our education and family support expenditure is going further, and in theory, other expenditures shouldn't really go up. So long as you index retirement age to life-expectancy, or perhaps more reasonably, to current the mean age of some set health standard. The real concern would seem to be the baby boomers all retiring at once, rather than people living for too long.

Cigarette Companies

I think it's odd that I don't have any problem with cigarette companies. I don't care that their advertising encourages people to smoke. I don't care if they knew that smoking was harmful to people's health. I'd even buy shares in a cigarette company I reckon.

Which is funny. Because I'm opposed to so many other things that companies do. I think it's mostly because it's about individual responsibility. I think it's much easier to stop smoking cigarettes than it is to break free of most cyclical crap - like poverty and social oppression. Most smokers seem happy enough to be smokers, but most poor people aren't that happy being poor or oppressed. Would you go down to the supermarket every few days and pay a whole heap of money because you wanted to stay poor? It's kind of an egalitarian thing too. Other sorts of crap like drugs and alcohol seem to have different effects on different groups. But cigarettes kill everyone at about the same speed. Which seems comparatively fair and reasonable to me. And everyone knows (and has known) that they kill you.

It might be silly. They're probably not any better than banks, but I hate banks. I wouldn't buy shares in a bank I don't think.

Is paying tax a bit liking buying shares in your own war? Collective responsibility is such a tricky dicky thing. I don't know what to do about it all.

12.5% Poverty

On Thursday the U.S. Census Bureau said the number of Americans living in poverty rose by 1.3 million in 2003, climbing for the third consecutive year and pushing the nation's poverty rate to 12.5 percent. Worse, the share living in "extreme" poverty -- or less than half the official poverty line -- rose to an all-time high, while the share of single parents holding jobs went down. And in a number that should shame any advanced society, Census officials said that nearly one in five American children lives in poverty. Poverty rising/While the safety net shrinks

America becomes more unequal every year. But, on the up-side, corporate profits continue to increase significantly. $1 trillion dollars in tax cuts to the upper class has surely helped.

Macroeconomic "theory" is at the heart of this crappiness. I don't like macroeconomics. My textbook uses America as an example of a country that has benefited enormously from low wages and corporate tax cuts. They're more than welcome to keep those benefits.

Lousy Peter Costello and his Mercedes-driving "middle-income" families. Bah on him. And bah on trickle-down in all it's nasty forms.

28 August 2004

Reducing Government Debt

I think this sort of stuff is really cool.

27 August 2004

Welcome Home Robert

Yay.

I just went round to the French's to put up some signs secretly. I got stuck around the back, between two windows with John at one window and Tom at the other. I was waiting for one of them to turn around so I could quickly stick a sign up on the window they were at. But John saw me before I could. I think he thought I was very strange.

But welcome home anyway Robert.

26 August 2004

Tasty Morning

The mist is so yummy this morning. Beautiful. We can only see to the back fence. I always feel like I'm in a movie or in a British war when the mist is like this.

25 August 2004

Movabletype Change

For anyone who uses Movabletype on footboot.net, I made a couple of changes to help the spam comments a bit. And I've enabled anonymous commenting, so no one should need to put in an email address when commenting.

23 August 2004

Palace Walk

I'm reading a tops old book at the moment called Palace Walk. It's a translation of a book written by an Egyptian chap back in the 1950s. It's about an Egyptian family. The husband is a big womaniser and sleeps around a lot. All the women in the town love him because he's so handsome and sexy and has a shop and gives out free rice. So he could probably have an affair with a lot of women. What's interesting is that the woman he's trying to seduce at the moment is enormously fat. The author goes into long descriptions of how sexy she is and how sensuous her rolls of fat are. And there's nothing ironic about it at all. All the men who see her fall in lust with her. He describes how the carriage leans heavily to one side when she sits in it, and everyone stares at her arse as her butt cheeks fall over the edge of her chair. Not because they think she's gross. They're all enraptured.

I think it's wonderful. It doesn't take much to turn this woman into a sexy, desireable person. We are so silly. I wonder at myself sometimes. I wonder if I'd marry someone who was 150kg. I guess it's hard to know. If it came to it, I doubt I'd even think about it. After you get to know and like people, you stop noticing that sort of thing I think. Which is fortunate.

Doom 3

I played it tonight. So bloody freaky. I didn't like it. I often get depressed by shooting games, because you're all alone, and because spend the whole game killing things. But I've never got scared by one before. This was really scary. The light and sound were so real. Lights kept turning off, so you had to use this crappy little torch to find your way around. And stuff jumped out at you in the dark. And there were these flaming skulls that floated around. The whole time I was playing I was hearing the sounds of the guys at home base get eaten by monsters through the radio. So I was trying to get back to help them, but the way was blocked.

Vultching

"Vultching" is apparently nude beach lingo for males sitting close by attractive nude women on the beach. That's a handy word. You see it a lot in all sorts of contexts.

Social Shenanigans

Our textbook is funny. Although it's funny bad as well as funny ha ha.

For example, when a student is invited to a "kegger," the student infers that it is a informal party with other student-aged people at which beer will be served, based on his or her cultural knowledge.

That make me laugh. But other bits are dodgy. The chapter I'm reading at the moment is all about engineering trust in the sub-cultures you are studying. He talks about "deviants" and about strategies for getting access to them. It's about "loyalty and betrayal". And after all that he says:

Disclosing one's personal life, hobbies, interests, and background can build trust and close relationships, but the researcher will also lose privacy, and he or she needs to ensure that the focus remains on events in the field.

What a wanker.

Shooting

Shooting was tosher man. Heaps fun. It went fully off, like chicken salad. I'm still not at all sure what the film is about, but it's fun making it. I got to chat to some people that I haven't chatted to before.

My arms hurt today from holding the boom. It's such a light boom too. I must be too much of a pansy.

Now I really need to go and do some uni work. Really really.

18 August 2004

Gut Foundation

Apparently, there is a Gut Foundation. The Sydney Morning Herald got a quote from the Foundation's president for Latham's pancreatitis stuffo.

Social Mischief

I heard this on the news tonight:

Several men have been arrested in London. They have been charged with conspiracy to murder, and conspiracy to cause a social nuisance, using explosives and chemical weapons.

17 August 2004

Terry Pratchett

No enemies had ever taken Ankh-Morpork. Well technically they had, quite often; the city welcomed free-spending barbarian invaders, but somehow the puzzled raiders found, after a few days, that they didn't own their horses any more, and within a couple of months they were just another minority group with its own graffiti and food shops. Terry Pratchett

Smelly Boy from Primary School

When I was in primary school there was a smelly boy who always had snot on him. He was even less popular than me I think. The teachers struggled to cope with him. He probably had one of those acronym disfunctions that young boys always seem to have. He was a couple of years younger than me.

What just made my day was, 15 years later seeing him walk past me on my way back to class. He's going to university. Which is very cool indeed.

16 August 2004

Travelling in Pink

I bought my first ever Travelpass today. It's pink. Not literally, but it says that's it's pink on the front. It only cost $23.50, and it's the best. You can go almost anywhere. I can catch buses and trains to my hearts content for a whole week. And even ferries. I can ferry myself to Parramatta. And then catch a train to somewhere else from there. And why wouldn't you. My heart is very content. So tops.

Bjork

Bjork is nice. I like her. And I loved Dancer in the Dark.

Macroeconomics is Evil

Literally! Our dodgy teacher has spent all session teaching us dodgy, conservative, pro-rich crap. And I don't like it one bit. We had a two hour lecture tonight. I spent the whole time thanking God that economists don't run the economy. Good God they would bollocks it up something terrible I reckon.

According to economists: Unions are bad Minimum wage is bad Safety regulations are bad Wage rises are bad (unless they're as a result of a rise in GDP) Not growing is bad

These aren't just ideas. These are like laws to them. No one is suggesting there's a trade-off. These things are just wrong according to them. Trevor is the only one so far who'd acceded anything different. Trevor is the man.

And there are other technical-type things they're trying to teach us are absolutes. It's so frustrating. It's no wonder all the business leaders are such economics facists. They probably think they've got no choice.

This is an example. An economy must always, without exception grow because if productivity grows and GDP doesn't, then you'll have unemployment. For buggery's sake. I've always wondered about that whole "growth doctrine", and wasn't really sure why we always have to grow. And it all comes down to one stupid fallacy that anyone could knock over. In reality, we can "grow" or we can all have a three day weekend. Or work a 6 hour day. So there's actually a lot of options. But they teach us there's one, and only one. It's bloody annoying.

So not only is macroeconomics boring (the first time I've ever felt that about anything economics-like), but it strikes me as counter-productive, and even more flaky and less useful than microeconomics. At least microeconomics had a lot of sound logic behind it, and you could conceive of reasonably sensible real world examples.

The only good thing about macroeconomics so far is my hilarious tutorial teacher. Oh, and my shiny red folder for it. Of my four subjects' colours, and think the red is the best.

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