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30 October 2007

The Beach

I had my first beach trip of the season yesterday while I was waiting for the Poverty Expo at UNSW to start. It was well cold, but still good.

I met up with Jo, David and Emily (and bumped into Laurice and her bud) at the Poverty Expo. Except it wasn't an expo. It was a serial presentation about the kinds of the development that make me want to be a programmer.

With only a couple of exceptions, career days only seem to make me less interested in the jobs people are advertising.

29 October 2007

US Wages and Men and Women, 1979-2006

US Wages and Men and Women, 1979-2006

I find this a bit sad. It's definitely encouraging that women are getting better wages. But men are earning the same real wage they were back in 1979.

It's possible that, in the past, the wage bias against women actually resulted in a wage subsidy to men. They received some of the surplus value that women generated. In this picture then, what gains men achieved in productivity were shifted to women who were able to take home a larger proportion of the value they created.

Given that wage inequality has increased the way it has over this period, I suspect there is more to the story.

It's also possible there never was a wage bias and this is just capturing changes in the way and amount women work. But it's unlikely, and certainly isn't the kind of thing you should say in company.

The Basics

Miles, Laurence and I went to The Basics on Friday night. The rocked good. We'd never heard them really. The support bands were pretty alright but hadn't raised our expectations. So when they came on and blew us away we were really blown away. As a live gig they whooped Gotye's arse big time. And to top it all awesomely off, the tickets were only $16 tiny dollars.

28 October 2007

Beer and Bicyles

Since riding home last night, after chugging down some delicious, not inappropriately priced Belgian beer with David, I have discovered some things:

  • the forces of gyroscopy are impressive, but ultimately they are an imperfect substitute for sobriety
  • for the inebriated head, the drunken amble is the optimal speed for safely avoiding objects that accost you (such as restaurants, trees, pedestrians, suburbs and gutters)
  • correspondingly, even a slow cycling speed is sub-optimal
  • much of what makes cars of limited danger to the cyclist is the cyclist's ability to maintain a straight path for at least a brief period

I did, however, manage to make it home.

Sparrow Visitation

Sparrow on Poster

I was woken up this morning by a sparrow flying in my window and falling into a bundle of clothes by my head. He flew around, struggling to find his way back to the window before settling on my NI poster for a rest. After a bit more searching, a little time hiding on the floor behind the desk and another break sitting on my Amelie poster, I managed to pick him up and find him the window.

Large Shopping Centres

Large shopping centres, elevators and the dominance of the car are driving Australia's obesity epidemic, an Australian report has found.

I would have thought that, in terms of reducing weight, large shopping centres would better than small shopping centres. The article is on SMH and is called City slickers are the new city thickers. I won't link to it because smug obesity puns make me cross, and I don't want to encourage that sort of behaviour.

26 October 2007

Federal Member for Villawood

I love the Greens. Who else would spend as much energy as them chasing the TPV refugee vote? Probably Australia's smallest constituency and also, technically, ineligible to vote.

25 October 2007

Timor-Leste Sea Border

Timor-Leste Sea Border

The dotted line is the 1972 border negotiated with Indonesia. The black line is the equidistant line between the two nations, which Timor-Leste argues is based on international law.

This is from a letter "leaked" to Wikileaks, from Ramiro V. Paz to Mari Alkatiri.

I'm inclined to think that Timor-Leste has a fair point. But then I am a rabid pinko, so I would say that.

I suppose it's not especially surprising to find Australia bullying small, newly independent nations into maintaining agreements made under colonialism. Even less surprising that Australia supported the Indonesian occupation for as long as they could.

22 October 2007

The Vision Thing

Bob Brown leaves those other fellas for dead.

20 October 2007

Workchoices Slur

I find it a little amusing that the HSC question "Discuss, using examples, the impact of government legislation on employees" is labelled a "slur" against by the Liberal party. Surely, that question gives students an opportunity to talk about how much employees have benefited from the opportunities and freedom provided to them by Workchoices.

Perhaps it's just the thought of young people discussing politics that upsets Liberals.

Salmonella invades human cells

Salmonella invades human cells

Abortion Pills

I don't know much about abortion pills at all. But while I was lying in bed this morning it struck me that you might be able to spike someone's drink with an abortion pill. Or partners might be able to slip it into your food. I can't think of a reason why someone would spike your drink with it, but I can think of reasons why partners might spike your food.

18 October 2007

Brown Left Arm

My left arm has got pretty brown in the last month or so. Browner than my right arm for sure. My theory is that because I ride to university in the mornings and I have to go south, my left side gets more sun than my right. I wonder if other cyclists have the same problem. Over time you could end up looking quite ridiculous.

Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie

Bob Dylan is pretty much the best poem-writer in the world. When he's not writing lyrics he's more open and you get a better sense of how brilliant he actually is.

16 October 2007


Recently, [UN peacekeepers] initiated what they call “night flashes,” in which three truckloads of peacekeepers drive into the bush and keep their headlights on all night as a signal to both civilians and armed groups that the peacekeepers are there. Sometimes, when morning comes, 3,000 villagers are curled up on the ground around them.

Rape Epidemic Raises Trauma of Congo War

15 October 2007


I read a paper last week which attempted to find out what aspects of a visit to their GP were most important to them. It was a discrete choice experiment and one of the attributes related to the trustworthiness of the doctor. There were two possible levels of the attribute:

  • doctor is trustworthy
  • doctor is untrustworthy

The conclusion of the paper was that having a trustworthy doctor was the most important issue for people.

14 October 2007

Martin’s Tax Return

We did Martin's tax. He is going to get a $3 tax return. He is pretty angry and screaming a little bit.

Page 11

Mohamed Haneef should never have been charged, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions admitted last night.

We got it wrong on Haneef: DPP chief

Days of front page terrorism accusations, effectively countered by 5 inches on page 11. Good job Sydney Morning Herald. I think your work here is done.

Phoney Campaigning

Prime Minister John Howard visited Government House in Canberra this morning to ask permission to call the federal election, ending months of phoney campaigning.

Election looming

Are the SMH editors asleep? I may happen to agree with the statement, but even the most rabid Greens voters might hope for less bias than that.

13 October 2007

Fun Toy Banned Because Of Three Stupid Dead Kids

In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Wizco Toys of Montclair, NJ, recalled 245,000 Aqua Assault RoboFighters Monday after three dumb kids managed to kill themselves playing with the popular toy, ruining the fun for everybody else.

Fun Toy Banned Because Of Three Stupid Dead Kids

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