Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Road Toll

So here we are again near the middle of the holiday season - and the State Governments are doing it again. Blowing their horns about how "speed kills" and "alcohol is evil".

Their bad habits die hard.

But how would we know if what they say is true? Because they won't publish the evidence and allow third party analysis and validation of the data. Mainly because they don't actually collect the data - forget any real analysis. It's all back of the envelope stuff by junior staffers seeking votes or revenue.

Forgive my cynicism but how can we know that State Governments are on the right track with their road safety programs when they won't publish the data and/or their analysis of it?

Are we supposed to just *trust them*? Sure. I wrote this on 1st January this year - and nothing much has changed since. Except lots of hand wringing and wasted column inches.

While ever the state bureaucrats and their masters continue to obfuscate and feather their comfortable nests in response to this serious problem then someone like me will continue to talk and write about their hypocrisy.

Because the real problem is that State Governments have under-invested in their road infrastructure, network and services for decades and if anyone ever found out then a substantial *class action* would be the result.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I suppose Bradley Manning won't be having a very Merry Christmas and nor will Julian Assange. And neither will the people in the Christmas Island detention centre.

But no doubt all the extreme right wing nutjobs in the US and elsewhere will be sitting down to devour large helpings of turkey with all the trimmings - after saying grace for their good fortune.

What an amazingly bunch of hypocrites they are. Pretending to be good Christians while calling for the *execution* of Julian Assange.

Black really has become White - If ever there was a graphic illustration of how far off beam the US has wandered - it is this ridiculous extremism that is promoted under the banner of Christianity. For Christ sake!

It seems that the harder President Obama works to re-build US credibility abroad - the more extreme the nutjobs and their cheerleaders at Fox News become.

Meanwhile, here is some of the Wikileaks story - straight from the horse's mouth.

And a very Merry Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Christmas

Well apparently its Christmas and that means that we all traipse about for lunch and drinks and dinner - and say nice things to the people we hate.

Or that is the business plan - but I find as I age that I have less and less interest in doing it.

Take today for example - I am dining with a billionaire, two or three captains of industry, a couple of bankers and half a dozen wannabes.

They all hate each other. But the wannabe's disguise it well - because if they play their cards right they will be at the big table again next year - and they wouldn't want to jeopardise that Virginia ;-)

Everyone here wants to be somewhere else - doing other things - with different people.

But of course the corporate world has its mores and everyone complies - or at least they comply if they want to be in the game with prospects for success next year.

And being in the game means understanding that what drives the corporate world is dumb blind loyalty - the ability to follow along in the footsteps of some completely dysfunctional and belligerent dimwit - as though it was the most natural thing in the world. It takes a special knack.

And then being able to efficiently hoover up the crumbs that his majesty sweeps aside from time to time.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Crikey gets better and better

My favourite news and information source just keeps getting better and better. This is a gem.

For those of you who haven't yet made the transition - what are you waiting for?

There is just no reason to keep reading Murdoch's manufactured mush. Unless you are sheeplike!

And this article by Bernard Keane is worth every cent of a subscription - all on its own.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Government by Remote Control

You have got to feel sorry for Julia. Someone in the US Administration - probably Biden or maybe even Clinton rang to tell her what *illegal SOB's* Julian Assange and Wikileaks were. It must be a bit of a shock when the big red phone rings Virginia.

And wanting to impress her masters she immediately called a press conference and announced that what Assange and Wikileaks had done was *illegal* and blah, blah, blah.

Now the US Administration is on fairly solid ground - because their government and right wing press run an amazingly effective *patriot* programme that just about every citizen supports. Mention the words *United States* *war* and *patriot* in the same sentence and they go all teary eyed and start saluting. Even the families of dead soldiers regularly stand up and tell the world how proud they are of their sons and daughters - who died in the service of a "big right wing war monger that is addicted to other people's resources".

They usually don't say the last bit ;-) It's also why they all have a copy of the US flag flying at their house, tie yellow ribbons around everything, have a pistol under their pillow and a shotgun in their truck and think that Oprah is Ms God reincarnated.

Anyway, fast forward to today's Essential Report and you will find that the US and OZ are totally out of sync with regard to Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Most Australians support the release of the Wikileaks cables, think that Julian Assange should receive legal support, and are critical of the government's statements on the issue.

It's different in the US.

Because over there the government is much more sophisticated in their manipulation of public opinion. They don't shoot from the lip - they make sure that they have geed up the population first with mention of *war* and *patriot* etc - and then they send the Vice President out to talk absolute crap.

Julia needs to learn how it is done - I think I can feel a trip to the US coming up.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Democracy and Freedom

These are not my words - I found them here - but I thought they were quite appropriate for the times.

"Whatever its virtues, democracy is not freedom. As the 19th Century French philosopher Alexis d'Toqueville warned in his classic Democracy In America, a democracy can be just as tyrannical as a dictatorship once the voters decide to vote themselves money from the treasury.

Democracy is a method of deciding who shall rule. It does not determine the morality of the resulting government. At best, democracy means that government has popular support. But popular support is no guarantee that government will protect your freedom.

In a democracy, if most voters support freedom of speech, press, religion, association and enterprise, their elected government will probably respect such freedoms.

But if voters prefer that governments impose a welfare state and confiscatory taxes, ban unapproved drugs, impose censorship, imprison critics, seize the property of unpopular groups, torture prisoners, and draft the young, a democratic government will likely grant those wishes also".

Friday, December 17, 2010

Does Fox News make you dumb?

Pinched from Crikey today.

Some would argue Fox News devotees aren’t the sharpest tools in the American news shed - and now we have the empirical data to prove it. A survey conducted by World Public Opinion, a project initiated by the University of Maryland, has found Fox News viewers are "significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources". So Glenn Beck isn’t a wellspring of informed enlightenment?

Participants were quizzed on several leading US news items, with their responses measured against the facts. Here are just a few choice misnomers, as propagated by the Fox News crew:

* 60% believe climate change is not occurring
* 63% believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear)
* 72% believe the economy is getting worse
* 91% believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
* 72% believe the health reform law will increase the deficit.

Interestingly, the study also found that regular exposure to Fox News doesn’t just erode your intelligence, but also threatens the public’s collective IQ by giving misinformed views greater momentum. So, what are our treatment options? High doses of hummus and Omega-3 fatty acids, as part of a strictly Palin-free diet plan.

Lets Rewrite some History

The attempts of Chris Mitchell and his ahem - "News Limited Journalists" - ahem over the past few years to obfuscate with their treatment of the science of Climate Change is going to be a huge mistake.

Their plan was to be contrary and to capture the dingbat anti-science readership for their newspaper by dissing the actual science. Which they seem to have done - judging by the quantity and quality of letters to the editor.

But in the process, they have lost much of the educated and thinking readership that built and sustained the paper under earlier leadership. And they have trashed its reputation. No-body that I know actually reads it anymore. We talk about it but no-one actually pays real coin to read it - because it has gone feral.

I assume their advertisers already know that, Virginia.

And Mitchell obviously knew that there would be a downside risk which is why he is now running around telling everyone that "The Australian" has been alert to the science of Climate Change for a decade or more. And other meaningless blah, blah and blah.

Which is just another of his feeble attempts at rewriting history. I suspect there are quite a few students who have already analysed and dissected the "Climate Change" content of "The Australian" over the last decade or so and will be happy to present their findings when next Mr Mitchell decides to sue someone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kevin does have a pair

Pinched from Crikey yesterday - and this is good in sooo many ways ;-)

"Alan Kennedy writes: In all the excitement about Julian Assange, Oprah and Hugh Jackman our foreign minister has been flying under the radar more than somewhat. He has gone rogue and is daily presenting PM Gillard with a problem.

First he became a champion of Julian Assange saying he alone had the right to suspend passports, then dipping into the schools' laptop allocation to send one to Julian in prison. He also gave the US a kicking saying it was its fault all the stuff leaked out and maybe it should be more careful.

Yesterday, as the Assange case raged, Rudd was in Israel embarrassing Israel's right wing foreign minister by calling for Israel to open up all its nuclear facilities for inspection and for Israel to sign up to the nuclear non proliferation treaty. Have a look at the press conference -- it is hysterical.

Now, as Israel has trouble even owning up to having nuclear weapons, the foreign minister of Israel looked more than a little uncomfortable and p-ssed off about Rudd. No doubt he or Netanyahu were on the phone later to the US to tell them to tell Julia Gillard via Arbib to get Rudd back on the reservation. Afterall, when Downer was foreign minister he didn't speak until he got his daily riding instructions from Washington.

Of course, Rudd will ignore any such calls. But how long can he go on being an independent foreign minister? One hopes forever. But the US will be increasingly annoyed about this independent behaviour and may ask for action.

Gillard, who has been disgracefully silent in the face of the latest outrage against Assange, will try to comply but it may not be that easy. Arbib and his sycophantic mates of the NSW will want Rudd to shut up but he seems to be Teflon man, untouchable in the current state of play. It's wonderful to watch. For Kevin revenge is a dish best eaten cold".

More Unintended Consequences

An interesting story on the European Arrest Warrant - here.

Well worth a read - because it does look like it is being abused.

Eventually there will need to be a day of reckoning - and governments everywhere will need to get back into line or risk revolution. But I have no doubt that once they step over the line and taste this excessive power that they won't want to give it up easily.

That is one of the reasons why Wikileaks is so important.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Julian Assange and Bail Money

As usal Michael Moore is on the case - I can feel a movie coming on ;-)

But it the meantime - you must read this.

Blind Mayors

There is a wonderful story told by the Mayor of Kuala Lumpur about maintenance of the city infrastructure. Apparently the eagle eyed former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad would phone him regularly after his arrival in the office to point out some ailing piece of public infrastructure that he had noticed on his way to work. A pothole here - a broken signal there and so on.

And the Mayor would then despatch someone to fix the offending item - while hoping that he wouldn't receive another phone call tomorrow morning.

Imagine that happening in Australia?

There is an intersection near the commercial centre of North Sydney - that for more than 10 years has had quite a large pothole smack bang in the middle of it. It was there so long that I was beginning to think it was a design feature ;-) Probably more than 20,000 people moved around or over it each workday. But someone has obviously noticed because it was recently fixed. After ten years?

And there is a dangerously uneven road surface near the local oval entrance in Port Lincoln - on the main highway into town that has been that way for over 30 years! OK it's probably a bit of a challenge because it involves a manhole cover, a misaligned road, an entry ramp and a roundabout - but 30 years for christ sake?

There are hundreds - no thousands of similar situations - and that is just on the roads that I traverse and which my tired old eyes have observed. What about the rest of the nation, Virginia?

Now I don't expect Julia to drive around and report these things to the local Mayors - but surely we can find people to become Mayors and represent these cities that don't walk around with their eyes closed - for up to 30 years.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Australia's free trade agreements - just a moron

Peter Martin reports - here.

"A year-long investigation of Australia's free trade agreements has found they are often nothing of the kind.

The Productivity Commission has told the Gillard government there is little evidence to suggest Australia's six free trade agreements have produced "substantial commercial benefits".

Some may have actually reduced trade by introducing complex rules that make it difficult for Australia to sell goods made with products imported from countries not party to the agreements".

So as usual the people are shafted - while the politicians have long retired with their gold passes.

Australia's free trade agreements are just another crock of sh*t imposed on the nation by lazy, incompetent and thick politicians.

Who Do You Trust?

According to Yesterday's Essential Report, ABC TV's news was regarded as always or usually trustworthy by 82% of voters. ABC Radio wasn't far behind on 78% and SBS TV also 78%.

One in five voters believes these PUBLIC broadcasters are "always trustworthy".

Newspapers are trusted by 65% of voters, but there is an HUGE level of distrust towards them - 29% of voters believe newspapers can seldom or never be trusted. Who woulda thought?

I guess that is *one in the eye* for our private media Virginia ;-)

So now we know why the *Murdoch Press* is "all over" the ABC. With their dingbat right wing commentators attempting to gain some credibility by their cosy association with the ABC.

I can just imagine Rupert's instruction to Andrew - "Write more rubbish and then get on ABC Insiders - and everything will be OK".

We know what is in it for Murdoch and his minions - but what is in it for the ABC?

As a citizen I really want to know - so could someone get Mark Scott to open the kimono please? Or do I need to contact Wikileaks?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dead Hand

There has recently been a bit of dialog and lots of hand wringing about the *Innovation* that is not going on in OZ. At least some of our politicians seem to have woken up to the fact that buying and selling real estate and importing bogan celebrities is not a very clever way to generate national wealth.

One area that the *dead hand* of government has stifled for decades is with personal transportation. The rules which apply to specialist vehicles vary considerably between the states. Each state government has a small cadre of self appointed "experts" who decide what is and what is not registrable. And very seldom do they speak with each other - let alone anyone who actually knows anything.

We have at least six different sets of rules across the nation and the effort required to get registration approval for unusual vehicles is usually much more trouble that it is worth. The net effect is that modern, innovative personal transportation design, development and manufacture is just too hard in this country. And that's just the way the big vehicle manufacturers and the state governments like it ;-)

I have some experience of an imported specialist vehicle that was finally registered in one state after much effort and cost. The owner then moved interstate and was lucky enough to get it registered there with a little less effort. But when he moved to a third state he had to go through the whole rigmarole again - and had to make significant and costly modifications to the vehicle. WTF?

We ain't going to get any innovation with personal transportation while this nonsense continues Virginia.

The UK has had a vibrant specialist vehicle industry for decades - it is very creative and innovative and is leading the charge toward lightweight, fuel efficient personal transportation vehicles. But we can't even bring them here - because it's the state government "experts" who decide what can be registered - and these vehicles aren't on their list. I doubt they would even know about them.

Despite a poorly performing economy, the UK specialist vehicle industry is booming and employing lots of designers, engineers and craftsmen - and continuing to produce innovative vehicles - like these.

But you won't see anything like them in OZ anytime soon.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Idiots We Are

We aren't smart enough to have our own bogan celebrity so we have to import one and her entourage from the USA for christ sake.

And then we spend all afternoon waiting around for her chubby cheeks to appear.

This is a huge embarrassment - we deserve to be treated like the idiots we are.

Moron Central

Pinched from Crikey today - with a little tweaking ;-)

Peter King, the Republican Congressman from New York, who recently called for the assassination of WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange as a "terrorist", is a long-time supporter of the Provisional IRA.

Of course, beginning in the late 1960s, the IRA was considered to be one of the most dangerous "terrorist" organisations in the world.

King will be the new chair of the *Homeland Security Committee* when the 112th Congress begins sitting in January.

He has earlier remarked that Assange should be treated the way the US treats any enemy combatant with "drones and Gitmo" -- i.e. piloted bombs and torture in Guantanamo prison camps.

So with a US hysterical about terrorism, how is it that King is permitted to be the chair of the Homeland Security Committee, while labelling Assange a terrorist?

A very good question - it seems that *black* really has become *white*. Or is the US Government really just moron central?

More on Julian Assange

Got this email from my mate Robbo this morning - it seems that quite a few Australian's are bothered by what is happening to Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

Hi Roger,

I share your grief and dismay over the Wikileaks developments and Assange's incarceration and likely rendition extradition to Sweden. What a farcical yet chilling episode and what a dreadful disappointment our little mates the Swedes are turning out to be. A few questions occur to me in regard to this:

* What are the Swedish precedents for criminal investigations into males on similar grounds to those that appear to be levelled at our boy Julian? Specifically, how many times has a Swedish prosecutor picked up an equivalent case?

* If any such cases have been prosecuted in Sweden, how many have lead to convictions and what have been the sentences?

* If there are any precedents, how many have resulted in extradition proceedings?

* What is known about the Swedish prosecutor, especially in regard to her affiliations? The little I've discovered so far is great cause for concern:

"Marianne Ny is regarded as a prosecutor who goes especially far. In one case of a woman being mistreated she voiced the opinion that men accused by women but not convicted should in any case be preventively locked up – to give the women “space to think things over”.

* Given this last point, we may not need to look for direct collusion between the Swedish judicial system and the US, but it is certainly a windfall for the Yanks and I've little doubt they'll exploit it any way they can. They'll make strange bedfellows, the Swedish femonazi enclave and the US - if it does go that way. I'm referring of course to the risk that Sweden will hand Julian over to the US if he winds up in their care.

As to Assange's accusers, what I've heard so far completely beggars credibility.

* Two young women, one of whom seemed to have been virtually a stalker, wind up bumping uglies with Julian over a similar time period.

* Both appeared happy with events at the time, and for some time after, and then what?

* Superficially, it looks like resentment, some kind of reaction to his neglect after the fact, some lack in returning affections?

* How can a notion of molestation and rape be retrospective? If it hadn't been experienced as such at the time, (and one supposes therefore, Julian wouldn't have been made aware of any problems at the time), how can we accept that reflecting on it makes it so, especially to the extent that it may satisfy a senior prosecutor?

* In particular, how can we accept the integrity of the case when it didn't even make it to a police report until the two women had colluded?

* Who advised these women to *seek advice* from the police rather than putting themselves at risk by actually making accusations that could have been proven false in a subsequent court case?

* We're also expected to believe that action was taken because they were concerned about STDs and Julian wasn't returning calls. If they wanted him to see a doctor, what's wrong with Facebook or Twitter? "Oi, Julian, get your bits checked mate and let us know how it goes". It's not like they were concerned about anyone's privacy.

And on the bright side? Well, not counting our rather strangely sycophantic PM, I've been slightly heartened by the responses from Australian politicians from both sides. Rudd, Turnbull and even Howard have all come out and said that Assange hasn't broken any Australian laws and the the US needs to attend to its own security issues, not pursue Assange. We'll wait and see if anyone balls up enough to actually do anything about it.



PS - and now we have over 5100 comments on the Open Letter to Julia Gillard - here. And not a whisper from the *Bogan in Chief* about it. Perhaps she will reveal all when she meets with *Oprah* this afternoon ;-)

PPS - You must check Glen Beck's interpretation of events on YouTube - it's hilarious.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lazarus Declining

So not only was John Howard an average Prime Minister - but he is also a pretty average author. Because the great tome that he has spent over 3 years on - and which he has called "Lazarus Rising" is a dud.

You can read any review of it to discover what the reviewer said. The ones that I have read are not at all complementary. Two out of five stars seems to be the consensus.

"From the first word, I knew it was all written by John. I could feel it. It reads like a Howard speech: easy to understand, it flows well. Of course, the book is all about him; fair enough, because prime ministers are at the centre of the action and nothing big happens unless they want it to happen". Says Peter Reith - and he is an ex Howard minister. The reviews don't get any better than that, Virginia ;-)

But here's the rub. With few exceptions nobody who actually votes Liberal will have read it. Because the people who vote Liberal don't actually read anything of substance. They get their news and information from Channel 10 and the test pattern. And some of them read look at the pictures in the "Women’s Weekly".

And nobody on the other side is going to read it - because they all despise the man. There is no way that any thinking person is going to read Howard's story - because there is far too much good stuff to read and not enough hours in the day - to take on his rewriting of Australian political history.

Which probably explains why it is in the “remainder bin” at my local bookshop? Along with "The Costello Memoirs". Both political tomes are sitting their unloved and unread for between $10.00 and $15.00 each. It's just hilarious.

So if you have a conservative relative and can't find a Christmas present for them - then this is the perfect gift. It is cheap, the bookshop will love you for taking it, the relative will think you are *one of them* but he/she won't ever read it and it will end up in the trunk under their bed.

Which is precisely where it belongs?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Power Corrupts

The most interesting thing to me personally is how the US is acting with regard to Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

As usual, they are behaving like a big schoolyard bully. No dialog, no acknowledgement of their bad behaviour, just more aggression as they flail about yelling and swinging.

Don't believe me?

* They had and others pull the plug on hosting Wikileaks. No US ISP will dare to host it again.

* They intimidated Pay-Pal into withdrawing its services from Wikileaks.

* "MasterCard is taking action to ensure that Wikileaks can no longer accept MasterCard-branded products" a spokesman for MasterCard Worldwide said Monday.

* And now Visa has joined in and has denied access to its services by Wikileaks.

* And no doubt there are others that we haven't heard about yet.

Dan Gillmor in his Salon column says this - "If journalism can routinely be shut down the way the government wants to do this time, we'll have thrown out free speech in this lawless frenzy".

And we think they are our friends?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Barack Obama

I have been a supporter of Barack Obama since before he became President - today I told him that I am withdrawing that support ;-) Here is my email.

I have been a supporter of President Obama since well before he was elected. I worked hard to help him get elected. I have donated money and time and I am now sorry that I did.

Because today I changed my mind and you need to know that.

I changed my mind because of what you are doing with Wikileaks and Julian Assange. They have shown you up as the big right wing bully that you are. Many of us thought that those days were gone when Junior Bush left office - but apparently Hilary has just continued the tradition. And probably even made it worse.

And we don't like it. It is a friggin disgrace that you can't deal with the truth and that you persecute an Australian who has shown you up for what you are. No wonder the rest of the world is against you.

I was expecting change - and all we got was more of the same BS.

Not good enough President Obama.

Elephant in the room

The big issue of the month/decade/year is Wikileaks and Julian Assange and today we have a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 200 prominent Australians and presented at "The Drum" - here.

The letter was signed by 200 citizens and at last count there were 1488 2016 2093 2295 comments in support - but the last number is clearly wrong - because it seems the ABC infrastructure is unable to cope with demand - which is huge. There are probably many thousands of comments in support. Check back regularly to see the final total - assuming the ABC can get its act together.

And many comments are from people who are *pissed off* that our Prime Minister is being puppeted by the USA. What on earth is PM Gillard doing by supporting a big rabid right wing bully who is picking on an Australian? I dunno.

And clearly many other Australian's don't like it either.

Not that it seems to bother our Prime Minister - who is planning to meet with *Oprah* this week for a "nice little chat" for christ sake.

So our PM can't be bothered to support and defend an Australian citizen who is being picked on and badgered by the US but is quite happy to appear on television with a US "celebrity".

This is a friggin disgrace.

Julian Assange

I read this and wept.

Because it is obvious to us all that the *vested interests* will pursue Wikileaks and Julian Assange until they break it and jail him. There is far too much at stake for the powerful war mongers to let this one go. They are used to ruling the world and pushing everyone around and they don't take kindly to anyone upsetting their deadly little game. Especially if it involves informing the proletariat.

So pretty soon Wikileaks will disappear and Julian will be locked up or otherwise neutered. I really feel for him and his family. And it's no good expecting our government to help - clearly they are batting for the other side. To verify that all you have to do is look at the prior treatment of David Hicks. Pity the next Australian who gets caught up in something like this.

So the net effect will be to push the next Wikileaks and the next Julian Assange underground. And to build a network centric organisation that can survive when one of the nodes is disabled. I wonder if it might look a little like the way that al Qaida run things - because for nearly a decade big brother has been unable to neuter them?

And it won't go away - while ever governments are corrupt and manipulative and people have a conscience then that corruption will be exposed by whistleblowers.

It's just a shame that the powerful states don't use this opportunity to moderate their behaviour and to take a more transparent approach to exercising their power. I guess there aren't many students of history running big government these days.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Conspiracy

So the USA State Department has been exposed as the manipulative bunch of dipshits they actually are - by Wiki Leaks. And Hilary's minions are all working overtime to close the thing down.

Julia - our Prime Minister even had a few harsh words - so the yanks must be feeling the heat. I reckon Obama needs to resurrect his *change* agenda - probably starting with Hilary.

Wiki Leaks is a breath of fresh air - finally the rest of the world can see the forest for the trees and now we have a good feel for how the big right wing war monger actually behaves. It's shocking stuff.

And the dingbats on Fox News even want Julian assassinated.

Really, the place deserves to go down the gurgler - even faster than it is.


In my view there is no more important project than this.

"MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity".

This is one of the most valuable sources of accumulated knowledge in the world and it is available to you for free.

There are few more important things than a quality education - and while this won't get you one for free - it is an important step on the path toward achieving one.

And just think about the potential for on-line education delivery using material such as this - if we were ever to get a fast broadband network? The mind just boggles ;-)

Perhaps this is what Julia meant when she was talking about "Moving Forward"? I wonder if we can encourage Tony to get on board and show some support?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NBN Business Plan

I have been working in the IT Industry for nearly 35 years. I started exploring IT in 1975 when I was actually employed on a complex civil engineering project - and needed some software to do a specific task - but the software wasn't available.

So I wrote my own on a HP programmable calculator. In those days the only portable computers were HP calculators and we all had one. From memory I think it was an HP25c and it fitted in your back pocket but of course was too precious for that. And I was working in Asia which meant that I didn't have access to the mini computer in head office or the mainframe at the university. No NBN anywhere then either.

Reverse Polish Notation - or RPN was the language the calculator used and if you understood that and how the stack worked then you could design and build a fairly complex program to run in about the 8k bytes that were available.

We designed and built roads and bridges and stormwater and sewerage systems and infrastructure with those calculators. We didn't need PC's let alone a NBN. And most of that infrastructure is still in use today.

The increase in productivity was incredible. Previously we had been working with slide rules and pencil and grid paper - but the HP 25c changed all that and meant that we could design and document things much faster - often by an order of magnitude.

My view is that the NBN could become the HP25c of the 21st century. If we are lucky.

As a nation we spent the last 25 years of the 20th century playing catch up - there was always an opportunity to become the *clever* country or the *smart* nation but it never actually happened.

We even had (at least) four attempts by various State Governments to attempt the development of *Silicon Village* - and they all failed. Billions have been wasted in the pursuit of *cleverness* by a range of Australian governments.

And the reason is that we aren't very clever - politicians and bureaucrats who try to *pick winners* usually end up by *picking losers*. It's a grand tradition of our state governments Virginia ;-)

And that is why the NBN is so important - it is ENABLING technology. It will enable the 21st century version of the HP25c user.

So we might argue about why it is necessary and debate the costs and think we need a business plan but I say go for it - because if we don't then we will never know if we are the *clever* country or not.

And I for one don't want to die wondering ;-)

It's all a bit too hard

I must confess that I did laugh my head off when I read this. And then I ordered another glass of wine.

We have been getting away with it because we are the *Lucky Country* and well it doesn't much matter if we act dumb - because *something* will turn up and we will be OK - won't we Virginia?

Or that is what we are used to. Our national plan appears to be built around three things - not necessarily in this order ;-)

* Remaining uneducated.

* Paying too much for shonky real estate.

* Driving around in monster trucks.

All the while worshipping at the altar of the nearest *Retail GOD*. Nothing else matters - this is what everyone has been conditioned to believe is true heaven on earth in the land of OZ.

We worship Credit Cards and Harvey Norman for Christ sake. Can I have another wine please?

I think it's because we live in an upside down world - where BS has become fact, lies are the new truth and black is now looking like white. All courtesy of Uncle Rupert and his friends.

These days I just write about it - and frankly I don't care if anyone listens - or understands.

Because when the sh_t hits the fan - I will be floating around out there in the middle of the Pacific or the Indian oceans - blissfully unaware. And having another wine.

And I got carried away with the wine but I also meant to say that this is a classic example of the "Dunning Kruger" effect - here.

Black is now White

Following on from a long tradition of science bashing and climate change obfuscation, The Australian has yet another go as pointed out by Tim Lambert - here. Tim's count is up to number 52.

I am pretty sure that Chris Mitchell didn't tell his writer what to say. In fact Mr Mitchell is so busy not telling his writers what to say that he apparently forgets to check the stories that they produce.

Fresh from threatening a lawsuit against a Twitterer who dared to tweet *the truth* - he has become emboldened and is now invincible ;-)

Surely tomorrows editorial will pronounce that *Black* will now be known as *White* - as decreed by said Mr Mitchell. And the drones who read his newspaper will all nod sagely.

What was it about Lemmings and cliffs?