Friday, 23 May 2008

How to merge two national losses into a win.

According to ABC reports today:

  1. Losing space race: Aust lags in space race: Andy Thomas It seems apparent by the comments on this article, that your average Australian is totally confused about this issue: confusing the space-race and its possible spinoffs with science in general. The need to engage in the science, and in a space-race seem to be inextricably merged into the same argument. The space-race is at the heart of science, right? The best way to further science is via the space-race, right? That's the trouble with democracy: total idiots get the same vote.
  2. The Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has lost a last ditch attempt to stop the logging of Tasmania's Wielangta State Forest.
How to turn two loses into a win? I await the opinion to appear, that the fix for this problem will be to push harder for Australia's re-involvement in the space-race on the grounds that it will be instrumental in us finding a good place to live after we have logged planet Earth dry.

Will only the rich and powerful get to ride the dreamship to our new home in the next galaxy. If so, cant we get them into a rocket now, and launch them all soon, before they do any more damage. All the leaders in the logging industry will be in there, plus those from the mines, and Silicon Valley. After they are gone, perhaps everyone else will get to turn the logging machines off, and the fill back in the holes in the ground. We will have to make do with less silicon, so computers and artificially magnified breasts will all be lost in the dreamtime of your average nerd, logger and stripper.

Then again, will the rich and powerful round up the rest of us and send us off instead, while they stay here? Afterwards, will they and their robots fix the place up here for themselves. I wonder how they are going to pull that scam off. Let's see...
  • They covered up the Kennedy killing well so far, and
  • got away with complicity in the drug trade to fund the anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 80's even though the product was heading to their own GIs in Vietnam, and
  • got away with the WMD spin for long enough for their needs, after which only a few bush idiot's get the blame anyway, and
  • have covered up the 9/11 issues like 2 totally vapourised aircraft, and how the towers fell, and who really was pulling the strings there.
But conning an entire global population minus 5% to step off the planet, now that will take some doing. Is religion the answer? It worked in the past. It has kept man killing man in the name of God for centuries, at least until recently. The trouble lately though is that religion does not have the pull it used to. Even by Hitler's time they needed to move onto a ethnic/cultural issues, and exterminating Jews was not really the main thrust of Hitler's show. Political dogma like Communism vs Capitalism ran for less than one century. Since then, religious ferver has become more visible again, thanks in part to global telecommunications. On one side we have the religiously led nut-case God-fearing loonies in the USA, and on the other the entire Muslim world, if you want to believe the Yanks. However while American policy and spin goes round the world in a millisecond, the negative effects of Islam fervour only directly affect a few hundred at a time, as the odd religious loony has been convinced to step up, out and off, and take a few near them along. If it weren't for global telecommunications we would hardly know of it happening. (Q: How many died in Africa yesterday? No news = 0 died, right. Yet everyone gets to know that 3 died on the West Bank or 30 in Iraq.) Terrorist bombings has been a very fragmented effort so far, and I do not envisage your average Muslim taking it up as their new sport. To get 95% of the population to depart Earth one way or another, as shrapnel-fodder or in a rocket, is just not going to happen.

So the rich and powerful won't leave because they are too smart to commit suicide in a rocket, no matter how big it is, and the great unwashed will not leave because there is unlikely to be a single sufficiently powerful religion for them to follow into that abyss.So where does that leave us?

Right back here on Earth.
All of us.
Fighting to get to the top of the pile, that sits on an ever more barren and toxic dump.

Nice going religious loonies.
Nice going space-race nerds, and rat-race leaders.
Nice work.

Anyway, back to the topic:

Q: What is going to happen next in the Wielangta State Forest?
Its going to be logged in an 'environmentally responsible and sustainable' fashion.

Q:What are the long-term prospects for the Wielangta State Forest?
A:What Wielangta State Forest?

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

How to improve Australia

Taken from discussion posts at the ABC website following the release of the Australian Federal Budget tonight.

steve:13 May 2008 7:50:31pm

All Labour really needs to do is to reduce the level of government in this country. A good start would be get rid State Government across the nation and move services between Federal and the councils. In this all list of unnecessary tax's would be abolished and that would really help working family's.

One can only dream

alex: 13 May 2008 8:42:31pm
What do you suggest the thousands of state government workers do?
Rechoboam: 13 May 2008 9:14:28pm
Something productive, such as not working for the government.
Don: 13 May 2008 9:31:10pm
Many create work for themselves; or fight amongst themselves and need mediation. The "test" is/must be do I/does my job or output or input really add value to the nation as a whole?
If not, it is a government job that should go viz. police, traffic police, teachers, medicos sitting in offices faxing paper from Canberra to Sydney, Sydney to Darwin, George St to Albert St and back. Is that really work or is it simply "work" for the sake of "work". How does it add value to the nation as a whole?
craig: 13 May 2008 9:38:03pm
I agree the public service should be trimmed - many people who cannot find a job in the real world end up and public servants. I would however object to cutting nurse, doctor or teacher numbers - although I would agree there needs to eb more emphasis on removing dead wood, especially from teaching.
Nice sentiments Don and Craig. In an ideal world/country, I am sure that this is how it would work. I just wonder how do we get Australians to head towards this sort of ideal?

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Linux and Microsoft Windows; and computer viruses and karma

Viruses: Many people probably disbelieve my assertions that its virtually impossible to get viruses in Linux. The article 'Spyware/Viruses in Linux' by David Stone is worth reading.

"Creating a Linux virus is trivial but getting it out in the wild and infecting large amounts of systems is very difficult."
"Anti-virus software will never be needed in Linux..."
And to echo my more general feelings, that I have held for many years:
"The sooner Microsoft goes the route that IBM did the better for them, their stockholders, and everyone else. They need to find the niches they're best at, concentrate on those, learn to play well with others, and stop trying to compete against everyone else in the technology industry."
("zeebo on 05/11/2008 at this Digg article".)

If you read the book "Hard Drive", the story of Bill Gates and Microsoft, and follow the antics of the Monkey Man, you will not be holding your breath for this to happen though. Then again, perhaps its a case of 'one down, and only one to go". The problem even then is that institutions breed their own kind. How many more monkey men are there in there?

I remember that Gates was quoted as stating that 'open source' is 'anti-American'. I agree, you are correct Bill. and THAT is the trouble with America. The Great American dream involves freedom to succeed ... by "laissez-faire" capitalism? by trampling all over the rest of the world with your MacDonalds and your B2s and your Raptors? what exactly?

On a related note, I have always liked the way Oracle has viewed the software world, its place in it, and its take on such problems as Microsoft. (and that is not because I worked for them at one time.) For instance in the article "The State of Oracle Linux", Edward Screven, Oracle’s Chief Corporate Architect said:
“Microsoft and Microsoft Windows,” are the real enemy. “You know, we, as a company, we have a few large primary competitors. One of them is Microsoft. So Microsoft wants customers to deploy Windows as a vehicle for locking them into Microsoft’s monopoly. Linux is an important counterbalance to Microsoft’s strategy. We view Linux as a much better open choice for enterprise customers running x86 computers. So we really want Linux to succeed in that space. You know, of course we fight with Red Hat over customers, we fight with SuSE over customers. We’re competing with each other in this Linux space. But the real opposition here is Microsoft.”

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

And now for something completely different

Just this once, I shall mindlessly clone a web item from somewhere else, mainly because I think it is interesting.

Um actually, this is the second item in a row that I have mindlessly cloned from elsewhere.... oh well.

I will use the "Shared Items" facility within Google Reader to do this sort of thing in future. In fact I will place this item into there too, so that should set up an infinite loop between here and there :-)

Monday, 5 May 2008

Global ... or US meltdown

"There's going to be more pain." (WARREN BUFFETT: the world's richest person, warning that global financial markets still face further losses from the credit crisis)

OK, so the planet will be affected, but isn't this in fact mostly only a concern for the USA? It would be kinda nice to hear a few yanks say something like "I think the chooks are coming home to roost in our all American 100 trillion dollar deficit." instead of implying that whatever is their problem (in this case bankruptcy), is by implication a global problem. It might be a problem to varying degree to other economies that are closely linked to the USA, but surely there are a lot of countries that are not in marching towards the cliff in terminal lockstep with Uncle Sam.

OH, OK, so Warren is not predicting anything so dire. Fair enough, he has to keep a brave face doesn't he. After all he has quite a few pesos riding on not panicking the horses, doesn't he.