Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I've only read Animal Farm and 1984, but I thought they were both brilliant.

Nowadays though, Orwell has become something of a tool in oratory and debate; you can throw an Orwell into the mix to swing any argument your way.
Bush- Orwellian nightmare, Howard- read Orwell as a manual, any progressive politician- O'Brien waiting to happen.

I think it's kind of approaching cliche to be honest, but theres no doubt Orwell painted a chilling portrait of totalitarianism.

I usually don't think calling on Orwell is very helpful when criticising hardline neo-conservative governments though, as the idea of a free market seems antithetical to INGSOC.

I think criticism of such right-wing governments would be better achieved by pointing out the problems which are specific to it- corporate greed, class division and so on. Because unless it is specific to the form of government, then the Orwell card can be used against anyone, by anyone, which ultimately negates any significance.

So now I'm trying to think of some novelists who might be useful for this purpose. Thomas Pynchon perhaps, and certainly William S. Burroughs.

Friday, May 25, 2007


I've certainly come late to the Brian Eno party, but I'll say it anyway.

If you're after some new music, you could do far worse than 'Music for Airports' by Brian Eno.

Simply wonderful.

Monday, May 21, 2007


David Fincher's latest is by far his best, which is saying something.

It's a combination of his technical perfection, with regards to cinematography, visual effects and editing, the pitch-perfect performances (Robert Downey Jr is particularly entertaining) which he extracts from the actors, and a mature, intelligent and complex script.

The attention to detail in recreating the time-span of the period is unparalled. The soundtrack, fittingly, is totally cooking. And unlike some (all?) of Fincher's other films, there is a strict adherence to realism.

The film was shot entirely on digital but you'd never know it, really, as Harris Savides seems to have nailed the new medium on his first attempt, which is remarkable.

People may be expecting something akin to Se7en, but that's entirely the wrong comparison.

The film is more a crime saga along the lines of Heat, dealing more with the lives of those affected by the crime than the crime itself, and like that film, Zodiac is a rare masterpiece.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Random Dating Agency

So there I am, freshly logged in to messenger, and then I'm assaulted with stupidity in the form of the 'person message' from one of my high school class mates.

Someone's been reading too much Anthony Robbins, or whoever the latest motivation moron is, by the sounds of things:

"Luck is when a good random event and you meet. It is up to you to organise that meeting!"

These sort of comments really get under my skin.

How do you organise random? I mean, really.

Perhaps you call up a dating agency, and announce:

"Hello, I'd like my perfect match to meet me at a time and place entirely non-Laplacian deterministic in nature, please? Naturally, her appearance should be the good result of one in 70,000 billion variations of associations between the genetic endowments of spermatozoa and egg acting in entirely chaotic fashion. Oh, and I like long walks on the beach."

Maybe I'm on to something.

I'll start up the worlds first 'random dating agency', with the qualifaction that it is
'at very least a chaotic deterministic system'. I'm sure it'll make a mint.

Now, the usage of the word 'random' in popular culture, and how much that infuriates me, shall have to be left for another time.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Czar of Iraq and Afghanistan

I hope he can speak Arabic.

If this means Bush is handing over all responsibilities to Lute, then perhaps it would be something to celebrate, but I suspect Lute will turn into nothing more than a scapegoat for a lame duck.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Abbott Abbott

Of all the Liberal ministers, I think loathe Abbott the most.

He's even more overtly religious and socially conservative than Howard, and yet he's younger.
So it's even more intolerable.

It certainly defies belief that Howard even gave him the health portfolio in the first place, and it ranks up there as one of his most unforgivable decisions. I realise there are sensitive issues there so analogy doesn't go very far, but keep in mind that this is a democracy, not a theocracy.

And Abbott's arrogance in the face of defeat is really disgusting.
Don't worry Abbott, I'm sure the coalition will be sufficiently 'rewarded' this coming election.

I feel sorry for Jangari- apparently Abbott is his local member. Well at least he's allowed to give his two cents to Abbott directly, so maybe it's not all so bad.

The First Chain Message I Liked

An interesting snippet of a lecture by Professor Paul Krugman, worth watching by itself.

But then, note, the comment by Bernard Ogus.

Tomorrow will be the happiest day of your life. Your new toaster is up and running, your new haircut widely praised. And just when you think things can't get any better, an email from a stranger arrives, offering to enlarge your Johnson.

Unfortunately, if you don't post this comment to 5 videos, a box of Krugman books will fall from a building and smiteth your head, and everyone you love will be hit by a bus driven insane by the teachings of Sir William Rees-Mogg, whoever he may be.

Finally, a chain message worth passing on.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Tale of Two Budgets

I wrote about this a while back, and it seems Jim Middleton agrees with me.

The debate over economic ideology is over, and "We're all conservatives now".

So now we get two fiscally conservative budget proposals. Is that really something to celebrate?
I'll give my take on the two in a moment, but first, I should mention something which I found a touch disturbing.

In neither Costello's or Rudd's speech was the word 'aboriginal' mentioned once. This is in spite of the fact that Costello's budget actually puts $3.5 billion into indigenous related policies.

There's only a limited time for them to outline their proposals, and no doubt the speech is scrutinised by various media advisors. The worrying trend would be then that they have concluded the average Australian either doesn't care or doesn't want to see funding into indigenous policies.

And now to the budgets and their speeches.

Costello put his budget across in a very considered tone, and very reasonably. When he was pronouncing the actual sums of money involved, he would adopt the tone of voice one would hear from a tightpursed grandmother giving her child some birthday money.

The strongest point was the University Endowment Fund, though it's not quite clear when we'll actually see any fruits of such a fund. And so Rudd's attack that this is a short term election budget plan is probably somewhat misguided.

The tutoring voucher of $700 seems a fine idea, but also doesn't seem to be thought out.
Julie Bishop floundered when asked by Kerry O'Brien who would be elligible to give the tutoring.
Furthermore, I'd like to know what the average costs of tuition are. If we say $35 an hour then that's 20 hours. I don't think 20 hours will necessarily turn a lagging student into a high achieving student, so one could say that this is a bit of an election bribe.

Providing extra teaching training is also a fine idea, but my housemate (who is a teacher) pointed out that it's most likely older teachers who will be in need of a refreshment course. So targeting young teachers, as this proposal seems to do, could be money poorly spent.

$500 for senior citizens? That's a nice gesture too, and I'm glad to think that my grandmother might be able to get herself something nice courtesy of Costello, but it's also nothing more than a bribe.

Tax cuts to lower and middle income earners are much appreciated, and as George Megalogenis (video available here) points out, this proposal is closely related to Work Choices.

It was, as many have pointed out, the first time we've heard "Global Warming" mentioned by Costello, and extra incentives to invest in solar is an excellent move (which was mirrored by Rudd). Strangely, on the energy issue, neither Costello nor Rudd mentioned geo-thermal, in spite of the fact that I'm led to believe it's one of Australia's best options.

Overall, I'm sure it will swing some votes back in the way of the Coalition, and Costello is certainly putting feet in the right places where Howard is not. I'm sure the Coalition wishes they'd let Costello take over last year.

Rudd's speech itself was an absolute shocker. It sounded as though he'd not even read the speech before, and the speech itself was a hulking trainwreck which repeated tired old catchphrases such as "throwing the fair go out the back door".

Broadband is an issue close to my heart, so I was glad that it got a place. However, there was a discrepancy in the speech which I'm not sure everyone noticed.

He stated earlier that "Italy will soon be laying out a broadband network for two thirds of its population of up to 100 megabits per second". That is a brilliant plan indeed, and world-class.

Later on, however, it is revealed that "Labour's plan is for a state-of-the-art fibre optic to the node national network with a speed of 12 megabits per second (capable of upscaling) to be laid out over a 5 year period".

12 megabits? As in, half of the maximum speed currently available in metropolital areas?
Yes, that's right, we already have a network capable of 24mbps. And 24mpbs still isn't that great by world standards, as Rudd himself shows with the Italian example. So Rudd's plan will really affect those in regional areas who are currently stuck on 1.5mpbs or worse, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact I'm glad that young kids in Kurranda will be able to play Counter-Strike competitively. But if Rudd wants to run broadband as an economic issue, he'd do well to actually have a plan that would affect businesses.

I should point out, however, that Peter Beattie does actually have a plan for Brisbane which proposes a 100mbps network. This is sweet indeed, and would unquestionably encourage businesses who communicate large data packets to relocate to Brisbane (engineering firms are a prime example, at the moment they often have to burn their data onto a cd and then physically mail the cd out, wasting time and money).

So whilst a broadband plan is needed, and urgently, I was unimpressed with Rudd's offering. There is hope, however, that the upscaling potential will be fulfilled. And for the time being, it's still far better than Costello's lack of a broadband proposal.

Rudd invested slightly more than Costello in education, which is to be expected, although his focus was not universities, sadly. Rudd has chosen to focus on the skills sector, by offering up to 1.5 million dollars to high schools across Australia ("all 2650 of them"). Of course, he's counting on the fact that most high school's won't take up this offer, otherwise he'd need to put down $3.975 billion on the table (has has in fact put down only $2.5 billion).

He has also pledged to phase out full-fee paying students. This is in contrast to Bishop's idea of increasing the number of full-fee paying students.

I'm no fan of full-fee paying students, especially if it means that there are less commonwealth-supported places as a result. Rudd doesn't mean to extend this to full-fee paying international students though, because that would make universities less than thrilled given the enormous revenue brought in by such students.
I also hope it doesn't result in HECS fee's increasing to cover universities loss of profits.
We'll have to wait for more on that policy.

Finally, Rudd pledged $70 million for Asian Languages. I was at first delighted at this news, but apparently so far it only targets high schools. Which is a shame, really, because I'm of the opinion that learning languages in high school doesn't really deliver effective results. This is purely based on personal experience, whereby the same issues that would make say, Shakespeare uncool, also result in the study of language being uncool and purely academic. My main exhibit here would be the extremely poor level which high-school students of Chinese arrive with at 1st year university.

So comparing the two, I like Rudd's ideas the most, and appreciate where he is coming from. Upon closer examination I'd say Costello's probably more realistic and will actually deliver what it sets out to do. But it would be unfair to Rudd to judge his budget now as it was only a 'right of reply' which we saw last night. So I'll wait and see, and remain hopeful that some of the issues I have outlined above are ironed out.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Melting Pot of Sexual Anxiety

It's said that Dracula was written at a time of British sexual anxiety over the Orient.

Well, I was doing some surfing about Libertarianism, which led me onto the Libertarian Society of Australia. From there I got onto A Yobbo's View, and then finally on to Kyungjunyo's Xanga Site.

Well. I can't decide if it's written entirely satirically or if the author is actually genuine.
His basic argument is that interracial relationships are evil. His solution?

I believe that the best solution outside of physical separation is an enormous wealth/technology gap, in our favor, between Asia and the West. That would override any social or interpersonal advantages white (and also black) males have, and it would reverse the current situation, in which Asian males may have some money, but have very little power or social/political influence. Women aren't just into money, they want the status too, and Asian males don't have it. Only by casting the males of other races as losers, via much more wealth and technology, would Asian males be able to bring their women back into the fold.

Right. I don't personally take the view that relationships are quantifiable in terms of money, status and technology.


Satirical site to attract attention, or genuine melting pot of an ethnocentric sexual anxiety?


Well, it's part of a blog ring, and a rather amusing one at that.
The ASIAN WOMAN FOR ASIAN MAN !! blog ring. Check out the manifesto (I've censored the language where needed)...

join this blogring if u are a Race Warrior n u believe interracial dating is just a by word for white f---ers to steal our woman. isn’t it strange that every interracial couple u see its some gorgeous asianhunnie dating a FAT, BLAD, UGLY n SMELLY WHITEF---. THAT IS SO F----NG SEXUAL SLAVERY.JOIN ME IN F---ING BASH TO DEATH EVERY WHITE MOTHERF---ER WHO EVEN LOOKS AT AN ASIAN WOMAN. CRAVE N DESIER FOR AN ASIAN PRISIDENT OF THE WORLD WHO WILL RUN ON THE PLATFORM OF: ASIAN WOMAN FOR ASIAN MAN!!

How charming. I'm pretty sure it must be satirical...right?

Monday, May 07, 2007


I was at uni the other day using the printers and photocopiers in the SS&H Library, where I spotted a poster advertising:

"The Great Global Warming Swindle"

I only gave it a cursory glance, but I was honestly dumbfounded as to where it was coming from.
"Find out why Anthropogenic Global Warming is the biggest HOAX of our time, propogated by far-right wing governments and financial institutions" it said.

This...this is just too much. So I googled it and find out the man responsible is Lyndon LaRouche, and (via Wikipedia) LaRouche was sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment in 1988 for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax code violations, but continued his political activities from behind bars until his release in 1994 on parole.

A man of great integrity then...

Or maybe just an attention seeking, anti-semetic, hate-preaching Catholic zealot, and a bitter ex-Democrat candidate. That would explain his sermons of hate against both Bush and Al Gore.

"Actually LaRouche has nothing to do with making that movie. Not only is google and incompetant way to research something, but you are obviously not capable of using it. Maybe, you should also try watching the movie, it sounds like you have an almost cult like belief in Global Warming." shrieks Annonymous.

Funny, I don't recall saying he made the film. And I don't recall saying I have a cult-like belief in Global Warming either.

LaRouche was responsible for the posters at my university, or rather the 'Young LaRouche Movement' was. Indeed, LaRouche did not 'direct' the film, that was left up to Martin Durkin, also a man of great integrity it seems, just read his C.V!

  1. "How Do They Do It?" (2006) TV Series (executive producer) (unknown episodes)
  2. "Dr Tatiana's Sex Guide to All Creation" (2005) (mini) TV Series (executive producer)
  3. Secret Intersex (2004) (TV) (executive producer)
  1. The Great Global Warming Swindle (2007) (TV)
  2. "Dr Tatiana's Sex Guide to All Creation" (2005) (mini) TV Series (three episodes)
"Dr Tatiana's Sex Guide to All Creation" (2005) (mini) TV Series

But it was still LaRouche who is promoting the film, and who has his name on the poster at my university.

And, oh, what's this? LaRouche promoting the film on his site?

And lo and behold, an Australian LaRouche Youth Movement 'nailing Gore's Global Warming Swindle'.

And as for my 'cult-like' belief in Global Warming? Well, I don't watch television to educate myself. I do tend to agree, however, with Hans Van Storch, and I'm listening with great interest to what Habibullo Abdussamatov has to say.

Dr Parallax Myspace Page

Dr Parallax, the enigmatic cosmological instrumental progressive band which I drum in, has established a Myspace page, with a sample of one of our songs available to listen to (set up by Elliott, cheers).

There will no doubt be more to come in the near future.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Baron Heffernan

I'd like to think we've moved on from the days of Henry VIII, and accusing women of being 'barren'.

Apparently not, though.

Senator Heffernan said Ms Gillard was "deliberately barren" and therefore unfit for political leadership.

Blatant sexism like this doesn't belong in modern Australian politics, and even back in the time of Henry, the reasoning of such an argument would be just as nonsensical.

Of course, such a line of reasoning isn't unique to Baron Heffernan, in fact it's quite common in Russia.

The leader of the Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovsky, expressed his opinion on the matter in an exclusive interview with Pravda.Ru.

”Condoleezza Rice released a coarse anti-Russian statement. This is because she is a single woman who has no children. She loses her reason because of her late single status. Nature takes it all.

Ah Heff, you know where you belong.

I must say, I was both surprised and glad to see Malcom Turnbull come out to voice his disgust.
Of course, Abbott came out to defend the comments. This isn't suprising given he no doubt shares Heffernan's medieval views of women.

This has hurt the Liberals more than their religious far-right will realise, which is why the more moderate of the party are trying to come out and condemn the comments.

And Howard is being too lenient on Heffernan by far; coming up to an election, the only response can be to sack Heffernan.