Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Monday, April 30, 2012

A bid in

Probably won't get it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

From today, philosophy is dead

The issue of whether we are in fact simply entries in a computer simulation may be becoming moot:
"The goal of the DEUS project (Dark Energy Universe Simulation) is to investigate the imprints of dark energy on cosmic structure formation through high-performance numerical simulations. In order to do so, the project has conducted a simulation of the structuring of the entire observable universe, from the Big Bang to the present day. Thanks to the Curie super-computer, the simulation has made it possible to follow the evolution of 550 billion particles. Two other complementary runs are scheduled by the end of May. More details in the press release."

Dumpster diving

into the dustbin of history; I see Gadaffi's Green Book still has its adherents..... or at least its paymasters.  Though the two must be reasonably close; you'd normally think that if a huckster had his funding source killed off he'd keep the remaining money to pay the gas bill rather than putting it to the use that the big G would have wanted.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'll be sorry

This one is just within reach. $1,300.... and it'll only go up....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Irritating character

When I scan and OCR material I find that the RTF version incorporates a character wherever there's a cross-line wordbreak.   It's a variety of the dash, but with an added flickdown at the right-hand end so that it looks like a short-footed capital L flipped and left rotated. And it is intensely irritating, because it can't be cut and pasted into Find and Replace - that is to say, there's no way to tell Word to remove them all.

Does any of my two followers know what it's called, to enable me to search for a way to fix it?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Age bin(s)

 [Rescued from Drafts]

While I'm at it, here are some other unpublished letters pulled from the sent items file. Why do I bother? It's not as if letters changed anything. Who am I kidding? Vanity. Arrogance. irritability. And those are my good features.

One -
My grandfather fought in the Light Horse at Gallipoli and his brother died there, which I hope gives me standing to say that the proposal to spend not far south of a million dollars on a Gallipoli VC is a criminal waste of money, an insane fetishisation of holy relics, and a clear breach of the second commandment.

Grandfather went on to lose an arm conquering Palestine for the British; if anyone has a loose million lying around it would be more sensible to use it to help the descendants of the Palestinians who were gazumped by that imperialist intervention.

Two -
As one of the people who’ve written to the Age recently questioning Israel’s right to exist, can I say that I resent being put forward as evidence of Australian anti-semitism? I said then that states don’t have an automatic right to exist, and cited the USSR, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia as examples of states that weren’t around any more. I can’t see that comparing Israelis to Russians, Yugoslavs or Czechs is evidence of a belief in racial exceptionalism. On the other hand, giving Israel a pass in Lebanon on the grounds that “the vast bulk of its citizens see [this] as a justifiable war” without applying the same principle to the Indonesians in Timor, say, or the Serbs in Kosovo, does seem to be rather tending in just that direction.

Three -
If Israel really wants a five-kilometre buffer zone with Hezbollah, it can have it tomorrow without fighting, diplomatic hassles, or bombing from the air, and in a way that contributes to peace rather than seeding new wars. It can pull its own settlers and its own forces five kilometres south. It’s not the Israeli penchant for spite fences that the world objects to – it’s their insistence on setting them up on their neighbour’s land.

Four -
OK, at 5am Lebanon time yesterday we set the speedos back to zero. By Age press time the Israelis in Lebanon had already shot two Hezbollah and threatened to blow up any moving vehicle. I mention this now in the hope of avoiding a long argument in the letters column next year over just who cast the first stone this time.

Five -
If Howard manages to push his History reforms through we will at least be confident that Australia’s youth will leave school knowing their significant dates – Coronation, 1953; Bradman, 1908-2001; Gallipoli, 1915: creation of the earth, 4004 BC.

Six -
The Palestinians should accept the right for Israel to exist in the same way that the Israelis accept Palestine’s right to exist. How hard could that be? That would give the Palestinians control over Israel’s borders, its roads, its water, all of Jerusalem, and any hilltop that looked inviting, constituting 40% of the best land. The Palestinians could occupy any Israeli city any time they felt like it, could invite anyone of Palestinian descent from anywhere in the world to return and settle, could round up and imprison the Israeli cabinet as convenient, could declare the Israeli army illegitimate, and could build high walls around Israeli settlements with closely policed crossing points. Offer them that and I think they’d listen.

Seven -
And that's the Roskam one.

Brown Stains, II

 [Rescued from Drafts]

The Dan Brown villain plots...
A single bell chimed on Mal’akh’s grandfather clock, and he looked up. Six thirty P.M. Leaving his tools, he wrapped the Kiryu silk robe around his naked, six-foot-three body and strode down the hall. The air inside this sprawling mansion was heavy with the pungent fragrance of his skin dyes and smoke from the beeswax candles he used to sterilize his needles. The towering young man moved down the corridor past priceless Italian antiques—a Piranesi etching, a Savonarola chair, a silver Bugarini oil lamp.

Wow. antiques. But hold it, etchings, even Piranesi etchings - and I yield to nobody in my admiration of the Carcieri -

aren't priceless: they're multiples, and they go for comparatively small sums.


 [Rescued from Drafts]

At the weekend attending a book launch by one of Rose's friends; wandered into an adjacent gallery and bought a East Timorese mask. Beyond the fact that it's pre-Indonesian I know nothing of its provenance; the gallery is to send me details of the village it comes from.
The image is a PDF and is reluctant to mount.

Dodged another bullet, then

 [Rescued from Drafts]
It sure does look like our Rapture will be--
October 20th 2009!

Does The Rapture take place when Israel NUKES Damascus - at the same time? I believe in a simultaneous rapture/sudden destruction.
Wonderful site, endlessly informative. Difficult to choose between the Miracle of the Infomercial -
If we subtract 2520 days from September 23, 2015 we come to October 29, 2008. SEE CALCULATION In Revelation 8:1 it talks about a silence in heaven for 30 minutes, and in the scripture above in Daniel 9:27, it could be read: “he shall reaffirm his campaign promises with his many followers for one week”. SEE MORE HERE As you probably remember, Obama’s 30-minute info-commercial occurred on October 29, 2008! Never before in the world’s history has anyone given a 30-minute info-commercial “confirming his campaign promises with many and that if he is elected he would change the world”. What are the odds that this event occurs exactly 2520 days from September 23, 2015? Why 30 minutes? Why not 15 minutes? Could the 30-minute silence in heaven (which only occurs this one time in the bible) be referring to Obama’s 30-minute info-commercial? You see, nothing happens by chance! God controls history!

I love studying the laws of probability, in other words what are the odds of some event happening.
or the Parable of the Happy Camper -
Ok, once Rosh Hashanah passed by last year, everyone knew that the beginning of the 7-Year Tribulation had to be 2520 days from September 23, 2015 or October 29, 2008. That date came and went and there was still not a start to the 7-Year Tribulation! The final Jewish feast on the 2015 Jewish calendar was Hanukkah, December 7, 2015. This look like a great candidate, for it is the date that Jesus is anointed King of Kings in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem after his return. So when you subtract the 2520 days from this date, you come to January 11, 2009 or 1/11. This was even better, everyone knew that this could be the day, especially since many people (including myself) were seeing “111” on a digital clock. When this date passed, I was not a happy camper; I want to go home to Heaven to be with Jesus!

 [Rescued from Drafts]

The New York Times cites an article from The Mercury -
January 9, 2010
Plan to fight chronic disease
December 07, 2009 09:13am
THREE out of every four Tasmanians suffer from a chronic health condition.
This renders them unable to hold down a job and sees them struggle with simple daily tasks.
The startling figure comes with the launch of a new strategy to help the overwhelming proportion of the Tasmanian population living with a chronic disease.
Conditions range from cancer, cardiovascular disease and asthma to depression, diabetes and arthritis.
All right, I call shenanigans. I'll check this out on Monday, looking first, obviously, at whether the proportion of Tasmanians in employment is at or under 25%.

Panic in the streets

 [Rescued from Drafts]

The Sunday Age has a front page story on obesity:
Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres. While a healthy BMI is considered to be between 20 and 25, Dr Frydenberg reported seeing patients with BMIs of 70. An index of 30 is classified obese, 40 morbidly obese and more than 50 super obese.
A quick check shows that yes, I am morbidly obese. A slightly more sensible check shows that Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres, bringing me down to merely obese.
If this doesn't induce an epidemic of anorexia nothing will.

So: letter to Sunday Age
Kindly imagine the noise of a klaxon. This is a five-alarm disaster. The Sunday Age has stuffed up royally on the front page and must make immediate repairs.

The Sunday Age story on obesity says "Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres." NO NO NO NO
Body Mass Index is calculated by dividing THE SQUARE OF a person's weight in kilograms by their height in metres.
The Sunday Age has made everybody in Australia who isn't anorexic into someone who's morbidly obese.
THIS IS DANGEROUS. Anybody with a tendency towards anorexia is going to be thrown into panic and stop eating. PEOPLE MAY DIE trying to meet this standard. AND IT WILL BE YOUR BLOODY FAULT.
You must IMMEDIATELY issue a prominent retraction in the Age and over the air (we can't wait for the next Sunday) and must change the article on your website and flag it with large red arrows.


 [Rescued from Drafts]

Went to La fanciulla del West, the Met version, at Nova, prompting a number of reflections on the early evolution of the Western:

So on to read the Belasco novelisation of his play (fancy novelisations being so early. I had no idea) -
Lolling back on the rear seat of the stage, her eyes half closed,--the
sole passenger now, and with the seat in front piled high with boxes
and baskets containing _rebozos_, silken souvenirs, and other finery
purchased in the shops of the old town,--the Girl...

Rebozos! Fancy.
a new acquaintance, whose accent, as well as the timbre of his
voice, gave ample evidence that he belonged to another order of society
than her own and that of the boys.
Unusually class-conscious for a western. Especially as it crosses race lines; the guy is half-Mexican.

And a Mexican patriot... his father had been
the last, with the exception of himself and son, of a proud, old, Spanish family. It was a terrible blow, and increased, if possible, his hatred for the Americans.
Later the old man took part in the battle of San Pasquale and the Mesa.
In the last engagement he was badly wounded, but even in that condition
he announced his intention of fighting on and bitterly denounced his
fellow-officers for agreeing to surrender.
So the son is not so much a bandit, still less a gunfighter, more a guerilla.
"Do you know who you are?" And not waiting for a reply he went on with:
"Our name is one of the proudest in Spain--none better! The curse of a
long line of ancestors will be upon you if you tamely submit--not make
these Americans suffer for their seizure of this, our rightful land--our
beautiful California!"
Which doesn't come out in the opera to speak of.

Interesting, too, the way the current justification for taking the law in your own hands varies over time.
"A bandit? You, father, a Ramerrez, a bandit?"

"Ay, a bandit, an outlaw, as you also will be when I am no more, and
rob, rob, rob, these _Americanos_. It is my command and--you--have--
sworn . . ."
Till today there's no justification required; that's just what gunfighters do.

A pity, though, there was no room in the opera for this:
Clear above the babel of voices sounded a chord, and the poor old concertina player began singing in a voice that was as wheezy as his instrument:
"Camp town ladies sing this song
Dooda! Dooda!
Camp town race track five miles long
Dooda! Dooda! Day!
Odd, too, now that I come to think of it, that the bad girl, Nina Micheltore├▒a, never appears in the opera; You'd think there would be chances for more than one soprano.

He's trying hard, but nobody will ever replace Palin in my heart

[Note] I apparently forgot to post this at the time. It turned up in Drafts.
In an interview with PARADE Magazine, Perry said that he recently met with Donald Trump and discussed the issue. Perry stated that he doesn’t “have a definitive answer” on whether Obama was born in the United States or “any idea” if Obama’s birth certificate is real. Here’s the transcript:

Governor, do you believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States?
I have no reason to think otherwise.

That’s not a definitive, “Yes, I believe he”—
Well, I don’t have a definitive answer, because he’s never seen my birth certificate.

Commonplace book - FP Dunne

"Don't ye think th' United States is enthusyastic f'r th' Boers?" asked
the innocent Hennessy.

"It was," said Mr. Dooley. "But in th' las' few weeks it's had so manny
things to think iv. Th' enthusyasm iv this counthry, Hinnissy, always
makes me think iv a bonfire on an ice-floe. It burns bright so long as
ye feed it, an' it looks good, but it don't take hold, somehow, on th'

You're having a lend of me, aren't you?

So I have a Basal Cell Carcinoma or two removed, and being a good wikinerd look it up on Wikipedia, and find that

Basal-cell carcinoma also develops as a result of... Gorlin Syndrome.... The cause of the syndrome is a mutation in the PTCH1 tumor-suppressor gene at chromosome 9q22.3, which inhibits the hedgehog signaling pathway. A mutation in the SMO gene, which is also on the hedgehog pathway, also causes basal-cell carcinoma.

 Hold it, hold it, where do the hedgehogs come in?

The hedgehog signaling pathway gives cells information that they need to make the embryo develop properly. Different parts of the embryo have different concentrations of hedgehog signaling proteins. The pathway also has roles in the adult. When the pathway malfunctions, it can result in diseases like basal cell carcinoma.... Mammals have three Hedgehog homologues, of which Sonic hedgehog is the best studied. 

At this point I really need to be convinced that someone hasn't been slack about cleaning up after April 1.

Sonic hedgehog homolog (SHH) is one of three proteins in the mammalian signaling pathway family called hedgehog, the others being desert hedgehog (DHH) and Indian hedgehog (IHH). SHH is the best studied ligand of the hedgehog signaling pathway. .... It controls cell division of adult stem cells and has been implicated in development of some cancers.

Well, they've certainly been very thorough.


And a shoutout to the LaoTuoJia restaurant at 19 Glenferrie Road Malvern, a Chinese restaurant that has things that other Chinese restaurants don't, such as deep fried lamb ribs and deep fried lanb legs (the latter, to be sure, we haven't yet tried - it sounds more the sort of thing for a party).  It's a Xinjiang cuisine, up north next to Russia. 

Age bin

The government's view of the drugs war is best summed up in the judgement of Franklin Adams on Prohibition:
"Prohibition is an awful flop.
We like it.
It can't stop what it's meant to stop.
We like it.
It's left a trail of graft and slime,
It don't prohibit worth a dime,
It's filled our land with vice and crime.
Nevertheless, we're for it."
For Australians, the Age of Reason was something that happened to other people.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Media Watch

Last night's Media Watch was hauling the NSW Minister for Disability over the coals for  misrepresenting a unit that had been closed as a currently functioning  unit, saying that this made it look dirtier than it was and less furnished. Perhaps, but the parents' group that complained got off without questions - and the open bathrooms without privacy (that doesn't change in four months) , and the rooms without privacy (that doesn't change in four months), AND THE FACT THAT TOTAL INSTITUTIONS HAVE BEEN DISCREDITED FOR THIRTY FUCKING YEARS (that certainly 
doesn't change in four months), would have moved me to ask why the parents were trying so hard to defend the decisions they originally took to institutionalise their children.

Monday, April 02, 2012


There's another one.  Spellcheck tells me what I've been writing all my life as 'benificent' is, more logically, 'beneficent'.

Lifted from Crooked Timber comments


Well, yes, of course autism is overdiagnosed: what the hell did people think that DSM was for?

The purpose of diagnostic manuals is to ensure that nobody who enters a psychiatrist's office will lack a diagnosis that will enable them to claim the cost back on their medical insurance.

This is perhaps seen most clearly in the diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder in children, where the criteria are
A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following are present:
(1) often loses temper
(2) often argues with adults
(3) often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
(4) often deliberately annoys people
(5) often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
(6) is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
(7) is often angry and resentful
(8) is often spiteful or vindictive
Note: Consider a criterion met only if the behavior occurs more frequently than is typically observed in individuals of comparable age and developmental level.

(The note itself might conceivably be helpful if it offered some information on what frequency of these behaviours was typically observed, which of course it doesn't.)

Autism in DSM is a Chinese restaurant menu diagnostic system - two from column one, three from column two, one from column three - that mathematically allow something like twelve thousand different ways to be autistic.

Though, come to think of it, the 'Chinese restaurant menu' idiom is American; here in Australia Chinese restaurants have never had it.  We don't do fortune cookies, either.

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