Sunday, December 19, 2004


Sunset over Moreton Bay

The Quantum Pontiff has a great photo of the sunset over Mt Shasta, not so far from where he grew up. Here is a photo of the sunset over Moreton Bay, not far from where I grew up/still am growing up.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Politics is more interesting in the US than here

More stuff from Margo Kingston's Webdiary. This is an article updating readers on the issues that Ohio and Florida seem to have counting votes. It also mentions the Ukrainian elections.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Democracy never did work

Margo Kingston (a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald) runs a "webdiary", which she uses as a forum for online political debate. It is at times an excellent read, though it can sometimes degenerate into a slanging match between the far left and the far right.

Anyway, this week Margo decided that she would invite people to vote on the following categories:
  1. Most courageous Australian politician
  2. Most cowardly Australian politician
  3. Biggest risk-taking Australian politician
  4. Most effective proponent of good governance in Australia

Readers were invited to submit one professional politician in each category and one non-politician. The voting and related comments can be found here. The tallied results are here. The results say a lot about democracy in this country. Rarely will Australians enter into a real debate that requires facts and concessions. It also exposes how horrifically divided political debate is becoming in this country.

Oh yea, if anyone is wondering, Andrew Bolt is a moron and I can't think of anyone who has contributed less to the level governence in this country. Seriously, I'm pretty sure Kylie Minogue or Nicole Kidman contribute more than he does...

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Political Compass

Today I sat The Political Compass test. The test places you somewhere on a political plane. There are two axis, both ranging between -10 and 10. The horizontal axis measures your economic left/rightedness (negative score means left, positive is right). The vertical axis represents your social views, positive means that you are more authoritarian, negative means that you are more libertarian. My score:
Economic left/right: -9.12
Social libertarian/authoritarian: -6.41.
Apparently these scores put me slightly to the social left of Gandhi and the Dalai Lama...
Interestingly, John Howard is on the scale and is a little to the left and down a bit from George W. Bush.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

To my American friends again

Today I read this article posted by Carl Caves, a professor at the University of New Mexico. He suggests that moving to Australia to might be a reasonable response to the re-election of the Bush administration. I don't blame him too much, but I'm worried that he might not find much respite from right-wing politics here. The Howard government has an absolute stranglehold on Australian politics. Howard, while portraying himself as a pragmatic leader, is essentially a neo-con. He is religious but I wouldn't seriously suggest that he is from the religious right, though some of his key lieutenants certainly are (i.e. Tony Abbott and co). Moving to Australia wouldn't exactly be jumping from the frying pan into the fire but it might be jumping from the frying pan into a big fat kettle with a blowtorch under it.....

Anyway, Carl's article is definitely worth a read. I've added a link to his "commentary" page on my sidebar because most of his articles are excellent.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Random questions

  • I wonder how many cups of coffee I've consumed since I began my PhD?
  • I wonder how many m&m's I've eaten since I started writing my thesis?
  • I wonder what my blood pressure and blood sugar are doing right now?
Maybe I should try to keep track of these things....
UPDATE: 3 shots of expresso a day, at least 5 days a week for roughly 50 weeks a year for 4 years, that's 3000 shots of expresso in the last 4 years... Damn. I don't want to begin to think about the m&m's...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

To all my American friends

I read this article today on Margo Kingston's webdiary, it compares the alleged electoral fraud in the recent elections in the Ukraine to the many electoral "discrepancies" in the November 2 election. It's pretty sobering stuff. Thankfully here in oznyland we just use pencils and paper to record our vote and there is a polling booth about every 500 m on an election day....