Thursday, December 24, 2009

Too much christmas cheer...

You can never have too many lolcats for xmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tweet it

Twitter has increasingly expanded its wedge of my internet pie. With all of Australian journalism (particularly Crikey and ABC) suddenly discovering intelligent life on the internets, I've had to seriously restructure my twitter lists.  The list of journos is getting longer and I can't lump them under whoever they work for. But Chris Masters sounds a timely warning, its isn't always something to encourage either. Nevertheless, I've learnt a lot about Australian media from the recent trends, some ongoing like #lolbolt and #powerfox, some event-specific like the Liberal Party #spill which has been elevated into a twittermeme. And some, like #lateline exist independently of their media outlet @Lateline.

As with any emergent internet community, there are sharks and hangers-on. Fortunately you can classify these in a list without having to follow them, so now I have a list to keep an eye on those not-quite-human twitterers and block them if need be. The main issue I have with Twitter is managing its bandwidth. Unless you go looking for an event-related trend (which often causes server dropouts), this means people who are practically broadcasting stations in themselves. I'm looking at you, Kevin Smith and Stephen Fry.

But politically it's an eye-opener. The reporting on the Copenhagen talks, #cop15 is outstanding and in real time. There are stories here that are not getting mainstream airtime at all, such as the treatment of protesters, and widespread anger at the many manipulations of those inside. Of course there's also comic relief and the odd prank (oz_f scooped this by days). So the future looks bright for tragics like myself.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

When a big plane loves a little plane very very much

The ATSB has just reported on the incident between an Airbus A380 and a Saab 340 at YSSY last year. The REX Saab was literally rolled left and downward as a result of the A380's wake turbulence being blown across by a medium crosswind. Apart from the brilliant idea of not having smaller craft land parallel to an A380, they're now classifying A380's as Super wake turbulence. I think perhaps Kingsford Smith isn't big enough for little planes, but that would mean gasp! another airport.

Climate Gatecrashing

Lance Levson has an interesting piece on the possibilities of an inside job at CRU. It makes a lot of sense, but it still allows the possibility that the file was easy pickings for a browsing hacker. There are still some questions about the email timestamps (see comments in the original article as posted at which suggest some tampering; I disagree, its too easy to make mistakes with timestamps, particularly if you're also dealing with timezones different to the emails in question.

And (sigh) now we hear that Copenhagen has been derailed by grubby geopolitics as if that's any surprise. What a pathetic bunch of procreating scumbags, is it impossible that Australia is numbered among them? Well, if we're going to do sod all, let's be honest about it. Just remember the names and faces of the decisionmakers when (or if) the climate hits the ventilator. What are the odds that our new fearless Opposition Leader will make interesting noises about this? And why does he remind me of Sarah Palin?

Update: Australia is indeed one of the grubbies, but it appears the Guardian is telling porkies too. Tony Abbott is still the Sarah Palin of Oz politics.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy new week

LP has an update on the CRU mess. I've tried to reason with deniers about this but its like talking to a waterfall. Whatever you think of the science, a few issues arise from the hack which should give pause:

  • the hack itself: surely the most benignly-regarded attack event in internet history. How remarkable that a Russian hacker is celebrated as a hero, his motives are unquestioned, and the materials released are accepted as genuine. The timing is so suspicious, I've been waiting for conspiracy theorists to show us what really happened, but they oddly seem to be preferring a different conspiracy.
  • why are scientists bombarded with FOI requests they cannot fufill without dropping everything? Why isn't someone taking the task on for them at least? Why the hell is the MET not dealing with it, since its their (apparently copyright) data? It's clear someone wanted someone else to do their work for them. Note too that most of the FOI was coming from American sources, who were either ignorant of who owns the data or knew only too well.
  • the peer-review process is under attack, characterized as some kind of requirement for entry to a club. Australian readers appreciate a delicious irony: the same weekend the story broke, ABC TV was broadcasting a BBC documentary on the process by which Darwin beat Wallace to the publishers. Tom Lehrer makes sneaky fun of it in his classic song  Lobachevsky but the real problem is the ignorance of how science is done and that scientists are actually human. LP makes a good point that science is not ever finished, and the peer-review process is a method of sorting out the reliable work from the merely speculative (and believe me, that stuff never gets through, too many scientists are too keen to shoot it down).
For me this won't actually change anything except the composition of the deniers, who are already hysterical about the "cover-up" by the "liberal media conspiracy". It smacks of a managed media event, designed to alter the public discourse, and as far as the Internet, its succeeded wildly. From a purely Australian perspective, it means more ridiculous politics to come.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

RIP Richard Marsland

One year today, it's hard to believe. Have Vengaboys We Like To Party on high rotation, Steven Seagal on standby, and Get This pods to repeat. Here endeth the sizzle.


Turn. The hose. Off.