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Saturday
Oct292011

Still Not Famous

Today, on Twitter:

GemmaBajgar1409: Oi, follow me ? :) I’m aussie to. :L hehehe. I’ll follow back.

Me: Yeah, that’s not how this works. Be interesting, then I’ll follow you.

GB: lame.

Me: *shrug* it works for me. How is propositioning random people going?

GB: no idea what that word means. :L how’d you get so many follower’s. You’re not even famous. :L

I’m still wiping the tears off my keyboard.

Tuesday
Oct252011

Adelaide Conversations

I was in Adelaide for a dance event, and perhaps it’s the proximity to Hindley St – which is replete with strip clubs, massage parlours, and pokies venus – but the event courses with stories of encountering seedy types at night or seeing drunk girls urinating in the gutter. This year’s highlight story was the “Adelaide in a nutshell” sighting of a girl in a tight dress vomiting in the driveway of a church in the early evening.

My own experiences with the locals were less putrid, but still a little disturbing. On Sunday afternoon I sat outside the Adelaide College of the Arts on a bench with other dancers and munched a muesli bar. A greasy-haired young man with stained Fila tracksuit pants, beaten-up runners, and fading pimples came and sat next to me. He was clearly not a dancer; rather, he was the type of fellow retail staff keep their eye on if they spot him entering the premises, just in case.

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Thursday
Sep292011

Details of the Clean Energy Future Package

The Clean Energy Future legislation is lengthy and boring, but it’s important: these 18 bills (and a few more to come in the first half of next year) lay the framework for what will be the primary driver of Australia’s attempt to mitigate dangerous anthropogenic climate change – assuming they pass, of course. This post is a summary of some of the CEF’s nitty-gritty details.

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Thursday
Sep082011

In the Heat of the Moment

My old toaster functions as well now as it did when I bought it. But heating is only a portion of what a toaster has to do. It also, at some point, has to stop.

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Monday
Aug292011

Empirics vs. appearance

“Is this really too heavy for you to carry?”

 - “Yes.”

“Really?”

 - “Yes.”

“… did you even try lifting it?”

 - “No. But it looked heavy.”

Sunday
Aug072011

What Are the Visions of Australia’s Future Reflected in Our Parties’ Policies?

When the Government released its climate change package on July 10, it was under the moniker of a “Clean Energy Future”. This is, ostensibly, a fairly clear vision for where Labor sees Australia in 2050 and beyond. However, the package is a mish-mash of measures that don’t deliver clear policy signals to achieve this clean energy future. While this is partially a result of the multi-party committee that spawned the package, the rhetoric the Government employs is ambiguous as to precisely what sort of society they see Australia moving toward.

So where are we really going with all this? If the world follows the suggestions of science and reduces CO2-e emissions to constrain dangerous climate change, what place is this future do our parties foresee?

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Tuesday
Aug022011

POWERLESS: A Play in One Act

SCENE:

In front of the office printer.

CAST:

Your Intrepid Hero;

 

A Colleague;

 

The Printer

 

[COLLEAGUE:]

“Martin, the printer does not work.”

[MARTIN:]

(Striding purposefully past, flicks power switch without missing a beat.)

[PRINTER:]

“Whrrrrr!”

 

THE END

Tuesday
Jul192011

Floor Pricing for Alcohol

A journalist whose views I usually respect today derided calls for an increase in the minimum price of alcohol as coming from the “killjoy” crowd, who “do not even attempt to … estimate the value of the pleasure given by alcohol to the vast majority of Australians who do not abuse it.”

This is balderdash. As with gambling, the problem is not with what the vast majority of Australians do, but with the problematic excesses of a few. In the case of alcohol, it is the problem of those who purchase litres of cask wine at 30c per standard drink and proceed to destroy their health and lives. Prevalently, these are people of lower socio-economic status, especially Aborigines. Coles, Woolworth, and IGA have already almost quadrupled this minimum price in Alice Springs by selling alcohol at no less than $1.14 per standard drink, without affecting the prices of beer, spirits, better wines, etc – the stuff the vast majority of Australians actually drink.

The Henry Review suggested that the final rate of volumetric tax should “be intended solely to optimise price signals facing consumers. It should be set without regard to the government’s fiscal position, and irrespective of any specific spending commitments related to alcohol abuse” (Australia’s Future Tax System, Chapter E5-3, 2010).

Floor pricing for alcohol is a sensible health proposal that deserves support, not to be dismissed out of hand as coming from the “killjoy” crowd.

Saturday
Jul092011

Charitable Giving: How Much, and to Whom?

It was getting close to the end of the Australian financial year (June 30th), and as I reviewed my financial situation I thought, “Oh! I have teh monies!! What to do with them?” So, I gave a few hundred dollars to charity.

The reasons for giving to charity are many and varied, but for me the prime drivers were: 1) the reasoning that I have more than I really ‘need’, so that giving to those with greater needs increases net wellbeing (which makes me feel good); and 2) I feel like it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve donated to causes here and there for years, but since starting full-time work I’ve put off donations because I wanted to put a bit more thought into what I was doing, namely:

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Tuesday
Jul052011

Carbon Pricing: The Big Picture

Updated on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 18:58 by Registered CommenterMCJ

Updated on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 10:25 by Registered CommenterMCJ

To stabilise the concentration of CO2-e in the atmosphere at levels that would limit the chance of 2°C warming to 75% or less, the world must emit less than 3 tCO2-e per person per year; less than 2 tCO2-e to stop concentrations rising altogether. No-one is pretending that a domestic carbon price of $20-$30 per tonne will reduce Australian emissions from 25 tCO2-e pa to anywhere near two or three tonnes per year.

A balance must be struck between the need to decarbonise the Australian economy and the transitional difficulties that this will bring. Government policy, with the MPCCC’s scheme as its centrepiece, will – and should – be scrutinised on how disruptive the transition will be. But this disruption must be assessed in the long-term context of decreasing our CO2-e production, or else it’s merely politics, not policy.

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