Really another post about my ongoing senescence

Or Google, which is apparently 20 years old! Mind you that puts it around eighteen months ahead of my own getting on the Internet, which still terrified me twenty years ago, though I had by then mastered a Brother Word Processor in pseudo laptop form. I do recall that in my early Internet days — dial-up of course — there were heaps of search engines. My colleague Tony Hannon was an early advocate of Google as the pick of the crop, and it still is. Bing doesn’t really cut it, does it?

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Happens that twenty years ago I was in the last term of my Graduate Certificate TESOL at UTS, part of which was with this man. He much praised my work too: see Looking back 20 years: the Japanese surfer. I was doing the Grad Cert — it has a longer name these days — because my work increasingly between 1996 and 2005 centred on ESL at Sydney Boys High. I liked the impressive row of letters in the staff directory too — this one from 2002:

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But 20 years! I can’t believe it! And I felt old then, being back at — but enjoying — university. Thanks too to M who made it all possible at the time by enabling me to avoid a HECS debt.

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Ten years since the GFC!

First, just in case you notice some changes in format here. I am now posting via Chrome, as Microsoft Edge in my Windows 10 no longer displays the log-on box from WordPress.com. There are also issues, I suspect, with Facebook chat — where a cousin of mine noted that Edge is only good for downloading a better browser!

OK, last night on 7.30 we were reminded that it is ten years since the Global Financial Crisis, to which our then Labor government responded — comparatively — quite brilliantly. See Inside Australia’s GFC response: Government wargamed financial disaster scenarios.

So I looked back to my blog for September 2008.

Self-portrait?

22 SEPT 2008

Interpret this as you will! 🙂

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And:

Strange things in the boot of Malcolm Turnbull’s limo…

28 SEPT 2008

Consider Eric Abetz. Now here is a man who knows left-wing bias when he sees it: any lack of resemblance to Quadrant or deviation from the Australian Christian Lobby is clearly a Communist Plot. Now he wants Q&A “regulated” — not just the show, but the audience — despite the good showing his new leader made there last week, and despite the fact that, much as I hate to admit it, Q&A actually made me warm a little towards Julie Bishop!

SENIOR Liberal Eric Abetz believes the ABC TV political talk show Q&A has failed in its attempt to provide a representative cross-section of the community because the audience was overwhelmingly made up of Labor and Greens voters.

The figures, provided to a Senate committee, show that for seven episodes there were on average double the number of Labor and Greens supporters in the audience as Coalition supporters.

In some episodes, Coalition supporters made up as little as 10 per cent of the audience, with an average of 20 per cent. Labor and the Greens accounted for as much as 54 per cent of the audience, which participates, with an average of 50 per cent.

Senator Abetz said: “The ABC has to immediately rectify these figures for the remaining episodes of Q&A this season.”…

Just when some were thinking, or Malcolm Turnbull was having us believe, that this creepy Howardism was dying Eric lands feet first with his hobnailed boots firmly on our faces. Thanks for reminding us why we wanted the Howard government to go, Eric! Well done. We will be very careful to scrutinise the blandishments of Malcolm Turnbull from this moment on…

And:

Turnbull triumphans, Wall Street requiem

17 SEPT 2008

 

To take the parochial first, Malcolm Turnbull is now the Leader of the Opposition here in Oz, around three months later than I expected he would be. As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, Now Rudd has a contest. Sure, Turnbull has an ego the size of Jessie the elephant — who lived incidentally in the old Sydney Zoo where Sydney Girls High now is. But then, Disraeli was hardly a shrinking violet, to cite a 19th century English Conservative in comparison. The Rudd government had better perform now, difficult as that will be with an Opposition scenting blood and still playing spoiler. I know that’s politics, but I really wish they could do better than that. One of the best things that could happen for the sake of the country would be for people like Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott to go completely out of fashion. Their approach to politics damages the rest of us. They think it is about winning a game; I think it should be about winning respect and caring for the country. However, the rise of Turnbull does put an intelligent, capable person in the position of alternative Prime Minister, and that has to be an advance. One hopes the Liberal Party moves right away from the narrow, anal, and even at times quite evil, legacy of John Howard.

Annabel Crabb in the Herald this morning did amuse me with this though:

Accounts of the Turnbull ego do differ across the broad church of the Liberal Party.

Some argue it is Milky Way-sized, while his intimate admirers and defenders (whose ranks are fast swelling with opportunists) argue it could probably be squeezed into Wembley Stadium.

The chances of him finding anything about yesterday genuinely humbling, however, are about as good as Zimbabwe’s new power-sharing agreement panning out well.

Now for Wall Street. I could go into cliche mode about the wickedness of capitalism and the sin of greed, but while I may have such thoughts anything I would have to offer would be utterly banal. So I turn to a couple of people much better informed than I am. First, here in Oz, there is Ross Gittins: Worrying only makes things worse.

One good thing about our modern problem of information overload is that, no matter how bad the news, we never focus on it for long. Another day, another crisis. The end of the world is so last week.

I came to that conclusion in the aftermath of the great Wall Street sharemarket crash of October 1987. It was hugely dramatic and quite frightening. And just because most people don’t know what these things prove, doesn’t stop them concluding they must be Very Bad. Sometimes I think the less you understand, the more dire the conclusions you draw. Just to help things along, the media carried pundits predicting that, as in 1929, the great crash would precipitate another great depression (thereby revealing their towering ignorance of the true causes of the Great Depression).

Always one to react against predictions of death and destruction, I limited myself to saying it made a world recession likely. Wrong. In the end it had hardly any noticeable effect on any economy. I had figured that the scare it gave would prompt people around the world to pull in their heads and thereby bring on a downturn. But I reckoned without the media’s ever-shrinking attention span. After a week or so the crash that was going to end it all hardly rated another mention. The punters soon forgot about it…

Second, in the USA I suggest John Taplin. That links to his September 2008 entries….

Class of ’95 remembered — and “not Cricket”!

In October 2015 I posted: Class of 95 remembered, and Muslim students today. One student I mentioned there is Jeremy Heimans (now also a Facebook friend.) Do read a great profile of Jeremy by Malcolm Knox in the April Monthly.

He has co-written a book, New Power: How Power Works in our Hyperconnected World – and How to Make It Work for You, which carries personal endorsements from Richard Branson, Jane Goodall and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. Heimans might be the most connected and influential Australian on the world stage, yet his profile here is minimal. As GetUp! co-founder Amanda Tattersall says, “Jeremy is a complete genius, but nobody here knows who he is.”

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Well, I know who he is! 🙂

No-one surely could have watched Steve Smith’s emotional press conference yesterday without being moved.  Unless of course you are a British tabloid headline-writer, who managed to be as foul as you would expect from serial scumbags!

I just hope this whole sorry episode leads to a renewal of the more traditional manners of test Cricket. Australia’s new captain seems to have made a good start.

Of course there is from many viewpoints something quite bizarre about the whole matter, as Ross Gittins noted in his excellent commentary, and today even more trenchantly Martin McKenzie-Murray in The Saturday Paper.

A good number of Australians may have been shocked last Sunday morning, but the rest of the cricket world had their belief in our hypocrisy deliciously confirmed.

Hard but fair. The gentleman’s game. It’s just not cricket. There’s a surplus of empty pieties this week, usually invoked in inverse proportion to one’s knowledge of the sport. “Cricket is synonymous with fair play,” the prime minister said. “Integrity is written into the heart of this game,” Guardian Australia’s sports editor wrote.

Really? The game of Bodyline and Underarm? Of Hansie Cronje and Saleem Malik? The game of the News of the World match-fixing sting, and Australia’s tour of apartheid South Africa? Or the game of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh’s light collusion with John the bookmaker, imperfectly buried by Cricket Australia for a few years?

See also Waleed Aly, What the ball-tampering crisis says about us.

No other country to have committed its own ball-tampering offences – including South Africa, whose own convict is currently its captain – has kvetched about it in such a self-flagellating way. Sure, those other episodes may have seemed less shady, less ham-fisted, less characterised by appalling footage and farcical press conferences. But those players from other nations to have taken to the field with a pocket full of mints, in the belief that their sugary saliva could engineer a ball that swings more, were doing something no less premeditated and no less illegal. And unless you follow cricket closely, you’ve probably never even heard about them.

Update 2 April:

Excellent reporting and analysis on the ball tampering affair tonight on ABC’s 7.30: see The long road from Bradman’s moral lesson to Bancroft’s ball tampering.

Voted today

In the Local Government election, that is!

Coming up of course is the Postal Survey I referred to yesterday, which unlike actual voting is not compulsory. (Here in Oz voting is normally compulsory, with fines if you don’t turn up at a polling station. This is a practice I totally endorse!) There is a clear danger that the Survey could yield a negative result — especially if some boycott it. So don’t! See Support for same-sex marriage falling and ‘no’ vote rising

The NO campaign is a farrago of Chicken Little-ism. Tony Abbott’s sister chops that down very efficiently!

The question put to the people will be simply whether they think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry under Australian law. It is not about the freedom to preach or practice religion, or what is taught by whom to our children, or being politically correct or otherwise. It is just about whether or not every Australian and their family, friends, neighbours and colleagues should have the same right to marry.

Because ultimately the yes and the no campaigns are arguing about the same thing: the special nature of marriage. Everyone intrinsically knows that marriage is a relationship exalted above all others, not just by religious people but by all people. It is the only way, other than by birth or adoption, that we can choose our family. That is why it is enshrined as a secular institution in our constitution and is now administered under our federal Marriage Act.

But it’s the special status of marriage that makes the yes case so compelling. I don’t know a single person who wants to wed – straight or gay – who does not wholeheartedly respect the significance of marriage. All of them believe marriage will strengthen their commitment to each other, their families and ultimately their community, and it defies logic to suggest that letting them into the club will in any way diminish the special relationship of any heterosexual couple. On the contrary, allowing more people who profoundly revere and desire marriage to take that step can only provide greater security for the institution.

And on another matter altogether: I am abandoning my Virgin prepaid internet. It is utterly unreliable now, and very expensive. While I shop around for a replacement I will be availing myself of the free wi-fi in my clubs. Could be a solution that, except I do need internet access at home as well.

Tomorrow when the war began…

Um, such a shame to have a loudmouth idiot in the role of #POTUS, especially given the juvenile lard-arse that “runs” North Korea! Let’s hope the Donald doesn’t get his nightmare!

US President Donald Trump has warned North Korea “will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continues to threaten the United States.

Key points:

  • Mr Trump made comments a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left door open for dialogue
  • President’s press briefing was supposed to be about opioid addiction
  • Washington Post says Pyongyang has produced nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery

But within hours of Mr Trump’s threat North Korea’s military said it was “carefully examining” a plan to strike the US Pacific territory of Guam with missiles.

Mr Trump’s comments, delivered to reporters at his New Jersey golf course, came after Japan said it believed North Korea could have developed the technology to miniaturise nuclear warheads — which would enable them to be put on an inter-continental ballistic missile.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Mr Trump said during a briefing which was supposed to be about the problem of opioid addiction in the US….

Meanwhile, I have been away as I am getting used to the new version of Windows 10. I find myself forced to use Edge, which I don’t really like, as weird things are happening now with Google Chrome since the Windows upgrade. For example, “log in to Twitter” on Chrome simply vanished every time I tried to link to it, but no problem in Edge. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

And further to the burger question. I am at Illawarra Leagues and can attest that the following is rather good.

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And I did get my mouth around it! Just!