Go Greens!

Im not a very political person, but I just read this new report, saying that Australian Senator Rachel Siewert will spend a week experiencing what it is like to live on unemployment benefits.

Its fantastic to know that there are at least one or two politicians in Australia that want to pull their head out of the sand and see what is really going on in this country.

The Centrelink payments here are a joke.  I pay more in rent than my total weekly payment, leaving me to cover ALL other costs with my own life savings which are now nearly gone.  Hopefully something good will come of this.

Maybe NSW Would Prefer Carrier Pigeons to the NBN?

I used to be amazed at the lack of thought and forward planning demonstrated by Australian politicians, but now Im just saddened and disappointed that such narrow minded backwards thinking has been elected to state government in NSW.  Apparently, the newly elected O’Farrell Coalition Government has Banned the National Broadband Network (NBN), which could spell disaster for the rest of the country.  When will all the idiots out there realise that we are lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to our internet infrastructure.

Just to get the petty stuff out of the way…. why the hell have they even said “Banned”?  What, is the government going to scourge the land search for anyone who may have a fiber optic connection, and send them to jail for it?  What sensationalist narrow minded bullshit.

Do politicians even know what an internet connection is?  Stephen Conroy continually proves he has no clue about his own portfolio as Communications Minister.  Don’t they realise, that while fiber may be an expensive initial outlay, it will give us capability to transfer data at very high speeds, for a very long time to come.  Instead the shortsighted wankers will feed bucket loads of cash to Telstra and competing telcos, to patch up and already dated network.  What do they care – they will most likely be out of office in 4 years, so it wont be their problem.

So, to really hammer the point home (because it seems people’s heads are so far up their arses they cannot hear anything but their own voice), there are 43 countries around the world with a faster and probably much better quality service.  These countries include many obscure places you would probably think are third world – like Lithuania, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, the Ukraine, Ghana, Faroe Islands, Vietnam… need I keep going?

Also, do any of these self serving assholes have kids?  You only have to walk down the street and see all the mobile phones, laptops, iPads, etc in use these days.  Do the politicians not realise that our kids are growing up with an internet connection in their hands.  Each one of them will be streaming video, music, etc, and as more and more people become “internet savvy”, and more of these online services become available (would anyone like to see Hulu in Australia?), our already bogged down network will be brought to its knees due to lack of foresight.

Here are a few stats:

  • Number of Connections:  We are #11 when it comes to the number of people connected to the internet.
  • Speed: We are listed as #44 in the world, on this site.  Our internet connections are that much slower than everyone else listed.
  • We are approximately 7% below the average world internet speed
  • Our average internet speed is approximately 75% SLOWER than the top performing country – South Korea
  • Also in terms of speed, the average of the top 10 countries is 24.24 Mbps (Mega Bits Per Second).  Australia’s average is 8.01 Mbps.
  • We are approximately 67% SLOWER than the average of the top 10 countries in terms of internet speed.

As the saying goes, we get the government we deserve.  Seems we deserve as backwards thinking, narrow minded, ignorant government.

Do you still think Australia is “the lucky country”?  If you consider #44 in the world to be lucky then I’d love to have some of what you are smoking.

Cyclone Yasi – Part 2 (Yasi Strikes Back)

Photo of damage from cyclone Yasi in Innisfail

Capture from the web cam feed in Innsifail after Cyclone Yasi @ 8:30am

Well, I’m hearing news reports of trees being blown around “like matchsticks”, but can’t say this photo shows anywhere near that damage.  And whomever set up the web cam either has a good generator and fair amount of fuel, or they didn’t lose power? Even that wooden fence has stayed standing… good to hear it wasn’t as bad as all the media channels were “predicting” (hyping up more like it).

ABC was also reporting that so far there have been no lives lost to Cyclone Yasi.  Great news 🙂

Everyone I know in Townsville and Cairns are reporting less damage than expected, and so far I haven’t heard of anyone I know having any major problems.

Cyclone Yasi Part 1: Cyclone Yasi (2011) vs Cyclone Olivia (1996)

Fark, I’m already over cyclone-friggin Yasi and it hasn’t even gotten to the coast yet.  Talk about people getting all hyped up…. Not to say that its not serious and that it will cause major problems, but seriously, does the media need to bash it so much when its not even here yet?

I think people just love drama and this is better to them than any reality tv show, because people might die! And houses will be destroyed! I have had so many ICQ’s, facebook messages etc about it and how terrible it is…

…But checking YouTube shows a very different picture… just a bit of wind and rain.  Even a live stream on UStream from Innisfail shows there is barely any wind worth mentioning.  Looks like the rain is picking up though (@ 7:20pm EST).

In looking at past cyclones, I saw that a world record, in terms of wind speed, was claimed by Cyclone Olivia.  Anyone remember that one?  Just because it crossed over a less populated area, it didn’t seem to make many headlines, not compared to the barrage of sensationalism the media is vomiting out already for Yasi.

Just to highlight how much the media is making a spectacle out of this, and for those that want to go on about how big it is, have a look at this comparing the two (copyright remains that of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology of course):

Cyclone Yasi (2011) vs Cyclone Olivia (1996)

Not much difference in size eh?

How about people pull their heads in, calm down, free up the phone lines for emergency personnel, and wait until something happens before getting all worked up….

I wonder how many people have died in the last 24 hours in situations that probably wont even make the news.  Just to really push the point, Heart Disease apparently kills 500,000 Americans each year (and that’s the conservative number from the website).  Thats 1,369 people per day, 57 per hour, or nearly 1 every minute.  How often do you see this kind of media blitz for Heart Disease?  Hell, there are over 2,100 suicides (2005 statistics) in Australia each year, or over 5 per day.  Where is the government support, financial aid etc for them and their families?

BTW, if you have a problem with this post, let me know 😉

*shakes head*

Update @ 10pm EST:  The UStream feed from Innisfail is still going strong (occasional drop out), so things cant be too bad yet.  I do hope people in the area are tucked away somewhere safe by now.

Oh, and I’m calling it now:  We will be hearing about this for months and months (years?) – the politicians will be fighting over payments / relief to the area, there will be whingers who will get their 15 minutes of fame because a tree blew over on their house while they were in it, postage/freight problems, electricity problems, the council not cleaning up enough quick enough, should the tax payers help foot the bill, insurance companies wont pay out because they’ll argue flooding (which most people aren’t covered for), charity ribbons and crap like that, telethons, relief concerts, looters, scum suckers who will abuse the relief funds…. should I keep going?

Australia Post – Encouraging us to Gamble and Increase Debt?!

Since Ive moved to Tasmania, I’ve set up a mail redirection service with Australia Post. As part of this service, they have started sending me junk mail.

Thats bad enough, but what has me totally gobsmacked is that the junk mail I have received so far has been from the notorious Citibank, offering me a huge amount of credit with no checks on my financial situation (or at least without my permission), as well as a letter offering me information and an application for a Tatts card. The Tatts card can be used to buy lotto tickets etc (which is really just another form of gambling).

To further illustrate the point – I know someone who at one stage had been unemployed for 18 months, and Citibank offered them a $25,000 credit card, when this person knew they could never meet the payments if they got the card.

I don’t get it?! Why the hell would an Australian Government organisation be offering the public deals to encourage gambling, and encouraging us to go into huge amounts of debt? Especially in the current financial climate.

This country is going down the drain faster and faster… I really am starting to feel that this is no longer the ‘Lucky Country’

** UPDATE: So, I need to add stupidity to the blatant oversight by Australia Post… After asking them to stop mailing me this rubbish, they send me ANOTHER Tatts Card.  Either that’s some poor management, or the Australian Government wants us financially down the toilet…

Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns

A Thousand Suns

Linkin Park - A Thousand Suns

“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odeous, that you’re so sick at heart, that you cant take part, you cant even passively take part. And youve got to put your bodies upon the gears, and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the aparatus, and youve got to make it stop.  And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless your free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
Mario Savio

If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the mighty one.” … “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds
J. Robert Oppenheimer
(recalling the Bhagavad Gita)

Im really liking the new Linkin Park album, A Thousand Suns. It has taken a few goes, but it has now grown on me greatly.

It is unique, but the album has some of their old sounds.  There is a wide variety of influences that seem to have made their way onto the alum.  There are more elements of their previous works, more like Hybrid Theory and Meteora, especially compared to their previous album, Minutes to Midnight.   Though they have tied in the softer elements from that album, they move forward into a new sound that is distinctly theirs.  A couple of tracks are even a bit tribal with elements of eastern music, and a few songs have even taken from the current electronica sound.

After the first listen, it seemed disjointed.  I could take or leave it, but after a few runs through the album I realise there are many levels, there is a message or a story to this collection of songs.  The album is like a journey. Taking the listener into a political and social commentary, hopefully pointing out some of humanities high and low points.  There are excerpts from speeches which help to draw the listener into the messages they are conveying.  These “joining tracks” which appear between the true songs really emphasise the ideas being conveyed, and enhance the journey.

Starting out fairly soft and introspective with tracks like Burning in the Skies, which is reminiscent of songs from Minutes to Midnight (particularly like Shadow of the Day), the album jarrs you with heavy tribal beats in When They Come For Me.  Drawing you in to their creation, the album moves into a political commentary and a personal one about how people can stand up and fight when they need to (IMHO). Ive always been a fan of slower anthems, and Robot Boy is a classic.  I was initially a little dissapointed to hear these soft tracks, as I had missed the harder “nu-metal” sound of their older works.  But I was not to be left wanting.

Waiting for the End starts, and I found myself starting to breath a sigh of relief.  Here is a song that illustrates what these guys are about, and even the title is a reminder of previous tracks they have written. Its a build-up song, hinting at the tracks following.

Blackout IS classic Linkin Park.  It takes us another step into their harder sound and message. This song will get people moving.  Again – Mr Hahn has woven his magic into the track, taking scratching, mixing, electronica, and blended them together into something new, something that works.

Wretches and Kings is a cornerstone of the album, and continues with this direction, mixing a huge number of elements together to make a heavy sound that is quite unique.  The quote I put at the start is highlighted in this song.  IMHO this song is telling us to stand up and fight for whats important, even if we are worn out from all the conflict.

I really like what they did with the “joining track” called Wisdom, Justice, And Love.  You’ll just have to hear it.    It slows things back down, giving us a breather between some energetic tracks, before leading into Iridescent.  This is another anthemic buildup song which I quite enjoy.  The build-up takes us to The Catalyst.  Another classic Linkin Park song.  Referencing the Bhagvad Gita, this track has the lyrics which gave the album its title, and with good reason.

The final song on A Thousand Suns is The Messenger.  A slower and rather touching song.   Not exactly a romantic track when you listen to the lyrics, but it is about love.  It finishes the album off, leaves us feeling introspective and thoughful.  At first I thought this track was a bit of an odd ending to the set, but its a good message to leave the listener with, and it frames the intent behind the other tracks nicely.

Overall, I feel they have managed to leverage off the style that made them famous, and have even created their own new sounds with some of the tracks.  Mike Shinoda has a bigger singing / rapping part, something I also feel was missing from Minutes to Midnight.  As mentioned before, it was great to hear Joe Hahn also has a bigger role in this album.  Chester’s singing and playing are as always excellent, and the Dave, Rob, and Brad provide solid ingredients to the mix, finding new ground for their performances.

A Thousand Suns works.  The album has more of a flow to it, and listening to the tracks in order is a definite.  To over emhasise this point, do not put this album on random order until you get to know the songs.  They really have created a journey in music.  I suppose I had pretty mixed expectations after Transformers soundtrack, which I was a little dissapointed in.  But this album is growing on me by the fourth listen,  and Im wanting to keep playing it, so its defintely worth the money.


More on the Great Firewall of Australia

Well – seems that we are well on the way to being a communist country… not that Communism is necessarily a bad thing, but the amount of controls the Australian Government wants to impose on us is getting scary.  Im really dissapointed with “the lucky country”, when these types of controls being put in place say either that the Australian Government believes we cannot make educated decisions for ourselves, or that they believe they should control much more of what we do and say.  Or, maybe they are just stupid and short sighted?

A few of the highlights:

What I Have Learned So Far…

I thought I would start recording all the things I have learned about life, maybe in an effort to clear my head a bit.  Maybe as a bit of an experiment… Also a way to vent my frustrations at the world… whatever the reason, here they are.  In no particular order…

  1. People are selfish and rude
  2. Not everyone is selfish and rude, but most are.  A few will surprise you
  3. Ignorance really is bliss
  4. No matter how much you try to prepare for something, something you hadn’t thought of will almost always happen
  5. People are deluded and do not live in reality
  6. Living in reality sucks, and thus why people delude themselves
  7. The world isnt as nice and as good as people will have you believe
  8. Most people take and dont give
  9. When someone strenuously objects to something, its usually because its true
  10. People often project their problems onto others (Transference)
  11. If you want to see the worst in people, go for a drive when traffic is busiest
  12. If you want to see the best in people, look at a disaster, war, or other tragedy.  Difficulty, trouble, and adversity seems to bring people together.
  13. People like drama and trouble, and thats why ‘Reality TV’ is popular
  14. There is no one path in life, everyone has their own, and some are easier than others
  15. Dont judge someone too quickly, but trust your instincts
  16. People love to talk about themselves, and don’t want to hear about you very often
  17. If you are nice to others, and helpful, you will get used by most people
  18. Women are selfish, ambiguous, confusing, have no idea of their emotions
  19. Complimenting people just makes them arrogant and self centered, and you will not be appreciated or respected for it.  You will just get used.
  20. Everyone lies, even to those that may matter.
  21. The few who do not lie do not get respected for it
  22. People mostly only care about themselves.  If they care about someone else, its only usually only to pad their own ego
  23. Love makes you vulnerable and weak, and you will be exploited for it, or it will be thrown in your face