Monday, April 25, 2005

Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen: 13/1/11 - 23/4/05

He was the Premier of Queensland with a strange name from 1968 to 1987. About a year ago I wondered what the fuss was about Joh. This Wikipedia entry helped me out:
The government was despised in left-wing and civil libertarian circles for its intolerant approach to political protest. ... In 1977 the government went so far as to ban street demonstrations altogether, leading to further violent protest.

Extensive Special Branch monitoring (including telephone tapping) of suspected subversives was routine, including not only Labor Party parliamentarians, but also National Party figures who had incurred Bjelke-Petersen's displeasure. Bjelke-Petersen regularly accused political opponents of being covert communists bent on anarchy, and his forceful rhetoric won him particularly high approval among conservative and rural voters.

Just my kind of guy...

He's going to receive a state funeral and I think that's probably not a great thing. But because all I know about him came from Wikipedia (no disrespect to the wonderful Wikipedia), I'm not in a good position to comment. However, some other people had interesting things to say.

Quentin Dempster (who looks like my high school maths teacher, but don't hold that against him because I'm sure my teacher had a lot to do with my choice to study maths at university...or maybe that's why you'd hold it against him) provides the details of Joh's corruption. Just one serious example:
Bjelke-Petersen became Premier on 8 August 1968 and three weeks later companies in which he had shares (Exoil NL and Transoil NL) were given oil prospecting leases on the Great Barrier Reef.
Thank you Paul Kidd:
Joh turned the sunshine state into a corrupt cesspool, encouraged or at least allowed the police force to become utterly debased and corrupt even beyond Australian standards, he spied on his enemies, trampled on civil rights and, not surprisingly, spewed venom and hatred towards gay men and lesbians. "Insulting, evil animals," he called us.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Safety net my arse! (pardon me)

From (previously mentioned here):
Friday, April 15, 2005
So before the last election, we told poor people that if they spent heaps on medical bills, we'd pay heaps of it back, and I swear that we actually had every intention of doing that until we found out that it costs money to pay back someone's bills! Tony and I were totally shocked when Pete came in and told us that poor people were actually using this "safety net" thingo and that WE were paying for THEIR medical bills. As if.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Fake smile

Yesterday I stumbled upon the BBC Science website and did a test to determine if I could tell the difference between fake and genuine smiles (I could - 80% of the time). Today similar tests are in the news because, surprisingly, men were better than women at picking fake smiles. The papers say this makes a "myth of female intuition". Maybe. Or maybe (the devil's advocate says) men have more insincere relationships than women, so they have more experience detecting fake smiles. Or maybe not. Whatever. Doing the test was fun.

There's information on Baron-Cohen's male-female brain theory and how it might relate to autism here.

The smile in my blog photo, by the way, is genuine.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Credit card update

I know this is kinda boring, but it's so darn informative that I must share it with you.

This post updates a previous post recommending the Virgin Credit Card.

I now recommend the HSBC Low Rate VISA to people with a credit card debt that is currently accruing interest. It does have a $39 annual fee after the first year (so it's best to transfer to a different card once you're out of debt), but here's the good stuff: this card offers a 0% balance transfer rate for six months, and then 10.49% per annum after that. 10.49% is probably the lowest interest rate on any card currently offered by NSW banks (some credit unions are lower). It's almost certainly lower than the interest you're paying now.

I don't work for HSBC or any other credit provider or bank. I take no responsibility for the applicability of this information to your personal situation. Thinking for yourself is a cool thing to do.

Camera phone pics

My phone camera has a tiny resolution of 128 x 128 pixels. Most pictures are truly awful, but occasionally one turns out okay. Here are the ones I've saved, in their original size. Click on the images for magnification.

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Zuckerbaby poses in a traditional Katoomba living room.

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Being a kitten, Joey snoozes wherever he is
- and often just misses the comfy blanket.

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Little Joey isn't exactly scared of Mickey

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...because Mickey's such a pillow

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