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A small virtue from the fattest man in Australian politics

Despite my Re-blogging of Yale’s Clive Palmer post and my, well, less than complementary assessment of the fat man it seems that of he is true to his word he may just be able to Save the Abbott government from itself by preventing the creation of the expensive and pointless “direct action ” climate policy .

Clive Palmer has declared the Abbott government’s Direct Action policy is “dead”, saying his Palmer United Party will use its numbers in the Senate to block the Coalition’s policy to replace the carbon tax.

Mr Palmer said on Monday the controversial policy, which aims to reduce emissions largely through payments to businesses, was “hopeless” and would be “gone” if his party,  Labor and the Greens all vote against it, as they have previously indicated.

“It’s goodbye Direct Action,” Mr Palmer told Fairfax Media.

“It’s gone.”

Mr Palmer had said earlier in the day he would not support Direct Action if the Abbott government made any changes to the pension, in light of

growing speculation that there are plans to raise the pension age to 70 and tighten eligibility requirements.

But on Monday afternoon Mr Palmer went a step further and said there would not be any circumstance in which his party would vote for Direct Action.

The government  plans to spend up to $1.55 billion over the next three years on the scheme, but several senior economists have questioned whether Direct Action can meet its emissions reduction target of 5 per cent by 2020 with that budget.

Mr Palmer said the policy did not make economic sense and questioned whether it would have any environmental effect.

“We can’t see any reason to vote for Direct Action,” Mr Palmer said.

“We think it’s hopeless.”

I am of  course assuming that Palmer also helps Abbott abolish the Carbon taxes. It can only be a win win situation for all of the climate change  panic  fueled nonsense to be removed from our political agendas. Oh the loopy Greens will definitely have conniptions and tell us yet again that the sky will definitely fall and that Palmer is an agent of Big Coal (Duh, like who cares?)  Just think it through Comrades imagine an economy where the government does not have to waste time and treasure on any “response to climate change” (won’t Joe Hockey love that?) but where Tony Abbott can legitimately  say that he tried to  do something about it but he just could not do it due to Palmer!
Politics is the ultimate game and its the bit players trying to punch above their weight that can throw up some interesting scenarios for the polity to admire or abhor, thus it was the pernicious influence of the Loopy Greens that saw Gillard ultimately undone over the issue of Climate Change and that silly silly promise made and then broken. Now we may end up seeing the total flip-side of that scenario  with Abbott able to abandon a policy that can only ever be a rather empty gesture.
Oh and finally, I managed to get up another tweet on QandA! which I cite because it has the vaguest connection to the topic.

Its a nice bit of sport for a Monday night Comrades

 

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Breaking on through, again

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I hope that readers can forgive me the immodesty of this but against my expectations I managed to get another tweet up on QandA .  I am quite pleased about this and I can’t help thinking that there has to be a good academic study in just how the ABC decides which tweets to put up on to the screen.

Cheers Comrades

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The other tribe of indigenous Aussie culture.

I am by nature rather eclectic in my viewing habits when it comes to broadcast TV I actually even watch some shows on SBS  and among that channel’s offerings   I have enjoyed several of the productions from Paul Fenech,” Fat Pizza” and “Housos” are both quite clever pieces of over the top satire and once you hey past the rather amateur acting and production values both programs demonstrate a clear affection for the subculture that they satirise . the Advertising for the new program to be screened on Seven Mate  shows some promise of the satire being turned up to eleven.

 

Bogan Hunters ... Housos cast (L-R) Elle Dawe (Shazza), Paul Fenech (Franky), and Kev Taumata (far right) go in search of Australia's biggest bogans. Photo: Peter Stoop Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/housos-stars-reveal-australias-biggest-bogans-id-probably-be-scared-20140401-35vpo.html#ixzz2xfMQ1aS9

Bogan Hunters … Housos cast (L-R) Elle Dawe (Shazza), Paul Fenech (Franky), and Kev Taumata (far right) go in search of Australia’s biggest bogans. Photo: Peter Stoop 

Tasmania is the bogan capital of Australia and if you’re seeking bogans in the ACT look no further than the nation’s parliament.

These are just some of the findings to come out of a “bogan odyssey” completed by self-proclaimed boganologist Paul Fenech.

If I was thinking about a holiday in Australia and I saw this, I’d probably be scared

With the other two members of his crack team, Shazza (Elle Dawe) and Kev the Kiwi (Kevin Taumata), who will be familiar from the controversial SBS series Housos, Fenech has visited every state for a new 7Mate series called Bogan Hunters.

“There are plenty of places in each state,” he says. “Start in the centre of a city and drive for about 35 minutes minimum into the suburbs and you will find a bogan area.

“Tasmania has the top-shelf, black-label bogans. There’s an element of boganicity there that is worthy of another 15 years of social study.”

And the epicentre of Tasmanian bogan culture is in a suburb of Launceston, according to Fenech.

“It’s a place called Ravenswood, which they told us not to go to because we’d get stabbed,” he says. “But we didn’t get stabbed and it was all nice.”

From the promo it looks as if this program will also be taking a very big bite at the many reality shows that populate the Mate (and other Freeview channels ) schedule. You know,  the shows like “Auction Hunters” “Toy Hunters”  , “Swamp people”, “Pawn Stars”, “American Pickers” ect ect ect. Now I personally know more than a few “Bogans ” many of whom are  great people who would give you the shirt of their backs if you were a mate in trouble, they may not always be the most self aware folk but they are at generally an alright group as long as you understand and respect  their culture and, more importantly, you don’t try to patronise them. Sadly, far too many of the Late sipping brethren have more affection for every other  migrant or religious ethnicity than they do for the other tribe of indigenous Aussie culture.

Cheers Comrades

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The ABC’s Q&A apologises to Andrew Bolt for ‘racist’ slur

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The ABC are to be congratulated for apologising but they also deserve to be admonished for not pulling Langton up for making such a vile and unwarranted slur in the first place. I put that down to the rather common view that anyone who is not white can not possibly be racist themselves.  The simple  fact is that accusations of racism are an a to common resort of  scoundrels who don’t want to burrow  down and explore the deeper ethical questions about public identity, especially when some of those identities offer the qualification for particular government largess.

Cheers Comrades

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And its just another leap to the left for Auntie

It seems that Auntie has issues with the placement of her deck chairs:

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I have on occasion listened to Kelly in the mornings and she is not that bad when it comes to a voice to wake up to. There is however no doubt that she is another one of Auntie’s voices who leans very much to the left. In a better world wouldn’t it be nice to have the fill-in host of the Insiders being from a more conservative perspective? You know to show the world that the ABC can do balance properly as its charter demands?

Cheers Comrades

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Putting your ghost into the machine

slight of hand and illusion

slight of hand and illusion

I came across this today and it tickled my love of the bizarre way that technology tends to follow speculative fiction. In this case its all about the long held wish for a way to have a secular form of eternal life by downloading consciousness into a computer so that the essence of a person can go on long after their body has surrendered to death.

The service has been created out of MIT’s Entrepreneurship Development Program. When users sign up, they will link the service to their various digital streams, such as Facebook, Twitter, emails, photos and geo-location history. Once data is being collected, Ursache says there are two main processes required – “making sense” of it and then using it to “emulate” the user.

“Of course, ‘making sense’ and ’emulating’ are still primitive today,” he acknowledges. “But by periodically interacting with this avatar, you will allow it to make more sense in the next 30-40 years that you still have to live. This way, it becomes more accurate and knows more about you in time.”

The ability of Eterni.me to “make sense” of the data it collects will be key, but is one of the most difficult challenges the company has to tackle. The service will analyze both textual and visual information to choose what information can be used to help an avatar better emulate the user. Direct interactions with the user will help to make the emulation more accurate.

Ursache explains that the end result should be a tool that people can use to find out more about their forbears, such as photos, family events, opinions and hobbies. He likens it to a research tool, such as a search engine or timeline, and is clear that the aim of such technology should be to help people.

“I think technology should make our lives easier, period,” he says. “If technology can help with leaving a legacy, or solving other problems for dead people’s relatives and friends – such as inheritance, access to information and so on – we should find a way to use it, of course without creating additional harms.”

A private beta of Eterni.me is expected in late 2015 with the public launch expected in 2016.

Source: Eterni.me

I don’t know if this is just an example of hubris or just a denial of mortality and I don’t know if it would really provide comfort or the creeps to those we leave behind when we cark it. What I do know is that there are likely to be people who will grab onto this technology in their grief at the loss of a loved one and that it may well even make them unable to move on with their lives. Further lets just imagine that the avatar becomes complex enough to be sentient rather than merely reflexive, will the simulacrum be the person it was derived from or will it be some new kind of monster?      I just don’t know if this is a good or a bad idea so I will just await the wisdom of the Sandpit’s readers on this one.

Cheers Comrades

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The idea of a personalty downloaded into a machine avatar is central to the cult Anime “Ghost in the shell”

 

In defense of wet fish slapping

This is an interesting piece from the Fairfax that is decrying the fact that the ABC movie show has declined to do on onscreen review of “Wolf Creek 2”

They dismissed the locally made horror film in the final seconds of their ABC-TV review program At The Movies this week with the words, ”We’ve chosen not to review Wolf Creek 2, but on our website you’ll find interviews with director Greg McLean and actor John Jarratt”. (Said interviews were filmed, it seems, without the involvement of either of the show’s hosts.) In declining to consider a movie that topped the local box office last weekend with a haul of $1.7 million, they handed its makers an almighty slap across the face with a wet fish. More importantly, they abnegated their responsibility as Australia’s most-watched movie critics. Yet Stratton reviewed the film for The Australian. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/big-bad-wolf-margaret-and-david-snub-local-horror-movie-20140226-33ihm.html#ixzz2uTHPLW32

Now I may be wrong but it seems to me that the complainant from Fairfax seems to think that because the movie is a financial success that its rather questionable content should be overlooked by David and Margret. Now I happily admit that I do like a good horror film but I have very little time for those which have no moral center, the ones that are just a spalaterfest or “torture porn” do nothing for me but elicit disgust. So I say that David and Margret are perfectly entitled to decline to review ANY film just the same  as Fairfax are even if that film has been made here.

It certainly explains why the Aussie film industry is in the toilet though, they seem to produce either dreary soul searching angsty crap or rubbishy torture porn, what ever happened to films about people that we can like or believe in?

Cheers Comrades

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The late #Charlotte Dawson, Twitter and easy anonymity on the internet.

TV personality Charlotte Dawson, who was found dead in her home in inner Sydney on Saturday. Photograph: Don Arnold/WireImage

TV personality Charlotte Dawson, who was found dead in her home in inner Sydney on Saturday. Photograph: Don Arnold/WireImage

Ah be prepared for another large outpouring of “grief” for the death of another “celebrity” and the scions of our own media go into overdrive to praise Charlotte Dawson who committed suicide in Sydney on Saturday . I have been quietly watching this story unfold and examining the reactions from the social media . Especially interesting has been the attribution of blame to those shining lights of humanity who populate the nameless denizens  of Twitter. Apparently Dawson was seriously addicted to arguing with them and subject to some rather nasty taunting and suggestions that she should kill herself. Now its probably impossible to quantify just how much this sort of online cruelty influenced that fatal appointment with a rope but given the revelations that Dawson’s whole life and career was in some sort of meltdown and her underlying depression  I tend to think that such a suggestion is rather too simplistic.  None the less there has been quite a few commentators to the news story suggesting (quite correctly IMHO) that easy anonymity is a great contributor to the meanness, cruelty  and level of rancour shown to Dawson in her social media immersion.

At the very least there is a good argument that Twitter and all social media should be required to know who it is that is signing up for access to their service so that those who are using it as a medium for harassment or pernicious cruelty can be both traceable and accountable. Of course there will be those who will make the counter argument that ” the internet” should be free and that there is no need for any accountability beyond the disdain/disapproval  of other users. From my experience this is a nonsense especially in something as ephemeral as Twitter, even more so when those who misuse social media just keep reinventing themselves if it becomes untenable to continue with one particular online identity.  More and more as the boundary between our online and “In Real Life” existence become ever more blurred and merged the more we have to extend the accountability that we have in the real world to our existence online and the sooner that this is achieved the better all of our lives will be.

With respect Comrades

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