Eric Lindsay's Blog 2007 March

Thursday 1 March 2007

Writing Web Pages

Mozilla wiki documentation on using web standards on your web pages.

Seybold 2003 presentation on why tables for layout is stupid co-authored by Adam Pratt from Adobe Systems. I hope that means Adobe Dreamweaver finally handles CSS correctly. Alt.html also asks why should I use CSS layout instead of tables? NVU lists other table vs CSS resources.

David Siegel was the guy who destroyed the web.

Friday 2 March 2007

Speeding up Apple Mail

OS X 10.4 Tiger includes SQLite, and uses it. Speeding up Apple shows how to redo the sqlite3 database that indexes mail. Close first. On one line in terminal type:

/usr/bin/sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/Envelope\ Index vacuum

Actually thanks to changes in SQLite, the table name (subjects) shown in the original post is probably ignored. You just need vacuum. The Hawkwings site comments include some nice AppleScripts to automate speeding up email. This may just be similar to doing a Mailbox Rebuild in the GUI. Bill Bumgarner has an excellent explanation of what is happening in SQLite.

Saturday 3 March 2007

Web Page Access

Dutch law regarding web site access requires web pages to be done right. Cool stuff. Here is a link in Dutch, and an overview (also in Dutch). An earlier version in English translation is available, and an unofficial translation here. Others think the Dutch guidelines are great. I note New Zealand has similar rules.

Sunday 4 March 2007

Gracenote Classical Music Initiative

Some help from the patented Gracenote Classical Music Initiative, launched in January and demonstrated at Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This is intended to assist classical music enthusiasts in tracking electronic collections of their music. Popular music can usually be tracked by album title, track title and artist. Not enough for multi-movement classical works, multi-artist ensembles, and compositions that are distinguished by category (symphony, quartet, concerto, etc), movement, and opus numbers. Most of us who index our classical music tend to subvert artist and other items. The result is inconsistent indexing of classical music, crammed into a data space designed for popular music.

Edward Ortiz has a article about the Gracenote initiative in the San Francisco Classical Voice, and in PopMatters, comparing it to the Dewey Decimal System for music. Naxos have converted their catalog already. Gracenote say 100,000 recordings have been indexed using the new CMI system. The new CMI system has been noted by Hitsquad Musician Network

Monday 5 March 2007

Intellectual Property Theft

Australian Policy Online Pooh to copyright wrongs article by John Quiggin points out the disadvantages of intellectual property monopolies. In particular, the influence of disastrous US legislation like the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (otherwise known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act).

Disney recently were involved in a case involving A A Milne's teddy bear character Winnie the Pooh. One story goes that after his death in January 1956, his widow sold rights to the Pooh character to Disney in 1961. Another is Milne sold the rights to his Pooh creations in 1930 to Stephen Slesinger, a New York literary agent. When Slesinger died in 1953, the rights passed to his widow, Shirley. In 1961, she agreed to license the rights to Disney in return for a cut of the larger company's revenue from sales of merchandise. In Australia, the copyright over Pooh would normally have ended in 2006, 50 years after the death of the author.

The permanent rent seeking of corporations for things they did not create absolutely stinks. Copyright should be available only to authors, and never direct to companies. It should extend only until the death of the author, or until their dependent children reach their majority.

Pandering to US commercial interests leads to travesties of justice like the extradition of Hew Raymond Griffith. How can someone who has never been in the USA be extradited from Australia for a US crime? Given Griffiths was a despicable character, you would think there would be some Australian law under which he could be charged. As usual, the law has its head so far up its arse that judges should wear brown wigs.

Tuesday 6 March 2007

Electricity Costs

If power production is market based, the cost of energy is based on market rate competition. Network charges like transmission and distribution may be regulated monopolies or subject to government administration, and not be competitive. Taxes, levies and charges are always by fiat and are never competitive.

The price of electricity changes every hour in the national wholesale electricity market run by the National Electricity Market Management Company (NEMMCO). Plus Eastern State customers can choose their own retailer.

Nice model analysing electricity distribution networks from L A Elder and M I Beardow. They found total cost per consumer rose only gently with consumption, even for factor of ten increases. You need poles at fixed intervals, and substation fixed costs are largely independent of capacity. Major driver of costs was customer density. Lots of nice points in this summary.

Wednesday 7 March 2007

Greens Brown Out Australia

If Green voters manage to get coal power plants closed down, hardly anyone will get electricity. Hydro can't do much more (little water available). Wind is variable, at best running a third of the time. Demand for silicon for solar is twice supply, and can't compete with buyers for electronic silicon. Sliver cells, or concentrators could reduce the amount of silicon required, but production is just not there as yet.

So what is a family to do to preserve their deep freeze, beer fridge, or air conditioner? eBay (or your local country hardware store) have a nice range of diesel generators, at very reasonable prices compared to any sort of green power. Result, even more pollution, plus demand for imported diesel skyrockets.

Is the Law an Ass?

Substitute teacher Julie Amero in USA convicted in USA of viewing internet porn when she was victim of porn popup malware in 2004 on a badly protected, out of date Windows 98 computer. It is probably silly for a substitute teacher to be using a computer for reading her email and web surfing instead of teaching without a computer. Even more stupid not to switch off the display when porn started popping up. Especially when other teachers told her nothing could be done. Is stupidity a crime?

Thursday 8 March 2007

Aerodynamic fan blades

Danny Parker at Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa noticed flat blade fans hadn't changed in decades. No change in chord despite different linear speeds along the blade radius. Plus inefficient motors can increase power drain. Fans need to spin between 60 and 200 rpm for legal reasons. Gossamer Albatross had slow propellors. Aerovironment Inc found the best fans moved air at 2 metres a second. Initial models used a public domain airfoil GM15, but this was too thin. After eight designs, a twisted tapered airfoil that could run on 8 watts was designed. Although the prototypes were twice as efficient as the best commercial fans, US demands for reversible fans made 40% gains all that could be managed commercially. Fans in Australia generally do not need to run in reverse, although many can.

Malaysian research by Dr. Abdul Malik Abdul Rahman suggests tilting the fan blades out of the horizontal may increase the cone of air movement around the room.

Friday 9 March 2007

Apple Stores

Everyone knows that you don't make a fortune opening a computer store. In 2000, Apple went against this sure thing, as they didn't believe regular megastores would adequately sell their more complicated products. Apple now has around 175 Apple Stores. The gamble seems to have paid off, with sales around an astonishing US$4000 a square foot.

The first Apple store was prototyped in a warehouse. They found computer stores were organised by product, not by what the product could do for the potential buyer. The Genius Bar advice stuff came from customers saying their best service experience was help from the concierge desk at a hotel. Apple sited the stores at very high turnover location, to ambush the customer. You didn't drive to the store. You walked in while passing.

ifoAppleStore has news and information about Apple retail stores. Good for more than you need to know.

Saturday 10 March 2007

Midwest USA Coal Rush

Just when you thought use of coal for power was about to decline, it springs up again, as natural gas prices increase. MidAmerican Energy Holdings have a new coal power plant in Iowa, on the Missouri River. There are a dozen more being built, with another 40 to start within five years, and as many as 150 by 2030. Why build coal plants in the face of fierce political opposition? Developers see no choice, with energy demand increasing 1.25% a year despite customers increasing their efficiency. The new pulverised coal plants are more efficient than older plants, producing about 9% less carbon dioxide per unit of energy. However they are larger, using around 3.5 million tons of coal a year.

Integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants may make capturing carbon dioxide easier in the future, however few such plants are being built. They cost an extra $200 million, and the capture may never work. No-one is willing to guarantee performance. Nothing changes as long as energy demand is increasing.

Sunday 11 March 2007

Apple TV

Cable TV appeared in Australia around 1992, and was mostly ignored. Looks like cable has maybe 20% of the TV market, with the rest free to air broadcasts. According to Austar (the only cable like choice in my area) I could get a starter pack of 37 channels for A$37 a month, plus A$10 for the Sci Fi channel, and another A$14 for the movie network. That minimal selection seems to add up to A$61 a month. However 4 channels are free to air, one is weather (which the internet provides much better), and at least 7 I would never watch under any circumstances. There may be more I would never watch, but I lack the knowledge to decide. I have to say I am not impressed by the Austar movie channels. Each seems very like a video store with a choice of three new movies a month, recycled endlessly from then on.

In the USA, Apple charge US$2 a video, US$30 for a season pass (neither available in Australia). I gather a season pass can be 30 or 40 shows, and no advertising! I am not at all sure that it wouldn't be just as cheap to buy and download shows (well, except thanks to the Telstra line monopoly, Australia mostly has fraudband download speeds rather than broadband - forget streaming anything). It would sure be nicer than the advertising riddled, unscheduled times, shows delivered out of order, mess that commercial TV is here.

Against that happy picture is the reality that neither captured TV shows nor DVDs get into iTunes for you to use. Sure, you can get around it. However it isn't the easy process that it is for moving your CDs into iTunes. Until there is some easy way to send your Video_TS files copied from a DVD to iTunes, it isn't starting to be of use for TV.

Safe Green Energy

The Dale Dyke dam burst when first being filled, killing 270 people around Sheffield. Mind you, that was in 1864, but you need to learn from history.

Monday 12 March 2007

Passports Fail

The U.K. government has been banging the drum over the past year about new passports with biometric information in a chip. The Daily Mail newspaper copied new U.K. passport details in four hours, without even opening the envelope in which the passport was delivered. They even got the photo out of the chip.

Safe Green Energy

California's St Francis dam burst, killing more than 500 people. That was in 1928. So much for safety.

Tuesday 13 March 2007

Baby Boomers Rich

Boomers richer than ever George Megalogenis reports in The Australian. Boomers are a quarter of the population, but hold half the nation's wealth. The top quartile of 45-64 year olds average close to a million dollars in assets, 14 times the bottom quartile, so wealth and especially superannuation income is highly skewed. The top quartile of baby boomers have more assets than all the rest combined. The middle quartiles tend to have more than half their wealth in the family home. AMP point out you can't eat housing. AMP fail to mention that a family home probably shouldn't be considered an asset. In my contrarian view the family home is a liability - it doesn't generate income, and does generate expenses.

Like Japan, Australia is ageing. A quarter of all households headed by someone over 65 [pdf]. Boomer behaviour will change [pdf] as they retire, and as most go on age pensions, or incomes hardly above the age pension [pdf]. Health spending will increase dramatically. There is interesting background from the Australian Population and Policy Simulator. Actually almost anything Professor Ann Harding is involved with modelling seems worth reading.

Wednesday 14 March 2007

Apple OS X 10.4.9 Update

Apple released an update to bring OS X to version 10.4.9 released with additional security fixes, many of them reported in the Month of Apple Bugs. I am pleased to note Apple seem to be patching potential and actual security problems in a reasonably timely manner, even if live exploits in the wild are rather rare. I don't know whether Apple have employed a security tsar but having someone taking an overview of security seems to me a good thing.

Thursday 15 March 2007

Terrorist Shell Corporations

Why should shell corporations, no operation, no employees, no assets, actually exist? They have a long history of fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and now supporting terrorism. Corporations must be held to even higher standards than natural persons. No anonymous ownership should be allowed.

Air Marshals and Security Theatre

Air marshals remove knife from a Sydney Cairns flight. Good return for $106 million of taxes plus a lot of airline business tickets for the 170 air marshals.

Frisk Security Theatre

The Courier Mail reports on Hi-frisk airport security scheme of frisking international passengers starting April 1. It has to be a joke. The 7000 passengers a day will need to turn up three hours prior to departure. Plus the Federal Government wasted taxpayer money printing 14 million brochures about this piece of security theatre.

All except one of the comments on this article said this security stuff was idiotic and over the top. The other comment didn't mind the security, but complained about the high price of airport food. Personally, I am voting with my wallet. No more overseas trips (I used to take one or two a year). The tourism industry, and the airlines, can both go bankrupt for all I care.

Friday 16 March 2007

Viacom vs YouTube

Viacom are suing new owner of YouTube for a billion dollars for copyright infringement. Naturally Google take commercial shows off YouTube, after being informed they are there, and are copyright. Nauturally Viacom didn't bother suing YouTube when it didn't have any money behind it. I think Viacom have the right of it. Stuff from their shows on YouTube is straight out copyright infringement, with no excuses. But the people who put it there are not the ones being sued.

This stuff mostly looks like fake wrestlers (are there any other kind?) jockeying for position. Some sort of arrangement so both make money? Or else remove all the commercial material from the web. The commercial video production companies probably need need viewers more than viewers need them. They sell eyeballs to advertisers.

I dumped my TV last year, and dumped radio at least a decade ago. Really well directed advertising gets through, but mass stuff doesn't. I see more advertising on the internet than elsewhere. If it is offensive enough to notice, I block it. There is a reason popups are always off, and Flash and Javascript are often switched off. If it gets really annoying, I'll see how much my router can block, back that up with a nasty hosts file, and dump some more with user CSS.

Saturday 17 March 2007

Proserpine Airport Protest

Hundreds of Save Our Airport protesters blocked traffic in Airlie Beach after midday. Organisers claimed 1250 attendees, but Laguna Keys developer David Marriner claimed the protest was a flop with 300 to 400 marchers. Campaign organiser was Rogin Taylor.

The protest relates to a secret deed of agreement in February 2001, in which apparently Whitsunday Shire Mayor Mario DeMartini and council CEO signed, to sell Whitsunday Coast Airport (then Proserpine Airport, and it isn't on the coast) to Laguna Keys developer David Marriner. Amongst other problems, it seems council don't actually own the land, but hold it as trustees for the State Government. Naturally if such council agreements were not secret, someone might have noticed this. This case has been wandering through the courts, with a Supreme Court hearing on 2 April.

There is much public resentment in the shire about secret council deals to sell off public infrastructure. In another deal (and protest), council proposed selling off foreshore in the middle of Airlie Beach to a tavern and resort developer.


Free of taxes from 1 July 2007, whether paid as a lump sum or as a pension. If set up as a pension, free of taxes on the investment income. Certainly an incentive to use superannuation rather than say housing as a retirement investment. For the top quartile of the baby boomers who have income earning assets, it is a great deal. Most people haven't saved enough as yet, so age pensions will continue to be what many people will rely on. The younger generations will pay, but don't seem to have noticed this as yet. I wonder what happened to the idea of broadening the tax base however?

Sunday 18 March 2007

Going Green

Wonder why people are talking about carbon emissions when they probably mean carbon dioxide (or even carbon dioxide equivalent). Carbon is neat, especially if in the form of diamond. However no carbon shit is all the rage these days. Magic stuff like 60% reductions by 2050. Pity electricity demand in Australia will double by 2050, and that 92% of it comes from fossil fuels.

Whether there is an emissions trading scheme or not, the emissions will not reduce. Although people will pay more for their power, and energy companies will make more money (at the cost of higher investment). Renewable energy just doesn't cut it at the moment, despite the claims.

Some Labor state governments say they will do an emissions trading scheme by 2010, but that will allow a 32% increase over 20 years, only 12% less than than doing nothing. The state scheme will be expensive, and almost useless. Typical of most Labor schemes actually. The North West states of the USA, plus British Columbia, are talking about emission reductions of 75% by 2050.

Proserpine Airport Protest

The Sunday Mail had a page 2 article by Daryl Passmore about the Proserpine Airport sale protest.

Monday 19 March 2007

Proserpine Airport Protest

The save our airport protest was the lead story on Channel 7 Local News this evening.

Tuesday 20 March 2007

Sewerage Water Everywhere

Twelve Melbourne Water workers sick with gastro-intestinal illness after recycled water piped to tap accidentally. The recycled water not fit for human consumption had been connected to the tap all month.

Recycled water can kill says campaigner Snow Manners. Over a million Brisbane residents finally had a chance to read the anti-recycled sewerage case, much to the dislike of the Labor state government. The state government reneged on Premier Peter Beattie's 30 July 2006 pledge not to recycle sewerage for drinking water unless people voted for it in a referendum. Here is the Think Before You Agree to Drink brochure in pdf, as delivered to 400,000 South East Queensland homes. A detailed rebuttal of some points by Stuart Khan, together with some discussion.

iTech Virtual Laser Keyboard

Small Bluetooth gadget that laser projects a virtual keyboard on a flat surface. Around $250. Has keyclick effects.

Wednesday 21 March 2007


It appears nothing happened today.

Thursday 22 March 2007

Apple TV

I gather the Apple TV gadget finally appeared, after being announced as iTV back in September? I blogged AppleTV back on 13 September. I noted at the time that Windows Media Centers had been out for several years. I expected the most important feature to be ease of use. I also thought AppleTV targeted TV and cable networks, not DVDs. It is basically an iPod, and that killed off portable CD players.

First reviews say it is easy to use, with a slick on-screen interface. However it is let down by the poor quality of available iTunes video. The 640x480 available is way less than PAL DVD. With the iTunes Store limitation (unless you transcode from DVD), I can't see an enormous market initially.

If I had the disk space (which shouldn't be far away) I would consider flashing a bunch of DVDs over to iTunes. Quicktime Pro includes settings for doing that sort of thing. However, without a large screen TV, I might as well use my computer monitor direct from my DVD player instead. Starting a DVD isn't all that hard.

[Late addition] Awkward reports running xvid etc on AppleTV using Perian open source QuickTime application support, followed by a heap of information in the Something Awful forums. Very encouraging for anyone thinking of modifying an AppleTV. See also AnandTech's Apple TV photos.

[Late addition] DIY Apple TV hard drive upgrade to 120GB. Another encouraging sign is Apple TV Hacks and Awkward TV.

[Late addition] Joost P2P video client beta running on AppleTV.

Friday 23 March 2007

TV audience share

This week the audience share of the TV channels was ABC 12.1%, Seven 22.9%, Nine 19.5%, Ten 17.3%, SBS 3.4%, PayTV 22.1%. Not very encouraging for the cable folks.

Movie Horror and Violence

Movies about killings are in the news. The USA Federal Trade Commission is following up a 2000 report on marketing violence to children.

Repeated advertising influences people, else advertisers would not continue to pay. It seems reasonable to imagine that repeated scenes of violence and killing also influences people. Since companies by reason of not being natural persons have no conscience, nor any moral purpose more important than making profits, then why are they not even more constrained by law than human beings? Large corporations are sociopaths. In particular, why are movie studies permitted to make and distribute films depicting acts that would be illegal if done by humans? About time to stop this propaganda for violence.

Saturday 24 March 2007

Jim Baen's Universe and DRM

I happened upon an online science fiction magazine, Jim Baen's Universe. Editor Eric Flint wrote on The Legacy of Jim Baen, who before his untimely death was a pioneer of publishing science fiction as electronic books ebooks. In particular, Baen (and Flint) disliked digital rights management (DRM). I call it digital restrictions management, and won't buy anything subject to DRM (unless I can crack the encryption). Flint makes an excellent economic case for how well authors do from unencrypted ebooks, vs ebooks protected by DRM. Also highly recommended from the same site is Thomas Macaulay on copyright, since Macaulay's speeches in Parliament in 1841 essentially covered the entire topic.

Sunday 25 March 2007

Copyright and DRM

Baen's Universe editor Eric Flint started a series of articles about the evils of copyright, and why it nevertheless should exist. He explains the debate on copyright in terms of what copyright needs to accomplish. This is not to pay authors, but rather to ensure that society gets as many good books written as possible. Paying the author is a means to an end, not the end itself.

Eric Flint then considers at length how long should copyright exist, and concludes that about 40 years is reasonable. The fifth essay covers what is fair use in copyright. In particular, how DRM and fair use will inevitably clash. For example, this two paragraph summary of Eric Flint's lengthy and detailed argument on copyright can be published because of fair use.

Monday 26 March 2007

CPU Flops while Folding

Various articles on the death of the general purpose CPU, as the Playstation 3 beats PCs at Folding@Home. Impressive teraflop performance from the specialised IBM Cell chipsets in the PS3, within their limits. Graphic processing units provide even more performance, with more possible if not working through Direct X. Folding (like graphics) is a specialised application, and this sort of result says nothing about the general use of a general purpose CPU.

Tuesday 27 March 2007

EcoCity Farm

Weird sounding EcoCity Farm for urban sustainable agriculture is a compact stacking hydroponic system for city spaces. Sort of like a farm on a ferris wheel. While intended for urban area commercial vegetable growing without transportation costs, I suspect some rich environmentalists would like to experiment with something similar. Very water efficient, which is getting important. Devised for an eco village at Nimbin.

Wednesday 28 March 2007

OS X and ZFS

Short article on an Open Solaris error involving Spotlight points to Sun's ZFS being closer to being available as a HFS+ replacement option in Apple's OS X Leopard. Snapshots anyone? Plus I eventually want 97 terabyte of disk space, and HFS+ won't scale there.

ZFS backward compatible to older hardware using Open Firmware for booting? Doesn't sound likely, from the comments. Not unknown for Apple gear to not be backward compatible. Front Row isn't really compatible with my iMac G5 ALS or my PowerBook. I can't make direct use of the extra speed of 802.11n either. No matter. I need an excuse to update my Macintosh.

Thursday 29 March 2007

Energy smart homes

Larger and larger houses are in demand, and if a project home costs more per square metre it just plain isn't as desirable to consumers. False economy often, but understandable. Most states accept Building Code of Australia, except Queensland, NT and Tasmania. NSW also has its Building and Sustainability Index (BASIX) for greenhouse gas emissions and water use. People get around by lying, and then installing an big air conditioner.

Most people have also noticed mandatory water tanks on new homes in NSW make absolutely no sense. The cost per litre is many times that of a dam. Plus the water saving would be well under 1%. What idiot came up with that idea?

Friday 30 March 2007

Solar Boat Crosses Atlantic

Sun21 is a solar-powered 14 metre by 6.6 metre MW-Line Aquabus C60 catamaran whose 5 person crew planed to follow the route to the New World sailed by Columbus in 1492. The Sun 21 solar boat uses 10 kilowatts of solar modules covering 65 square metres to power a 520 AH 48 volt battery bank and two 8-kilowatt electric motors, to attain 5 to 6 knots. They did the last 5,000 kilometres across the Atlantic in 30 days.

This is a wonderful example of how to avoid the environmentally unfriendly effects of sails. Trust the Swiss to think of this. Of course, it doesn't scale. You can't use it for tanker sized ships. Your solar cell area goes up a bit more than linear with length (if ships were not long and thin it would be square of length), your mass goes up as a cube. So for a smallish 200 metre freighter you would get something over 1500 kW, when what you need is something like 15,000 kW. Plus it gets worse for container ships and large tankers.

David Hicks Pleads Guilt

Idiotic terrorist supporter and would be Taliban, LeT and al-Qaida fighter David Hicks (Mohommed Dawood) pleads guilty to get out of a US military prison at Guantanamo Bay. If allied irregular forces like the Northern Alliance were handing prisoners from a war zone over to me for money, I'd have set the rules to be you get X dollars for proof of death of enemy combatants (sighting say their head and weapons), and say 4X if alive and talking and willing to sell out their fellow fighters. In war, combatants who do not qualify for POW status are subject to summary execution without trial or appeal.

Pity that Hicks managed to breed before getting caught, but maybe the kids will turn out OK despite that. Most kids do. A bit of Darwinism in action would have been my preference. You want Hicks dead because he was a would be terrorist? No. I want him dead because he is so idiotic I don't want people like him in the gene pool.

Pity the US didn't manage to pass a law that they wouldn't release enemy combatants until the war was over. Maltreating and torturing prisoners at Guantanamo and elsewhere made the USA look as big a bunch of arseholes as the terrorists. The USA should have stuck to Geneva Convention treatment of prisoners, while denying irregular forces were covered by it. No law in Australia about people acting like idiots while overseas, so there is nothing to try Hicks for here. Should there be such laws? Probably not, or Australia would have to go back to being a prison colony.

Still, maybe when Hicks is here he will continue to act like the Jew hating arsehole he was when he left, and do something so stupid that someone stabs him in prison, or shoots him when he gets out. I suppose that is a forlorn hope. Hmm, I wonder how well a Bring David Hicks Home And Shoot Him T shirt would sell? I guess a death match between Hicks and Dennis Sparrow (grandfather of his children on the mother's side) in Rundle Mall is unlikely.

Mind you, the election poll driven timing of the trial, the plea bargain, and the timing of Hicks release at the end of 2007 are about as good as John Howard could hope for in heading for a close election. Some mid level US military people are pretty clued in, and I don't mean just Hick's lawyer Major Michael Mori. I bet there are no suspicious messages nor any overt deal about that anywhere. But with the Bush administration, who knows. They have stuffed up everything else they have done, so why not stuff up an election of their mate in a friendly country?

Saturday 31 March 2007

Tiger Daze

Direct link to small farmer (and well known fantasy author) Lyn McConchie's latest book about Tiger and other feline friends, Tiger Daze. Available in paperback (ISBN 9780980354508) or PDF. Fans may note the editors were Bruce Gillespie and Jean Weber, and that Jean was the publisher.

Earth Hour in Sydney

Earth Hour was a dud. Despite a bunch of support from newspapers in Sydney, only 2,000 businesses and 65,000 households switched off their lights between 7:30 and 8:30 this evening. As a measure of solidarity for reducing power use it wasn't much. It probably either did nothing, or increased carbon dioxide emissions. The Snowy Hydroelectric scheme is out of water, so essentially all power in NSW at present comes from coal power plants. The start up time for regular coal power plants is between 8 and 40 hours. So nothing went offline. Plus 60,000 people burning an average of two candles may have put a few more tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. What a joke!


We had about 100 mm at the Whitsunday Terraces a few weeks before the end of the month, followed by an overnight 20 mm, and another 25 mm in the last week. Peter Faust dam outside Proserpine is 9.7 metres below the spillway.