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Friday, February 29, 2008

“WE’VE GOT THE EPICENTRE, LADS!”

A brilliant review in real-time of the BBC’s abysmal UK earthquake coverage. Review background here.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 09:15 PM
(49) CommentsPermalink

COLUMN DOWN TO TEN PER CENT

Eco-style hijinks! Also: presidential predictions.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 09:13 PM
(53) CommentsPermalink

DIZZY DECLARES

Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie announces his retirement after 71 Tests and 259 wickets - and one memorable double century. Meanwhile, his former opponents Bangladesh are doing it tough against Seth Efrica.

UPDATE. Peter Roebuck attempts a cut shot:

Just for a moment it seemed that Jayasuriya might produce one last hurrah. It was not to be. Before long he was late on his shot, whereupon he trudged from the field looking about as happy as a News Corporation journalist.

In journalism as so often on the pitch, Pete picks the wrong line.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 08:47 PM
(22) CommentsPermalink

TOO MUCH WINTER

Alarming news of excessive normality in New Hampshire:

Much of this week’s winter carnival in Gilford has been canceled, due to too much winter.

But in California, vicious Republicans are planning to warm the state to death:

The California Republican Party has now apparently decided that the concept of global warming and any effort to do anything about it are their primary targets, and they will do anything to prevent action on global warming or the water crisis. Nevermind the fact that dams are pointless if less rain and snow are falling. Republicans appear quite happy to leave Californians at further risk of catastrophic water shortfalls. In their inaction, California’s future hangs in the balance.

That was written four months ago. Here’s a more recent report:

The snowfall season should end above-average - and that means Californians, warned to brace themselves after an exceptionally dry 2007, almost certainly won’t face water shortages this summer.

That’s right. No dirty cars. No brown lawns. And no saving the bath water.

“Fears should be put to rest,” said snow surveyor Dave Hart of the state Department of Water Resources. “There’s no way you could say we’re in any kind of drought.”

(Via Dan F., currently enjoying some local warmening in Vermont)

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 07:55 PM
(26) CommentsPermalink

SHELL ART

Some weeks I’ll buy eggs from ranges so free that have no fences at all and cheerful hens volunteer their produce to gentle PETA workers wearing elf costumes. Other weeks I’ll select a carton from Buchenwald Farms, where caged and dewinged birds are nailed down as steroid-boosted eggs are extracted via their beaks. It’s all a question of balance.

But until this week I’d never seen egg packaging featuring the words “cage farm” plus a smiley face, thereby combining free range happiness with the misery of imprisonment. Naturally, I bought a half-dozen. It was only when I got home that I discovered a smiley face on each and every egg.

(Note: That handy kitchen golliwog securing the demonstration egg I think adds an edgy, Tate Modern quality to my little tableau. He may reappear in future works.)

UPDATE. Eliot R. emails: “I got some of these eggs this week, too. Freaky when you boil them a few at a time and they keep smiling up at you out of the saucepan of bubbling, boiling water. The smiley face seems pretty well indelible.”

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 11:41 AM
(59) CommentsPermalink

SO TAKE A CREDIT CARD

This fellow’s intention was to warm our hearts, and damn if he hasn’t succeeded:

A man who planned to walk from Bristol to India without any money has quit, after getting as far as Calais, France.

Bristol to Calais would only be about 200 miles.

Mark Boyle, 28, who set out four weeks ago with only T-shirts, a bandage and sandals, hoped to rely on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging.

But, because he could not speak French, people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker.

They were right about the freeloading. Read on to learn that Mr Boyle is a former organic food company boss who doesn’t believe in money and is scared by French people.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 11:14 AM
(57) CommentsPermalink

AHEAD OF THE OPPOSITION

• Approval rating for George W. Bush: 30 per cent.

• Approval rating for the New York Times: 24 per cent.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 09:35 AM
(22) CommentsPermalink

DOWN WITH THE WORKERS

Tim Flannery mostly kept quiet about immigration and population issues during his year as Prime Australian, but now he’s off the leash again:

“Why is it you would want to bring in more people when there are chronic unemployment problems in parts of Adelaide which must be addressed ... ” said Prof Flannery, the 2007 Australian of the Year and former SA Museum director.

“In my view there should be more emphasis on helping those who are already there in the state than just bringing more people in.”

We keep bringing in more immigrants ... yet the unemployment rate keeps falling! That might tell you something about work demand in Australia. And the willingness or ability to work of those described as “chronically unemployed”; at this point, given the economy’s strength, these people are unemployable. (Bad news for Flannery: immigration is only going to increase.) More from the Australian of Last Year:

There’s a certain perversity in teaching about the dangers of climate change in classrooms lit and powered by the wasteful burning of the very fossil fuel that is causing the problem.

Flannery may have come up with that line while flying overseas to talk about the wasteful burning of fossil fuels.

UPDATE. Plenty of jobs going.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 09:29 AM
(20) CommentsPermalink

CAN WE SUCCEED IN IRAQ?

Yes we can!

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 07:07 AM
(98) CommentsPermalink

ALARMISM INDUSTRY THREATENED

The SMH’s Marian Wilkinson, a few weeks ago:

Australia had its hottest January on record, in line with a pattern that has seen the country’s average temperature rise over the past five decades under the impact of global warming.

That “pattern” didn’t hold for Sydney:

“In terms of rainfall it’s been the wettest summer for six years,” said Shannon Symons from the bureau’s climate centre ...

Remarkably, not one day this summer pushed past 31 degrees.

“That’s only happened three times in the past (in 149 years of the bureau’s weather records), with the last being 1956 - it’s quite significant,” Ms Symons said.

Same chilly deal for most of the state - and elsewhere. Here’s Klaus Rohrich:

If this cooling trend continues for say, another four or five years, it’s going to make it difficult for the climate alarmist industry to continue advancing their agenda.

Considerations such as these usually have no effect on people whose worldview is seen through the lens of a disaster movie. They will merely move on to yet another catastrophic scenario with which to fill their otherwise mundane lives.

Good point; most types prone to shrieking about the end of the world do tend to lead dull lives. Imagine how boring your life must be to find excitement in turning off lights.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 04:31 AM
(41) CommentsPermalink

READERS SNUBBED

Andrew Bolt reports:

3AW host Neil Mitchell - a critic of Kevin Rudd’s farce of an ideas summit - says he was asked last night by “the Prime Minister’s office” to send one of his listeners as a delegate.

If criticism gets you a seat at RuddFest, this site could fill the place three times over. Where are our invites, Kevin?

Posted by Tim B. on 02/29/2008 at 01:12 AM
(43) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, February 28, 2008

HOORAY FOR E-DAY

Britain has just experienced its first E-Day:

Energy Saving Day (E-Day) will be happening between 6pm on Wednesday 27 February 2008 and 6pm on Thursday 28 February.

A launch event at St Paul’s Cathedral will feature:

(a) The Cathedral’s illuminations being left off
(b) A candle lit vigil
(c) A bicycle-powered cinema
(d) Fun and factual films
(e) Games
(f) A bicycle clinic

Why, everyone was looking forward to E-Day:

Some of the UK’s biggest environment and development charities have proposed positive solutions to climate change as their special contribution to E-Day. The charities that have porposed ideas and activities for E-Day include including Greenpeace, The RSPB, The Woodland Trust, Tearfund, Christian Aid, the BTCV, The Ashden Awards and the iCount campaign.

A well known journalist, George Monbiot, has also proposed an imaginative and practical solution ...

His last imaginative and practical solution was buying a car. So, how did E-Day work out?

E-Day did not succeed in cutting the UK’s electricity demand.

Electricity demand actually increased - due to (this is so beautiful) global cooling:

The drop in temperature between Wed 27 Feb and Thurs 28 Feb days probably caused this, as a result of more lights and heating being left on than were originally predicted ...

I am afraid that E-Day did not achieve the scale of public awareness or participation needed to have a measurable effect. I will do my best to learn the relevant lessons for next time. Thank you to everyone who helped me or left something off specially as their contribution to E-Day ... Please enjoy E-Day’s solution, video and science sections which all worked well.

Warmest regards, Matt

(Via Peter R.)

UPDATE. In other energy-saving developments:

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A drop in wind generation late on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers, the grid agency said on Wednesday.

The same thing happened at RuddFest! By the way, the next time someone begins howling about Texas and oil and rednecks and warmening:

Texas produces the most wind power of any state ...

UPDATE II. E-Day organiser Matt Prescott complains:

“We had problems. There was a change in temperature. If it had been warmer, we would have been happy.”

But warmening kills poley bears!

“I feel we haven’t been able to get the publicity to get the scale we needed. I would love to do it again with enough publicity to do it better.”

Good luck achieving that without electricity. What are you going to do, paint your message on the side of cats?

UPDATE III. The BBC reports:

The E-Day concept started life as Planet Relief, an awareness-raising BBC TV programme with a significant comedy element.

On that score, E-Day was a roaring triumph.

UPDATE IV. Proud defiance:

It was supposed to help get people to save electricity, but Energy Saving Day (E-Day), a campaign to get you to turn off your gadgets for the day is looking likely to fail, and fail badly ...

Defiant electricity users have used almost 1% more electricity than they normally would.

UPDATE V. Also in the UK, observe how an irate journalist - one of the good guys, in this case - deals with sky numpties. Full screen is the way to go.

UPDATE VI. A mate in London emails: “I totally missed ‘Turn Everything Off Day’, what with all the flying I’ve been doing lately.”

Posted by Tim B. on 02/28/2008 at 08:58 PM
(70) CommentsPermalink

GUEST INSULTED

Having previously described the Australian cricket team as a pack of wild dogs, Fairfax moral muppet Peter Roebuck is now livid over Matthew Hayden’s description of Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh (“a guest in this country”) as an obnoxious weed. Memo to Hayden: next time, call him a dog.

Not that Roebuck spares Indian players of criticism; oh, not at all. But look at whom he blames:

Urged on by television networks eager to cast them as heroes, Harbhajan and Ishant have turned into hotheads ...

Well, hang on a second. Here’s Roebuck’s January 8 column, massively circulated throughout Indian media:

Harbhajan Singh can be an irritating young man but he is head of a family and responsible for raising nine people ... Australian fieldsmen fire insults from the corners of their mouths, an intemperate Sikh warrior overreacts ...

Keep ducking and weaving, Peter.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/28/2008 at 08:40 PM
(23) CommentsPermalink

US OUT OF HAWAII!

On the matter of Japan’s Pearl Harbor bombing, a Code Pinker asks:

“What the hell were we doing in Hawaii anyway?”

Better ask Barack Obama. In other leftist news, Britain’s Laura Blood considers earthquakes:

At 12.54pm the West Midlands, North Yorkshire and London was hit by a Earthquake ...

Explosive volcanic eruption and tectonic activity are the two main causes of earthquakes. But with all the talk about global warming and how its effecting the environment isn’t this a sign that we really have to start leading greener lifestyles. Our erratic weather is starting to take real effect.

(Via Sgt. Turnkey and Murph)

UPDATE. Laura - “currently in my second year at Birmingham City University studying Media Communications specialising in Journalism” - has deleted her post. Or maybe she turned it off because of E-Day.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/28/2008 at 01:58 PM
(98) CommentsPermalink

NEWS BRIEFLETS: ANGER EDITION

• Achewood’s Chris Onstad admires the King of Angry: “If you’re like me, you know the power of watching Gordon Ramsay yell at people. He is truly fantastic at it. He is the Jimmy Page of becoming angry.”

• Jim Treacher is angry too.

• A person may become angry when trying to access the sometimes-OK LA-based Defamer, only to be redirected to the incredibly weak Australian version.

Posted by Tim B. on 02/28/2008 at 01:20 PM
(30) CommentsPermalink
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