Construction zone

We currently live in a recently constructed new subdivision, and as such there is still a fair bit of construction of new houses nearby, however mostly it has been far enough away that the worst you get of it is going on is seeing the concrete trucks rumbling past along the road.

In the last few weeks however both the vacant block immediately behind us, and the one across the road have begun having new houses built on them.

Jack loves it of course, as there’s always something to see out the window during the day, and new things to explore each evening, but for us it’s a bit wierd, as they’re kind of boxing us in, and the builders do sometimes seem to start their banging, hammering, sawing and the like at some disconcertingly early hours. Twenty past six in the morning a few weekends ago…


Firstly, hooray for those quirky folk at MIT:

1. They think they’ve discovered the molecular basis for fear. Now if that isn’t a potential target for military drug R&D I don’t know what is.

2.  They’ve also been tinkering with next generation space suits, which instead of being pressurised are just really really elastic, to counteract the effects of the no atmosphere of space, and the low atmoshere of other plants/moons.

Next, using the power of photon emission some guys have developed a genuine random number generator. This is great because up until now most all computer based random numbers were just approximations generated by an algorithm, and not actually random. What’s even better is it’s apparently available free of change via the internet for researchers or other people interested in random numbers.

Finally, those/us cooky New zealanders, they’ve come up with an idea to make a biofuel derived from algae that can be used to power commercial jets. They go on to say that algae ponds covering “only” 34,000 square kilometers could supply enough fuel for all the world’s aircraft. That sounds great in theory, but that’s somethink like 15% of NZ’s land area, that doesn’t sound quite to practical…

Sometimes people make me so furious

..that I don’t even know what I can do.

I have been following with oscillating levels of furiousness the unfolding drama of the Indian trained Doctor from the Gold Coast who has been charged with providing material support to a terrorist organisation, after he left his mobile phone sim card in Britain with his second cousin, who has subsequently been implicated in the recent attempted car bombings in the UK.

(for those of you in NZ/elsewhere who have not heard much about this: Yes, they are actually being that ridiculous.)

The Australian federal police have forensiced his entire house and held him for questioning on no charges for 11 days (although at least here, as opposed to UK/US the police has to go back to court every 2-3 days and apply to a judge for an extension of the detention, and provide a reasonable argument as to why it was necessary).

Then when they eventually charged him (seemingly because they wanted to keep holding him, but couldn’t do so without a charge) he applied for bail, and a judge (sensibly) said effectively “He gave his cousin a sim card?? Yeah, I can see how that makes him a really dangerous person”, and granted him bail.

The thing that happened almost immediately which has got my currently fuming is that the federal immigration minister revoked his imigration visa, so that if he wasn’t in jail he would be rounded up and locked in one of Australia’s legally dubious (according to the UN and several groups specialising in International Law) immigration detention centers.

The whole thing smacks of (a) legislative interference in a judicial matter, and (b) downright vindictive f*ckwit arsehole nastiness on the part of the government (again) in a migrant legal rights issue.

I keep on thinking about my long term future in Australia with regard to staying here and naturalising etc, but in the decade I lived in NZ and was politically aware of these kinds of issues I think there may have been 1 time I was infuriated by the nastiness of the government, whereas in the 5 years I’ve been in Australia there have been 3 or 4 thing which have made me angry towards and deeply ashamed of this country’s government.

So today I once again got fuming mad, expressed my opinions (intermixed with a healthy quantity of expletives) to Simone (who, to my frequent consternation, has almost no political interest at all) and did the only think I could think to reasonably do as law abiding member of society: I wrote to the local MP (and the local federal MP and Senator..). I can only hope that they are as willing to meddle in the workings of the judiciary as the minister of immigration seems to be.

I doubt it will amount to anything, but it is about the only thing available to me to dispel my feelings of of anger, frustration, and perceived helplessness.

(And as an aside, aren’t those the three things they tell you are the foundations of terrorism recruitment in minority groups, and thus precisely what governments are supposed to avoid causing? (Just a thought). )

There goes credibility

Details remain scarce, but it seems that the Indian doctor from the gold coast who has been being questioned by the Australian Federal Police in relation to the recent failed London bombings has been charged with Terrorism related offences, seemingly solely on the basis of having lived with one of the UK suspects previously, and having left his mobile phone sim card with that person when he moved to Australia. So far there seem to be no suggestion that he even knew his ex-house mate had an extremist agenda.

If that’s all they’ve got on him then the AFP is looking pretty stupid, and I look forward to a judge telling them to get the f**k out of his/her court and stop wasting the nation’s time.

I am also quietly looking forward to the other doctor who was questioned but was (by the AFP’s public statements) never even a suspect, and who had his name leaked to the press by the police, suing the arse off the Queensland police for loss of income, defamation, anguish, and breach of privacy.

We seem to live in an increasingly depressingly moronic society whenever anything related to domestic terrorism comes up.

The flourishing of wands

On thursday I went with Simone and two of our friends Margaret and Prue to see the new Harry Potter movie.

It was good, although having recently re-read the book as some light bedtime reading I found it a bit frustrating how much of the good stuff in the book they had to cut in order to fit it into the 2 1/2 hours. This phenomenon is becoming more and more prominent (and, in my opinion, problematic) as they get further and further through the series. Harry is also starting to look disconcertingly old, and perhaps more incongrously, buff for the character he’s supposed to be portraying.

Still, I enjoyed it overall, and it’s only a short while until the next book comes out (with recent suggestions in the media that JKR may not be as averse to writing more Harry Potter books in the future (contrary to her previous assertions that there would only be 7)).

I also saw the other day that they’ve released the companion game for the Order of the Phoenix movie, and one of the flavours it comes in is for the Wii. This is cool, because it would appear that part of the game is that you use the Wiimote as a wand to cast spells. I must say I’m looking forward to wingarduim leviosa’ing stuff, and perhaps even Reducto’ing a few things. 🙂

Here’s an interesting statistic

According to a new poll, 45 percent of Americans are in favor of Congress impeaching George Bush. I don’t think they specified what he should be impeached over (let’s face it, Congress has several good options they could choose from), but that’s a lot of people who think that just getting him out of the white house isn’t enough, and that he should face charges.

And they went after Clinton for much less. As the common saying goes, when Clinton lied, no-one died.

Amusingly, Cheyney (the VP) fares even worse. 54% think he should be impeached…