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Comment Re:At last some sense. (Score 2) 68

I'm well aware of the situation as I've been following it for over half a decade since the former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson first put the kybosh on R18+.

Unfortunately in SA the Labor party that is the government is controlled by a "Catholic right" faction. The former AG held a lot of sway in that faction until he finally went so off the rails they tapped him on the shoulder and replaced him with the current guy, so you can probably deduce why the government never directed the former AG in how to handle the issue.

I do agree with what John Rau is proposing though as I've always wondered why we have M and MA ratings as they seem so similar.

Comment At last some sense. (Score 2, Informative) 68

It's about time the Labor party pulled its finger out.

Unfortunately, this announcement is nothing more than an attempt to distract the vapid media from the SA Labor party's woes of last week:

* The worst opinion poll in the party's history.
* A Labor MP was arrested for child pornography offences.
* A minister resigned without explanation less than three months into the job.

Comment Inconveniences galore (Score 1) 439

So far it's been a pretty mild summer here in my part of down under (all crops are being harvested late) until this weekend. It's also been terribly inconvenient weather as well... every weekday when I leave for work it's warm and sunny and the ocean is nice and calm so I think "can't wait to get the boat out on the weekend", but then the wind starts blowing sometime on Friday night and doesn't stop blowing until sometime on Sunday night which means the water is too rough.

No wind this weekend for once, but the forecast for today was 41 so we went out before sunrise this morning to do some squidding. We bagged a few dozen, but the sun was stinging our skin by 8:30am thus indicating an accurate forecast so we came back in at 9am to seek shelter indoors and spent most of the day sitting in air-conditioned comfort and watching the cricket.

Terribly inconvenient.

Comment Technical Constraints (Score 1) 362

Top-shelf games push systems to the limits. If you have split screen you have to render and perhaps simulate multiple scenes per video frame. Memory and processing power are scarce resources. If you scale back your graphics then critics and players pan you for having "shit grafix" compared to the other top-shelf title with no split-screen multiplayer and your sales suffer.

Comment The funny thing is... (Score 1) 258

If you'd have said six months ago that Tony Abbott had a good chance of being Prime Minister, you'd have been mercilessly mocked. Back then, Kevin Rudd was the Most. Popular. Prime Minister. Ever. for some reason and the Liberal party was in a complete mess.

Now, Kevin Rudd is nursing some knife wounds in his back delivered by his deputy not even two months ago and Tony "Mr Personality" Abbott is in the running for the top job. How did it all go so wrong? Well, that's a long story...

Comment Re:Democracy? (Score 1) 865

You wish for a system where the carrot (i.e. pork) is replaced with the stick (i.e. 'discipline'). So if someone on principle votes against his party, what happens? Is he thrown out of the party? Replaced with someone else? Then it's a dictatorship since the voted-in individual is being replaced by a party-chosen puppet.
It depends upon what party you are a member of.

Of the two major parties in Australia, the Labor party does not allow dissent and MP's who vote against the party line (cross the floor) are kicked out of the party. The Liberal party, on the other hand allows dissent and doesn't kick you out of the party for crossing the floor. It's rather rare for it to happen and if you do it can certainly harm your future in the party.

Labor and its supporters are always quick to make political hay out of any dissent within the Liberal party, but at least from my point of view I think it's better that you can speak out against party policy than have to swallow your integrity and toe the party line.

The funny thing though is that quite a few people in Australia wish our politicians were a bit more like they are in the USA and not so beholden to the party line. The grass is always greener on the other side. :)

Comment Supply constraint? (Score 1) 581

Although I can't be bothered to read the PDF, I take it the good doctor hasn't heard of a little thing called ODX?

It's short for Olympic Dam eXpansion, a project by the world's largest mining company, BHP Billiton, to create the largest mine the world has ever seen. We're talking about an open cut mine that will eventually be over one kilometre deep and multiple kilometres in diameter where they'll be shifting more than one tonne of ore out of it every second, 24/7 for 100 years or more. They keep upgrading the reserve estimates because they haven't found the true extent of the ore deposit, which alone accounts for something like 30% of known reserves. Currently the mine produces around 5,000 tonnes each year, which isn't the largest (Ranger in the Northern Territory is) but if the expansion goes ahead on the scale they're planning then it will be spitting out much, much more.

Then there's some other large deposits in Western Australia that are only now being developed as a change of government has seen the ban on Uranium mining lifted. It's even worse in the eastern states of Australia, as they have prohibited even exploring for uranium. Hooray for the luddite Labor party! The party that is okay in South Australia and federally to be mining and exporting it, but not using it here and won't even entertain discussion of the pros and cons of Australia adopting nuclear energy.

So if there's a shortage then the price will rise (which it did in the last few years because of fears of running out of the cheap bombs) and that will spur miners to start mining already known deposits that couldn't be mined profitably at lower prices. It will also spur further exploration and eventually the price will rise high enough that it becomes more economical to reprocess spent fuel, which is apparently 90-95% still good.

There's enough Uranium out there that we'll never run out for centuries, and then there's Thorium if fusion continues to forever be 40 years away.

Comment Re:The Energy of Global Warming (Score 1) 148

I'd say the more plausible explanation for this one is that extensive rains earlier in the year over the Lake Eyre basin resulted in fine silt being deposited over the thousands of square kilometres of floodplains as the water made its way over months towards the lake. The floods have gone and the silt has dried up then been picked up by an unusually big gust of wind that has carried it further than it normally would.

Anyone who's spent some time out bush would have encountered at least one dust storm before.

Comment Re:Spend half your life in it (Score 1) 460

Same, although since I tend to sleep for about eight hours it's more 1/3 of my life. =]

I got one of those "newfangled" memory foam mattresses and can honestly say it's the best purchase I've made so far. It was the second-most expensive mattress available in the store (the most expensive being the king size version) and I have never had better sleep in my life, even more so since I splurged on some top-shelf bed linen and pillows as well.

The only thing I don't like about it is that it's so comfortable I struggle to find the will to get out of bed each morning!

Comment Aussie (Score 1) 711

Being an Australian, I'm naturally biased, but after looking through the other sorts of plugs around the world on Wikipedia I reckon we've got the best design (apparently China uses it as well). Polarised and grounded sockets with switches and plugs with sturdy pins. In the last few years the standard was updated to include a bit of insulation around the base of the pins for added safety.

Possibly the only improvement that could be made is to put a fuse in the plug like the poms do, but I think it makes more sense to have the fuse in the appliance - especially in the case where the appliance has a removable cord.

Comment Re:The article presumes manmade global warming (Score 1) 227

I think us humans generally have an inability to perceive natural cycles in the climate. The current drought is the worst since the decade-long one in the 1890's. We only have weather data going back a couple of hundred years in Australia, so I think it's pretty arrogant to think that we understand the climate here fully.

Between settlement in 1836 and 1865 when Goyder's Line was surveyed, cropping in South Australia reached hundreds of kilometres into the north - far beyond the line - because the belief at the time was "the rain follows the plough", but really it was just an exceptionally wet period of time. Then Goyder's Line was drawn and has held true ever since.

Plus I'd argue the real reason behind the water rationing in capital cities has been a failure of successive governments all over Australia for a generation to plan in advance for population growth by building infrastructure before it's needed.

Comment Re:Pickens may be losing it. (Score 1) 414

There's buttloads of natural gas out there. Here in Australia we apparently have known reserves large enough to keep us running for a few centuries, and our reserves pale in comparison to say Russia.

You can run internal combustion engines on natural gas. Lots of buses run on it here in Oz, and I'm sure the only thing stopping cars being able to run on it is the government not being able to gouge us for fuel excise when everyone can fill up from the gas main at home. There's also diesel/gas engines that are used to run gensets in remote areas as natural gas is cheaper than diesel and the diesel is only used to get the engine running.

And if you're not going to run vehicles directly on natural gas I believe you can also use it as a feedstock for creating "syncrude" via the Fischer-Tropsch process, which can be refined into ultra-clean high-grade diesel and jet fuels.

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