Crimespeak: Victoria Government’s swear jar
Tuesday May 31st 2011, 9:03 pm

Victoria’s Premier Ted Baillieu has apparently solved all the other problems in the state, as he now has time and money to waste on criminalising speech.

Beware the swear word or cop a fine

By Jean Edwards

The Victorian Government plans to introduce laws this week that will give police permanent power to issue on-the-spot fines to people who swear.

Under the proposed legislation, people could be fined close to $240 for language that is considered indecent or offensive.

Attorney-General Robert Clark says the changes mean police will not have to use the courts to deal with people who use bad language.

“We’re going to be confirming the power of police to issue on-the-spot infringement notices for these sorts of offences, which will free up police resources,” he said.

“It will also enable them to more effectively act against the sort of loud-mouthed, obnoxious behaviour that can make going out to public places unpleasant for other members of the public.”

Lovely! Government by fiat- no trials needed to determine nor appeal ‘indecency’ or ‘offensiveness’ of the speech. The arbiter will be the Victoria Police. Perhaps the police operating manual will be upgraded to include what words are indecent and/or offensive. We can have no moral relativism- speech will be indecent/offensive or it won’t.

However, classification at kerbside may be a bit problematic for the officers. For example, exhorting Ted Baillieu to ‘ram a jam jar up his poop chute’ may indeed be indecent, offensive or both, while not using any the more or less standard list of indecent/offensive terms such as shit, piss, cunt, fuck, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits. Fart, turd and twat have certainly been decriminalised in recent times as one can normally hear all three on commercial television in Australia. Consequently, asserting that ‘Ted Baillieu is a turd farting twat,’ could not be prima facie deemed to be either indecent or offensive.

There appears to be no mention of whether it will be indecency or offensiveness expressed in English which will be criminalised or whether one will have sufficiently violated the law by uttering epithets in, for example, Hebrew, eg. ‘טד Baillieu מבאס הפין של סוס בגלל שהוא אוהב את הטעם.‘ As such, there may be some discrimination issues afoot, as well as the expense of hiring on-demand translators for all of the 300 languages spoken in Melbourne.

Oh- and I haven’t even touched on the civil disobedience factor

…and I can’t wait for Tim Minchin’s next appearance in Melbourne.

Consequently, I’m not quite as sure of the reduction in the load on the courts and police as Attorney General Robert Clark appears to be.

I predict great humiliation for Baillieu and Clark. Let the games begin.


Barry O’Farrell: ‘Solar policy will deliver jobs’ – straight to the dole queue…
Sunday May 29th 2011, 1:29 pm

This video was uploaded to YouTube by liberalnsw on Jul 13, 2009. Reposted for truth, since O’Farrell now is deleting anything he can to hide his former support for the Solar Bonus Scheme.

O’Farrell: “Gross feed-in tariffs make environmental sense. They make economic sense. They help the environment and they help create jobs. The gross feed-in tariff system provides a real incentive for people to install solar electricity systems. The gross feed-in tariff system can help businesses like this to expand the number of jobs available at this time.”

All quite true- except when O’Farrell, once in power, wants to use inflated scheme cost figures to make the former Labor government look even worse (than they made themselves look) and attempt to justify retrospectively slashing the feed-in tariff from 60c/kWh to 40c, screwing mum & dad solar scheme investors and devastating the solar power industry, not just in NSW but in other states and territories as well.

Mike Carlton nails it:

Barry’s no longer the golden boy
May 28, 2011

That didn’t take long. After just two months as Premier, Barry O’Farrell has shown that he is entirely capable of the shameless political trickery he denounced so piously in opposition.

We’re talking the Solar Bonus Scheme and the decision to cut the household tariff rebate from 60¢ to 40¢ per kilowatt. In one stroke, O’Farrell has dudded about 100,000 punters who stuck solar panels on their roofs in the belief they had a solid contract with government, any government.

It is a grubby stunt worthy of his Labor predecessors, and if he is taking political pain for it, then good. He deserves to. Panicky fiddling at the edges with hardship compensation is lipstick on the pig.

Hypocrisy is never a good look, Baz. Being a welcher is even uglier.


Mobile phone and baby monitor RADIATION!!
Sunday May 22nd 2011, 11:41 am

Thanks to pop-culture pseudoscientists flogging nonsense about mobile phone headsets and mobile phones killing bees in the mainstream media of late, mgk has been getting a ton of hits on all my past posts on the topic. It’s pretty obvious to me from the search terms showing up in my statistics engine that the general public isn’t clear on the meaning of the term ‘radiation.’

While the term ‘radiation’ is commonly associated with gamma ray emissions from radionuclear materials such as uranium, plutonium, caesium, etc., what ‘radiation’ really means is ‘the emission of something from a single point.’ When you throw a stone in a pond, there is a ‘radiation’ of ripples in the water. When you light a candle, there is a ‘radiation’ of heat and light from the flame. No sane person to date has implicated pond ripples and candle flames as causations of cancers.

There’s clearly more than one kind of radiation. The dangerous sort is ionising radiation.

image source: US Environmental Protection Agency

When an emission has the ability to knock electrons off of atoms, it has the ability to damage DNA in living cells. Damaged DNA can cause the cell to improperly replicate, sometimes expressing as cancers. Ionising radiation can come from a number of different sources beside radionuclear materials. Ultraviolet (UV) light, x-rays and cosmic rays from objects in space are all sources of ionising radiation.

However, non-ionising radiation does not have the ability to knock electrons off of atoms and thus damage DNA. As you see in the above illustration, non-ionising radiation includes all types of electromagnetic radiation, from magnetic fields around a wire carrying DC (direct current, as from a battery) through to violet-coloured light. Way, way down on the scale are radio waves, which include signals from mobile phones and baby monitors (which are quite close to the FM broadcast band, commonly around 72MHz).

Consequently, anyone trying to tell you that you need a special headset to keep your mobile phone away from your head or some sort of ‘radiation shield’ for your phone isn’t trying to keep you from getting brain cancer. They’re trying to sell you headsets and useless stickers.

Some mobile phone makers include with their products instructions to keep your phone a few millimetres away from your ear when using them. Why this is done is a total mystery to me. Their products do not emit ionising radiation. Keeping the phone a few mm away from one’s ear will not do anything significant to reduce the strength of the radio frequency (RF) field in the vicinity of one’s head. SAR ratings also are equally unnecessary.

Some users of mobile phones remark that the side of their head feels warm after extended periods of phone use and attribute this to the RF energy being emitted from the device. It’s simpler than that. When you discharge a battery, it will warm up due to current passing through the battery’s internal resistance. Also, the components in most electronic circuits, notably amplifiers, also warm up as currents are passed through them. If you held a warm brick to the side of your head, you’d get the very same result- and this can hardly (rationally) be thought to be carcinogenic.

As of 2008, there were 4.1 billion mobile phones in service on this planet. Strong low-frequency electromagnetic fields have been around as long as there has been an AC mains electrical grid (1920s). RF signals have been around since Marconi sent long-distance and trans-Atlantic radio signals from 1899-1901. Multi-hundred-thousand watt radio signals have been around since the 1930s, megawatt-level TV signals since the 1950s. Cellular telephony has been around since the late 1970s. Handheld mobile phones have been ubiquitous since the mid-1990s. Everyone born since about 1935 has lived their entire life bathed in LF and RF fields.

If electromagnetic fields and radio signals cause cancer, where are there billions of brain cancers? They don’t exist. The 10-year Interphone study looked at millions of mobile phone users and found no correlation with mobile phone use and brain cancer.

If you anyone tells you that mobile phones, their associated base stations and towers, baby monitors, microwave ovens or other radio signal emitting devices cause cancer, they’re a) ignorant of the science involved, b) trying to inflate their self-importance by being too helpful by half or c) trying to turn a buck off your own lack of information. Fear of the unknown is curable with just a little education.

Relax and phone up a friend for a good, long chat. It’s safe!


NSW Premier O’Farrell welches on Solar Bonus Scheme promise, screwing pensioners
Wednesday May 18th 2011, 10:48 am

Do you do business with or have contracts with the State of NSW? Do you own bonds in the NSW Government? Would you have done so if you knew the NSW Government would unilaterally rip up your contract or change the terms of your agreement without your consent? Barry O’Farrell has done just that with the Solar Bonus Scheme.

The NSW Solar Bonus Scheme worked like this: You invest a few thousand dollars out of pocket in a solar power generation system which is connected to the NSW AC mains power grid through an inverter, which converts the panels’ DC output into 240V AC power. The AC power your system feeds into the grid is bought by the State of NSW at the contractually agreed feed-in tariff rate of 60c per kilowatt-hour (kWh). If your system generates more power than you use in your home, your power bill is zero and the NSW Government sends you a cheque for the difference. If you use more kilowatt-hours than your solar panels feed into the grid, the value of the amount you generate is taken off of your electricity bill.

I’m a pensioner, which means I have next-to-no disposable income and certainly no savings. My savings account has a $0 balance twice each month, on the same day my pension payment is received, as it all goes out on bills and living expenses. You might say my budget is extremely tight- it’s calculated to the penny every month.

When former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally announced on 27 October 2010 that she was cutting the feed-in tariff on the Solar Bonus Scheme from 60c to 20c/kWh as of midnight on that date, I had to make a snap decision as to whether or not to participate. I searched around a bit and found that Origin Energy was offering a 1.5kW solar package for $2990 on a 2-year, interest-free basis with a $299 down payment and repayments of $112 per month. The 1.5kW system was described as producing an annualised average of 6kWh per day. At a feed-in tariff of 60c/kWh (and barring an excessive amount of cloudy weather), the system would produce about $108 worth of feed-in tariff (FiT) income per month, coming within $4/month of paying for itself. The cost of the feed-in tariff meter and installation would be $300, over and above the cost of the installed solar panels and inverter.

Given that I believed the NSW Government had a contractual obligation to maintain the 60c/kWh FiT rate for those who signed up  for installation before midnight on 27 October 2010, for the life of the scheme (until July 1 2016), I decided, in good faith, to bite the bullet and borrow money for the $299 down payment and $300 FiT meter and installation cost. The system’s estimated $108/month output would come very close to covering the 24 months worth of $112/month repayments to Origin. My $599 capital outlay would be covered by about 8-9 months of FiT income. Any FiT income thereafter would go towards offsetting my electricity costs, until the end of the scheme in 2016.

However, despite his explicit pre-election promise to honour all existing Solar Bonus Scheme contracts if elected, new Liberal NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has now decided unilaterally to breach existing Solar Bonus Scheme contracts. O’Farrell plans to retrospectively cut the FiT rate to 40c/kWh, which means that my solar generation system can produce no more than $72/month worth of FiT income. Instead of being $4/month in the red ($108/mo FiT income, less $112/mo repayments to Origin), I’ll be $40/month in the red.

When your total monthly income as a pensioner is less than $1460- and it’s ALL committed, every single month- $40 less per month means something! What it means is $10/week less for groceries- and I only spend about $40/week on groceries now. BAM, 25% cut in my food budget! Would Mr O’Farrell have me supplant my now dented grocery budget from the local food bank? Perhaps sit with a tin cup and beg for coins in front of Roza Sage’s office? Dr Sage has already replied to a letter I emailed to her last evening, with her clear sentiment that she doesn’t give a damn about my problems and the present NSW Government is going to retrospectively screw anybody on the Solar Bonus Scheme, no matter how much they have invested and no matter their financial situation.

If bonds rating agencies are not considering revising the rating applied to NSW Government bond issues, they should be. Anyone who is party to a contract with the NSW Government should hedge their bets because the NSW Government is simply not trustworthy.


NEW STUDY shows mobile phone RADIATION!!!111!!one!! causes teh CANSER!! Except it doesn’t.
Tuesday May 17th 2011, 5:09 pm

The Hun takes another swipe at their pet scare story, ‘mobile phone radiation‘…

Council of Europe calls for ban on mobile phones and Wi-Fi in schools

* Wireless gadgets emit radiation – study
* Differs to WHO’s advice of little to no risk
* Jury still out on cancer, mobile phone link

EXPERTS have called for internet-connected mobile phones and wireless laptop computers to be banned in schools.

A major new study has found cancer-causing electromagnetic radiation generated by wireless gadgets – including baby monitors and cordless phones – may be harmful for children’s developing brain, reports the Herald Sun.

The influential Council of Europe examined evidence that wireless technologies had “potentially harmful” effects on humans and found that immediate action was required to protect children.

The respected body’s findings contrast sharply with advice from the World Health Organisation that exposure to electromagnetic fields posed little or no risk to human health.

Glen Iris mother of three Donna Latter Jones said the news was a concern given our wireless world.

Home-based Ms Latter Jones sells devices such as children’s aeroplane safety harnesses through kids travel essentials website [spammy link redacted -Ed.]

She said a combination of cordless phone, iPhone, desktop computer and laptop running all day meant her young children – Hayden, 4, Carly, 3 and Matthew, 2 – had grown up running freely through a field of potentially harmful magnetic radiation.

“Both my husband and I have definitely had concerns for a while over mobile phones and radiation, and try not to keep them close to our body,” she said.

She said the risks of internet-connected devices such as laptops to children was a cause for concern.

“I wouldn’t go as far as to support them being banned from classrooms, but if it turns out there are significant problems, then it should definitely be looked at,” she said.

“Parents should be able to make up their own minds based on what is important to their own families, but we are bombarded with so much information these days, it’s hard to know what to believe.”

After decades of often inconclusive research, the jury is still out on a link between mobile phones and cancer.

Sydney University professor Bruce Armstrong was among an international panel of researchers who participated in a decade-long investigation into the health effects of mobile phones.

Carried out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, on behalf of the World Health Organisation, the Interphone Project found no clear evidence of mobile phones causing ill-health.

Experts did, however, establish a possible link with brain tumours.

The Hun’s story is based on this Council of Europe document, which, first and foremost, is not a study. It’s a draft report which collects of a bunch of rumours and ‘public concerns,’ but it is most definitely not a scientific study. It contains no hypothesis, no data, no analysis, no discussion, no conclusions… and most importantly, no evidence- not of ‘cancers caused by electromagnetic radiation’ (as claimed by The Hun) nor of anything else, for that matter.  It’s a fact-free ‘preaching the controversy’ bit, designed to freak out non-critical thinkers.

I’d really like to know why The Hun likes to burn their mobile telephone service advertisers (such as Vodafone) like this.

Someone out there is benefiting from News Ltd publishing rubbish like this, but I can’t imagine who that may be. Could News Ltd be fishing for some cash to stop running scare stories about mobile phones? Lawsy sure lightened up on certain businesses after they ponied up some coin. Blackmail works- until you get busted.