Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bundaberg, Easter

I am going Down to Bundaberg for easter for the Qld Brass band Championships. Is anybody reading this going to be in Bundaberg at that time? Townsville is going to win the B-Grade championships, I am sure. There'll be a good march past as well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Larry one year on

I still can't get over the fact that *Not one person lost their life* with such a severe storm. Banana prices suddenly increased again in commemoration, however:)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Thought Experiment - Geopolitics vs acting locally

I'd like to contrast Nuclear proliferation (NP) and Anthropogenic global warming(AGW). For the sake of argument, I am going to assume that AGW (and NP) are bad and they are problems in which one has to think globally. How far can we really get by relying on individual good-will and diplomacy. Like with property crime within a country, it certainly helps if strong religious values exist which reduces theft and that people are well educated on the negative results of crime. However, where moral hazard exists, a system of deterrence is also required to prevent cheating. With both NP and AGW, surely it is not education that is the weakness. The NP Treaty is an excellent tool for reducing NP, but surely the weakness is a lack of a Global system to deter the cheaters. Pretty much any treaty done under the UN has this weakness. Talking about global emmissions targets is like talking about nuclear weapons targets. Without a robust global system of deterrence, we are putting the cart before the horse. Honest countries will be held hostage by cheating ones with nuclear weapons, and selfless carbon misers will mean more resources to exploit for the cheaters. What is happening in Iran is way more urgent than Global Warming :- If we can't keep countries to their promises with Nuclear weapons, what hope do we have for carbon emmission targets.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

South East Qld level 5 hah..

I just couldn't help snickering to myself as the level 5 water restrictions were announced recently. Move to North East Qld, I thought. I hope there's such a huge exodus of businesses and people, that their land valuations go down....
It was always a little bit hurtful during Townsville's droughts that we were nicknamed "Brownsville". Maybe Brisbane should be nicknamed Brisbrown?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Environmentally friendly power cable fault??!!

It took three months for me to discover a serious intermittent fault on a cable supplying power to our Linux mail server. The really strange thing was that it never once was off when we opened on a weekday morning, never turned off during a work day, but turned off (without exception again) every single night, and most sundays during the day! The first inkling was when somebody noted that emails weren't working when they came in on a Sunday. When I checked the log graphs of the server it became clear that it was turning off most nights and during the weekend. The "inexact" nature of the timing, and the "it turning off when nobody was expected to need it" factors seemed to point to human interference. Not so. Power fluctuations seemed to trigger on/off switching of the cable supplying the UPS. During the day, there was more on than off and the UPS remained charged. At low activity times it was more off than on, and when the UPS ran out of charge it turned off the server. Every morning (6:30) some kind of activity triggered the power back on and the server would reboot and stay on.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Lightbulbs - It's a scam

(re Australia's phase-out of incandescent lightbulbs) Ok, So there are no apparent victims, but it is the principle that matters the most. Intelligent citizens of democracies should always regard popular policies with very high degrees of suspicion. After all things like import quotas, tarriffs etc. are popular, but intelligent people know that they are basically scams. This scam is similar to our "Water-Wise" advertising scam. In this scam, local governments advertise how everyone should be saving water through the summer. Then, about a week after a severe downpour they advertise how little water everyone's been using and claim their water-wise campaign a huge success. Similarly, the government could have said they are phasing out film-type cameras (perhaps citing the energy intensive nature of producing the silver required in them or something) in favour of less polluting digital cameras. They could then advertise how little film is being used in Australia and claim their phase-out a raging success. Similarly with CRT TV's and LCD type ones. I guess the nature of this scam will be demonstrated by the comparison of incandescent lightbulb usage in Australia compared to a country that didn't advertise a phase-out. News items that feature a popular law change should be given the same regard as emails that tell you that you have won a prize. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is just good politics/marketing.