Saturday, August 27, 2011

Painful Flight Booking

There are probably far worse experiences than I just had with Virgin Australia, but the flight I just booked with them felt like they were grabbing money from me with one hand and throwing it back in my face with the other.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Sickest Book has Merit

I'm not sure why, maybe Geoffrey Rush's appointment as President of AACTA, but I found myself thinking about the movie Marquis de Sade. I remembered that a friend of mine had read 120 Days of Sodom back when we were kids and books generally came on paper.

So I started reading up about the author and his novels on Wikipedia, reading about how he was a pretty sick guy, but his writings are both political and philosophical as well as sick. I downloaded a copy of 120 Days of Sodom to see what it was like, and was confronted with most of what is on the list of what would be blocked by Conroy's Folly. I won't even discuss in detail what was in there, because I don't want search engines to associate those keywords directly with my site.

Take Your Time, It's Faster

I've been a software developer for about a decade now. I've worked my way up to a team lead position and delivered quite a few projects, with a couple of really big ones recently. These recent ones had mixed levels of success, depending upon how success of IT projects is measured. From these projects, I've learned some things, which I'm going to share now.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Proving the Bible is Questionable in Court

An interesting thing that I've just stumbled upon: We can test in the courts whether religious texts are reasonably questionable.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Crappy Commercial Claims

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the kind of crappy claims that cosmetic companies make, with a view to presenting an option for them to actually improve their scientific credibility.

That proposal was predicated on the industry having motivation to have real credibility. I don't think they do, as the numbers don't work. Faux credibility, like that gained by showing complex computer graphics, is much cheaper. Skirting the boundary of deception in order to make large profits is a foregone conclusion, but I don't want to just single out that industry on those grounds.

I want to single out some other industries as well, just to point out their bad behaviour:

Crappy Cosmetic Claims

Buzzword bingo claims that are not helped by the existence of multiple spelling mistakes.

What do cosmetics companies like Estée Lauder and some guy called Gene Science have in common? They're involved in making the cosmetics industry completely disreputable.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Profitable Pizza

Here's an idea that I've been telling my friends and colleagues about for a few years, in the hope that someone will quit their job, work on it, and prove that it works, just so I can say, "huh, I thought so."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Keeping Private Data out of Governments' Hands

Whenever a company says "we value your privacy" or "we will never pass your details onto third parties", there is always the implied, and sometimes expressly stated exception for "government and regulatory authorities as required by law" as has been revealed recently with regard to cloud service providers.

When companies or government agencies ask personal questions, if they really want truthful responses, there should be some line in the sand that sets a non-negotiable barrier against compulsion by the state to reveal the personal information.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Comparison of the Engineers and Workchoices Cases


An essay from my study of constitutional law. I crammed the whole thing into a weekend, but it got pretty decent marks, and I managed to load it up with plenty of opinion, around the need to write down constitutional protections against government expansion of power and reduction of civil liberties, rather than relying on implied rights, which are doomed.
Other than converting it from a .docx into .html, it's as-is, including the poor-quality conversion itself. I probably should have cleaned it up according to the lecturer's comments, but meh. Anyway, here it is...

Critically compare and analyse the development and limits to the Australian Constitution by the High Court in its decision in Amalgamated Society of Engineers v Adelaide Steamship Co (“Engineers case”) (1920) and New South Wales v Commonwealth (“Workchoices case”) (2006).

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Oaths and Affirmations

In Victorian legislation, section 21 of the Evidence Act 2008 requires sworn evidence to be given after an oath or affirmation. The difference between oaths and affirmations is that oaths are sworn to god, whereas affirmations are promises to the court.

This is faulty.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Opes Prime Collapse and Phillip Thomas

The Opes Prime collapse is back in the media. This was where a stock-broking firm was lending money to people for them to buy shares, but until the money was paid back, Opes Prime technically owned the shares. When there were some defaults, Opes Prime ran out of money, went bust and started selling all the shares that other people thought they owned. This caused a minor collapse on the ASX as a variety of companies took plunges.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Solution to the Google+ Nymwars

Google is going through a lot at the moment due to their decision to not allow pseudonyms. This article details a lot of the opposition out there to their decision, but also guesses at the reasoning behind it.
It seems to me that the whole issue could be easily resolved with a slight model change.
Currently, you can find people by their real name, and that's the only name that people can use on Google+. But this doesn't help if you want to use your World of Warcraft screen name for some people and your real name for others.
So instead, what if you could just assign a name to each circle, and then, for each circle, say whether the name should be searchable?

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Evolutionary Case for Homophobia?

OK, so this is just a theory. Really just a musing, even. I'm not saying that it's the truth. I've just wondered about it... Is there an evolutionary case for homophobia to exist?

There have been a lot of men, for a very long time, who have, for one reason or another, thought that the persecution of other men could be justified on the grounds that they didn't want to compete for women.. You'd think that the straight men who are left would be happy for making the competition lighter, right? But that's not the case, and I'll present one potential reason that could result in the observed behaviour of homophobia.