Archive for December, 2007

Another Harry Potter

Looks like Rowling is tempted to write another Harry Potter book. Considering how much she has made from the series I ‘m not surprised. After reading Deathly Hollows I would like to know what Neville got up to in Hogwarts while Harry was away. Theres a good story there.

Author JK Rowling could be tempted to give in to her “weak moments” and write an eighth Harry Potter book.

The creator of the popular child wizard released the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series earlier this year.

But now Rowling has admitted she could be tempted to write another instalment, although Potter might not be the main character.

“There have been times since finishing, weak moments, when I’ve said: ‘Yeah, all right’ to the eighth novel,” Rowling told Time magazine.

“If, and it’s a big if, I ever write an eighth book about the (wizarding) world, I doubt that Harry would be the central character.

“I feel I’ve already told his story. But these are big ifs.

“Let’s give it 10 years.”

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Aliens of the Deep & Mission to Europa

Very dear to our hearts on Discovery-Enterprise is the exploration of the undersea world and its eventual colonization. We also dream of humankind’s eventual expansion into the realm of outer space. Central to that dream is the eventual discovery of other Ocean Worlds within our solar system and elsewhere in the Milky Way Galaxy.

No other documentary in recent years epitomizes that dream than the 2005 IMAX documentary ‘Aliens of the Deep’ directed and produced by fellow Atlantica Expeditions crew member James Cameron.

Join us on a voyage of discovery on Earth in our very own Ocean World Aquatica and beyond in search of other life bearing Ocean Planets.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Welcome 2008 !

Protect the Children!

The wowsers are back. Apparently we are going to join China and Saudi Arabia by censoring the Internet. All to protect children from the horrors of Internet porn:

EVERY Australian with an Internet connection could soon have their web content automatically censored.

The restrictions are planned by the Federal Government to give greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites.
Under the plan, all Internet service providers will have to provide a “clean” feed to households and schools, free of pornography and other “inappropriate” material.
Australians who want uncensored access to the web will have to contact their Internet service provider and “opt out” of the service.
Online civil libertarians yesterday warned the freedom of the internet was at stake, while internet providers were concerned the new measures could slow the internet in Australia to a crawl.
They said it was a measure usually associated with oppressive regimes and was no alternative to proper parental monitoring.
But Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said everything possible had to be done to shield children from violent and pornographic online material.
“We have always argued more needs to be done to protect children,” he said. Senator Conroy said the clean feed, also known as mandatory ISP filtering, would prevent users from accessing prohibited content. ……
The previous government made a free internet filter available but us children can’t be counted on to use it, so censorship is the answer. Yeah, right. Call me a cynic but the fact that minor party politicians like Family First’s Steve Fielding will be controlling the balance of power in the new Senate may have something to do with it.

Fortress Australia

The left are at it again. Now that Labor is in government they want to strip the Australian Defense Force and leave us without an effective military. Have a read of Labor hack Michael Costello’s recent article, its a return to the disastrous fortress Australia defense policy of the previous Labor government. Which means you concentrate on protecting Australia from a mythical invasion with subs and advanced jet fighters and cut everything else. We saw what the result of that was in Timor. Our army had been so run down that even a modest peace keeping exercise like that was a complete stretch. We needed to borrow US equipment and hire Russian transport planes to do it. Had the Indonesians decided to shoot back we would have been gone. The reality is we need to defend our continent and our national interest. We can not isolate ourselves from the rest of the world, we have an import/export economy, major events on the other side of the planet effects on our lives. Not only that but if we were threaten by an aggressive enemy they would be a threat to other nations in the region too. Thats why we fight our battles away from our shores not at our borders, thats not going to change.

The Howard government learn t this the hard way in Timor and Iraq and was building upthe ADF with tanks, helicopters, the AAW destroyers and importantly the LHDs. To the Left this is anathema because it gives the government the option of projecting major force away from our borders. They want to remove that option and retreat into isolationism.

The Left’s liking for the F-22 has to be seen in this context. The F-22 would be an ideal plane for the Australian left. Its deadly and modern but useless for our needs. The USA is the only country that has the F-22 , it would be expensive for us to maintain and be regarded as a strategic asset, similar to the F-111. Wannabe top guns would love to fly it but would be unlikely to see combat. Besides, its not for export! Thats why we are getting the F-35, the F-35 is a multi role aircraft that will be the workhorse of air forces around the world. Its a fighter we can easily slot in to what ever mission is required.

Which brings us to Mr Beazley and submarines. Mr Beazley wants the government to double the number of subs to 12. He wants more subs to defend our ships from enemy submarines. Emmmm. How does he propose to do that? Sure, the Americans with their nuke subs can hunt down enemy subs and escort their fleet but our submarines are conventional so are much slower submerged. They are not going to be escorting the navy. Mr Beazley is Mr Fortress Australia, 12 expensive submarines would soak up so much of the defense budget it could only be done by cutting back other acquisitions.

The big acquisition to watch is the LHDs. The Landing Helicopter Docks will replace the HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla , two former US ships now over thirty years old. In size and shape the LHDs are similar to small aircraft carriers like the old Melbourne. But although they could also support the VSTOL F-35B, they are not really carriers. They are amphibious transport ships that can take over a thousand men and their equipment to trouble spots. Thats why the left hate them. While in opposition Rudd’s team supported the LHD purchase, let hope they withstand leftest pressure and don’t change their minds.

Remember Pakistan has nukes

I think Mark Steyn sums up best the current situation in Pakistan:

….Since her last spell in power, Pakistan has changed, profoundly. Its sovereignty is meaningless in increasingly significant chunks of its territory, and, within the portions Musharraf is just about holding together, to an ever more radicalized generation of young Muslim men Miss Bhutto was entirely unacceptable as the leader of their nation. “Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything,” I wrote last month. “It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate.” The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They’d arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a “united” “democratic” “movement” and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them. That’s what diplomats do: They find guys in suits and get ’em round a table. But none of those representatives represents the rapidly evolving reality of Pakistan. Miss Bhutto could never have been a viable leader of a post-Musharraf settlement, and the delusion that she could have been sent her to her death. Earlier this year, I had an argument with an old (infidel) boyfriend of Benazir’s, who swatted my concerns aside with the sweeping claim that “the whole of the western world” was behind her. On the streets of Islamabad, that and a dime’ll get you a cup of coffee……

What concerns me is that they have nukes, lets hope this report is correct:

THE White House said it was confident that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was secure and did not risk falling into extremists’ hands after the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

“At this time, as far as I know, it is the assessment of the intelligence community that Pakistan’s weapons arsenal is secure,” spokesman Scott Stanzel told reporters near the president’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Stanzel did not say whether President George W. Bush, who is spending the remainder of the year at his Texas home, brought up the nuclear question during a phone call to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf yesterday.

But he acknowledged that it was a major topic of discussion between US and Pakistani officials amid fears of further instability in the wake of Bhutto’s death…….

Mediocre Sydney

Piers Akerman is dead right, Sydney is just not living up to its potential:

But the great natural Harbour and these two man-made structures divert attention from the reality that Sydney is otherwise mired in mediocrity. It should be a city to rival New York, Paris or Berlin – but without the Bridge, the Opera House and the Harbour, it could just as easily be Minneapolis, or any other undistinguished western city.

Sad to say, but Melbourne is Australia’s cultural and sporting capital, even though the major media companies are headquartered in Sydney. Melbourne is again trying to reclaim its title as the nation’s finance capital as well.

Akerman identifies one of the major problem New South Wales has, the best political leaders bypass State politics and go straight to Canberra. We get the time servers and leftovers. If some of the top NSW Liberals like Turnbull, Nelson or even Hockey or Abbott had gone into state politics Iemma would be long gone.

I like his idea of giving Sydney its own police force, policing is a local government function in the USA and I think a local police force would be more responsive. Perhaps we should follow the American part and all the Commissioner or Sheriff to be elected for the same reason.