Archive for July, 2008

The Flag of Aquatica

Aquatica represents all the undersea and underwater regions of the world, primarily consisting of the single planetary ocean that encircles the globe. This is the flag of that region that will soon be occupied permanently by a human population of Aquaticans.

The blue background represents the three dimensional blue void that will soon be filled with human dwellings, cities and the foundation of a new human empire. The sphere represents the blue ocean planet of the earth of which a vast majority is overlain by Aquatica. The green wave in the center represents the life of the ocean in all of its astonishing complexity and variations – including its human inhabitants. The green wave overlies the globe because knowledge of this living world comprises the most important aspect of why we will move there to stay – to understand, to protect and to recover from centuries of human abuse. As stewards of this – the most vital region of the planet – we come here to make it as pristine, beautiful and robust as it was in the beginning.

NASA: 50 Years of Exploration and Discovery

July 29th, 2008 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the beginning of the greatest era of exploration and discovery in human history. Perhaps future generations will look back on this era of human history and view it as a pivotal moment in humanity’s cultural evolution. We live in the epoch when humankind has taken the very first steps in becoming a multi-planetary species and a spacefaring civilization.

We at Discovery Enterprise would like to commemorate this auspicious occasion and all the men and women of NASA past and present, who through their dedication and team work made this all possible with a small yet very special tribute. Your efforts are paving the way for the next chapter of the Space Age and will ensure our long term survival as a species.

May the next fifty years be just as productive and awe inspiring.

To mark the occasion we at Discovery Enterprise would like to give our readers the chance to share in the festivities with the folowing videos – the entire series of the Discovery Channel’s monumental documentary “When We Left Earth”.

When We Left Earth – Part 01 & 02 – Ordinary Superman

When We Left Earth – Part 03 – Landing The Eagle

When We Left Earth – Part 04 – The Explorers

When We Left Earth – Part 05 – The Shuttle

When We Left Earth – Part 06 – Home in Space

Iemma’s Metro bullshit

The Iemma government hired a British transportation expert , Jim Steer, to review their Metro trains project. Unsurprisingly he found it a waste of money:

The document, obtained by the Herald , demolishes the metro proposal and the “optimistic” assumptions underpinning it.

It raises serious questions about the key transport commitment on which Morris Iemma has staked his Government’s future.

Written by Jim Steer, a world-leading transport consultant and executive with Britain’s former Strategic Rail Authority, the Sydney Transport Review report says the planned 38-kilometre Euro-style subway – from Rouse Hill to St James Station – is too long to be viable as a metro, is predicated on a poor business case and will do little to alleviate the CityRail congestion crisis.”

As it stands, it would seem that more harm than good would accrue to Sydney and its economy from proceeding with the project,” it says….

But of course the government has ignored the review, at least publicly:

Mr Watkins confessed he did not think “Jim Steer knew much about Sydney”, despite being paid to conduct the report.

“I have to say I met him in London in December. He had very little knowledge at that time of Sydney’s rail network or road network. I actually remember drawing both for him on a piece of paper,” he said.

“I think he’d visited Sydney once before.”

Then why was he hired Mr Watkins?

From the Premier’s office we get:

Justin Kelly, a spokesman for the Premier said: “Mr Steer’s work did not adequately address the question of how to deliver on the Government’s election commitment to deliver rail services to the north-west by 2015. The Government has a clear commitment to deliver rail services to Castle Hill by 2015 and Rouse Hill by 2017. So when advice was received that took it away from the plan we’d outlined to the people of the north-west, it was never going to be accepted….
Was he ever asked to provide an alternative? I expect the Metro project will last a bit longer but eventually die. Properly when Labor dumps Iemma the Incompetent.

Girlie drinks tax backfires

Rudd increased tax on mixed drinks supposedly to combat binge drinking. The result has been alcop sales have dropped but spirit sales increased.

IT was meant to reduce the amount alcohol being consumed by young people, but it seems Kevin Rudd’s tax on alcopops has had the opposite effect.

New figures from the Liquor Merchants Association of Australia show Mr Rudd’s 70 per cent tax hike on alcopops has resulted in the more expensive RTDs (ready-to-drink products) being left on shelves, while full-strength bottles of spirits are walking out the door.

The Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia (DSICA) claims the data proves Mr Rudd’s plan to tackle binge drinking has backfired. Last month, drinkers bought 30 per cent less alcopops than they did in April – before the RTD tax hike was imposed.

However sales of full-strength bottled spirits rose 46 per cent.

DSICA admits seasonal factors are at play, but is convinced the tax hike has still pushed up consumption…..

Is the CSIRO stuffed?

Andrew Bolt received an interesting e-mail from Art Raiche, former Chief Research Scientist of the CSIRO. Dr Raiche is critical of the CSIRO’s GW fear mongering, but what really concerns me is what he says about the CSIRO:

It is my strong belief that CSIRO has passed its use-by date. The organisation that bears the name of CSIRO has very little in common with the organisation that I joined in 1971, one that produced so much of value for Australia during its first seven decades. Of course, one cannot kill off a national icon directly but it can be slowly reduced in size and function. It is anachronistic to have a single organisation operating across so many sectors with sector funding allocations left in the hands of CSIRO’s incompetent management. I suggest that that many of its divisions should be excised with the funding of these divisions to be used to relocate its more competent scientists into relevant universities or government departments. In particular, I suggest excising divisions associated with minerals, IT, human nutrition and medicine because these are largely irrelevant to and lacking the competence of their industry sectors…….

Sadly, over the last decade, CSIRO has transformed itself from a once-respected research institute into a highly centralised, government enterprise (oxymoron?), replete with intersecting layers of expensive management, focused on continual reorganisation. Scientific independence has been lost, with scientists reduced to the status of process workers. Initiative is still permitted provided that it can pass through a complex set of business criteria set by managers who, for the most part, would lack the competence to hold similar jobs in private industry ……

If true (and I have no way to assess his comment) its terrible to see such an Australian institution decay to this level.

Joel Watch 2

The auto electrician is in the news again this time for taking a mate on terrorism tour:

DEFENCE Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has admitted taking a close friend on an official visit to Turkey and war-torn Afghanistan, a move dubbed “terrorism tourism” by the Coalition.

The revelation has sparked immediate calls from the Opposition to explain the security implications of Scott Holmes’ inclusion in Mr Fitzgibbon’s official party and what additional risks his presence posed to Mr Fitzgibbon’s Defence Force detail in Afghanistan.

Mr Fitzgibbon’s office has confirmed that Professor Holmes, an academic from the University of Newcastle in Mr Fitzgibbon’s electorate of Hunter, accompanied the minister on his official tours in May this year…..

Professor Holmes, who specialises in small business economics, has no expertise in either security or defence issues.

Qld Libs and Nats break down the wall

This will probably lead to a stronger Opposition in Queensland state politics. I hope Mal Brough the man behind Howard’s Aboriginal intervention policy, decides to stay in politics. He’s to good to lose.

QUEENSLAND Liberal and National parties have voted to merge, creating a new conservative force to be called the Liberal National Party (LNP).

Both parties today held separate conventions in Brisbane’s Sofitel Hotel, and both voted overwhelmingly in favour of the merger……..

Following the Liberal’s vote, State President Mal Brough left the convention.

Mr Brough earlier told delegates he retained serious reservations about the new party’s constitution, which he and other senior Liberals say amounts to a takeover by the Nationals.

He earlier said he would officially remain the party’s President until the LNP was ratified by the Federal Liberal Party, expected to take about three months.

Mr Brough said he didn’t know what his political future held. “There’s absolutely a career in politics if I want it, becuse that has been made very clear to me by my colleagues down south,” he said.

“But whether or not I intend to do that or not is another thing all together, that’s not a decision I’ve made.”…….

The parties have symbolically joined by removing the wall between the rooms in which they are holding their meetings.