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Our mission

Are you that special person who - weary from trudging the endless superhighways - just longs to camp next to a glorious oasis of the mind? Do you desire to explore new frontiers, splash in shared ideas, fill your belly with the refreshing fruits of inspiration, and bask in the gentle rays of fond reflection?

Well, you can fuck right off. This, my friends, is not that place. This place is... The ShadowLands.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Do that new Swine Flu thing

Feeling poorly? A little dry in the throat? You may want to take a look at Theo's Swine Flu checklist.

Are you less concerned with being entertained than being seen as first to get to every fatuous online trend? Then you might be interested in this incredibly lame Swine Flu game.

If you thought that was pretty poor - now buy the t-shirts - or maybe this one - or the mugs and caps and the tie, or these, or the key rings and mouse mats...and don't forget the jokes.

Question They Won't Ask: Week XII

Each week The ShadowLands submits a question to ABC television's interactive Q and A program with the aim that it should be too hot for them to ask or publish. This week we are supremely confident:

Question for Tony:

During the week, you interviewed Professor Ian Plimer about climate change, but first of all, implied that his credibility could be questioned because he has worked for mining companies.

Do you get a tingle up your inside leg every time you discuss this subject knowing that your interviewees might mention your paid appearances at (at least) two pro global warming conferences?

UPDATE: Astonishingly...published.

Which is thicker - the ice or the Catlin expeditioners?

No signs from our heroes on the Catlin expedition that they intend to evacuate from the Arctic, despite concerns that today is the last day they can safely allow an aeroplane to land.

This could mean one of two things: after taking measurements, the expeditioners are convinced that the ice is thick enough for safe aeroplane landings, or they are just not very bright. Following events so far, neither eventuality can be entirely ruled out.

(Meanwhile, another expedition has found the ice is surprisingly thick. However, it is unclear if this work should be taken seriously, since the expeditioners have not sat around in frozen sleeping bags for days tending to their frost-bite.)

Going, going...

The Tanana River is looking decidedly slushy at the moment - good luck to all our guesstimators.

Eco-cowboys not worried by dead Indians



















There is nothing at all theoretical about the 100,000 deaths on the roads of India each year, many of them motorbike riders like those pictured above.

However the risk these people are taking is a risk the eco-warriors of the West are willing for them to take, rather than allowing them to ride in the far safer Tata-Nano. This is despite the fact it has better economy than the gas-guzzling Prius.

By the way, while 100,000 Indians die on their roads each year, this is the road toll that appears to be of more concern to the BBC.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The music of swine flu

Someone has turned the genetic sequence of Mexican Swine Flu into music.

Downloading may require patience, but it's honestly not bad at all. (From Boing Boing.)

Do your worst...







Snowed in

The group behind the Catlin Ice Survey have now admitted that they have moved the goalposts from:

"Their goal: reach[ing] the Geographic North Pole by late May or early June. Along the way they will take approximately 12 million measurements of the thickness of the Arctic ice using a specially designed compact radar kit."
to the more modest:
"The purpose of the Catlin Arctic Survey is for the Ice Team of Pen Hadow, Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels to gather data that will help scientists to assess how the ice is melting across the region where the expedition is drilling."

The admission comes after the plucky but not overly bright explorers were ambushed by a snowstorm, and have been stuck at a re-supply point waiting for clouds to clear. Travelling at 6.6 kms per day, the group have another 535 kms to travel.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Nenana Classic Update

There will be no more measurements of the ice on the Tanana River this year, as this activity begins to become too perilous.

On the intermittent occasions when it's not down, the website has a collection of photographs (including this one, taken April 27) of current conditions.

Superbrains tackle swine flu conspiracy

From English Pravda:

It's not an unreasonable question to ask: Could world governments, spooked by the prospect of radical climate change caused by over-population of the planet, have assembled a super-secret task force to engineer and distribute a super virulent strain of influenza designed to "correct" the human population (and institute global Martial Law)?
UPDATE: Some chaps from this Muslim forum figured it out first:

Anyone with eyes can clearly see that this new disease is a curse from Allah upon America. The Mujahideen and those who support them continue to ask Allah to destroy America. Allah responded. Today, they are being destroyed military, economically, and now they are being destroyed with a new disease that is spreading fast. May Allah protect the Muslims in the West from this disease and may this disease reach all the enemies of Allah so that the American Government can no longer move a finger against the Ummah!

Still looking?

All your essential Mother's Day gifts here, ranging from inflatable husbands to french toast stampers. And just in case she doesn't already have one, be sure and pick up a copy of the Trailer Park cookbook.

His Israel question

Why is Israel the only state expected to cede territory?:
The Kurds, for example, a people boasting a rich history and numbering 25 million souls, are forced to get by without a state of their own. The Basques, Catalonians, Corsicans, and Scots also have no state. Even the Native Americans, Flemish, the Copts and the Maronites have no state. Therefore, it is quite odd that it is precisely the absence of a Palestinian state that preoccupies the international community and the Israeli consciousness.

World progress update

* Military triumphs!

* Democracy triumphs!

* Engineering triumphs!

* Ideology triumphs!

* Science triumphs!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Name that country

Before you go and do something silly, like looking at the link before you are supposed to, can you guess where these people are from?

(via DRB)

President's statement on Mexican Swine Flu

Sunday, April 26, 2009

All your Mexican Swine Flu resources

* A real doctor has a stab at predicting the numbers of deaths resulting from Mexican Swine Flu.

* A google map tracks cases of Swine flu in real time - hopefully not all the way to your door.

* Check here to see if you will be spared from the pandemic.

* If not, get started on your tombstone.

What should we call Flannery's effect?

Everybody knows of the Gore Effect, now recognised as one of the world's most reliable meteorological phenomena. (In fact, if I'm not mistaken, Tim Blair hisself may be responsible for identifying the phenomenon and inventing the phrase.)

But it's widely recognised that Australian mammologist, Professor Tim Flannery has spookily similar powers over nature.

In 2005 he predicted that Sydney dams could be dry within two years. Currently they are a smidge under 60% capacity.

In March 2008, he predicted Adelaide's dams could run dry by the end of the year. Currently they are also tracking under 60% full.

In June, 2008 he predicted Brisbane would need desalinated water in as little as 18 months. Currently their dams are just under 60% capacity.

Not only are Flannery's predictions always wrong, they have an impressive degree of consistency in wrongness. One pronouncement from him just seems to get the gigalitres flowing.

So why doesn't Flannery have an effect named in his honour? The Flannery Effect is just a bit too drab and non-descriptive, I reckon. What we are looking for is a catchy-phrase that will stick in our minds and thus demonstrate to the world that Australia's reverse oracles are up there with the very best.

Any takers?

UPDATE: Some stiff competition in comments at Blair's. I was hoping for one great suggestion, but instead get 5 or 6.

How we might all die

Bubonic plague, ebola virus, typhus, malaria, cholera, dengue fever, anthrax, and (some people argue) AIDS - are all part of the wonderful world of diseases we can contract or that emerged from animals. Now we can add Mexican Swine Flu to the illustrious list.

Australia, incidentally, is far from immune from an outbreak of this nature - there are estimated to be more feral pigs in Australia than there are Australians.

Zoonotic diseases constitute more than 60 per cent of all new diseases and, as experience shows, a lot of people can die before we figure out how to control them.

By the way, some lesser known but cool sounding names of diseases we can contract from animals: Babesiosis, Sodoku, Visceral Larva Migrans. Why not try one of these next time you are calling into work sick?

(Via Daddy Dave.)

UPDATE: Woah.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

From the shadows

* Doug Ross on the Primordial Blob from outer space.

* Orion tipped me into the debate about fruitarianism over at English Pravda. Fruitarians eat only the fruit of plants, not the actual plants, thus avoiding the crueler aspects of veganism. Unfortunately, the debate appears to have dried up just as soon as we entered it. Ain't that always the way?

* Minicapt sends me some links to show that the British Greens, who claim that sequestering carbon is untried, are just a little off the mark. He also pointed me to the cool cartoon (above) from Oklahoma's most trusted news source.

(Thanks Orion and minicapt.)

A real Anzac story

Frollickingmole's Anzac story - not an opus, but far more valuable than 100 opinion pieces by over-fed academics. Did you notice how his story glorifies Australians at war, or is about race, or excludes the stories of women in his family? No, me neither.

They fought for dickheads too: Lest We Forget

An expurgated article from The Age by historian, Marilyn Lake with ShadowLands' comments in italics:

I have been pondering the Anzac myth. [Oh God -here we go. Only dickheads use the term "Anzac myth".] Clearly it continues to exert power. It taunts and troubles us. [By "us" I take it you mean those few academic tools involved in your group-think.] It looms larger than ever in Australian historical memory — with the generous help of the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans Affairs. [What kind of activity were you expecting from the War Memorial? Cookery classes perhaps? Batik workshops?]

But this business of memory-making demands analysis from historians, not cosy collaboration. [Personally, I would like to see more historical research, and less analysis. Try it some time.] A schoolboy selected to join the Government's annual pilgrimage to Gallipoli said he wanted to see the place where Australian history really happened. Really? To see the sites of Australian history you have to go to Turkey? Popular memory and scholarly history are clearly at odds here. [Where do you suggest people go to see Gallipoli for fuck's sake? BTW, you've never been there, have you? Have you? ]...

The Anzac myth has become more significant in recent years, having been mightily subsidised by the Howard government. [You mean, the thousands of people attending services are only doing it for the money? By all accounts, they are not quite so well subsidised as your extremely well paid job at Latrine University, fishface.]

War stories have figured ever more prominently in our culture, our schools, on our TV screens, in our bookshops — but they do not usually tell of the "perpetual state of warfare", as one colonist described it, entailed in the colonisation of Australia. [You mean you missed all those tedious and poorly researched taxpayer-funded documentaries and text books?] Rather, modern Australian history has been defined by the exploits of the expeditionary forces sent to engage in military operations overseas... [Actually, I tend to think that with the exception of a few historians, like Windschuttle and Blainey, modern Australian history has been defined by a cabal of elitist liars with chips on their shoulders, but do go on...]

When participation in foreign wars becomes the basis of national identity, it requires the forgetting or marginalising of other narratives, experiences and values. [What's the matter sweetheart - can't walk and chew gum at the same time?] The Anzac myth requires us to forget gender and racial exclusions, the long history of pacifism and anti-war movements, the democratic social experiments and visions of social justice that once defined Australia... [No, actually, Anzac doesn't require anything of you at all, toots. However, common decency requires that you show at least an ounce of fucking gratitude.]

Anzac was a celebration of race and manhood... Later attempts to include women in the Anzac legend — as nurses, servicewomen, Land Army girls, as grieving mothers and widows — should not prevent recognition that the myth seeks to locate our national identity in the masculine domain of military warfare. [You mean, just because women have been included, we should not take this to mean that women have been included? WTF?]

The myth ignores the fact that participation in foreign wars has always generated opposition, and that many wars have been deeply unpopular. [And you ignore the fact that if it was not for the selfless service of thousands of men and women, you might now be a long-discarded comfort woman, barefoot and begging for noodles.]

Before World War I, Australia had an international reputation as an egalitarian democracy and progressive social laboratory... [Actually, before WWI, Australia was considered a nation derived from convicts and sheep fuckers, and after it, not so much, but do go on...]

As one contemporary said, we had "infinite potentialities". [Why would anyone choose this dumb quote?] In the next few years, as we prepare to inaugurate a republic, we have a rare opportunity to focus on that potential as we give birth to a nation committed to the values forged over many decades of activism in civil and political society, of democratic equality and social justice, joined by a desire for reconciliation and restitution...

[You mean, you had a political agenda all along? Who would have thunk? Now bugger off back to your third rate university.]

Friday, April 24, 2009

I can't believe he's playing

the meat card (via Boing Boing).

We're from the Government and...

we're here to help.

Nenana Ice Classic update

The ice on Alaska's Tanana River is now 42.7 inches thick, according to measurements made for the Nenana Ice Classic.

The ice is beginning to thin, as is normal at this time of year. If ice thickness at this stage is a key measure, it is looking like a fairly average year, with similar ice thicknesses recorded at the same stage during years when the ice broke up around 5-8 May.

Global warming industry under threat

Some time before the dawning of 2009, (amongst some other pretty dusty predictions), The ShadowLands made this prediction:
* Some solutions for carbon emissions to be put forward, but dismissed by environmentalists who kind of like this whole moral crisis thing;
Pretty much along these lines, now we have this.

Man well and truly smapped



Tsuyoshi Kusanagi of the pop group SMAP is in disgrace after being found drunk and naked in a public park in Tokyo recently. Let's hope he gets his act together. Meanwhile, now is as good a time as any to enjoy a SMAP retrospective. (Tsuyoshi is the serious one.)

Rudd rumbled

Congratulations to the ABC's (yes, seriously) Geoff Thompson for creating the first piece of real journalism about asylum seekers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Procedures followed

A video showing a member of the United Arab Emirates' royal family torturing a man with whips, electrocution and a nail-spiked board has been released.

The Minister of the Interior (one of the torturer's brothers) reviewed the recording and concluded "all rules, policies and procedures were followed correctly by the Police Department."

Question They Won't Ask: Week XI

Each week The ShadowLands submits a Question They Won't Ask to the interactive ABC television program, Q and A. This week:
For David Marr

Could you do the secret signals for us please?:

1. Pretend to knead bread in mid air. (This means Tony Jones is making you hot);

2. Wave your head from side to side. (This means Craig Emerson is making you hot and you want his attention);

3. Talk loudly over other people. (This is the secret signal that means you are a boorish idiot).

Thanks in advance...

UPDATE: Pretty sure this one is not published. Huzzahh!

Making a difference

Earth Day is over for most of us, but it's still not too late to make a difference by voting in a Canadian radio station's poll (bottom right) (via SDA).

UPDATE: Bah, poll has changed, but SDA has the details. (It was 91 % last time I looked.)

Three things to make you sick


This and this and an instructional video (above) on how Abbas made his fortune. (via Israellycool.)

Obsessions indulged

Kevin Rudd's latest media interview combines two of his favourite past times: making stuff up to prove a point, and being obsessed with China. To illustrate, here are two quotes from his latest interview:

JOURNALIST: Why are you now saying it’s inevitable we’ll go into recession given you previously refused to pre-empt official economic forecasts?

PM: Well it’s quite plain that we have seen most recently economic data from China, it’s quite plain that we have also seen the fact that during the first quarter of 2009, a range of data emerge from various economies around the world which have a direct influence on Australia, that most of that data has been negative...

and later:
And if you look most recently at the China data, while it wasn’t falling through the floor and there was some turning or at least arresting of the collapse, the impact on Australia of China’s economic performance - given it is our single largest trading partner - is clear.
Well okay, what is the latest economic data from China?
The Chinese central bank said Wednesday that the country's economic growth this year is on track to hit the government's target of around 8%, with an increasing number of private forecasters also taking a more optimistic view...

His comments continued a surge of optimism that has accompanied recent economic data. While growth in China's gross domestic product came in at just 6.1% in the first quarter, the worst quarterly figure in nearly two decades, other data indicated that the government's drive to boost bank lending and investment projects is starting to take effect.
How is it that Australia's Prime Minister interprets quarterly growth of 6 per cent in China as being a factor in Australia's recession?

Maybe it's Australia's accounts. Let's have a look at the latest DFAT trade figures available to us on the internet.

The February trade figures reveal that Australia's exports to China increased 10.9 per cent compared to February 2008 - an improvement in favour of Australia to the tune of $365 million. On the import side, Australia imported 18 per cent less from China compared to 2008, an improvement on Australia's balance sheet of $571 million.

In total, Australia's trade position with China improved during February to the tune of $936 million compared to the previous year.

Even more troubling, Kevin reveals his China obsession by ignoring our trade with Japan - still our largest export market. In February, while imports were steady, our exports to Japan collapsed 17 per cent (or $780 million) compared to the previous year. The collapse in exports to Japan really is a factor contributing to Australia's recession, and a situation for which you would expect the Prime Minister to have considerable concern, if not a passing familiarity.

Australia's trade relationship with China is clearly not a factor contributing to recession in Australia - in fact, it is mitigating it.

How on earth would anyone - apart from the most tunnel-visioned China-obsessed economic illiterate - see China's economic position as being a factor in Australia's recession?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

From a time before Kevin

Once upon a time, air travel was glamorous, and the glamazons were the air hostesses. It was a time before this.

Thankfully, these great photographs survive...

(Don't forget parts II and III)

More Earth Day shenanigans

1.618 has more nature stuff at her blog - check out the way-cool Skippy music video.

Nenana Ice Classic update

Ice measurements at the Tanana River remain quite robust, and possibly thicker than at the same stage last year, when the tripod broke through on May 6. More news as it comes to hand.

ShadowLands' tribute to Earth Day



Earth Day is a day when we all should take a moment to reflect on the boundless wonders of nature. Today, a donkey pisses off a cow and gets PWNed.

First with the news

Boy on a Bike worked this out last week - just saying is all.

Cool change a comin'

* According to the best evidence available to people making the decisions, Kevin Rudd's Emissions Trading Scheme will cost each Australian family $3500 for a theoretical reduction in temperature of 1/1000th of a degree Celsius.

* Australia's National Farmers' Federation is possibly the first major Australian organisation to come out as AGW climate sceptics.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Talking 'bout our electricity generation

Construction has commenced on a next generation nuclear power station at Sanmen in China, expected to be the first of many around the world.

The cost of the reactor is estimated at US$6 billion. For this, the reactor should begin to produce more energy than all the current wind farm capacity in Australia combined, with the added benefit that it can be used in baseload power.

It's a lot of money, but if Australia spent $43 billion on this instead of Kevnet, (accounting for exchange rates) Australia could have five of them, and reduce our greenhouse emissions (by my very rough calculation) - 30 million tonnes per year - or about 5 per cent of Australia's carbon emissions.

Fortunately, anthropogenic global warming is bollocks, so this is not a significant factor.

Increased use of nuclear power in China is likely to save the lives of thousands of coal miners. Similarly, nuclear power in Australia has the potential to save us from the killing fields of the wind farms and solar energy's slippery rooftops.

The trail of money behind the Catlin Ice Survey

So who is paying for the Catlin Ice Survey?

We know who the sponsors are, but it's not very clear how much each group is paying, or if our heroes are being paid.

What we know is that the major sponsor, Catlin are owned by a range of major shareholders who have a stake in making sure that these explorers come up with data to back up the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

For example, major shareholders in Catlin like Invesco have a lot of money invested in climate change, as have M&G, and FIL.

The World Wildlife Fund itself receives millions of pounds from corporate sponsors, though details are not easy to find. One of its largest sponsors, for example, is HSBC, a company that has staked a lot of money on climate change. There is little doubt that WWF has a huge stake in perpetuating AGW theories.

More obviously, direct sponsors of our brave explorers include the European Climate Exchange and carbon offset spruikers, Climate Friendly. Are they paying the wages of the man making the measurements? It would be instructive to know.

A large number of the sponsors of this expedition have a financial stake in scientific findings supporting global warming theories. If this survey had been sponsored to the same extent by traditional energy producers, it would have been laughed off the ice before it even started.

Why should we accept that this research has not been compromised by its financial partners?

Problem solving Zimbabwe-style

Monday, April 20, 2009

Arctic looxuries

When you're on an Arctic expedition that is meant to raise awareness about warming, but only raises awareness about how bloody cold it is; when you're aiming to make it to the North Pole but it looks like you will be lucky to make it half way because there is so much ice to cover; when you know that blogging dweebs around the world are probably making fun of you; when you're aiming to make measurements using state of the art equipment to prove warming and the equipment fails because it's too cold; when you are dragging a sled and falling over painfully, and it is the 41st anniversary of the successful expedition of a group who ski-dooed to the North Pole - what is it that constitutes a luxury?

Answer here.

Eyes not so bright

The composer of "Bright Eyes", a touching song used in a 1978 animated movie called Watership Down about rabbits seeking a safe haven has, has... sorry, I can't bring myself to say it... Oh God no...

Monday grab bag

* Daddy Dave on saving resources

* Another way to save resources - start them early

* 1.618 plays with light and makes mysterious images

* Paco, always full of bloggy goodness

* Well, okay - this is a little self-indulgent - but the spawn of Tim Blair makes the big time.

What really happened: exclusive



The ABC is reporting that five people are confirmed dead from the sinking of the boat off northern Australia. Add this to the four people found washed up on West Timor in January and there have been nine confirmed deaths this year resulting from the Rudd People Smuggling Assistance Scheme.

Tim Blair is onto the details, but from the latest information available, the ShadowLands has been able to recreate the sequence of events (above).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Music as it was meant to be



Old computer equipment - previously scorned and never been kissed - makes a triumphant performance of Bohemian Rhapsody for your enjoyment and acclaim.

They will take our spam from our cold, dead hands

A study into spam has blamed it for the production of more than 33bn kilowatt-hours of energy every year, enough to power more than 2.4m homes.

Yes, but have they looked at the benefits? And did we really battle our way to the top of the food chain just to eat vegetarian spam?

National aroma emitted

(Pictured above, brisk economic activity at a store for foreigners.)

Korean dress shops are bustling with customers in the current spring season, being short of work hands and deluged with orders, according to the ever-reliable North Korean news agency.

A cutter told KCNA dozens of customers were coming to the shop every day to order Korean costumes. "All of them," she continued, "gasp their admiration for the graceful and fascinating costumes on show in the sample room.

"Our shop has of late brought about a technical turn in hand-embroidery and cutting of the hem of jogori and its sagging underpart."

The streets of Pyongyang seething with a new revolutionary upsurge look bright with beautiful women in chima and jogori which give off national lyricism and aroma in spring.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back from a corporate retreat

The top executives here at The ShadowLands have just returned from a corporate retreat, where we touched base to drill down on our customer-focused repurposing.

We even produced ourselves a mission statement to clarify our future going forward...

The biggest story in the world

right now is this...

Stand by for a report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation any day now.

Nenana Ice Classic update

We are rapidly approaching the earliest known date (20 April) when the tripod on the Tanana River has crashed into the water. Anthropogenic Global Warming believers will be listening keenly for splashing sounds.

Ice thickness records at the Nenana Ice Classic over the years reveal that they are broadly significant, but not always vital for determining when the ice breaks up - there are many other factors at play, including rainfall, wind and river flow.

Latest ice measurements are here, which you can compare to previous years. Current ice thickness measurements are about the same as last year, when the tripod eventually crashed through on May 6.

The ice in 2008 and 2009 is thicker at the same stage than most recent years.

More commentary at the site. Good luck to all our brave guesstimators.

$200 per month

BOAB has good news and bad news about Kevnet.

The good news is that with the new system installed, we may be able to pay our bills faster than any nation in the world, with our household money being transferred to providers at anything up to the speed of light (at least, up until it reaches the switches, when anything could happen with it).

The bad news is that for it to be financially viable, the bill for the basic package will need to be $200 per month - $70 per month just to repay the debt.

BOAB follows up with more - the British thought about doing the same thing, but it's uneconomic. And if they can't get the numbers to work on their overcrowded geek-heavy islet, imagine how the economics are going to work here.

Kevin's Drowning Generation

A few points on some of the arguments about Kevin's Drowning Generation:

* If Kevin hates people smugglers so much, why did he give them the business incentives?

* The claim that Australia's number of asylum seekers increased 19 per cent last year compared to a world increase of 12 per cent is not really very useful, since Kev only introduced the People Smugglers' Assistance Scheme in August 2008 and doesn't address the issue of the Drowning Generation.

* The key figure is that 279 maritime queue jumpers have arrived already in 2009 (with reports of another boatload on the way) compared to 179 all last year. If this rate continues, the numbers will have tripled, thanks to Kevin's new scheme.

* The known deaths resulting so far (including an incident in January) are seven, probably nine, and possibly many more.

* If Kevin's People Smuggling Assistance Scheme continues, we can expect there will be more deaths by the end of the year.

* The Refugee Council seems to be more worried about the politics than looking at ways to prevent more drownings.

* AFP reports that 68 potential members of Kevin's Drowning Generation were arrested in a hotel at a beach resort two hours drive from Jakarta. The ABC prefers to report that they were "in the jungle" somewhere near Jakarta.

UPDATE: Five deaths confirmed in the April incident, make the total so far this year - nine.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Judge Judy vs George Galloway

It is crystal clear that the UN should be abolished in favour of a new system involving Judge Judy.

Seems a bit harsh

The ShadowLands has not always been fully supportive of the policies of the Australian PM, Kevin Rudd, but even we were surprised at the harshness of this headline currently on the home page of the Sydney Morning Herald.

When dead asylum seekers don't matter

by John Butler of the John Butler Trio

"...those who do not learn from history, are destined to repeat it..."
Thus spoke a true oracle - actually me in October, on the subject of asylum seekers.

Now we have an entirely predictable event occurring, with possibly five or more deaths and everyone is making excuses.

I was furthermore astonished to discover that four suspected asylum seekers washed up on the beaches of West Timor in January. This event was so low key that I never heard about it the first time around.

It's amazing to see the Get Out of Jail Free cards that the media are handing out to the Rudd Government compared to their hysterical handling of the SIEVX incident (apparently the sinking of an unidentified boat, at most 70 kilometres off Java, and at least 1500 km from Australia was John Howard's fault) and the tedious harping about the kids overboard affair.

Kevin Rudd was warned by everyone that the latest event would happen. Now that it has happened, it is not bad form (as Bob Brown suggested), to point out Rudd's culpability - it is far worse form to pretend that his policies had nothing to do with it. And it is absolutely vile form to have supported these failed policies in the first place.

It turns out now that no matter how many boat people die, lefties don't want Rudd's policies to change. Why not? Because the lives of asylum seekers are less important to them when Labor is in power.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The only gay elephant in the village

At The ShadowLands we believe that what humans and animals get up to in their (preferably separate) enclosures is entirely their own business - but crikey, check out this story about this player of the grey oboe, and while we're on the subject - an entirely new species of fairy penguins.

Question They Won't Ask: Week X

Each week, The ShadowLands submits a question to ABC's interactive, Q and A television program, with the aim that it should be unsuitable for asking or publishing on their website. This week:
A question for Chris Bowen on behalf of hundreds of curious union leaders around Australia. As a former Industrial Officer of the Finance Sector Union, can you provide any tips about the best way to procure poontang without leaving a credit card trail?
UPDATE: Published, dammit.

Rudd on their hands

Rudd lied, now three people died:
Three people have been killed by an explosion on a boat carrying asylum seekers, Australian police have said.
Just a reminder here of the lies that Rudd took into the election about this:

'Mr Rudd said Labor would take asylum-seekers who had been rescued from leaky boats to Christmas Island, would turn back seaworthy vessels containing such people on the high seas, and would not lift the current intake of African refugees.

"You'd turn them back," he said of boats approaching Australia, emphasising that Labor believed in an "orderly immigration system" enforced by deterrence.

"You cannot have anything that is orderly if you allow people who do not have a lawful visa in this country to roam free," he said.

"That's why you need a detention system. I know that's politically contentious, but one follows from the other.

"Deterrence is effective through the detention system but also your preparedness to take appropriate action as the vessels approach Australian waters on the high seas."

And after he reneged on this, here is what we wrote to the Prime Minister in December:

"...there's a great chance there will be an influx of refugees this Summer because of these lax policies, and a significant chance some may drown on the voyage.

If this happens, you and your government will largely be responsible. If and when it does, please don't call it a 'tragic accident' - as all good O,H&S people know, there is no such thing as an unavoidable accident."
UPDATE: Sounds like casualties are likely to rise.

Australia's import-led recovery

BOAB crunches the numbers on Kevnet and finds a lot of it doesn't add up. And the big winner?
I can see $16 billion being spent importing switches from China...
And Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull on the same subject...

The assertions [Rudd] made in his announcement and which he used to solicit investments from the public are not supported by a business plan, a financial study, advice from Infrastructure Australia or, so far as we know, anything other than his desire to get a big headline (it worked)...

Consider the Cross City Tunnel in Sydney. It cost nearly $1 billion to build; today, after a bankruptcy and its shareholders losing their investment, it is worth a fraction of that. Why? Because the owners' traffic assumptions proved to be wildly optimistic.

The non-blogging MSM have been extremely slow off the mark on Kevnet, which already has the strong whiff of a major stuff-up about it.

UPDATE: More about the technical difficulties from BOAB.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Excuse time

February:

Catlin Arctic Survey leader Pen Hadow and his two colleagues...are scheduled to begin their scientific adventure on 27 February, after being flown 500 miles northwards from Resolute, the northern-most town in Canada. Their goal: to reach the Geographic North Pole by late May or early June. Along the way they will take approximately 12 million measurements of the thickness of the Arctic ice using a specially designed compact radar kit.
April:

"The overall focus is the science, so reaching the Pole is largely irrelevant to this expedition. What matters most is gathering the maximum amount of data possible over a scientifically interesting route..."

"SPRITE, its pioneering Surface Penetrating Radar for Ice Thickness Establishment, and onboard sledge computer kit have, despite rigorous testing ahead of the expedition, both been disabled by the extreme conditions. A fault, not previously detected, has also prevented use of a SeaCat probe which measures the water column beneath the floating sea ice..."

Gord-on Brown

How does your head of state rank on the excitement scale? Probably higher than Gordon Brown...

They're everywhere

Now, even the dolphins are working for the Chinese.

Time to end the carnage: think nuclear

Wind farms, generously estimated to produce one per cent of the world's energy supplies, were responsible for 82 accidents and 6 fatalities in 2008, according to this source.

Falling is one of the major causes of deaths related to windpower. Dozens more people are expected to be sacrificed to the God of Global Warming thanks to the latest announcement from Governor Schwarzenegger.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How re-branding is set to save the world

US President, Barack Obama has famously saved the world by re-branding the War.

Now further re-branding efforts have put an end to tsunamis in California, and ethnic crime in the Netherlands.

Statistics are in

(NB Statistics provisional pending upcoming Lancet study.)

UPDATE: Another graph - the sample looks a little selective, however.

When will the ice break?

Climate denialists, alarmists and those who are alert but not alarmed are hereby challenged to put their reputations on the line by predicting the date and time when the wooden platform on the Tanana River in Alaska will break through the ice in 2009.

The Nenana Ice Classic is an Alaskan lottery which has been run each year since 1917. In January the townspeople mount a tripod out on the frozen Tanana River which runs through the town. The tripod is secured firmly to the ice and a rope run from the tripod to a clock mechanism on the shore. When the ice breaks up, usually in late April or early May, the tripod gives way, and trips the clock.

The earliest ever ice break up was recorded at 3.27 PM, 20 April, 1940. The latest ever break-up was recorded at 11.41 AM, 20 May, 1964. Past break-up details here. Historically, the ice has broken most often between about 29 April and 8 May.

Surprisingly, over the years, this event has mirrored global trends with, for example, the second earliest break-up occurring during the famously warm 1998, and the latest year, 1964, remembered worldwide as a cold year.

The ShadowLands invites commenters here to make your best guess. The reader who supplies the closest guess will win our acclaim as well as a mandate for us to believe whatever they say about global warming for the next 12 months.

UPDATE: A commenter at Tim Blair's mentions that "climate denialist" is a nonsensical term - of course, it should be "AGW denialists..."

UPDATE II: Thanks to Blair and Bolt and Daily Bayonet for links.

Feminist reaction round-up

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for murdering Afghan women's rights activist, Sitara Achakzai outside Kandahar.

Says Germaine Greer:
"The 17th century had its own version of celebrity culture, and Shakespeare wasn't it."
and Naomi Wolf:

"If history gets this recent era right, future textbooks will have to show that the US narrowly averted a carefully planned but thorough and unmistakable conspiracy to subvert the rule of law..."

Monday, April 13, 2009

When good Christians turn bad

Scandinavia is ablaze following the display of a lego sculpture of Jesus. Details at the Gates of Vienna.

Now there's a plan

The internet is suddenly awash with international law and counter-piracy experts but few, I feel, get to the nub of it quite so well as that old sea-dog, Paco.

The terrifying dollar

English Pravda has a strange obsession with the US dollar. However, this reaches new heights with these startling observations:

The signs, the symbols and even the size of U.S. dollar notes indicate the terrifying role that the dollar may play soon.

Everyone is aware of the sign depicted on the back of the 1-dollar-note - the all-seeing eye. Many sacred books including the Koran say that one of the distinctive features of Antichrist include the following: "It has one eye which looks like a grape berry."

The fact that the width of the note makes exactly 66.6 millimeters (Satan's number) may seem to be the most striking one.
Meanwhile, by the way, Russia is going out backwards fast.

Complainin' season re-opens

Oh joy - the Australian Broadcasting Corporation are up to their old tricks - looks like we got us some complainin' to do. It should not be difficult to find some breaches from the code of conduct out of this crock.

Don't be afraid to join in - the ABC invites and welcomes your feedback.

Related minor yuk of the day, over here.

UPDATE: Complaint link fixed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Celebrations imminent

Not many sleeps now until the brave explorers on the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey who, dragging their sleds behind them, will be able to celebrate a special anniversary. April 20 will mark the 41st anniversary of the triumphant arrival of the first people to ski-doo to the North Pole.

Averaging about 6 km per day, it appears that our plucky sled pullers will still not be one third of their planned journey by the time of the anniversary.

(Thanks to Minicapt for the tip.)

Fight! Fight! Fight!

At the risk of cutting Tim Blair's grass, holy moley, cop an eyeful at the participants in this scheduled debate at the Sydney Writers' Festival.

UPDATE: Commentary at Blair's.

Some animals more useful than others

The DPRK has entered its period of protection of useful animals.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Other stuff

* Reaching out to the pirate community (via SDA)

* Cats that look like Hitler

* Ice up.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Landmark noted


Dancing parties just like this one of youth and students were held across North Korea on Thursday to celebrate the 16th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's election as chairman of the National Defence Commission of the DPRK.

Amid the playing of songs "Confetti of Best Wishes" and "Let's Sing Our Pride in Being under Guidance of the General" dancing parties began in the plazas of the Party Founding Memorial Tower, the April 25 House of Culture and the Arch of Triumph and other places in Pyongyang.

Speedboats to save world

In the long and drawn-out history of inward extraction, there have been few things to suck quite as badly as these environmental flash games.

Explanations of just two of them for you - first Water Dash:
You are an arctic penguin out to prevent disease, save the environment, and deliver clean water to the needy. Grab a bucket and get started!
Arctic penguins? And don't forget the Global Warming game:
Island factories are harming the atmosphere with sky-high levels of industrial pollution. As an international watch-dog with a wicked speed-boat, you have to make sure they know and abide by the Kyoto Treaty.

Two lame Easter things

Here is a very lame Easter thing, and another.

Shifting the goalposts for success and profit

The Catlin Ice Survey expedition in the Arctic started off with this reason for its existence:
Catlin Arctic Survey leader Pen Hadow and his two colleagues – Ann Daniels and photographer Martin Hartley – are scheduled to begin their scientific adventure on 27 February, after being flown 500 miles northwards from Resolute, the northern-most town in Canada. Their goal: to reach the Geographic North Pole by late May or early June. Along the way they will take approximately 12 million measurements of the thickness of the Arctic ice using a specially designed compact radar kit.
So there were two goals: to reach the North Pole and take 12 million measurements of the ice.

But now this:
The Ice Team members have all reached the North Pole before, so this project is not about getting to the Pole, but rather about securing relevant scientific data.
Well okay, let's not worry about the first goal - so how are they going securing the 12 million measurements of the ice?
But when the expedition, the Catlin Arctic Survey, set off in late February, it encountered an unexpected wind chill as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius, and the technology failed.
Incidentally, after 40 days, and despite much good weather of late, the team has averaged 6 kilometres per day and are not yet one-third of the distance required. This despite the fact that they are roughly taking the same route as the guys from Top Gear who covered the journey in a week.

Meanwhile, details about their problems taking measurements are expected at their website any day now.

UPDATE: Watts Up With That is looking at the data that is already freely available.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Passing shadows

* The internet: apparently it has something to do with computers, so we don't know much about it. But we do know that the Oz Government's plan to spend $43 billion on technology that may become outdated real quickly seems just a tad ambitious. We also know that BOAB's musings have a certain ring of common sense about them.

* Conjugal visits R Us.

* 'When Professor Morner was asked to act as an expert reviewer on the IPCC's last two reports, he was "astonished to find that not one of their 22 contributing authors on sea levels was a sea level specialist."'

* FML

* Meet Elena, Russia's latest superhero

Question They Won't Ask: Week IX

Each week, The ShadowLands submits a question to ABC television's interactive Q and A television program, with the aim that it should be unsuitable for asking or publishing on their website. This week:
Question for Dr John Hewson:

As the bloke who lost the unlosable election and went on to be involved in the management of four disastrous businesses, would Dr Hewson care to tell us which is his arse and which is his elbow, and explain how he came to make his decision?

UPDATE: Published on the website, damn it.

Just follow the light of the General

This image explained by our friends at the Korean Friendship Association.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Solutions

Currently having problems with bikie gangs, maybe Australia can learn a trick or two from Florida.

Oh those Lutherans

Fact of the Day: Three in every 1,000 women giving birth in the Netherlands has had their genitals mutilated.

Another one for the builders

We have the latest nominations for the Contractor Awards.

Dear Senate Committee...

The ShadowLands' Public Policy Division is proud to unveil our submission to Australia's Senate Committee on Climate Policy:

Dear Senate Committee on Climate Policy,

A few brief points for your consideration follow.

First of all, Kevin Rudd’s rationale for the action you are taking is based on a lie. Mr Rudd told ABC radio in Canberra last year:
“My job as Prime Minister is to look at these scientific facts, look at the economic facts, and then make a balanced judgment for the country’s long term future. And then when you look at the science facts and the economic facts on climate change, the fact that temperatures are going up and we’re already the world’s hottest and driest continent, and we’ll become, therefore, likely candidates to be the hardest and earliest hit by climate change...”
But Australia is not the hottest continent. That honour goes to Africa. In fact, Australia is not even the second hottest continent – South America is hotter. The reasons for this are simply that around 75 per cent of the continental land mass of Africa is in the tropics, and around 60 per cent of South America.

Secondly, Australia has more precipitation than Antarctica, but more importantly, ranks second among continents for renewable fresh water per capita.

So, if as the prominent Scores patron argues, we must act quickly because we are the hottest and driest continent, there is in fact no hurry at all – because we are neither.

Another indication of how well the cerumen-slurper has been briefed is that he repeated the furphy that 4,000 scientists supported the IPCC claims when it is actually only about 60 – but that’s by the by.

Old Wax Lips has repeated all of these false claims in several media interviews as his rationale for the exercise you are now carrying out.

Another important point is that the predicted models have morphed from hockey-stick shapes to pear shapes.

In 2005, it was predicted that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010. You can still find the details of this on the UNEP website, including a map of where the refugees will come from.

The map shows that by the end of this year, huge numbers of refugees are expected from Tuvalu, Fiji, Tonga and Kiribas, for example. However, censuses show that their populations are growing. (Reference: Look it up yourselves - what am I, your mother?)

Of course, you guys must come up with some kind of report which makes it seem like you are doing something about Australia’s emissions. But if you actually do cut our emissions, you can cause a great deal of harm.

Make the targets flexible, equivocal, and conditional.

Australians with real jobs that need protecting will thank you for it and, let’s face it, the lefties are going to squeal like some boorish oaf yelling at an air hostess no matter what you do.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In space, they can't hear the songs

The ever helpful Minicapt emails with information that according to the DPRK, North Korea's satellite is now broadcasting patriotic songs - though to whom remains spookily unexplained.

BTW A little-reported fact: the DPRK claimed that it sent a satellite into space in 1998.

UPDATE: Oh no, Hans Brix!:
"For North Korea, the question may be what offers the best security — nuclear weapons of their own or a piece of paper.

Perhaps a piece of paper could be made more attractive if it were signed by all the relevant great powers and combined with a peace treaty...

Perhaps former US president Jimmy Carter will go again to Pyongyang, reminding Kim Jong-il and the regime of the wishes of Kim Il-sung."

Playing with norks

Americans just seem to like messing with Australians by using phrases that have vulgar meanings to us. Fanny, for example, in Britain and Australia is slang for female genitals, which is why the theme from The Nanny raises an eyebrow or two in these parts.

A few other examples with rough translations in brackets: the names Chuck (vomit); Randy (horny); and root (shag).

The latest example is the term norks, used extensively in Australia during the 1970s as an alternative term for breasts - which makes this item all the more alarming for Aussies.

How to get people to listen to Ant Loewenstein


Late last year, doofus Antony Loewenstein spoke at the well-named Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. Since no-one willingly reads his rubbish, in this video, he reads one of his essays to what appears to be an audience packed into some stationery cupboard.

How did they get the 20 or so people to turn up? Watch the first 50 seconds to get the answer.

37 inches of Kevin

Is this the first television named after a Prime Minister?

Civilisations aligned

Small Dead Animals checks in on how this whole appeasement thing is working out.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Daddy Dave takes the plunge

So-called Tim Blair has spawned a whole litter of blogs by regular commenters, including this one. The latest is from Daddy Dave - who has also been very supportive of this blog from day zero.

Early days yet, but The Empiricist looks like it has an intriguing mix of psychology, science and technology.

Go pay him a visit and send our regards.

Pyongyang, we have a problem




Satellite launch, FAIL.

We're famous

All round good sort, 1.618 is also a top photographer, and The ShadowLands is delighted to have a splendid photo with our name on it over thissaways.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Where did it go?




We have lift off

Just a few of the reactions to North Korea's satellite triumph from the Korean Friendship Association:
LONG LIVE THE DPRK!
LONG LIVE JUCHE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY!
LONG LIVE THE WPK !
LONG LIVE THE GREAT LEADER COMRADE KIM JONG IL!
MANSE MANSE MANSE!

How not to offend Muslims: Your guide

Here is a modest selection of things that have been banned or at least strongly discouraged in western countries, so as not to offend Muslims:

* Wearing bikinis in Helsinki parks

* Applying regular planning rules in Virginia

* Gathering intelligence in mosques

* Maintaining dress rules in Maine prisons

* Not allowing prayer breaks at work in Minnesota

* Sending un-Islamic mail to US defence force personnel

* Having shopping malls without prayer rooms

* Reciting the pledge of allegiance in Oregon

* Keeping the name of your Ukrainian nightclub

* Sitting next to a girl in a Rotterdam theatre

* Wearing shorts at Magic Mountain on Muslim Day

* Being unaware of Islam in Houston

* Criticising terrorists at Lake Superior University, Michigan

* Going to the gym whenever you like in Minneapolis

* Swimming whenever you like in Oregon

* Having Labor Day off in Shelbyville, Tennessee

* Writing or publishing books about Mrs Mo in England

* Holding architecture exhibitions in Brussels

* Using sniffer dogs without booties in the United Kingdom

* Watching Davis Cup tennis in Malmo, Sweden

* Playing Cliff Richard in Basingstoke

* Promoting the Football World Cup

* Obeying hygiene rules in English hospitals

* Saying that you refuse to kneel to Islam

* Serving rum flavoured ice-cream to British prisoners

* Publishing cartoons in Denmark

* Mocking terrorists in South Africa

* Keeping the name of a 300-year-old pub in Birmingham

* Eating in front of Muslims during Ramadan in Scotland

* Commemorating the murder of Israeli athletes during the London Olympics

* Defending Israel's military exploits

* Displaying Israeli flags in Germany

* Eating in a New Zealand cafe if you are Israeli

* Eating or drinking during council meeting during Ramadan at council meetings in East London.

* Talking about "freedom", "religious freedom" or "tolerance" in America

* Keeping dress rules for policewomen in Leicestershire, factory workers in New Brighton, and hairdressers in North London

* Advertising the police phone number in Scotland

* Broadcasting images of muslim women driving in South Africa

* Keeping the name of your cricket team in Middlesex

* Using passport photos with bare shoulders in Sheffield

* Defending Christianity on Glasgow radio

* Advertising Easter plays in Rotherham, England

* Allowing conservatives to speak at the London School of Economics

* Mentioning pigs in Norwegian fairytales

* Allowing politicians who are against Islamic immigration into England

* Using all the lines in a 16th century play in London

* Having baked ham for Christmas in Port Hedland, Western Australia

* Having regular school holidays in Florida

* Wearing St George Cross tie pins in British prisons

* Bathing topless in Australia

* Allowing some bloggers to attend the Democratic Convention
Link
* Telling the story of the "Three Little Pigs" in Britain

* Providing piggy banks in England

* Allowing female police to arrest men in Norway

* Singing the lyrics to Killing an Arab anywhere

* Taking your guide dog with you in Melbourne

* Speaking out about slavery

* Practicing military exercises in Swedish suburbs

* Displaying novelty pig calendars and toys in London

* Playing the Australian national anthem at a Brisbane school

* Criticising Islam at all

Now if you can all remember these few things, I expect we can all get along just fine.

(With acknowledgment to the Amboy Times and Israel military forum for many links. Other examples welcome in comments.)