social comment in utah?

Court okays nude Barbie photos. 30/12/2003. ABC News Online - A United States federal appeals court has upheld a Utah artist's right to take photos of nude Barbie dolls being menaced by kitchen appliances. Noting the image of the Barbie doll is "ripe for social comment", a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected toymaker Mattel's appeal against a lower court ruling which found in favour of the photograher.


the 12 days of christmas economy

PNC Bank - The Annual: As part of its annual tradition, PNC Advisors also tabulates the 'true cost of Christmas,' which is the total cost of all of the items in the famous carol, including all of the repetitions. The price tag for the 364 items this holiday season is $65,264, up from 2002's true cost of $54,951. This increase of nearly 19 percent shatters the previous record increase of 8.4 percent that was achieved in 1987.

save the children, kill a PETA activist

Fur flies over flier: PETA targets "Nutcracker" kids: Animal rights advocates will single out small children at performances of "The Nutcracker" in the next few weeks by handing out fliers saying "Your Mommy Kills Animals" to youngsters whose mothers are wearing fur.

To anyone who wants to advance a cause, here's a tip: don't be bigger arseholes than the target of your campaign. Maybe they should follow this action up by telling the kids that their shoes are made of dead cows and horses; that last night's lamb chops were dead sheep; and production of their favourite toy caused pollution that killed dolphins. Then tell them about battery hens; explain how all that milk they drink contains hormones that'll make them mutant freaks; before heading into the grand finale where the kids are harangued about Santa being a capitalist plot and their favourite present from last year was made by kids - just their age - in slave labour in a third-world country... and it's ALL YOUR FAULT, KIDS!

PETA really are a bunch of fuckwits. I've never seen an interview or heard about an action that didn't make me want to throttle the lot of them... even when I agree with the principles behind it all. They always come off as ratbags who just want an excuse for their antisocial behaviour and don't especially care about the cause they claim to fight for. A bit like CHOGM protestors who just want to join a mob and vandalise stuff.

accessibility legislation for australia?

Impediment no barrier - New extensions to the Disability Discrimination Act, aimed at improving education and training, will soon affect online learning and computer training generally. After seven years of unproductive consultations with the states, the Federal Government is set to act unilaterally next year, with regulations enforcing training accessibility for disabled people. The move is likely to cause the re-engineering of e-learning systems and curriculum, and modification of face-to-face software application courses.

I'd like to point out that Macromedia gets an unopposed pulpit here; despite the fact Macromedia ships products like Dreamweaver with all the accessibility features switched off by default - the same problem which caused so many inaccessible PDFs. Macromedia have also just released "Flash Paper", which is an utterly inaccessible format being billed as a replacement for PDF. Be very careful what you believe. Macromedia are not champions of accessibility; they are simply responding to pressure from advocacy groups. They know their market wants a tool that can create accessible output, so they're working on it. It's business, they're here to make money.

So is this legislation change a Good Thing? It should be, but I'm not getting excited. There is no silver bullet - people still have to want to do the right thing before they'll do it properly. All we can realistically hope for is to raise the minimum standard which people will reach in order to avoid being sued. That's still better than nothing; even if it's not ideal. The problem I see is legislation being rushed through without realistic considerations about implementation. There's no point in doing a half-arsed job or creating rules so impractical they can't be followed (like the internet censorship laws we have).

Basically it will help because it will raise the bar a bit. It will no longer be good enough to slap something together, stick it on a server and hope for the best. The maddening thing is that the worst offenders are the expensive consultancy firms; and they'll continue getting away with murder. Not to mention the Australian government itself and its own sparkling track record.

news stuff

script guru leaps into action

w00t! thanks to Relapse, Opera users should now experience persistent choice of stylesheet. hurrah for people who don't get headaches from javascript :) seriously, advanced javascript tends to look like line noise to me.

boing boing

  • Montreal Gazette - Smart soldiers decided to flee the Rings battle: Digital warriors thought for themselves - and their first thought was to run away. heheheheh.... they built the animated warriors just a little too well I guess :)
  • BBspot - God Considers Smiting Bible Pirates: God said that 'spreading the Gospel' was not a valid defense for distributing copyrighted materials. 'Rev. Jackson has published at least 35% of My word electronically, where anyone with an internet connection can download it. Thrice did I call on him to repent; thrice did he ignore me or refer me to the EFF [Electronic Frontier Foundation].' Jackson said he had had several emails from someone claiming to be the Deity, but had first dismissed them as pranks. LOL* :)
  • jwz - on RFID stupidity. As always boingboing picked a cracker of a quote:

    'I like that it's on your keychain and it's fast to use,' said Kristie Beenau, 36, of Peoria, Ariz., who has used ExpressPay for about six months at a CVS Pharmacy and fastfood restaurants. 'I charge everything anyways. Now I wave it rather than get my card out. It's more convenient.'

    I'm going to make a fortune by selling an invention that lets you punch a hole in a credit card so that you can wear it on your keychain. Then later I'll repurpose that invention to let you punch a hole in a $20 bill, so you can wear that on your keychain too!

* please note: when i say "LOL" i really mean i'm laughing out loud. none of this AOL-style LOLOL OMFG!!!! bullshit.

zen and the art of css

well not quite. in fact, not especially close. but anyway... you now have a choice of two, count 'em, two different designs for this blog (it's also a lot better in terms of semantic structure, but only i get excited about that sort of stuff). up top there you'll see "style: 1 / 2". first person to make a joke about half-arsed design gets a (virtual) slap. *slap* i know you were thinking it :P

style one is the original pimpazz orange design (pimpazz as in "nothin says 'i'm a pimpazz designah y'allz' like orange and grey", if you recall that post). that design is based on one of blogger's standard templates, just technically far superior and - i think - a nicer final product than the original.

the new style is "halo blue" (named for fairly obvious reasons - there's no deep meaning, it's just design for the hell of it). created from scratch, it uses PNGs and a couple of more advanced CSS tricks, so IE6 get some details wrong... and i don't care enough to fix that before releasing the design :) i might get to that in the next few weeks; during the phase where i tinker with the design in nitpicky ways none of you are likely to notice.

Sadly Opera doesn't remember the design choice you make; a flaw in an otherwise excellent css swap method.

I haven't done the archive page yet either... or a neutral favicon... or.....! But that's life.


quotable quote

[Happy] - I Like To Watch - 2003.12.12: It's never a good thing when the thrill of riding in a stretch black limosine for the first time in your life is marred by the fact that the Hilton sisters have been crusing around in the same limosine for the past two weeks, and you have no idea what skanky diseases you've just exposed yourself to.

it's hot and noisy

It's hot and noisy... the two surest signs that I'm working from home today. The two building sites across the road have been relatively quiet for the last couple of weeks. Today I'm at home, and voila! they turn up with bobcats (earthmoving gear for the uninitiated). Plus the lovely rain has stopped; letting us know that summer is really here now. No more relief, just heat and humidity.

To make it perfect, I have no car and will have to walk to the shops to get lunch. Yech. Plus, brains trust here left his hat and umbrella in the car; so I'll have to find something in the cupboard to keep a little sun off, lest my pale skin go crispy-fried.

The mechanics better get everything right today. Otherwise deaths may occur. Or at least, pissed last-time-coming-here customer will occur.

news bits

public service announcement

To anyone who doesn't live in Australia: Australians don't drink Foster's Lager. Ever. It's just the brewing industry's little joke.

Sadly, plenty of people do drink XXXX (pronounced "four-ex", not "X-X-X-X") even though it's shite. In the southern states many drink VB (Victoria Bitter) and Toohey's New in place of XXXX. VB isn't so bad on tap, never had Toohey's New although I am partial to an occasional Toohey's Old (black ale, eat with knife and fork).

If you actually want a *good* Aussie beer; see if you can get hold of any of the following: Hahn Premium (they do an excellent driver's beer, too [that means a light beer]), Carlton Cold (NOT the vodka shot version), Tooheys Extra Dry, J. Boag & Son (they also do an excellent driver's beer), Coopers, Crown Lager. Americans please note: the alcohol content of all these is higher than you realise. Go easy ok? Bud Light is water, so don't base anything on your experience with it.

Aussies also drink stuff like Heineken, Grolsch, Beck's, Kilkenny (prefer it to Guiness, personally), etc. We done got electricity and the wheel, too.

But we never drink Foster's Lager.

Nomenclature meme

  1. A body of water, smaller than a river, contained within relatively narrow banks? creek
  2. What the thing you push around the grocery store? trolley; or more accurately, f***ing trolly which won't go in a straight line.
  3. A metal container to carry a meal in? lunchbox
  4. The thing that you cook bacon and eggs in? frying pan
  5. The piece of furniture that seats three people? couch
  6. The device on the outside of the house that carries rain off the roof? gutter
  7. The covered area outside a house where people sit in the evening? verandah or deck, depending on the shape
  8. Carbonated, sweetened, non-alcoholic beverages? soft drinks
  9. A flat, round breakfast food served with syrup? pancakes
  10. A long sandwich designed to be a whole meal in itself? roll or sub (but only due to the influence of Subway)
  11. The piece of clothing worn by men at the beach? boardshorts, or DTs (dick togs)
  12. Shoes worn for sports? sneakers
  13. Putting a room in order? cleaning up, or tidying up
  14. A flying insect that glows in the dark? umm, firefly i guess; not that we have them where i live.
  15. The little insect that curls up into a ball? no idea what you're on about.
  16. The children's playground equipment where one kid sits on one side and goes up while the other sits on the other side and goes down? see saw.
  17. How do you eat your pizza? one slice at a time....??
  18. What's it called when private citizens put up signs and sell their used stuff? garage sale
  19. What's the evening meal? dinner
  20. The sucky thing you put in a baby's mouth: dummy
  21. What a baby wears to poop in: nappy
  22. The main room the family sits in to relax, watch TV: living room
  23. The thing you wear in winter made of wool: that'd be my trenchcoat actually. but in context: jumper or pullover.
  24. A vegetable with purple skin: eggplant
  25. The stuff that makes a car go: money, ha ha ha. petrol.



  • Slashdot | Remail: IBM is Reinventing Email. The comments immediately point out that IBM fucked it up completely in Lotus Notes. Then, Lotus programmers jump in and call everyone else idiots for thinking Notes sucks. ATTENTION DEFENSIVE LOTUS PROGRAMMERS: SHOVE IT UP YOUR ARSE. Yes, with thousands of dollars worth of training; we could all make Lotus sit up, beg, roll over and make us coffee. Without thousands of dollars worth of training, we can do precisely NOTHING. I don't give a flying fuck in hell what YOU can do with Lotus, all I get is the out-of-the-box install. I have to go calm down now.
  • Slashdot | Best 35mm SLR Camera for Beginners? Spend more on the lense, less on the body. Get a clear lense filter to protect the lense. Don't be shy to shoot off plenty of film. Overall though; I'd still go for a digital SLR.

the problem with "equality"

Don't mention the hormones, female lawyers told. Problem is, basically everyone is sort-of right. Harrison is trying to tell female lawyers not to act like a separate group; which is a valid approach to equality (in fact, it's a pretty pure form of equality). Meanwhile Batrouney is pushing the Affirmative Action barrow based on statistics about how many female lawyers are in the highest positions within the profession. I don't agree with that approach but I recognise it as having the same ultimate goals.

Problem as I see it is that Affirmative Action got the wrong end of the stick; by focussing on getting jobs filled with whatever minority is being disadvantaged. That's an extremely counter-productive method since it creates a focus on the very differences which shouldn't matter; encourages tokenism; and can lead to the hiring of people who are less skilled than other applicants, but represent a minority. The push should be to get more people within the minority group to train up and apply for the jobs; ensuring there are no blocks at that stage of the process. You can't increase the number of people getting jobs without increasing the number of people applying. By the time you're at the stage of filling a position, it's too bloody late to make a difference; and besides that you have no right to be given preference over another applicant based on factors unrelated to the job (such as race, religion, gender).

Meanwhile, how can you ask to be treated differently and the same.... at the same time? There are so many crossed messages: this article quotes claims that women are inherently better at the job, specifically because they are different. Then it quotes stats saying that women are disadvantaged, because they are different. Then it quotes a call for different treatment, because they're different; then it quotes a claim that women are the only hope for the law, which is a discriminatory statement. So anyone looking for a coherent message can't find one. It just looks like female lawyers want the same argument to prove two different things; which is not going to work amongst lawyers.

At the end of the day I'd rather see issues broken down into generic problems - if a specific group has trouble funding and accessing education; set up methods to help anyone who can't afford or access education. Do not set up a specific method to help a specific minority - that just segregates them. If you approach the problem from a generic standpoint; you can not only solve the problem for one minority, you can solve it for any individual who ever faces that problem. Then you have equality - everyone has an equal chance. You can't achieve equality by giving specific people advantages that others don't have; all you accomplish is ultimately disadvantaging a different group.... who will then need help...

amusing goffick webcomic

Nemi (translated from Norwegian to English on this fansite). The translators have some good picks for their favourite strips. My guess is many of these strips wouldn't be quite so damned funny without prolonged exposure to the goth scene.

news bits

news bits

  • | House prices correcting: Costello (December 8, 2003): THE Treasurer said today house prices were experiencing a 'correction' rather than an outright collapse. ...because it helps to call it something different.
  • Bartlett faces pressure to quit as leader - / | Stott Despoja and others wait in the wings (December 8, 2003). They should have stuck with Stott Despoja in the first place, IMO. One thing about this whole issue I'm tired of is the media acting like Bartlett got into a brawl - he grabbed her by the arm and verballed her. Totally out of line, yes; but from some of the headlines you'd think he'd clobbered her with a chair and then kicked her head in. Personally I'd like to know why Parliament doesn't have a zero blood alcohol requirement; and why nobody has questioned why a drunk person was allowed into the room in the first place. I'd like the people running the country to be fucking sober while they do it.
  • Feel it's time to start a family? Go for broke - ... Amanda Vanstone thinks Australia's birthrate is falling because today's parents are too materialistic. ... How quickly she forgets. Only last year, when she still had ministerial responsibility for women and for families, she argued that government failure to give adequate financial support to women having babies was at least partly to blame. about this: maybe people just don't want screaming shit machines in their lives? But anyway, this is a good example of keeping track of what politicians say from year to year. If voters actually kept track, politics would be a very different game. But no, we have memories like the proverbial goldfish.
  • Semi-automatic stinkers - Pepe la Pew... He fights crime!

news bits

news bits

nearly green

Just checked out the Toyota Prius03 website.... to my surprise, it really seems to be getting there; even the price is dropping. Still can't quite afford it yet; but it's getting closer - close enough to be at the back of my mind for a future car. One thing which will come out in time is how much it costs to run/service one of these. It might be cheap on the fuel; but how much will maintenance cost?

Still, it's encouraging.

news bits

news bits | It's Latham to take on Howard (December 2, 2003). Here's me thinking Labor would go with the relatively "safe" option; meaning the one more voters could actually name without prompting.

Rumsfeld wins 'Foot in Mouth' award. 02/12/2003. ABC News Online | Single life a happy one (December 2, 2003). Note that "single" is poorly defined for this article; it wavers between meaning "not married" and "living alone". | Chastity best AIDS protection: Vatican (December 2, 2003). Phew, they've really got their finger on the pulse there. I can't say that I've seen a more practical proposal; I mean, how could this possibly fail? :-] | Entertainment | Billy Connolly to tour (December 02, 2003). SWEEEET!!!!

In the name of justice - A man is accused of rape. Even if he is innocent, his reputation is forever smeared. Bettina Arndt examines whether either party should be named in sexual assault cases.

yay for local* press

FIEND Magazine : The Website. Sweet logo and textures; makes sense when you notice the site's by Roshiweb. Although I'm surprised at the classic forget to set your white background blunder (my windows background is grey - you'd be amazed how many websites forget to explicitly set white backgrounds).

* local meaning australian. it's a melbourne-based publication.

news bits