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June 29, 2005

Pull over!

NZH: Using a cellphone -- even with a hands-free device -- may distract drivers because the brain cannot handle both tasks, say US researchers. Otherwise you might end up on the Wanganui computer's replacement.

Meanwhile, now that the steeplechase results have been made official, it seems some other people are rather happy at the result, while others are pretty much laughing at the result. For the purposes of neutrality and balance, it's hard at the moment to find any opposing views. It seems anyone who's got anything to say in their diaries are all feeling either happy or pleasantly surprised. Pity I can't seem to find the dissenting views for balance here.

June 28, 2005

Plagiarism statistics

Apparently the numbers are on the rise -- not because of increasing instances, but due to increasing detection rates.

June 27, 2005

Can you do this?

From Doctor Fun this week: Can you do this?

Doctor Fun presents 1991, #114: Can you do this?

I know I can't.

Friday night at Jet Bar

Wine glass and lamp shade, Courtenay Place.

Wine glass and lamp shade, Courtenay Place.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

Friday night, downstairs, over at Jet Bar in Courtenay Place, Wellington.

In unrelated news, Judgments of the Court of Appeal of New Zealand on Proceedings to Review Aspects of the Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Mount Erebus Aircraft Disaster and Safe Marriage: A Return to Sanity got posted to Project Gutenbery today as 16130 and 16135 respectively. Yay! The Section 27(1) pages will also get updated this week with the links.

June 26, 2005

Browsing a safari

Some random thoughts from browsing one man safari today:

(And no, I don't endorse any of the last set of external links. Proceed at your own risk!)

Sheesh. Some of the stuff I come across is just plain odd, if not crazy.

Thanks be made to a friend who gave me a tipoff to oms.

[Listening to: Better Be Home Soon -- Crowded House -- Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House (03:10)]

Less expensive options

Instead of paying four digits of money to cover over things one doesn't want to see, wouldn't a far more viable option be to hold press conferences elsewhere?

Booklet provides guide to Territory sexuality laws

ABC News Online: The Darwin Community Legal Service has produced a guide to the law for gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the Territory. Pity that it's not on DCLS's website, yet.

Across Darwin, in the post-vote count it appears to still be the biggest landslide in the grand electoral steeplechase. Ever. Good for some, but bad for others, alas.

It's all expensive

The US situation: Beyond Wi-Fi: Laptop Heaven but at a Price. Plenty of technologies can get you online wirelessly these days, but there's always a catch. Wi-Fi Internet hot spots are fast and cheap, but they keep you tethered to the airport, hotel or coffee shop where the hot spot originates.

Google Sitemaps

For the power house, I'm now using a variation of templates from Anders Jacobsen and Cameron Bulock.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="http://www.google.com/schemas/sitemap/0.84">
<url>
<loc><$MTBlogURL encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<priority>1.0</priority>
<MTEntries lastn="1">
<lastmod><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></lastmod>
</MTEntries>
<changefreq>daily</changefreq>
</url>

<MTEntries lastn="10">
<url>
<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>
</lastmod>
<priority>0.9</priority>
<changefreq>daily</changefreq>
</url>
</MTEntries>

<MTEntries lastn="10" offset="10">
<url>
<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>
</lastmod>
<priority>0.8</priority>
<changefreq>daily</changefreq>
</url>
</MTEntries>

<MTEntries lastn="1000" offset="20">
<url>
<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>
</lastmod>
<priority>0.5</priority>
<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
</url>
</MTEntries>

<MTArchiveList archive_type="Category">
<url>
<loc><$MTArchiveLink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<changefreq>weekly</changefreq>
<priority>0.7</priority>
</url>
</MTArchiveList>

<MTArchiveList archive_type="Monthly">
<url>
<loc><$MTArchiveLink encode_xml="1"$></loc>
<changefreq>monthly</changefreq>
<priority>0.5</priority>
</url>
</MTArchiveList>

</urlset>

Niall Kennedy (as featured by Six Apart) also published his own template.

Also of related interest might be Movable Type's Microsoft Word template.

June 25, 2005

Rats! Lines Companies! Rodents! Telecom!

So, it was a rat, after all, and lines company contractors. And now it's time for Telecom to talk compensation for themselves. This will be fun for them.

And there's little demand for business DSL upstream speeds faster than 128? Someone tell me that Telecom are joking. Really. They must be.

June 23, 2005

Again?

Didn't one of the Nationals' previous deputy prime ministers also resign from the Australian federal cabinet for family reasons?

Over in Europe, Spain's gay marriage bill is apparently secure to pass, despite the upper house rejecting the bill.

June 21, 2005

Candidates face postal votes count

Darn. The grand Darwin electoral steeplechase is too close to be over in some seats. Photo finish, anyone?

Award for sexual health awareness programme

The No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba programme has won an Asian regional award for a television advertisement.

Incidentally it's interesting to see a reworking of the advertisement to take into account other sexual orientations that are out there, which I've seen screened on television channels recently. It's also on the site's video and audio clips page.

Downloadable archives this week

This week, apart from requested 600 dpi re-scans of some of the issues of The Economist from 1843 that I'm doing, I may have time to finally officially put archives (either as a tarball, zip file or both) available. I'll be starting off with just the Mazengarb Report, as I want to make sure I get it right first time.

More books!

Two new books today. For your reading enjoyment, Mental Defectives and Sexual Offenders and General Assembly Library: Report of the Chief Librarian for the Year 1924-25, both from 1925, have been uploaded. All right, so the latter is only four pages long -- and that's counting the blank back cover page -- but it has some remarks between the lines partly of humorous interest, and of historical value, anyway...

As usual, both will be going through DP, in due course. At least Mental Defectives, anyway -- I suspect of course that the library report may be a bit short!

Rat blamed

Um, a rat isn't exactly a road contractor, though a (possible) rat and a electricity contractor hitting a cable probably is. I don't even want to know the cost of the fibre cut. Things were a bit crazy around town, after all.

June 20, 2005

Sliced fibre, anyone?

All right, who smells that Xtra's and Telecom's problems today are thanks to someone (last time I remember something similar, it was a road contractor, but of course it doesn't mean it was them this time) slicing a little bit of Telecom fibre optic cable?

If it was just one cable, perhaps having a backup route might actually be a good idea...

I'm typing this over dialup. Helps having backup connectivity off a provider that avoids the telco that provides your usual network access. :)

June 19, 2005

Burke defeats Burke

Sometimes life doesn't seem fair, does it, like being defeated in a grand electoral steeplechase by not only a landslide, but getting defeated by a namesake as well. Aside from the ABC, the victory rates a mention in the NZH. (How odd -- the ruling party now has nearly three times the seats of the opposition. Even to a politically neutral spectator like me, that just looks big.)

Elsewhere, in the New York Times: What Is Google, Anyway? Is Google a media company? One answer is: Sure, Google is a media company, except when it isn't. The other answer is: It doesn't really matter anyway. In the NZH: you may have a grave problem getting a plot for yourself when you die -- at least in greater Auckland, anyway.

June 18, 2005

Biggest. Defeat. Ever.

Fun and games at the ABC tonight!

It looks like it's going to be the biggest landslide defeat ever for the NT CLP in the great electoral steeplechase.

Oh, and something about girl being born from a frozen egg, a Man keeps wife on life support to save unborn child and Fleet Street ends its days as journalism hub.

Gate latch, Kelburn

Gate latch at the front entrance to a house on Salamanca Road, near Kelburn Parade, Kelburn, Wellington.

Gate latch, Kelburn

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

And, here is the last photograph of mine that I intend to make a note about today.

This is one of my favourite photographs so far this year that I have taken. I was surprised at the level of detail that I got from the rust on the latch. It's unfortunate that Flickr's recompression routines don't let you see it on their copy of the photograph. Alas.

No, the Bucket Fountain is not a public toilet

What to use the Bucket Fountain for (apparently) ...

What to use the Bucket Fountain for (apparently) ...

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

And no, I didn't do the abovementioned map of the Bucket Fountain. Even if Elijah Wood allegedly did do something of that ilk. (The map was spotted at school.)

Waving a flag behind King Dick's back

Richard John Seddon and the New Zealand Flag, Parliament.

Richard John Seddon and the New Zealand Flag, Parliament.

Originally uploaded by Jonathan Ah Kit.

I took this last year. Fun things to see at Parliament, now and again!

Marriage, civil unions, religion, solo parenting and families

If you're not busy pondering new theories on time travel or reading a paper on using RPC ports, the NZH has a good set of articles on marriage, civil unions, religion, solo parenting and family generally today.

  • How solo parents became a political football: Forty-one per cent of Pakeha babies, 55 per cent of Pacific babies and 76 per cent of Maori babies were born last year to unmarried parents.
  • Don't turn children into the scapegoats: political parties are being warned not to punish the children as they grapple with policy to offset one of New Zealand's most common and growing family formats -- the sole-parent family.
  • Young women flock to NZ: ever wondered why some ethnic groups are represented in New Zealand more by women than men? A new study has found that New Zealand has a higher ratio of women to men in the peak childbearing ages of 30 to 34 than any other industrialised country, with 9 per cent more women than men.
  • New Pope takes swipe at Labour's civil union law: The Vatican's news service reported that he made the comments specifically about New Zealand at a speech to seven new ambassadors to the Holy See.
  • Tamaki becomes a Bishop today: apparently 3000 people showed up at a ticket cost of $55 (in other words, of course, giving around $165000 in revenue). Yikes.
  • Underdog-fighter scrubs up: Sue Bradford says she discovered through politics that there were people in the world like her.

On a related note, there will be some more scanning of S27(1) books next week.

Time for entertainment!

That's right! If anyone's looking for a close by election fix before the big one in Wellington later in the year, the grand Darwin steeplechase is on tomorrow! Centrebet has odds on for an ALP win.

Ah, much fun to be had watching from neutral sidelines. And from far away.

June 16, 2005

Stargazers could be in for a treat tonight

Myself, I'd have no idea what to look for.

June 15, 2005

Court finds in favour of school over playground accident

ABC News Online: The High Court has dismissed an attempt by a schoolgirl to sue a Catholic primary school in Canberra after she was injured on a flying fox.

Thank goodness we have the ACC in NZ...

The family of the schoolgirl argued St Anthony's had been negligent in its duty of care.

But the High Court has found in favour of the school, saying it had a well known hands-off rule, which barred children from touching each other during playtime.

[Listening to: 702 ABC Sydney -- Afternoons with James Valentine]

June 13, 2005

The Northern Territory Government doesn't exist any more

Here's a lesson in why you need secondary nameservers outside of your network. As I write, the whole of the nt.gov.au domain is currently lame, as neither of the two nameservers can be reached at the moment. I guess a bit of e-mail as well as the usual web traffic (I'm trying to get to one of their websites at the moment for something trivally important) is down. That's on the whole domain, from what I can tell.

As far as I can tell, the folks who appear to be their provider, Optus, seem to have trouble with the peering point with Telstra in Melbourne or thereabouts. Unfortunately, both of the NT Government nameservers appears to be behind that link (well, quite likely, as both nameservers appears to be on the same Class B subnet). So nothing appears to be working for nt.gov.au at the moment. Oops, perhaps, for at least .

In other words, isn't it nice to swap secondaries with other people, or at least having one nameserver coming in from another Internet provider's connection? At least then MX records can be read and mail deferred.

Oh well. Guess some things get thrown aside in the need for expediency. If this looks like bagging a government agency, go dig some random domain names' nameservers, and you'll see it's a common practice. Even with some big Internet providers' own domains! In New Zealand, paradise.net.nz come to mind, among many, many others. Perhaps another way to see it is that best practice seems to change. Or at least common practice.

June 13

June 13, 1920: The United States Postal Service rules that children may not be sent via parcel post.

On the other hand, that did come from Wikipedia.

Evidence in missing girl case may have been lost

NZH:

Forensic experts investigating the possible sexual assault of a young Auckland girl at a public toilet may have missed out on crucial evidence after a cleaner mopped up blood at the scene.

Oops. :(

Also from yesterday: Mystery remains over sighting of semi-naked schoolgirl.

Hopefully someone finds her. Soon.

June 12, 2005

Pope rejects condoms for Africa

BBC: Aids in Africa should be tackled through fidelity and abstinence and not by condoms, Pope Benedict XVI has said.

June 8, 2005

Sexual behaviour in the playground

NZH: Sexual behaviour in the playground. Apparently children as young as four are engaging in adult sexual behaviour, but the agency involved does not know if the rise is because it is happening more, or if more parents are simply coming forward.

The general conclusion of the experts interviewed appears to be that early intervention -- including prevention measures -- appears to be the key.

Abortion legal moves

From the NZH yesterday: Court case a bid to raise abortion issue, says MP.

Court action claiming that too many abortions are being allowed is a pre-election bid to raise the focus on a divisive issue, says Health Select Committee chairwoman Steve Chadwick.

The anti-abortion group, Right To Life New Zealand, has filed legal action in the High Court at Wellington against the Abortion Supervisory Committee, saying it has misinterpreted the law and allowed too many pregnancy terminations.

It appears it's mostly a matter of viewpoints as to whether or not the law has been misinterpreted on the part of the Abortion Supervisory Committee -- for example, the ALRANZ's Margaret Sparrow calls it a final attempt.

Whatever views are involved, it does look like an attempt to politicise the issue again.

$420.40, $2741.49 or $12686.67 to Melbourne, anyone?

Emirates would so far in all my looks around airlines' and travel agents' websites take out the prize for the most expensive economy fare 'to' Melbourne. ('To' would be the operative word here -- it depends whether oddly-suggested connections like the ones I found below count.) For interest about how much their air fares to Melbourne, from Auckland, were, I entered in leaving on 1 July 2005 and arriving back 7 July 2005.

(Of course, computer search results always a level of real humanity and human discernment applied to them, but sometimes some of the results are, well, weird.)

The first option seemed reasonable. $420.40 (including $82.40 in taxes) taking the afternoon 4.00 flight EK405 from Auckland, and returning on the morning 8.15 EK404 from Melbourne. (It's $1063.40, tax $82.40 on first class.)

It gets a bit odd here. The second option is for $2421.49 (taxes $89.49). It uses the same EK405 flight out, but takes an evening EK407 from Melbourne to Dubai! Then the following day, it takes the evening 8.45 EK432 from Dubai. Fortunately, that's direct to Auckland. Arriving back two days later than expected.

Now, the third option gets worse. A whopping $12686.67 (taxes $103.67). How? Going out from Auckland to Singapore (1 July, afternoon 5.25 EK433), then to Melbourne (2 July, afternoon 3.20 EK404). Going back, it's to Dubai first (7 July, evening 9.30 EK407), then Bangkok (8 July, morning 8.50am EK386), and then finally home to Auckland (8 July, evening, EK418).

The second option on a first class search is nearly as amusing. Flying out it takes the third economy option's route (Auckland to Melbourne via Singapore). At least it's sane for the flight back (taking that 8.15 EK404). Price? $6301.49 (taxes $89.49).

I wonder if they're trying to upsell accomodation at each stop?

Now, I haven't mentioned business class. Like both economy and first class, the first option's very sane ($1013.40, taxes $82.40). Option 2 goes there (EK433, 1 July, 5.25 afternoon; EK404, 2 July, 3.20 afternoon), and back (EK405, 7 July, 7.20 evening; EK432, 8 July, 9.20 evening) via Singapore for a modest $10806.58 (taxes $96.58).

Here we start getting in to new car territory. For $16927.58 (taxes $96.58), you can go to (EK433, 1 July, 5.25 afternoon, on first class; EK406, 2 July, 10.10 morning) Melbourne via Dubai and back (EK407, 7 July, 9.30 evening; EK418, 8 July, 9.00 morning).

This last one's the best, though. Unlike the roughly $17000 fare above, if you take EK432 (8 July, 8.45 morning) on first class (the engine appears to default to first class when it can't find the right seats), you pay a gold-plated $18322.48 (taxes $96.58).

I guess their search engine's Please wait while we find the lowest priced combinations of available flights and fares... has some odd issues it needs to solve. In the meantime, they're amusing if only for a few moments.

Ah, the joys one has when clicking on the odd banner advertisement while reading the NZH and getting distracted. I need better things to do. Oh, and regards to the above: E&OE. So there.

June 7, 2005

Meteor shower seen across New Zealand

Meteor shower? What meteor shower?

June 6, 2005

A Tyrannosaurus rex fossil's surprise: she was ovulating

NYT: Until now, distinguishing the sex of dinosaurs has been impossible without well-preserved pelvic bones.

  • Unsolved Mysteries, by David Greenberg: With the unmasking of Deep Throat, one of the 20th century's biggest political mysteries has been solved. But other riddles about Watergate linger.
  • Hal Holbrook Saw a Torn Man: The world now knows that Deep Throat is Mark Felt. But for many, Deep Throat will always be Hal Holbrook, the actor who portrayed him in the movie All the President's Men.

June 4, 2005

More...

...and more Mark Felt information from the NZH.

Smoking banned in Indian films

From the ABC:

[Listening to: Radio New Zealand International]

Marketing...

Tobacco companies designed cigarettes to appeal to women's desires to be thin and healthy in ways that went "far beyond marketing and advertising", say health researchers.

So says the New Zealand Herald -- apparently some cigarettes were especially created to target the female image, whatever that means.

And more on Mark Felt (from Reuters) can be found.

June 1, 2005

And they're off!

It's the Northern Territory Grand Legislative Assembly Election Steeplechase again! Election day is not even three weeks away -- it's on Saturday, 18 June. Eeek.

Deep Throat steps out of the shadows

NZH: He was the most famous journalistic source in history.

Update: some more stuff, from the NYT...