What is that?
It's a duck pond.
Why aren't there any ducks?
I don't know. There's never any ducks.
Then how do you know it's a duck pond?

Tuesday, October 12


The Meltdown Continues

This from the official blog of the Australian Greens:

Submitted by Virginia. on 11-10-2004 10:42 PM, in the category
Apologies for the fact that idiots exist.

Obviously the re-election of the Liberal Party has given some of our redneck pals the guts to come out of the woodwork. Apologies to people who attempted to read and/or post to the comments section of the blog today, and found themselves redirected to boring (and badly-designed) right-wingery.

As I'm sure you know, a redirect script is a terribly impressive and complicated thing to program, and makes you look really cool.

Anyway, comments are off until I can put aside my election hangover for long enough to deal with the minor problem it presents - I guess this is just practice for life under our newly-minted undemocratic democracy.

Right back atcha, guys!

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The Meltdown Begins

One of the things I've most been looking forward to once the elections are over and Howard and Bush have been returned to office with increased majorities is the complete screaming meltdown of the left.

Still three weeks to go for the American and global meltdown, but here in Australia it is already under way. WhackingDay has the goods.

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Sunday, October 10


Darn Internet

With 8.35% of the primary vote and 4.39% of the two-party preferred vote counted, the Australian Electoral Commission is calling 6 seats for Labor, 14 for Liberal, 5 for National (so 19 for Howard's Coalition) and 2 Independent.

There was a strong early swing against Labor due to the forestry workers in Tasmania, and it looks like the Coalition has picked up one, possibly two seats there.

7:15PM: Click!

9.34% primary, 4.81% preferred counted.

Labor 8
Liberal 18
National 7
Independent 2

7:20 PM: Click!

11.98% primary, 5.96% preferred counted

Labor 12
Liberal 24
National 9
Independent 2

So that's 33 for Howard, 12 for Latham.

Well, early days, early days.

7:25 PM

My DNS server isn't responding. Wah?

7:30 PM

19.10% primary, 9.49% preferred vote counted.

Labor 30
Liberal 40
National 12
Independent 3

They've taken one of the Tassie seats off the Libs and put it back in "doubtful", though.

7:33 PM And remember, it's not just Australia that's voting today. Afghanistan is going to the polls too. Thanks to, well, you know.

7:35 PM

20.37% of the primary and 10.39% of two-party-preffered votes counted.

Labor 32
Liberal 43
National 12
Independent 2

And remember, the Liberals and the Nationals are in coalition, so it's 55 for Howard and 32 for Latham.

7:40 PM

How do they count these things so fast? It's not like they're particularly simple, and they're not computer-based or punched cards.


26.57% of the primary and 14.44% of the preferred vote has been counted.

Labor 40
Liberal 49
National 12
Independent 3

7:45 PM

28.67% of the primary and 15.65% of the preferred vote counted.

Labor 41
Liberal 50
National 12
Independent 3

The Coalition has 62 of the 76 seats it needs for a victory, and there are still 44 seats in question. I think it's a pretty safe call for a fourth term for John Howard.

But I'll be back in five minutes anyway.

7:50 PM

31.83% primary and 18.47% preferred counted.

Labor 40 (yep, they went backwards)
Liberal 54
National 12
Independent 3

Looks like a national swing of around 2% to the Coalition, so they will likely be returned with an increased majority.

7:55 PM

Not only have I lost the CD cases for my original Sims collection - which have the license keys on them - but I've lost the file I created that I put all my license keys in. Poot. Oh, no change on the election in the last five minutes.

8:10 PM

Not much movement now, as the marginal seats won't be called for one side or the other until a lot more votes have been counted. Labor has picked up 1, with 38 remaining undecided.

However, the Coalition need only 9 of those 38 to win, whereas Labor would need 34. I'm seeing the Coalition picking up an extra 5, maybe 7, seats compared to last time. (And they already had an 81-65 majority.)

8:30 PM

While we wait for something to happen (like the votes coming in from Western Australia), the ABC is predicting 85 seats for the Coalition (up 4) and 62 for Labor (down 3).

9:45 PM

Mark Latham has conceded. John Howard is once again Prime Minister of Australia.

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All Over Bar The Drinking

Well, today is voting day here in Oz. Voting doesn't finish for a few hours yet, due to Perth, which is always running late. And so, in a few hours, we will know.

Are we in for a fourth term of John Howard's decent and sensible (if unremarkable) leadership? Or will I spend the next four years apologising for my government?

I plan to go to sleep tonight without checking anything anywhere, and then tomorrow morning I'll take a look at Tim Blair's site. And spend the day re-installing my Linux box, either way.

My Windows box seems to... Work. Yes, I have it booting to a RAID-5 volume. Writing to RAID-5 is rather slow - the benchmark I ran only gave me 12MB/s. But reading from it, I sustained just on 100MB/s, which is all you're going to get from a standard PCI slot. Overall, not unhappy, once I got the BIOS and the drivers sorted out. (Yes, the drivers were also immensely sucky.)

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Friday, October 08



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Helpful Household Hints

At least if you live in a house like mine...

If you are the proud owner of a HighPoint RocketRAID 1640, and your BIOS revision (displayed on the configuration screen when you boot at the top right) is anything less than 2.05s, go to the HighPoint site, download the latest BIOS revision, make yourself a boot floppy, copy the BIOS loader program and the loader onto the floppy, reboot, and update that damn BIOS.

I don't remember what version my card had, but the new BIOS is much much much better, transforming a uniquely sucky card into one that seems, so far, adequate.

More news as it comes to hand. First I have to get through building a 600GB RAID-5 set. That took 7½ hours before; maybe it will be quicker this time...

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Near my house there are two large plastic signs telling me I should Vote Greens - which someone has thoughtfully nailed to a couple of trees. The trees were not available for comment at time of publication.

Anyway, Bernie Slattery has the inside scoop on what colour the Greens really are. Hint: You might as well call them the Watermelon Party.*

Don't miss their 40-point plan for new and increased taxes. including a 33% surcharge (on top of the current top marginal rate of around 50%) for people-who-earn-more-than-is-good-for-them. And the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by - wait for it - 100%. Which means that all those cuddly animals will have to go - after all, we can't have them breathing, now can we?

I've touched on Bob Brown's insane policies before. This is what Slatts has to say:

They are political extremists whose policies borrow equally from the textbooks of Hitler and Stalin.

Of course, Australians are too sensible to put up with totalitarianism and should the Greens achieve any measure of power it would be short-lived.

But remember Whitlam. Much damage can be achieved in a short time by ideologues and their useful idiots.

* Okay: Green on the outside and red on the inside.**
** And I won't mention that the leader of the Australian Greens is Bob Brown.

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Thursday, October 07


The Bluebird of Crappiness

So, I finally got around to installing my new SATA RAID controller in my Windows box.

That's why I'm posting this from my Linux box.

Windows box, she no boot no more. Nor can I re-install Windows.


While I'm here: The controller is a HighPoint 1640. The only brand of RAID controller I've had uniformly good experience with is 3Ware, and they're damned expensive. Does anyone have any recommendations for a cheap(ish) SATA RAID controller that does RAID-5 and doesn't utterly suck? Or do I blow my budget into tiny little pieces and get a controller that will at least work?

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Wednesday, October 06


Smart Money

Lately I've been growing more comfortable that George Bush will be re-elected and John Kerry banished howling into the outer darkness, and that all will be right and proper in America again. Not that I'm a huge fan of most of Bush's policies, but I strongly agree with his foreign policy, and have nothing but contempt for Kerry. If the Democrats had nominated Lieberman, it would be a very different story, but that didn't happen in this universe.

Here in Australia I haven't been nearly as comfortable, with Mark Latham, a character nearly as contemptible as Kerry, stubbornly refusing to self-destruct. Until this week, when he signed on to the Green's tree-hugging policies to secure their preferences (Australia uses a preferential voting system, where votes for a losing candidate are directed to one of the other candidates, until only two are left).

Unfortunately for Latham, the traditional constituency of his Labor Party is, well, workers. Including forestry workers. And the trade unions are very influential in the Labor Party as well. And Latham just pissed them off royally. Smart money says his greenie-grabbing tactics have scuttled his ship.

Which smart money? This smart money. Click on "Elections" in the left-hand menu.

A dollar bet on the Coalition (John Howard, the good guys) would return just $1.16 for a win (at 10 AM Wednesday October 6, just three days before the election). A dollar on Labor would return $4.50.

By comparison, a dollar on George Bush returns $1.50, against $2.40 for Kerry.

Tim Blair has more.

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Tuesday, October 05


The Second Space Age

SpaceShipOne has landed safely after a second successful flight to the edge of space in under a week.

Scaled Composites, led by Burt Rutan, has done it!

Transterrestrial Musings was live-blogging the event.

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