Friday, April 30
The National Coalition for the Abuse and Misuse of Statistics* have been running ads on Streetvision** lately, proclaiming that:
Handguns kill over 400,000 people each year. 80% of them are women and children.***Yeah, I'd noticed that we've been hip-deep in dead bodies lately, down here in Oz. 400,000 every year, just from handguns...
Oh, that's not an Australian statistic, you say?
So how many people are killed by handguns**** in Australia each year? This handy article in The Age, found in about 10 seconds of Googling, tells us that the number in 2001 was 49.
This represents a drop since tough new restrictions were put in place in 1996, from a 1991 figure of 29.
No, hang on - isn't 49 more than 29? I could've sworn...
And those numbers include accidents and suicides. Suicide is the single largest cause of death involving firearms, and accounted for 80% of such deaths over a ten-year period from 1991 to 2001.
And 90% of the victims in that ten-year period were men.
But far be it from me to accuse the National Coalition for Gun Control of being somewhat careless with the truth.
* Well, they call themselves the National Coalition for Gun Control, but...
** Television - 90% ads - projected at captive audiences in the underground stations in Sydney.
*** That may not be exact, but it's pretty close.
**** Yeah, I know. Guns don't kill people - I do.
Thursday, April 29
I've been eaten by mice (again) so blogging will be very light to non-existent for a week or two.
Wednesday, April 28
Tuesday, April 27
One has to be in a certain mood to enjoy a book like this - or at least, I have to be - not unlike the mood where I'm prepared to enjoy Cervantes or Sir Walter Scott. But since I am in such a mood right now, I am enjoying it very much.
It's certainly a rambling tale, but it rambles it's way past and through many points of interest, so I have few complaints. I was under the impression that the Old London Bridge had been destroyed by the time the novel is set (the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries), but it turns out that this is not the case - although the bridge was burned down in 1014, destroyed by a storm in 1091, burned down again in 1136, and the site of catastrophic fires in 1212 and 1633. It was replaced in 1831 by a less combustible stone structure, which was widened in 1904 whereupon it sank into the swamp. Well, it sank slowly, but still...
That sort of history boggles me just a little, as Sydney's famous Harbour Bridge is only seventy years old and has so far not been destroyed even once. To paraphrase someone: In England, a hundred miles is a long distance; in Australia, a hundred years is a long time.
Monday, April 26
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
This is ANZAC Day.
Upgraded the MuNu MT database to MySQL today, something I should have done long ago. If you're going to run Movable Type, it's definitely worth your time to use MySQL or PostgreSQL (or I think SQLite is also supported). For a brand new blog there isn't much difference, but on a very large installation like MuNu, a SQL* database can be as much as 10 times faster.
With this on top of the Minxification of Ambient Irony, I now have some of the fastest MT comments around. Leave me a comment, and marvel in the fastness of it! It's almost... adequate!
* I say "a SQL database" rather than "an SQL database" because in my head I pronounce SQL as "skwuhl".
Saturday, April 24
An otherwise uninspiring day at work was brightened by the approach of three shiny red fire engines, sirens blaring.
Where are they heading?
Looks like they're stopping.
But... If there's a fire in our building, shouldn't there be -
BEEEP! BEEEEP! BEEEEEEP! BEEEEEEEEP!!
- an alarm?
Uh-oh. I grabbed my apple turnover and last night's backup tape, and headed downstairs. Where we milled about for ten minutes before the firepersons came back out and let us go back to work.
So the building completely failed to burn down, but the fire engines were particularly shiny.
Friday, April 23
It's what's for dinner.
No, wait! Pie! I have pie!
[Well, that's next week's Bonfire entry sorted out. — Ed.]
Wednesday, April 21
Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti
(Thanks to The Quizmistress of Chaos)
I just need something that folds and irons and puts away...
There are automatic ironing machines, but last I read they were not exactly practical. Until the day they reach the mass market, I will remain hopeful and slightly crumpled.
Oh, and the PostgreSQL load died with an error too boring to relate here. So it's MySQL for munu.
60 queries taking 0.0204 seconds, 337 records returned.
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