January 2012 Blog Posts

That Cycling Thing

I've been riding my bike a lot lately. This is partly because I want to regain some lost fitness, and partly because Esther has simultaneously challenged and bribed me to lose a few kilos, and partly because I'd forgotten how much I enjoy riding. I've dropped about five kilos in the last couple of weeks, putting me two kilos away from the first level of bribery. That level ought to see me acquiring a new bike to complement the old, probably a Fuel EX5 or EX6. Mmmm.... nice. There are other levels to follow that, but they may be quite a...

95% of percentages are annoyingly useless

There's a notice on the intranet here at work, which reads as follows: Lock it or lose it! 75% of theft from motor vehicles happens to unlocked cars It's annoying me. It's been annoying me for a while. Why? Because it's emblematic of a common theme in the presentation and usage of statistics. In the absence of other essential data - in the absence, indeed, of context - the 75% figure is largely useless. To really evaluate what it means, we have to know at what rate cars are left unlocked. If, for example, 85-90% of cars are left unlocked, then to have 75% of theft happen from locked cars would...

Somebody call Meryl a Waaahmbulance

Posted by Meryl Dorey over at Australian Vaccination Network HQ: Paraphrased: "Waaaah. Me not know how to a SEO. Therefores anyone who does must by an criminal. Kew E Dee. Also what are an wiki?". Of course, reading comprehension levels over at the AVN are primary-school level at best, so it's no surprise they think this article by Krelnik is about censorship. It's not. It's about improving search results to bring factual information into searches which may return a large quantity of misinformation - something that is actually the core business of a search engine. And of course Meryl is very sore about...

Is Meryl Dorey Anti-vaccine? Let's Ask Google

Meryl Dorey is fond of claiming that she is not anti-vaccine, but is in fact pro-choice. How can we sort out this seeming dichotomy? Well, obviously, in the way all the greatest fights are settled - Googlefight. Well. I think that's settled. Stop The AVN are right after all.

Narrowneck track, 21st Jan 2012

Today, despite thrashing rain and thunderstorm warnings, I took my bike for a bit of a ride. Driving out to the Blue Mountains in driving rain - and a couple of scary aquaplaning moments - I questioned the wisdom of doing the ride at all. There was a lot of rain on the radar, and thunderstorm chances were high, but arriving at Katoomba things looked dry-ish So, off I went. The first potential mistake happened when I parked on Cliff Drive. The start there is, I have subsequently discovered, at the top of a category 5 climb. Lovely on the way down, pretty...

A sense of entitlement

Quoth the Dorey: Let's leave aside the (somewhat disrespectful) red herring of "anti-choicers" for a moment, and examine the rest of this absurd tweet. In Australia, there is an entitlement meant to encourage vaccination, which was recently revised. You are only entitled to this if you completely vaccinate, or have a valid reason that excludes you from vaccinating. Do you get this, Meryl? It is an incentive to vaccinate. Therefore you're only entitled to it if you vaccinate. Imagine for a moment, a government incentive to insulate your property. A fine idea, and one which benefits everyone (except perhaps the power companies) in these environmentally conscious times. Should you...

To Meryl Dorey, 'irony' means 'a bit like an iron'

I'll just leave this here   It's like Meryl's decided she wants to do our job for us, it really is.

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A Thought Experiment

Over the last day or so, The Australian Skeptics Facebook Group has played unwilling host to a group of 11/9* Troofers, desperate, yet hilariously unable, to convince the skeptics of their hypothesis that the World Trade Center attacks were in fact a deliberate demolition job orchestrated as a false-flag operation. Sigh I normally steer clear of this nonsense, but since the troofers have been such obnoxious arseclowns, I feel I have to beat them up a little in a blog post, even if it is in a cursory manner. Their hypothesis, in a nutshell, is that the buildings were deliberately demolished using nano-thermite charges on...

To prove I don't just cover Half Man Half Biscuit and The Smiths...

... I'm covering another Northern English band which heavily influenced my formative years. The Wedding Present This time round, it's "Blue Eyes", track one from the Hit Parade albums, which open the intriguing possibility of covering all twelve hit parade singles in order, if I can muster the dedication required to arrange and learn all twelve tracks.     As is traditional at the moment, the cover was played on my Cordoba tenor ukulele, my aNueNue concert banjulele and my MusicMan Stingray electric bass - with support of Roland amplification - into my Yamaha USB mixer via a Behringer Condenser mic and thence to Audacity, in what I've...

Shorty Awards 2012: Support #StopAVN

Nominate Stop the AVN for a social media award in the Shorty Awards Yes, it's that time again. Time for the Shorty Awards. This year, I'm supporting and promoting a Shorty for @StopAVN in the #Activism category. If you have an existing, active twitter account, please join me in voting for @StopAVN., and help out by promoting this initiative to your followers, the more the better. Of course, shenanigans have happened before (see the comments trail here), so I'll be following any responses from the antivax side with interest, and I've started a wiki hub page here. Let me know if you see dodgy...

Vaccination Saves Lives: Stop The Australian Vaccination Network
Say NO to the National School Chaplaincy Program