Wednesday, February 25, 2009

March of the white elephants

Well as predicted the $100million Southern star observation wheel has become somewhat of a white elephant after suffering massive structural weakening during the heatwave. Unfortunately it was destined for this fate well before being cracked by the sun and heat, the whole Dockland and Harbor city precincts of Melbourne have been a totally joke of urban development. Expensive and exceedingly artificial attempts to replicate the feel of suburbs like St Kilda, Williamstown and Brighton are unfortunately doomed to have anything other than a "gee whiz" appeal to normally skeptical Melbournians. (Especially when those suburbs are only slightly more difficult to travel to.) Melbournians have an instict to love little homly secret places, it's a pretention the city is well known for, but we are generally not attracted to big tourist attractions. (Fed Square is probably the exception to that rule) The rule of thumb in Melbourne always has been that the harder a place is to find, and the less advertised it is; the cooler it is.
So Southern Star, I commend you as you join the ranks of great White Elephants all over the world.

The Millennium Dome in London.

The Birdsnest Stadium in Bejing

And the Montreal Olympic Stadium. (Though the Biodome is quite cool)


Update (2/3/09): Doh! Seems the wheel was broke from the outset...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Made of Awesome

Call me a geek but that is hilarious and very well made to be honest.
Does remind me I wanted to write movie reviews here too...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Who was really behind 9/11? Well it was Xenu by the sounds...

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Good of Google

Well I have been as nervous as anybody when it comes to Google's relentless cataloging of peoples personal information. Heck even this blog is part of their information network that spans blogs, pictures, videos and even images of our cities and streets. (Well not my street, but streets near me have street view. Don't know if I should be relieved or annoyed...)
But during the current Bushfire season Google have indeed come to the table with an amazingly useful feature, a Google Map of the Victorian bush fires with up-to-date information on the status of various fires.

See the internet CAN provide useful information and not just porn.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The other Stimulus package...

Much like the US and many other countries, Australia is in the grip of stimulus fever; and much like the US the package selected by government has caused a showdown with the main opposition party.
Unlike our friends in the US, there is much less doubt as to what will happen between the two parties over this. Australian political parties almost universally vote on party lines, crossing the floor is a news worthy event and unless on a so called "conscience vote" ; something that risks you being black-balled by both sides if you do it too much.
Australia generally only has minority governments at state level, federal parliament's lower house is generally ruled by the governing party , it is the senate and it's small but vital population of minor parties and single independent that hold the future of this bill.

I must take my hat off, this is the first decent political tussle of Kevin Rudd's government; it seems that the opposition have finally found their feet and have progressed beyond the school boy childishness that we saw at the start of the parliamentary season in 2008. (The Internet filtering bill was less of a tussle as it was so unpopular with the public, and seems doomed in the face of opposition by the Greens and Liberal party.)
Malcom Turnbull as opposition leader is staking alot on this, it's a high profile blocking of a very high profile (and popular) bill. Heck any bill that basically hands out cash to the public will be popular; it's why the previous govenment's baby bonus, first home grant and private health insurance subsity still exist, they are simpally very difficult to remove due to the backlash they will cause. (Even if the actual economic benifits of these rebates are highly suspect in all cases)
But this is a very deft move if it works, Rudd now has to deal with the minor parties and the indipendent to pass the bill, and naturally there may be some shifting to meet these senator interests. The Greens have stated they want to review the bill, probably by Senete inquiry, the Family First senator may swing the oppositions way but I think will be loathe to oppose a populist bill like this one (after all Family first is basically a conservative populist party),and the indipendent Nick Xenophon is expected to back the bill after an inquiry. This will slow the bill down, which may make it cool in the public imagination which will rob Rudd of some of the advantage.

Should be an interesting week or so...