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Jun 2010

Another Adventure

Today we had to go to Inverell, a hundred and thirty five kilometres each way trip, to get an ultrasound check on my prostate, bladder, and kidneys.

The last time we had gone to Inverell was a week ago last Monday. On that occasion I had decided to take the back road through Bundarra to get a good view of the bush. Along the way, I stopped, as I usually do, to remove a dead kangaroo from the road. Unfortunately I changed my normal procedure and tried to get the body into the bush rather than leaving it on the grass verge or the road. The result was that I tripped over a very old and collapsed fence and fell flat on my face in a mud puddle with the kangaroo on the back of my legs. I didn't hurt myself at all but I did make my trousers very dirty with muddy knees and bloody legs. When we got to Inverell we went to the Salvo's Op Shop and got a nice pair of trousers for a small handful of dollars so I wasn't walking the streets looking like a bum.

Today I decided to take the all bitumen road through Bingara and Delungra to avoid the problems of driving on many kilometres of dirt roads. As it happened we came across several live animals. We met a kangaroo which was standing on the side of the road watching for traffic rather than hopping in front of the car. We saw a live fox diving into the roadside grass (nearly all of the foxes we see are dead on the road). The last live animal we spotted was a feral cat hunting something in the grass verge from the edge of the bitumen.

We had a pretty good day out with happy results from the ultrasound and with some groceries and maps which we couldn't have bought in Barraba.

Posted: 30/6/10 8:04 PM

Where to go from here?

I am deeply immersed in consideration of what volunteer work I should be doing.

I have adopted a view that most of the Lions do not accept me as one of their fellowship. I have a big problem with the way they run the club because they don't respect the need to have agreement of a majority of members for everything they do. I feel a bit like a serf in a feudal society. I am happy to contribute to the work of the club because that is directed towards helping the disadvantaged in our community and I don't want to let my mentor down but I have a problem with the way the executive make decisions and with the way most of the members treat me socially. I believe the leadership is poor. I hope the new President will bring a change to this.

I have a similar problem with the Barraba River Landcare Inc because there is pretty much no effort made to get members opinions about issues and there is plenty of criticism of members for not contributing. Most of us think the leadership is poor.

The Transition Initiative which is my personal contribution has virtually stalled because the people who volunteered to participate in the Awareness Raising have mostly failed to do anything. Clearly my leadership has failed but I have a problem working out a solution to the issue. I believe passionately in the need for a successful Transition Initiative and have to find a new group of people who want to contribute to the work and would be happy to work with me.

I do have some work to do for people with whom I resonate and who appreciate my contributions. I believe that I might find other work in organisations like this so all is not lost.

One issue I am desperate to address is the widespread failure of many organisations in our community to treat volunteers properly. As I have said before, those people who manage volunteers must appreciate that they must take account of the need to ensure that they don't require volunteers to do things that make them unhappy because volunteers can always avoid these things by resigning at no expense to themselves. Volunteers are dedicated to making contributions but the work they do needs to give them satisfaction.

Posted: 29/6/10 5:02 PM

Another piece of 21st Century strangeness

A Slashdot piece reports a Supreme Court Case about petitioners seeking to have their signatures made anonymous.

"The case began with a bill that the Washington state legislature passed in 2009, expanding the state's domestic partnership law. The new referendum was known as 'everything but marriage' for the enhanced rights it gave same-sex couples. People who opposed the bill gathered 120,000 signatures for a ballot measure asking voters to repeal it. That measure eventually reached Washington voters, who upheld 'everything but marriage.' Those who signed the repeal petition feared that they would be harassed if their names became public, so they went to court challenging Washington's Public Records Act. They argued that signing a petition is speech that is protected from disclosure. But in Thursday's 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court disagreed. 'Such disclosure does not, as a general matter, violate the first amendment,' Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court."

I of course believe that the petitioners were quite wrong to suggest that signing a petition was just an act of free speech. If people want to have a law changed and use a petition, they must accept that they must reveal their identity, otherwise a petition could be made by a single person who simply added a large number of artificial signatures.

Posted: 26/6/10 7:05 AM

Work on the House

We are in process of changing the arrangements in the house to make it more habitable.

photo of the new cupboard

What used to be our bedroom is now the dining room. The furniture we already had didn't provide enough storage space for all our stuff. We went to Inverell on Monday to the shop we had used to buy furniture when we bought the house. We found a very pretty piece of furniture to hold all the glassware and other stuff. It adds quite a bit to the appearance of the room.

Posted: 24/6/10 11:04 AM

Another Broken Thing

Today I read an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about BART planning to build a new line to the Oakland International Airport. The Federal Government has cancelled a $70M stimulus grant for the project because "The feds said BART hadn't considered what impact possible higher fares and a "major service change" would have on low-income, minority and limited-English-speaking riders. The oversight amounted to a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and could jeopardise more than $100 million in future funding for the airport line, plus other projects."

BART are reported to have spent $80K in a programme of public consultation to determine the meaning of the words "major service change".

I don't understand why the meaning of the words can't be got from a dictionary or a lawyer.

II also don't understand why a project to build a new railway line which presumably will provide a much needed service to people from San Francisco who use Oakland International Airport is subject to consideration of the "impact possible higher fares and a "major service change" would have on low-income, minority and limited-English-speaking riders" or why is is subject to the Civil Rights Act.

If low-income, minority and limited-English-speaking people need to get from San Francisco to Oakland International Airport or back, surely a rail connection would be useful and probably cheaper than any other form of transport.

Posted: 15/6/10 7:59 AM

More 21st Century Stuff

In a slashdot piece yesterday I read a quote from a CNet columnist, Molly Wood, about the present arrangement which requires her to pay more than once for data.

'I want to pay once for data, I want that data to be unlimited, and I want to be able to use it in any fashion I choose.' Still, she has hopes that the-times-they-will-be-a-changin. 'It's only a matter of time before regulators catch wind of just how many times we're being charged for the exact same thing.'

Clive Hamilton made reference to this kind of proposal in his book, "Requiem for a Species". His point was that this proposal would have a parallel in regard to electricity supply. People would all pay a fixe fee and consume as much electricity as they wanted to without having to pay extra.

I am so please that someone like clive Hamilton is discussing these issues. It makes me feel better about my world view. I know that I am not a member of the iGeneration but I do worry that the iGeneration will one day rule the world and everything will go to blazes.

Posted: 8/6/10 4:16 PM

TheTruth is Out

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has accused Optus of false advertising because of their use of the word "unlimited" in their ads. I should say that I noticed the error in the Optus ads on TV and wondered how they could get away with such an untruth.

Optus have been quoted as saying "Optus has a different view to the ACCC regarding the use of the word 'unlimited' in our advertising," the spokesperson said. "We believe our advertising is clear, it is not misleading, it complies with all laws and our customers understand it."

This, in my view, reveals the lack of integrity in some corporations. To suggest that consumers would understand that the use of the word "unlimited" did not imply that there were no limits on the use of their accounts is quite ridiculous. Clearly the use of the word "unlimited" was intended to influence the consumer's choice.

Posted: 5/6/10 7:12 AM
Revised: 5/6/10 3:05 PM

More 21st Century Stupidity

Todays news told us that some Parkinson's sufferers are taking a class action against the maker of their new drug because the manufacturer did not do adequate research into the side effects of the drug. The plaintiffs claim that the drug causes them to get into pornography and gambling.

I wonder what research the plaintiffs did to establish this side effect. Clearly getting into pornography and gambling depends on personal decisions and the research needed to prove that the drug could cause this without the responsibility being on the drug taker would be very demanding and require a very large sample of patients to allow real conclusions to be drawn. I suspect that the "evidence" the plaintiffs will offer is just personal accounts of their changed behaviour. I hope the court that will hear the case is properly run so that such anecdotal evidence is not admitted.

The other piece of news was about the induction of Wayne Carey into the the Footballers Hall of Fame. He is famous but to most of us his fame results from a case where he was found to have had an affair with the girlfriend of one of his team mates . We know he was a star footballer but it seems to me that including him in the Hall of Fame probably brings a greatly reduced reputation to all the other inductees.

Posted: 4/6/10 8:20 AM

A Wonderful Visit by some old friends from our Nomad Days

This afternoon we had an un-announced visit from some motorhomer friends. They were heading for Queensland and chose to pass through Barraba so they cold visit us.

We had a great chat mostly about old friends but a bit about he problems members have with the headquarters of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia.

We were amazed to hear that Dot was still suffering as a result of a broken leg a few years ago and that Syd had had a quadruple bypass operation.

We sent them on their way with requests to pass on our best wishes to Pip and Mel and Bobbie when they next go to St Arnaud.

Posted: 2/6/10 6:29 PM

Another example of the problems of the 21st Century

This morning I read a piece in Slashdot the reported that a woman was suing Google because the directions she used on her Blackberry to get fro A to B took her onto a road with no pedestrian sidewalks. She walked along the road and was hit by a car (she is also suing the car driver of the car). The basis of her case must be that she was doing what she was told on her electronic device and was therefore entitled to do whatever she did (i.e. she was entitled to believe what the device told her and did not have to exercise her own attention and care).

I have read lots of stories about drivers who have followed the instructions from their GPS systems and had serious accidents (I have not read any reports of these drivers being charged with dangerous driving for not using their eyes and their judgement to confirm that the instructions from their electronic devices are appropriate).

Of course, it might be that lawyers are encouraging this kind of case to get more business!

Posted: 1/6/10 7:22 AM


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Created: 1/06/10 and last revised 30/03/2014
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