Category Archives: Oceania

Links o' the day 18/11/08

It’s depressing that it’s hard to argue with Jim Kunstler:

Personally, I believe the age of Happy Motoring is over. Many Americans have already bought their last car – they just don’t know it yet.

Can culture change anything? Paulo wants to hear from you.

Apparently we’re related to kangaroos. Now I feel a little guilty about eating this distant cousin of mine in a pie one evening. Tasty, though.

A blast from the Lifehacker archives worth keeping close to hand: manage your online reputation.

Even the Department of the Taoiseach is going without a Christmas party. I guess this is Brian Cowen’s attempt to help save the public finances.

Links and stuff

Given the day that it is, I don’t really feel much like posting something proper. Just links. Nothing overly serious and, for once, no mention of the utter-fucked-upness that is the Middle East.

Study pits liberal brains against conservative brains… who’s more flexible? Liberals, of course. (USAToday)

The Spybot Search and Destroy game. One of my favourite anti-spyware programmes has a secret minesweeper game for you to play while scans are in progress. (How-to Geek blogs)

State of play: the game of love. Increasing numbers of people find MMORPGS a great way to size up a potential mate, the logic being their online behaviour reflects their real-life behaviour. (BBC)

Quench your thirst without selling your soul. Enjoy bottled water without the conscience bothering that comes with knowing how much oil is used to make the plastic bottles. (Earth2Tech)

Why our next prime minister got drunk in a strip club. If only the current crop of Irish politicians had tales like this, as opposed to answering awkward questions about their finances. (Mr Angry)

Links of the day

Things that caught my eye when I should have been doing something more productive:

The mother of all battles: It’s a dance off! Princess Stomper produces this amazing video of characters from Morrowind, Oblivion and Guild Wars shaking their collective booties in a bid to resolve once and for all which is the greatest RPG of all time. Or at least have a lot of fun. (

Cool dude: A lone dreamer in the Aboriginal art boom. A lovely profile piece of Michael Nelson Tjakamarra, one of Australia’s best-known painters but a man who cares not for the trappings of fame and fortune. (International Herald Tribune)

Paranoid, much? Ethiopia accuses Norway of ‘destabilising’ region. That modern imperial power, Norway, is under fire for “repeated and widespread interference in destabilising the Horn of Africa”. All goofing aside, there are serious issues regarding the conflict with Eritrea. (AFP)

May the force be with them: NASA shuttle to launch Luke’s lightsaber. The original prop is going along with shuttle Discovery on its trip to the ISS in December. (

I have got to get me one of these: Practical fuel cells for electronics. Hydrogen fuel cells could run laptops for 50 hours at a go. (Technology Review)

These people can’t catch a break: Poor roads cost Cameroon cocoa farmers dear. A rubbish infrastructure means farmers get their beans to traders three weeks late — after the price had dropped. (Reuters)

The cows are screwed: The end of the world’s grasslands as we know them?  Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may prompt the large-scale conversion of grasslands to a landscape of woody shrubs, one study claims. (

Cheap plug: Policeman suspended for hugging bailed star. The story of the day as far as I was concerned while working the desk yesterday! Nine coppers are in trouble for welcoming Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt on his release from prison. (Irish Examiner)

All-round solutions: Blackwater flies… Blackwater Security, which provides “security solutions” to the US military in Iraq, is creating its own airforce. Feckin’ hell. (Scholars and Rogues)

I can empathise: The internet — why it’s better than real life. Glad to see I’m not the only one, though I have yet to embrace the likes of MySpace or Linkedin. (Sunday Business Post)

Big numbers: Iraqi pilgrims sent home amid violence. One million people have been ordered out of Karbala after 26 people die in two days of shootings. (AP/CBS)

Mothers’ boys: Even gangsters need their mamas. Nicaragua tackles gang violence by relying on guerrilla street cred and mothers’ love. Would this work in Limerick I wonder (sorry, cheap shot)? (

Journey of mankind

Catholicgauze has found another gem of a map, this one a timelapse animation showing humanity’s expansion from Africa and on to world domination. There’s plenty of extra material on landmarks such as the Mt Toba eruption and various ice ages. Well worth checking out, but just be aware it will take a long time on a slow connection.

Indigenous Australians

Mr Angry has an excellent blog entry on the Australian government’s plan to ban alcohol and porn in some Aboriginal Australian communities.

If you missed the story, the move comes on the back of a report that found alcoholism and child abuse were rampant in some of these communities in the Northern Territory.

The report blamed “rivers of grog” and the breakdown of traditional Aboriginal society for the endemic abuse.

Prime minister John Howard has called the issue a “national emergency”, but some have pointed out that it’s an election year in Australia. But Kathy Mark, writing for the Independent, points out he did not speak to the report’s authors before coming up with this crackdown. Check out Mr Angry’s take on things here.

Child abuse is a horrific crime, there is no escaping that fact. But sending troops to enforce a ban on beer and porn is not the way to go. Prohibiting something only makes its allure stronger — and prohibition by the strong arm of the government risks breeding resentment.

But as Mr Angry points out, some communities have welcomed the intervention.

There are times when Draconian measures are necessary. Do you think this is one of those times, dear reader?