Stilgherrian’s links for 11 June 2009 through 13 June 2009, gathered with tenderness and love. Especially love.
- The Poll Cruncher | Pollytics: How trustworthy is the result of an opinion poll? This handy little tool allows you to enter the sample size and the result, and it gives you the margin of error. Assuming, of course, that the poll was conducted randomly and ethically in the first place.
- What’s Your Professional Reputation? | Pollytics: Possum interprets the latest results from the Roy Morgan poll of public perceptions of ethics and honesty for various professions. As usual, newspaper journalists and car salesmen are down the bottom. Possum creates a nice little interactive graph showing how the result have changed each year since 1979.
- Nineteen Eighty-Four turns sixty | Inside Story: Brian McFarlane’s take on the 60th anniversary of the publication of Orwell’s classic. Somehow, while talking about film adaptations and connections to Phillip K Dick, he completely fails to mention Terry Gilliam’s Brazil.
- Dear Global Service Direct, where is my Snuggie? | Crikey: Crikey‘s coverage of their interactions with the Snuggie has the potential to become quite obsessive. In a good way. However this silly exchange of emails with Snuggie’s sellers contain one of the best customer service responses ever: “I wish I could do more but I am just a pawn.” Also, a graph.
- From little things… | RN Future Tense: This episode of ABC Radio National’s Future Tense included an interview with ActionAid Australia’s Archie Law about Project TOTO, as well as some great stuff about innovative uses of telecommunications technology in Kenya and India. Internet via bus, anyone?
- William Langewiesche on Somali pirates | vanityfair.com: Feature article on the incident where French luxury cruise ship Le Ponant was targeted by Somali pirates.
- louder than swahili: The blog of Pernille, a 37yo Scandinavian woman who’s been living in Tanzania since 2007, and most recently before that spent 26 months among Sudanese refugees along and across the Ugandan border to Southern Sudan.
- A Never Ending Race | absolutelybangkok.com: Bangkok in 2015 is a paranoid short yarn from Yan Monchatre, a French cartoonist and illustrator who’s resident in Bangkok.
- The First Few Milliseconds of an HTTPS Connection | Moserware: A deep, deep explanation of what happens when your web browser creates an encrypted connection to a website.
- mHITs: An Australian company providing the technology to pay by mobile phone. Currently seems to be limited to food and drink, and to a handful of venues in Canberra and Sydney.
- The United Republic Consulate of Tanzania Consulate: This is, I hope, the official website of the Consulate for Tanzania in Melbourne. It’s not particularly reassuring when the home page’s title bar reads: “::Welcom to Company Name::”.
- Rise of online mercenaries | Australian IT: Steven Bellovin, professor of computing science at Columbia University, predicts the rise of online mercenaries using techniques going back 200 years to letters of marque and reprisal, where governments commission somebody to attack another government’s assets with perfect immunity under law. The story’s a couple weeks old but still relevant.
The estimable Possum Comitatus has asked this very question over at Crikey Blogs.
I’ve already added my two bits, mostly referring back to my post Why The Greens won’t win Marrickville from 2007.
Since I was asked, where are the good Australian political blogs?
During Australia’s federal election in 2007, for me Possum’s Pollytics was invaluable for its analysis of opinion polls, as was Peter Brent’s Mumble. Larvatus Prodeo provided interesting commentary from a centre-left perspective. I didn’t get into any of the right-wing commentators, because once Howard’s End became inevitable they became more shrill, even less rational.
However the election overloaded me. I prefer to read essays and analysis with a longer timeframe, not the daily news focus on political mud-throwing.
What, for you, are the best Australian political blogs, and why?
[Update 10 January 2012: Minor edit to remove the identity of who asked the question.]
Yesterday I said I write follow-ups to my recent pieces on housing affordability and the Australia 2020 Summit. I decided to relax last night instead, and today I’ll concentrate on some client work and the gym first. Meanwhile, you can always read part 2 of Possum Comitatus’ housing policy analysis and Guy Rundle’s negative perspective on the summit.
At some point we will have to stop blaming John Winston Howard for every problem we face. For the moment, though, it does seem that whenever we lift the lid on some important issue we find something smelly whose cause was inaction or ineptitude on JHo’s watch.
Yesterday it was how we’re stuck with the Super Hornets thanks to “a lack of sound, long-term… planning decisions by the former Government over the course of the last decade”. Today let’s look at Chairman Rudd’s theme of the week, housing affordability.
It’s now more expensive to live in Sydney than in New York.
[P]roperty prices have jumped 400 per cent since 1986, while income has increased by only 120 per cent.
The mysterious but awesomely-brained Possum Comitatus explains how he ran the numbers, leading to this graph.
It’s worth reading the full analysis, but his conclusion is blunt:
[R]eal house prices remained virtually frozen over the period from 1990 through to 2000. It wasn’t until Howard started stuffing around with halving the capital gains rate and things like the first home buyers grant that real house prices started to accelerate…
It also highlights in real terms just how much the NSW market has dropped over the last couple of years.
Possum’s going to look at our policy options in part 2, coming soon. However The Australian‘s George Megalogenis has already started down that path — from the suitably cynical viewpoint of which options generate the most votes for whom.
Continue reading “So Howard screwed up housing affordability too”
Some things I found on the weekend which you might like. The UNIX-HATERS Handbook, which reminded me that for all the religious hype over Unix/Linux it really is just a kludge. (Hat-tip of the geekiest kind to Alastair Rankine.) A NY Times article How Dangerous Is the Internet for Children? Answer: not particularly. A fine Wired story about Titan Salvage, the smart, brave and somewhat scary guys who salvage ships. And Possums Pollytics’ wonderful response to an attack by The Australian‘s Dennis Shanahan.