My week of Monday 5 to Sunday 11 December 2016 was dominatedby my trip to Canberra to take part in the “360° Cyber Security Game” being convened by RAND Corporation and the National Security College (NSC) at The Australian National University (ANU).
In the background I did quite a bit of work on the SEKRIT editorial project. I promise to tell you more about that before Christmas.
Podcasts, Media Appearances, Corporate Largesse
[Photo: Cows on the Move. Cattle run from the Canberra-Sydney train as it passed at full speed on 9 December 2016.]
Donald Trump demonstrates some modern thinking. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd submits to a Voight-Kampff test. And Senator Jacqui Lambie lays down the law on renewable energy.
In this podcast, there’s talk of windfarms, wind turbine syndrome, and a lack of science. Also, Tony Abbott, terrorism, George Brandis, poetry, and a little bit about fascism.
Continue reading “The 9pm Planet of Fascist Delusions”
There’s terror in Australia’s suburbs. But fear not. Attorney-General the Honourable Senator George “Soapy the Ankle” Brandis QC is on the case. And Bob Garfield speaks true wisdom.
In this podcast, there’s talk of trains, bombs, terrorism, conspiracies, more bombs, and more trains.
Continue reading “The 9pm Inadequate Sense of Occasion”
I cringe when people talk about the “train station”. “It’s ‘railway station’, you morons,” screams my brain. Well as it turns out, they’re actually not stupid — at least not for that reason. It’s just another relatively modern shift in language.
The chart at the top of the post is a Google Ngram search of their entire English corpus since 1820 — the first public steam railway in the world was the Stockton and Darlington Railway, which opened in 1825 — comparing the usage of “railway station” (blue) versus “railroad station” (red) and “train station” (orange).
You can click through to the full-size chart, or run the search yourself.
As you can see, the most common usage has almost always been “railway station”, with “railroad station” distinctly second-place. A “train station” wasn’t even a thing until the 1950s, but it rose in popularity quite quickly. “Train station” has been the most common usage since the mid-1990s, although it has been declining again since around 2000. I wonder why.
My understanding is that many railway terms derived from the military, because until the railways came along nothing else had been organised on that sort of trans-national and even trans-continental scale except armies. Hence trains have “guards” for their safe operation, and “stations” along the line where staff are stationed to maintain the entire railway system — including fuel, water, trackwork and signalling.
Railway stations are therefore part of a railway’s entire operation, not merely “train stations” for trains to stop at. For me, someone talking about “train stations” is showing their ignorance of how railways work: it’s more than just the trains.
Since I had the Google open in front of me, I thought I’d look at the variations in US versus UK English. It seems that “railroad station” isn’t the dominant American usage that I’d imagined.
Continue reading “Why people who say “train station” sound stupid”
Here are the web links I’ve found for 10 August 2009 and some days beforehand, posted automatically, kinda.
- Teens Don’t Tweet… Or Do They? | apophenia: Mashable reported some new statistics on Twitter usage with the headline “Teens Don’t Tweet”;. This article debunks that idiocy.
- Why I believe in the link economy | MediaFile: Chris Ahearn, who’s President, Media at Thomson Reuters, provides an interesting counterpoint to Associated Press’ aggressive anti-linking views.
- What’s a Big City Without a Newspaper? | NYTimes.com: This feature starts off with a long nostalgic waffle about newspapers, but towards the end it has some excellent points about how journalism may adapt to the new world.
- Hunter S Thompson Motivational Posters | Sloshspot Blog: Yes, the world needs Hunter S Thompson motivational posters. It truly does.
- The Communications Market 2009 (August) | Ofcom: The UK communications regulatory authority’s latest industry statistics.
- TVS – Television Sydney: Community TV station TVS has a website — which is nothing new, except that I just discovered that their program are streamed live as well as being broadcast on UHF analog.
- eCrime Symposium panel discussion | Risky Business: One of the panel discussions from last week’s eCrime Symposium in Sydney, featuring: Rachel Dixon, who’s a technology executive for online media group Viocorp, as well as being the deputy chair of consumer group CHOICE; Phil Argy, head of the Technology Dispute Centre, and Sean Richmond from Sophos. The panel was hosted by Nigel Phair, and there’s a question from me.
- Mission control | SomaFM: Apollo mission radio feeds from NASA mixed with ambient electronica. Suitably excellent listening.
- Rupert and the death of hubris – Alan Kohler | Business Spectator: A solid analysis of Rupert Murdoch’s announcement that News Corporation will pull its content behind paywalls.
- Watch the Ebb and Flow of Melbourne Trains | FlowingData: From Australian data visualisation team Flink Labs, a fascinating overview of Melbourne’s railway network in action.
- Internet Filter Plan From Stephen Conroy Won’t Work: DPP | theage.com.au: Earlier this week, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery QC, was rather sceptical of the Rudd government’s plans to “filter” the Internet.
- Canberra Players League’s All Star Game 2009 | Dnosauria: Not bookmarked because I’m interested in basketball, but because Dean trialled using Livestream.com to put the video online. Live. Seems it’s a batter choice than Ustream, which is what I’d been using until now. I may check it out.
Just 18 months ago, I wrote about how this ordinary aircraft would change my life. And it did. This Boeing 747, or one very like it, took me on my first trip outside Australia, to Thailand. I’m about to be changed again. Dramatically.
I can’t tell you about my SEKRIT project just yet, except that it will expose me to things which are Very Different from anything I’ve experienced in my life so far. This morning, though, I’ve been re-reading the pieces I wrote when I returned from Thailand, each labelled “Unreliable Bangkok”.
You may like to re-read them with me now. I quite liked them at the time. If nothing else, the photographs are interesting. Perhaps.
My SEKRIT project will also involve international travel, but not to Thailand. I’ll be posting every day while I’m away — because that’s the point of the trip! — and more reflective pieces upon my return. Stay tuned.