Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dave Edison whispered in my ears on a sunny nut at Stanley: I'm desperately trying to figure out why kamikaze pilots wore helmets ...

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The medicinal poppy industry has now been operating in Tasmania for over 30 years, and the State produces approximately 50% of the world’s legal poppy crop. Tasmania seems a little careless of its cash crop; the poppies are defended from smugglers by a waist-high fence and a lame instruction to Keep Out. Tasmania is a major producer of the world's legal poppy crop

Hasta la vista baby & Fairy Penquins There is no denying that Tassie is filled with magic
As we clocked almost 7000km across mainland and the Tassie landscapes I heard someone state: Have you ever noticed Anybody going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a moron.

Blink in Tasmania and you miss something... If you're a nature lover and you haven't yet made it to Bruny Island, you really need to do something about that. History suggests its pink granite cliffs, outlandish forests and chaste beaches so beguiled European navigators that they lost track of time and purpose. Discover seals, Albatross, quolls, echidnas and other rare creatures ...There are only two species of monotreme known to science: the duckbill platypus and the echidna, which is a small spiny anteater.

As luck would have it, we were fortunate to follow all the suggestions from the Tassie Tourist Guru - Walking Encyclopaedia Trish
We did all the things she suggested and even more as we came across amazing characters in the Apple Island but now fast becoming the Berrie, Lavender and Poppy world ...

Arrive on Spirit of Tasmania to Devonport

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Suggest you drive directly on disembarking in the direction of LaTrobe and go to the Anvers (Belgian) Chocolate Factory for breakfast. It’s on the right hand side of the road, about 15 minutes drive out of Devonport, in an old Federation House…and has hot chocolate to die for!!!! There is also a small museum dedicated to chocolate.

Other interests nearby:

Reliquaire – an incredible shop (huge and packed full of the most extraordinary things) in the Main St of LaTrobe…and if Josef is interested in Woodchopping – then David Foster (Australia’s most decorated and famous wood chopper) has his “Axemans Hall of Fame” there too!

Other food considerations in the area at Elizabeth Town are Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm (very nice for lunch! Ashgrove Cheese Factory

But if they don’t fit into your plans first day, you can always plan to stop there on the way BACK to the Spirit on your last day. And if you find yourself driving through Burnie (not attractive!) – look out for Creative Paper (an eco-paper making concern, but so interesting…next door to a commercial paper mill! And there is a cool Whiskey Distillery up the road (they can give you directions) – which has a very trendy restaurant attached.

Suggest you head across North-West Coast to Stanley…which is one of my favourite towns. Cute cottages, great Tourist Park…or if you want something upmarket you could try @VDL (but pre-book)…So be careful, it is a gorgeous place…and might get under your skin! Trevor and Kathy have a wonderful Touch of Wood

Things to do: The Bistro in the Stanley Pub has just won a “Best Bistro in Australia” award…and everybody eats there! Visit Ye Olde Sweet Shop and say “hello” (who also have cottage accommodation and run 4WD tours, and Platypus tours)

Climb “the Nut” – Tassie’s answer to Ayers Rock! Visit Dismal Swamp Enjoy the magnificent scenery of this particular area!

Then to Cradle Mountain and its Lodge where you will see King Billy Pines - majestic trees:

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Apart from the walks in the National Park Visit the Wilderness Gallery (if you are interested in photography) Devils@Cradle – if you want to get up close and personal with Tassie Devils, and help the good folk here in their effort to save the devil.

Stay in Strahan. Take a Gordon River Cruise (takes most of a day) Go down to the Wharf in the evening and watch the play “The Ship That Never Was” – written, produced and acted by Strahans resident thespian!

Take the West Coast Wilderness Railway to Queenstown (takes most of another day, but includes return to Strahan by coach) Or, check out Piners & Miners – which I have not tried yet (new this year), but sounds great!

Head back towards Hobart. Do stop in Queenstown for a look around – mining town
Fabulous old pubs with wonderful carved staircases (for gentry) alongside plain ones (for servants)…great history! And stop and enjoy the walks (you’ll see the signs as you drive along) in the World Heritage Area on road from Queenstown to Derwent Bridge.

MUST SEE – the Wall just east of Derwent Bridge - amazing sculpting by a local artisan. Head towards Hobart.

If you are there for Saturday – of course there is the famous Salamanca Markets on Sat morning (8.30 – 2.00pm approx) You can also cycle down Mount Wellington (Island Cycle Tours) or kayak with Hobart Paddle.

I like the Botanic Gardens…especially the Sub-Antarctic house – only small, but gives a good idea of life on Macquarie Island!

Cascade Breweries have tours (and they are the oldest Brewery in Tasmania) – but they also have a trendy restaurant and beautiful gardens…and from there you can walk down (quite a scenic way) to the Female Factory (remains of where the women convicts were sent) with Island Fudge (yum!) conveniently placed next door….but would probably have to think about logistics of getting back to your car (maybe take a Hobart taxi number with you?)

Check out the Henry Jones Art Hotel (won lots of awards for top hotel in Australia, etc) – and even if you don’t stay there, you can still have a drink in the Bar, or a coffee in the Atrium! [Lena at Batery Point rocks]

To eat – fish at Fish Frenzy on the Wharf, Italian at Harbour Lights Café (near Salamanca)…very inexpensive with Tassie Dining Card ... For tourist eats (and good food) – the Ball & Chain at Salamanca or the Drunken Admiral next to the Henry Jones Art Hotel. I have heard that the “Laundry”Café is the new “in” place (somewhere in Salamanca) – so if you find it, let me know.

Also have a wander in Battery Point (or even stay there!) – Hobarts equivalent of Paddington…very historic, little cottages (Arthur's circus,the Shippees pub), etc. From Hobart you can also do a day trip to the Huon Valley (or even better – time allowing, stay down there)

If you want something really different and seriously (but trendily) eco – check out Huon Bush Retreats. But you need to have a look on website first – as it is hidden in the bush, so may not suit everybody. (see page 20 & page 40 of Discover Tasmania book) Holm Hill Winery is a popular stop (and lunch stop) in the Huon

Tahune Airwalk – a bit of a drive, but you can wander through the tree-tops (elevated walk) with a cantilever or two, and this year they have also added a couple of swinging bridges. Experience wilderness from a different level! Then on the other side of Hobart, of course there is Port Arthur – but I would suggest that you drive and stay, rather than make it a day trip from Hobart.

[Like the good ancient Franklin River or the Nelson Falls, the Russell Falls (inside the first national park) the purity of the water is just amazing...]

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Stop in Richmond on the way – a beautifully preserved Georgian village (and the nearest to England that you will get in Tassie…except it has a convict history). (Pick your own berries/ cherries to your heart's content at Sorrell.

(Ross was also wonderful ...) I love Stewarts Bay Lodge (has a great Restaurant too…funny that!)

You can walk around the bay to Port Arthur site from there. Do the Ghost Tour – as your first visit to the site. And then the NEXT day go back and enjoy it from a historic perspective.

We do have an excellent value package in the Discover Tasmania book page 15 = $135 per person per night for accommodation, evening meal, ghost tour and b’fast at the Port Arthur Motor Inn (which is a standard no frills Motor Inn, clean, comfortable, but not special – so depends what you want).

From there head up the East Coast to Freycinet. I have a big soft spot for Diamond Island Resort (Bicheno) – because it backs on to a little penguin colony, and you can hear them calling at night, and if you get up early enough, watch them all head out to sea. [How lucky to get so close to fairy penquines at Bisheno no photos as they are very sensitive to the camera flash but this is their home]

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[The pink granite wears russet lichens, the shell sands are a virgin white and the turquoise trim of the Tasman Sea is a lure for exploers like Mal; until they test the temperature ;-)]

They also do a great tour ($20 per person) at dusk, and apart from learning heaps about penguins, you really do get very close, as they waddle past on their way home to there nests.

Or you can take it easier with Freycinet Sea Cruises ... And you can enjoy the wonderful views from the Bistro (or whatever they call their non-fine-dining Restaurant) at Freycinet Lodge…so worth stopping in, even if you are not staying there.

If you chose to stay in Swansea (south of Freycinet Peninsula), instead of Bicheno – it is a really nice little town…so whatever you do in this area, you will enjoy it!

Then keep driving north to St Helens. Do go up Elephant Pass to the Pancake House at the top! (Not even the rustling of the bush, with its society of wombats, wallabies, possums and quolls, kept us from sleep, but the thin walls of Tidal Waters in the Room 23 did ...]

St Helens is the base of the Bay of Fires (just been voted the No 1 destination spot by Lonely Planet) [Bay of Fire: Garden of Eden Indeed!]

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My pick of the accommodation is the Character Cottages (may be Bay of Fires Character Cottages, or St Helens Character Cottages?). The views were unbelievable! I have been desperate to go back and stay there ever since…so if you do stay, I will be extremely jealous.

The drive from St Helens to Launceston is lovely, lush, green rolling foothills.

Make sure you go to St Columba Falls…and you can stop in at Pyngana Cheese Factory on the way, and take a little snack to enjoy there in the wilderness!

The Lavender Farm at Nabowla (Bridestowe) is the largest in the southern hemisphere…you will be able to smell it well before you see it (mmmmm!)…and this is an excellent time to visit, as the lavender will be out in bloom (they cut it January)

And check out Hollybank (approx 20 mins from Launceston) – our latest exciting adventure – swinging through the trees on (seated) flying foxes…to land on cloud-stations up in the trees…the longest span is 370m!!

There is such a wide variety of accommodation in Launceston, I really don’t have a special favourite. But try and stay within walking distance of City Centre/Seaport/Cataract Gorge area, and then you can explore easily.

From there you can also drive along the Tamar Valley Wine Route and visit Seahorse World, and pass the famous Beaconsfield Mine – all this would be a day trip heading north.

But nearby, you also have the lovely little town of Evandale (market on Sunday), and historic Woolmers Estate (which is full of amazing stories and old treasures, and I have been lucky enough to have had a ride around the estate in one of the old vintage cars! Yeah!!) and National Rose Garden is attached to the property.

If there is any time at all left…as you head back to Devonport, the hinterland in Mole Creek is very pretty indeed. They also have fabulous caves – Marakoopa and King Solomon Mines… But by this time you may be heading for a Raspberry Farm lunch on the way back to Devonport

• Highly Recommended: Take a full day tour from Hobart or drive yourself to Adventure Bay, Bruny Island for our three-hour eco-adventure cruise. Bruny Island is accessible by ferry at Kettering, only 35 minutes drive from Hobart and say Hi to the storyteller extraordinaire Colin (Colliwobbles) A turtle travels only when it sticks its neck out ; [See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little; Tassie Temptations ]

• · Discover Tasmania If You Can't Be Good, Be Lucky ; Great Touch of Wood
• · ; Seals at Bruny Island noted: I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The secret of a good blog entry is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible :-)

There are many blogs about Tasmania. Back in 2003 I used to read the Tasmanian dolebludger blog (by Meika VonSamorzewski)

Only Tassie pubs like Shippies at Batery Point provide in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat Van Diemen Land: Is Tasmania Really A Part Of Australia?
It is believed that the island was joined to the mainland until the end of the last glacial period approximately 10,000 years ago.
Much of the island is composed of Jurassic dolerite intrusions (upwellings of magma) through other rock types, sometimes forming large columnar joints. Tasmania has the world's largest areas of dolerite, with many distinctive mountains and cliffs formed from this rock type. The central plateau and the southeast portions of the island are mostly dolerite. Mount Wellington above Hobart is a good example, showing distinct columns known as the Organ Pipes. In the southwest, Precambrian quartzites are formed from very ancient sea sediments and form strikingly sharp ridges and ranges, such as Federation Peak or Frenchman's Cap. In the northeast and east, continental granites can be seen, such as at Freycinet, similar to coastal granites on mainland Australia. In the northwest and west, mineral rich volcanic rock can be seen at Mt. Read near Rosebery, or at Mt. Lyell near Queenstown. Also present in the south and northwest is limestone with some magnificent caves.

Tasmania is an Australian island and state of the same name. It is located 240 kilometres (150 mi) south of the eastern side of the continent, being separated from it by Bass Strait. The state of Tasmania includes the island of Tasmania and other surrounding islands. Tasmania has an estimated population of 494,520 (March 2008)[4] and an area of 68,401 square kilometres (26,410 sq mi).

Tasmania is promoted as the Natural State and the "Island of Inspiration"[5] owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment. Formally, almost 37% of Tasmania is in reserves, National Parks and World Heritage Sites.[6] The island is 364 kilometres (226 mi) long from the northernmost point to the southernmost point and 306 kilometres (190 mi) from west to east.

The first reported sighting of Tasmania by a European was on 24 November 1642, by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman. Captain James Cook also sighted the island in 1777, and numerous other European seafarers made landfalls, adding a colourful array to the names of topographical features.

The first settlement was by the British at Risdon Cove on the eastern bank of the Derwent estuary in 1803, by a small party sent from Sydney, under Lt. John Bowen for the purpose of preventing the French from claiming the island. An alternative settlement was established by Captain David Collins 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the south in 1804 in Sullivan's Cove on the western side of the Derwent, where fresh water was more plentiful. The latter settlement became known as Hobart Town or Hobarton, later shortened to Hobart, after the British Colonial Secretary of the time, Lord Hobart. The settlement at Risdon was later abandoned.

The early settlers were mostly convicts and their military guards, with the task of developing agriculture and other industries. Numerous other convict-based settlements were made in Van Diemen's Land, including secondary prisons, such as the particularly harsh penal colonies at Port Arthur in the southeast and Macquarie Harbour on the West Coast.

Van Diemen's Land was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales, with its own judicial establishment and Legislative Council, on 3 December 1825.
Be careful about Tasmania Devils; Dog owners behind mass penguin kill;

Coda: "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers."
-Erich Imrich Fromm

Pondering in Tassie about Rose of Bells: It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman in Tassie to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry ...

It is of no benefit to got to bed early to save the candle, if the result is twins ...

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.
-- Oscar Wilde

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year...

Insanity in individuals is something rare, but in groups, parties, nations and expochs, it is the rule ... ach ... Friedrich Nietzsche

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
-- Socrates

She had a rose named after me and she was very flattered. But she was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall ;-)

I've just learned about her illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial...

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.
-- Mark Twain

I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure ...

I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it ;-)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Svety Mikulas is busy flying through the bohemian sky delivering goodies for chldren or rotten potatos for some ... and Tomorrow is a day of hopes, dreams and nerves as we cross the Bass Strait on the Spirit of Tasmania The fire of fiction International guide book Lonely Planet has named Tasmania’s Bay of Fires as the hottest travel destination for 2009. Bay of Fires

It was with the completion of this “Red Curtain Trilogy” – and after directing a Tony-winning version of Puccini’s La Boheme on Broadway – that Luhrmann began developing a series of epic films, including a project with Leonardo DiCaprio about Alexander the Great. But after two years of intensive research across Jordan, the deserts of Morocco and the jungles of Thailand with his wife and creative partner, Catherine Martin, the project was shelved when Oliver Stone’s Alexander film went into production.

While traveling back to Sydney from Paris, Luhrmann began to imagine a story about a main character who embarks on a great journey that transforms her in a profound way. “It is the issue of transformation that I am most interested in exploring at this time,” the director explains. “I recognize a feeling that exists in me and my generation that at a certain age, you get locked into a pattern of life that will remain constant for the rest of your days – growth simply stops. So I was very interested in the idea of growth and rebirth. Secondly, life in the post-9/11 world has created an unnerving environment in which the future seems unpredictable and precarious. So I was also interested writing a story about characters who live in uncertain and tumultuous times.

Australia; [Czech Free Marketeer Vaclav Klaus to Become President of European Union = Governments are managed by elites who are beholden to somewhat larger elites for support. Members of the former usually spring from the latter. Whether the nature of rule dictates this sort of cozy arrangement, as pronounced by the Iron Law of Oligarchy, or not, we see this type of tight, inbred elite rule in virtually every society, regardless of its declared ideological commitments and ideals. It’s Who You Know ; Women are natural born leaders, argues author and executive coach Lois P Frankel - if only they'd realise it. Quit girlie nice ]
• · Merrill Lynch estimated in 2003 that more than 85% of all potentially usable business information originates in unstructured form. With the accelerating use of the Internet, the volumes of unstructured data such as blogs, wikis and social networks have also expanded exponentially Using unstructured information to provoke thoughtful decisions,; Bureaucrats running intelligence agencies; inter agency rivalry; political cronyism: they all affect Australia’s preparedness for terrorist attacks. British intelligence service MI6 is tapping the considerable public power of Facebook to implement its latest recruitment drive. Outgoing CIO of the FBI, Zal Azmi, was appointed in 2004 and has led FBI efforts to modernise information technology. "During 9/11, the Bureau didn't have the infrastructure to transmit even a single picture over its external networks," Azmi said. Many processes were grounded in old systems. There were plenty of information technology offices within the FBI, he said - almost one for every division - but they were "stovepipes," not unlike the broader intelligence community Moving technology forward
• · The Looming Threat of Deflation … Decades of consensus that deregulation, privatisation, and free trade are the right way to go have been consigned to the dustbin of history. People must resist the urge to think of unemployment as the end of the world, no matter how difficult it may be. Maintaining a positive attitude is vital. 7 secrets for surviving a layoff in a down economy; There's never been a more incompetent profession working against corporate Australia and the ordinary person in the street than HR management. Get a job! Not with HR
• · · Political buck passing means senior public servants' professional discretion is being exploited to save their political masters’ skins. Politicising the TreasuryInspector General for Tax Administration, US Treasury, 29 August 2008, 23p. "This report presents the results of our review to determine whether the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is effectively projecting its future human resource needs. This review is one of several audits assessing how the IRS is addressing the Human Capital management challenge A more strategic and consistent approach to estimating retirements and other separations is needed to better plan for future human resource needs ; What is exciting about this Web 2.0 evolution is that there is an energy that comes with this new sense of freedom and connection The virtual gathering experience
• · · · Napoleon reputedly rated luck above other qualities, and the electoral gods have certainly favoured Obama. As dede noted Napolean used to sent three soldiers in different directions and the one who return was the best intel officer as the enemy was not there … With a world in crisis and an economy in a shambles, can Obama make it work? The new CEO of 'America Inc'; Rudd one year on … On blind hope and the awful truth ; If you follow any political blogs, you have experienced how vicious people can be to those who hold different perspectives. It doesn't have to be that way! Online bashing - It doesn't have to be that way!
• · · · · The media landscape is changing with readers flocking to online news sites at the expense of the traditional print media. Newspaper use-by date; Mere moments after the first shots were fired in Mumbai on Wednesday, terror had gone online Bloggers provide raw view of Mumbai attacks
• · · · · · Best Foreign Fiction Of 2008 ; It's all HUMBUG, I tell you, HUMBUG THE BEST HOLIDAY STORY EVER

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

You know my old saying...

Connect on your similarities and profit from your differences

Robert of Boonah fame provides the images of a smiley faces . I only need to taste Dial's or June's cooking as well as invading the Sweet Spot and my face dials up a smile
(Gabbie and Katie of Bronte fame had a lovely time with June this week ...)

Regrets? Not if You follow Dragon's Tips Hitting the Sweet Spot and (Yarin) the Maroccan Feast of Randwick
The Sweet Spot Patisserie makes the best spinach triangle 18 Perouse Rd 2031 Randwick. For special orders call Peter and Angela or Paul (02) 9399 3344
Sticky Weddings

Even stickier Christmas parties Moroccan Christmas party

Randwick personality Georgina Safe wrote last month about her former boss who once told her that if she were ever stuck for an idea for a column, she should open a bottle of wine, then put pen to paper. Creativity, name the price

CODA: Love is wonderful the second time around, as the song says. But the housework load is not necessarily lighter or shared more equally in second marriages.Many men in second marriages shape up, becoming the partners their first wives had probably wanted them to be. They share the domestic chores more equally with their second wife than they did with their first ... Husbands better second time around

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Cold River reviewer and a billionaire investment guru Warren Buffet once observed: It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.

Historical analysis is more than history. It is not just about recording what happened. It is about why it happened and whether it will again. Historical analysis is not just history. It is also analysis. So, it uses the philosophy of causation and the statistical techniques of correlation; with systems theory to understand the effect of feedback. As Santayana has been repeatedly quoted as saying: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, but noting that he meant "A man's memory may almost become the art of continually varying and misrepresenting his past, according to his interests in the present."

Thinking about the Theodore Roosevelt quote from Kevin Roberts’s inspiration post the other day also reminded me of a quotation from a completely different source: the great photographer Cecil Beaton… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood

Don't Bank On Bankers White-collar crime goes unpunished
Some characters have been railing against idiot bankers for years now. Wall Street was driven by greed, dishonesty, and dishonor.

The salaries paid were obscene and the arrogance amazing. Watching this latest meltdown from neighboring TriBeCa has been horrendous. I don’t really care what happens to the bankers. In fact, I’m more than a little pissed that so many of them have walked away with fat cat bonuses over the last three years and we found no way to get that money back.
What depresses me is what happens to the average person. Many employees at Saatchi & Saatchi have seen their retirement funds decimated by the greed, stupidity, and arrogance of these so-called 'Masters of the Universe'.

Don't Bank On These Guys; [ I came across colourful characters in cafes this week who shared this link with me they agree too that Australia is Big, Pretty, Arid, and Endless Understanding screenwriting 10 points; Meet Nulla (Brandon Walter), a mixed-race boy who seems to have inherited some magical powers from the aboriginal side of his family. Australia is narrated by Nulla, who speaks in a poetically broken English, and through his eyes and ears the movie takes on the once-upon-a-time vibe of a children's story. Ach and Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman have no trouble generating chemistry Aussies flock to see Baz Luhrmann's Australia ]
• · An interview with this US management thinker and author, looking at his latest book - The new, age of innovation: driving co-created value through global networks An interview with C K Prahald ; Strength is the redeeming virtue in adversity, but modern life has encouraged a nation of self-centred, consumption oriented sheep Think about World Philosophy Day
• · What is exciting about this Web 2.0 evolution is that there is an energy that comes with this new sense of freedom and connection - and companies are rapidly and wildly opening up new possibilities for collaboration.
The virtual gathering experience ; Aside from weeks when idealistic, energetic and quite appealing new political faces get elected to power in large democracies, Kubrick Week on SBS is always one of my favourites Six billion blogs and counting
• · · Currently, in Australia, there are a number of developments suggesting that some of the digital promises and challenges of the past two decades are being addressed. Welcome as these may be, such significant financial investments in resources do not, in and of themselves, herald a revolution and will not necessarily improve educational outcomes. Pdf format Digital promises and challenges ; This report argues that Australia will increasingly have to find its security in a world of power shifts and greater interconnectedness. The paper provides a global overview and considers such issues as US influence, warfare, the proliferation of WMD, terrorism, Iraq and the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Asian security environment, North Asia, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, national security and Australia's strategic options. It also puts forward scenarios of what the world might look like in 2050 to encourage thinking about the possible shape of a more distant world Global jigsaw: ASPI's strategic assessment 2008#
• · · · THIS is an unusual book. It is part biographical, part anecdotal, draws on a long and detailed knowledge of Australia’s financial system, offers some intriguing insights, and mounts a consistent central argument. Essentially, it aims to resurrect Paul Keating’s reputation Unfinished Business: Paul Keating’s Interrupted Revolution; The man who is wearing Pauk Keating’s spray with badge of honour The Hon. JOHN ROBERTSON ; The North Sydney Swimmer’s Inaugural Speech: There have been many people along the way whom I also want to thank: a former President of this Chamber—and who I acknowledge is present tonight—Johno Johnson.
Mikhail Gorbachev, a Nobel laureate and a leader who has seen firsthand the impacts of significant change, said—more eloquently than I could—in a New York Times article reproduced in the Australian Financial Review on 31 October 2008:
No country, no sector of the economy, will escape the crisis. The economic model rooted in the early 1980's is falling apart. It was based on maximising profit by abolishing regulation aimed at protecting the interests of society as a whole. For decades we have been told that this benefits everyone: "a rising tide lifts all boats". Yet the statistics say that it didn't. … Without a moral component any system is doomed to fail. (The soil I ploughed for two decades at Macquarie Street) Gadigal people of the Eora nation the land
• · · · · Financial decisionmaking and human nature Teaser loans ; Mr. Buffet, Mr. Soros: Please Stop Investing in Filthy Fossil Fuels Whatever it takes even if it’s a deficit
• · · · · · ; Solar Power: Germany–1,000; Australia–1 Solar stuff-up ; Limits to our patience …ASU student Alex Botsios said he had no problem giving a nighttime intruder his wallet and guitars. When the man asked for Botsios' laptop, however, the first-year law student drew the line Whatever it takes even if it is Lap Lap top

Friday, November 21, 2008

The more things a (wo)man is ashamed of, the more respectable s/he is.
-George Bernard Shaw (unrelated to Catherine H Shaw )

What does the Peter Mandelson three-men-in-a-boat affair have to do with the price of fish? In the midst of the greatest financial crisis in human history - according the Bank of England economist Charles Bean - does it really matter who said what to whom on Oleg Deripaska's yacht in Corfu? Yes, actually it does. This affair tells us a great deal about how Britain got into its current financial mess. What may appear to be a lot of bitching by Bullingdon Berties is actually highly revealing about the relationship between political and financial power in public life. Our politicians simply can't help themselves: they are in love with wealth. And this infatuation has robbed them of their judgment. Politicians must end their love-in with the super rich - There was a failure to appropriately assess the regulatory and reputational risks. It seems to be a pattern similar to Enron Offshore secrecy jurisdictions

Leadership in the APS: its influence on workplace culture
Lynelle Briggs

Leadership and culture have an intricate relationship. Each can operate on its own, but when they operate together towards a common purpose, they become a very powerful tool. Culture is about shared ways of thinking, how people behave and interact, and what information and ideas they value as being important. In many ways it is an unspoken and unwritten aspect of an organisation - it's the way things are done around here.

A culture can work to the benefit or detriment of organisational success. So too can leadership...; [As Steve noted This is a powerful article: Past U.S. generations invented the airplane; invented the automobile; discovered penicillin; and built the Interstate highway system. The Baby Boom generation has invented credit default swaps; mortgage backed securities; the fast food drive thru window; discovered the cure for erectile dysfunction; and built bridges to nowhere. No wonder we’re in so much trouble. US Culture Our Culture – sneeze develops to cold everywhere; Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
A golden heart stopped beating, hardworking hands at rest.
What moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch, we may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. When tragedy strikes, people are at a loss of words.]
• · Once upon a time, foes of immigration were more concentrated on the country's political left than the right. Writes Vargas Llosa: "In a radio address given in 1977, Ronald Reagan mocked 'the illegal alien fuss,' asking himself: 'Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion, or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won't do?' If only in the interest of political survival, those who claim to idolize the Gipper -- the same guy who in 1986 legalized almost 3 million Hispanics, many of whom were driven by fear to vote for Obama -- should think again." Obama's Herculean Task; What's Ahead for Taxpayers?
• · Failure to significantly reduce poverty could eventually destabilise world peace and security; dealing with it successfully is in our national interest.The global hunger challenge: an opportunity for Australian leadership; The Chinese cheer the Democratic victor with a wary eye on his trade policy The world looks to Obama
• · · Today, cybercriminals run their operations like businesses: they outsource, watch margins, cut costs. Security managers must first understand such opponents before they can begin to defeat them. The cybercrime arms race ; You know times are tough when the rich start cutting costs on their mistresses. Tough Times
• · · · Economy; Lack of it
• · · · · The logic of capitalist crises and the 'slaughtering of capital values Financial deregulation and the sub-prime crisis; This is not a time for bureaucratic mumbling but plain, honest speech, of a type that Australians and their leaders were once noted for. Spin no cure for depression
• · · · · · On a lighter side of life Salsa Scene In Sydney ; A FORMER taxman has penned his first novel at the age of 60 after developing a love of history. Ian Bonaccorso of Eight Mile Plains has written Addio Italia - Hello Australia an historical account of Stanthorpe Italian pioneers, from 1925 to 1935 in Southern Star (Springwood), 12/11/2008 Addio Italia - Hello Australia is $49.50 at Daw Road Newsagency, Warrigal Rd, Runcorn, or order by email: bonastar@ A novel way to record history

Saturday, November 15, 2008

November as been a month filled with hens parties, bucks parties, weddings: first Ana and Rudi of Gymea fame and then Patrick and Chris of Newport fame ... So much dancing and so many blisters. Highlighs this month must be the six whales at Iceberg I watched with the ondon Mafia Robie, Tim, Sofie, etc... Monday before the Melbourne Cup will be remmembered by Mal as the time when dinner was served with the view of the Whales and the Viewed won the following day so the dinner was paid for by other punters ...

He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.
-- Paul Keating (overheard at the launch of Hugh Lunn's latest wordsmith gems at French Forest)

Happy birthday Internet: click go the cheers, Agnes King, Jeanne-Vida Douglas & Mark Jones, BRW, 9 October 2008, pp.24-31. Looking back at the 20th anniversary of the transmission of the first data packets across what became the Internet. Articles discuss the beginning, and changing uses, of the Internet, 10 things coming in the next 5 years, and the Internet as the infrastructure of the digital economy. Social networking online is full of pitfalls for the unsuspecting. Don't put anything on FaceBook, MySpace, or similar web 2.0 applications, unless you'd be happy to see it broadcast or on the front page of the newspaper. Two decades or even more since Cold River took place and one still has to be aware of computer based espionage and how organisations can defend against it How to prevent cyber espionage

Hungry Media Dragon Bivings Report: American Newspapers and the Internet: Threat or Opportunity?
We have recently completed the 2007 study of America’s top 100 newspaper websites, entitled American Newspapers and the Internet; Threat or Opportunity?

As the newspaper industry continues to suffer declines in readership and circulation, using the Internet to expand a newspaper’s reach is becoming more and more important. While many industry experts fear that the Internet will spell the end of newspapers as we know them, our team here at TBG feels that the Internet presents newspapers with a unique opportunity to make up for lost circulation and readership. This study explores these concepts, as well as the difficulties facing newspapers regarding online advertising, shrinking staffs, and reaching out to consumers...research data is available in Excel format here

• Pdf formatNews of Media Dragons; [Security vendors have long been criticised for making grandiose claims about the efficacy of their wares. Calculating a specific product or solution's potential return on investment 'is mostly bunk in practice' Security can be measured ; Companies of all sizes have begun to embrace Moodle, an open source learning management system that can be downloaded free and operates with virtually every other training related software system on the market. Moodle goes corporate ]
• · Welcome to the age of globalisation, modernity and all sorts of other forms of “progressiveness”. A couple of years ago I did an assignment entitled “Progress is Always Good”. Unfortunately I didn’t know then what I know now. Progress means the Internet, no barriers, there is no time therefore there is no reality. Hello, Internet dating!; That was fast. In eight days, my mate and his girlfriend 'winked' and were seriously dating. So what constitutes an internet date exactly? Internet dating: instant love or instant disappointment?
• · The best connections are the ones that take you to new and strange places. Slate writer, Daniel Gross, certainly ventured off the map when he connected the number of Starbucks locations in a country’s financial capital with how affected the city has been by the recent economic blast. The more Starbucks stores, the worse affected. Starbucks: The world's local coffee house ; This case study focuses on the process involved in a pharmaceutical company's decision to rapidly promote and develop an existing staff member to the position of Chief Information Officer. Some valuable executive development lessons were learnt along the way High speed executive development
• · · Open-source politics is the idea that social networking and participatory technologies will revolutionize our ability to follow, support, and influence political campaigns. Forget party bosses in smoky backrooms—netroots evangelists and web consultants predict a wave of popular democracy as fundraisers meet on MySpace, YouTubers crank out attack ads, bloggers do oppo research, and cell-phone-activated flash mobs hold miniconventions in Second Life...How times changed report from 2003 AD - is a commentary on the inherent impediments to implementing enterprise-wide blogging tools due to issues such as application interoperability, the volume of data involved, and the hierarchy used for information storage. Why Blogs Haven't Stormed the Business World ; MotherJones Examines Role of Web 2.0 in Political Campaigns
• · · · I would like to announce the launch of the Texas Digital Library's (TDL) blog, The Scholar's Space, featuring a team of four contributors (including me), with more to come over the next few months. The Scholar's Space joins scholarly communications blogs sponsored by friends at other colleges and universities, and national and international organizations. We'll be providing commentary on newsworthy items related to TDL participants' local and global interests in academic processes and systems of research -- from providing access to data and information, to online collaboration and new approaches to reporting out results and public archiving of papers and data The Scholar's Space; BlawgWorld 2007 is the best way to explore and discover legal blogs (blawgs). It features 77 remarkable essays from 77 of the most influential blawgs. Each blogger handpicked their best essay of the year for inclusion in the eBook. The 2007 TechnoLawyer Problem/Solution Guide is a revolutionary new way to find Solutions to Problems your law firm is experiencing. Specifically, it contains 185 Problems and corresponding Solutions. Each Problem is written in the form of a question from the point of view of a law firm and organized by topic. Topics include case management, depositions, discovery, document management, legal research, time-billing, and many more — 58 topics in all." (366 pages, PDF) TechnoLawyer BlawgWorld 2007:
• · · · · Longer office hours and extended computer usage is increasing bad vision. Around 48 percent of officer workers suffer from computer eye fatigue, according to the Optometrists Association of Australia ; Office workers risk computer eye fatigue,
• · · · · · Some things keep resurfacing in October 2008 AD – Applies Media Exemption to Political Blogs the Commission determined that Kos Media, L.L.C., which operates the website DailyKos, did not violate the Federal Election Campaign Act. The Commission rejected allegations that the site should be regulated as a political committee because it charges a fee to place advertising on its website and it provides “a gift of free advertising and candidate media services” by posting blog entries that support candidates. Kos Media; LibWorm Beta is intended to be a search engine, a professional development tool, and a current awareness tool for people who work in libraries or care about libraries. LibWorm collects updates from about 1400 RSS feeds (and growing). The contents of these feeds are then available for searching, and search results can themselves be output as an RSS feed that the user can subscribe to either in his/her favourite aggregator or in LibWorm's built-in aggregator...Each feed searched by LibWorm has been assigned a category, so when you browse by Feed Category, you're seeing all the content from the feeds that have been assigned to that category. Subjects are pre-built searches, usually of greater complexity than the user interface currently supports, for common subjects of interest to libraryfolk." This site is free. LibWorm Beta

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
-Anatole France quotes (French Writer, member of the French Academy and Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921, 1844-1924)

It is always a joy to catch up with John, Richard or Gina who jokes that she is a taxi driver to husband and 3 children. Richard is busy capturing the beauty of the Sydney Harbour on canvas, John tends to chasethe whales on the Harbour and freezes the moment on film. Gina enlightened with the most wonderful story about the Italian roots of the word company meaning with bread ... Swell

I am desperately trying to figure out why kamikaze pilots wore stolen helmets.
– Emily Sarks (misquoted)

Stolen from... was established in Emily’s final year of Tafe and became her whole life when her friends gave her a reason to reproduce her designs. If you like the designs consider voting for ES Stolen From by Emily Sarks

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today is Remembrance Day – also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day ...

This year the 90th anniversary loomed of the Armistice that ended World War One, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. As John Clinger noted in his tribute symbol of Remembrance, seems to demand reflection

By the way, If you haven’t heard about Gomorrah or shadow banker yet but you will.
The mad world of shadow bankers
Hedge funds and, to some extent, private equity companies are having to liquidate billions in assets as their business models collapse under the weight of falling share and house prices. The claim about SIVs, as with hedge funds and private equity companies, was that bankers had found ways to "abolish" risk through complex financial engineering.
In 1988, when two City financial whizzkids, Stephen Partridge-Hicks and Nicholas Sossidis, invented "structured investment vehicles", they inadvertently ignited the fuse that blew up the world's financial system in the Crash of 2008. Their company, called Gordian Knot, helped banks devise ingenious ways to hide their extravagant risk-taking by creating off-balance-sheet companies. They had created a Gordian knot all right - a system of financial mechanisms so complex that no one could unravel what was going on.
This past week Gordon Brown, a latter-day Alexander, tried to cut the Gordian knot, but he may have simply set the public finances adrift on a sea of debt. The state has exposed itself to the billions of pounds in liabilities held off the balance sheets of Britain's delinquent banks. This is the world of shadow banking.
The stock market crash early this month was largely a result of panic selling in this shadow banking system of structured finance. Hedge funds and, to some extent, private equity companies are having to liquidate billions in assets as their business models collapse under the weight of falling share and house prices. Until these losses work their way through the system, the British economy remains in intensive care.
The madness of the shadow banking system became apparent over a year ago when Northern Rock was nationalised, but regulators ignored the implications. The Treasury minister Yvette Cooper discovered to her dismay that Northern Rock didn't own half of its own mortgages: ?5obn had been hived off to a Jersey-based company, Granite, registered as a charity benefiting Down's syndrome children in the north-east of England. Needless to say, the charity didn't get any cash - this was a special-purpose vehicle that allowed the Rock to trade in complex securities without having to meet the stringent capitalisation requirements of a normal bank.
The mad world of shadow bankers
He dared to expose the truth about the Naples mafia in a book that has been turned into an acclaimed film. Now he is facing death threats

This was the week Roberto Saviano drank the bitter wine of his success to the dregs. The Neapolitan author is only 28, with a single blazingly vivid and courageous book to his name. This is Gomorrah, the "non-fiction novel" about Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, which has sold 1.8 million copies in 32 languages, and is now an acclaimed film.
Garlanded with the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, tipped for a foreign picture Oscar, Gomorrah the film has just opened to rave reviews in Britain. Shot in the degraded Naples hinterland in a gritty, documentary-like style using local people – one of whom, a Camorra gangster on the lam, was arrested this week – the film shows a mafia bereft of glamour and style but brutally masterful in its control of the Naples economy.
Roberto Saviano: Author of 'Gomorrah' the book exposing the Naples mafia

Writing Can Be a Dangerous Business; Cold River stirs real life crime drama

Monday, November 10, 2008

Film producer Antony Ginnane, back home after 15 years, wants Australian filmmakers to look outward. If WRITER Bob Ellis had his way, Antony Ginnane and his vault of films would have been burned. Phillip Adams, a key architect of the Australian film renaissance, barely suppresses sneers as he recalls Ginnane's films. At least his remarks aren't personal or litigious Phillip Adams Media Dragon Godfather Just imagine if Ben Ferris of Sydney Film School fame were to say that People who are sound of mind do not make films even films like Cold River …

Can we change the bean counters? Story of ABC's books the stuff of Hollywood movies
Neil Chenoweth who wrote Packer’s Lunch writes again insightful story in the Australian Financial Review dated 08/11/2008. Its accounting practices seem to have allowed ABC Learning its explosive growth - but only for so long.

The Eddy Groves story is straight from Hollywood. It has a little of everything, from Local Boy Makes Good to My Brilliant Career the 19-year-old with a milk run and big dreams, who builds the biggest child-care group to the world: ABC Learning. Then the inevitable sequel: life in the very fast lane and the Years of Living Quite Dangerously - Ferraris, helicopters and everything an American Express Titanium card can buy. It segued gracefully to hubris, Greek tragedy and heartache as, during the past week, the company crashed into administration. Investors have already lost $3.5 billion. Now there is uncertainty for 16,000 staff and 150,00 parents, and the government is wriggling around in severe discomfort. It pays huge subsidies to the 1200 child-care centres and clearly wants to keep them open but hardly needs, in these straitened times, another budgetary albatross. Whatever, some sort of bail-out seems inevitably painful and costly.

The Australian film industry has lurched from crisis to boom and inexplicably back to crisis throughout its short, erratic history. THE Australian film industry has lurched from crisis to boom and inexplicably back to crisis throughout its short, erratic history. Moguls including Kerry Packer and Rupert Murdoch and Hollywood studios have come and gone from the industry; locals have lamented a paucity of government funding and mourned the exodus of our best talent overseas. The Gorton and Whitlam governments formalised the nascent industry in the early 1970s, establishing among other innovations an experimental film fund, a national film school and the development body that would evolve into the Australian Film Commission.
ABC of Gorton and Whitlam Film Initiative; [The site was conceived in 1995 by Professor Tom O'Regan when the Media Dragon began to spread the parliamentary stories Cold River Research sites; He also questioned the impact Tourism Australia's link with Baz Luhrmann's film Australia, saying it was another campaign aimed at creating awareness rather ... AUSTRALIA has been named the world's No 1 country-brand for the third year running, but analysts have warned it is failing to translate that affection into a compelling case for multinationals to invest here Cold River Exile Country named the world's No 1 country-brand ]
• · The Assistant Treasurer, Chris Bowen MP, and Minister for the Arts, Peter Garrett MP, today released an issues paper on the film tax offsets contained in Division 376 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. Rudd Government Seeks Views on Film Tax Offset Regime; Film Tax
• · If fairness is part of our political narrative how can we test that nebulous concept of a fair go? Australian politics: a lack of narrative; In an increasingly global business environment, only the most culturally intelligent will thrive. World get ready
• · · The Oprah of US politics: Oprah and Obama are comfortable about their past and do not let colour determine their place in the world. A different kind of black; IT is Australia's richest race and now the Melbourne Cup has become the race for the rich. Melbourne Film Cup
• · · · When the market calms down and the guarantee is lifted in three years why shouldn’t we have somewhere for people to keep their money safe? Banking on the ATO; When a public servant begins work, they will, like in any other job, come across numerous types of people. Humour & Satire
• · · · · John Hatton lived this stories in 1995 - The PIC's Operation Florida found that between 1985 and the 1995 Wood Royal Commission members of the MCSN's armed hold-ups unit planted weapons on criminal Operation Florida ; Ian Falks whose enfamous fight in US hotel with John Newman became a legend at Parliament House in early 1990s. The accused Crime Commission boss Mark Standen was an independent witness to an interview conducted with a man who gave evidence against the convicted mastermind of the murder of the Cabramatta MP John Newman Mark Standen Looking back
• · · · · · EVIDENCE the former health minister Reba Meagher gave to a judicial inquiry that she had been offered the seat of Cabramatta in preselection manoeuvres hours before the incumbent was killed has been supported by a former Cabramatta community worker Facts and Evidence; FORMER NSW health minister Reba Meagher was offered the state seat of Labor MP John Newman just hours before he was gunned down in Australia's only political assassination, an inquiry was told yesterday

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Iceberg has a long connection with Bart Cumings (sic) and Viewed was seen by Mal as a good bet;-) (Nine months ago Obama had odds 140 to 1 ...) Imagine that!

Senator Barack Obama’s election as the next president of the United States promises a new era in America’s rocky relations with the world. But the era may be slow in dawning and President-elect Obama’s promised international initiatives - ramping up war in Afghanistan, curbing global warming - may not work out quite the way America’s allies hope. The world looks to Obama

We should expect the worst, but hope for the best The biggest fairytale We have ever seen
Yes, he could. How a man with a spindly public record leavened with a gift for oratory from God, claimed his country's highest honour.

Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope. Barack Obama never talks about how people see him: I'm not the one making history, he said every chance he got. You are. Yet as he looked out Tuesday night through the bulletproof glass, in a park named for a Civil War general, he had to see the truth on people's faces. We are the ones we've been waiting for, he liked to say, but people were waiting for him, waiting for someone to finish what a King began.

The Meaning of Obama's Win: How He Rewrote the Book ; [Opportunities in Crises: People who talk about a bubble are blowing smoke,” said real estate economist Michael Carney. It was February 2005 and Carney was confident that house prices in California wouldn’t fall. But by the end of the year the market turned. And between August 2007 and August 2008, California house prices fel Lessons from California’s housing bubble; In part because the construction industry has adopted a strategy of building new units only after they have secured buyers. The relative unresponsiveness of supply in the face of increasing demand has pushed real estate prices to record highs and decreased the number of households that can afford to purchase a home Deals to be made ]
• · Barack Obama's "improbable quest" gained enough steam over two years to end in a decisive victory over John McCain. It's not quite right to say the incoming president Barack Obama has no executive experience. Obama on Google; Obama Time
• · My Vladimir Putin … The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed (Updated Edition), by Ivan Eland ; Unfortunately, the registration movement teaches citizens that an uneducated vote is better than no vote at all. Such a lesson is pernicious and could have lasting effects on the electorate Don’t Rock the Vote, Baby!

• · · A MAJOR event such as the present global recession always creates a demand for explanations: Unfortunately, today the demand for an answer quickly gives way to an obsessive impulse to avoid responsibility. Public figures who tend to suffer from the disease of responsibility aversion continually assure us that "it wasn't me" before they point the finger of blame. Conspiracy theories are appealing because they provide us with a semblance of control over powerful forces that influence our lives. Even before the present financial crisis, acts of misfortune were frequently associated with intentional malevolent behaviour. Nothing happens by accident. Human malevolence is suspected to be at work behind the death of Diana, princess of Wales, in a car crash or when there is a sudden electrical blackout. Unexplained illnesses or a spillage of chemicals are frequently blamed on the self-serving irresponsible acts of politicians, public and business figures, doctors, scientists; indeed, all professionals. PLAYING the blame game is a modern version of the ancient practice of scapegoating and fuelling a maelstrom of imaginary causes; IT'S official. The Hollowmen is truth, not fiction: A paper prepared for the Democratic Audit of Australia has found political public relations has become an essential part of the policy-making process. Politics caught in spin cycle
• · · · Extraordinary upheavals throw up extraordinary risks, problems, and of course, opportunities Hold Your nerve ; I've always believed when we put our individual skills together, all of us are more powerful than any one of us. What's great is that the bigger the group you are part of, the more dramatic change you can effect. Nowhere is this more true than in changing our actions and attitudes toward creating a more sustainable world… Who's the boss?
• · · · · A speech byTony D’Aloisio, Chairman, Australian Securities and Investments Commission to the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association (ACLA) Friday, 7 November 2008 PDF ahead The new ASIC: Addressing today’s challenges and building for the longer term ; Worth a Try LESSONS FROM THE POOR: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit ; I'd like to have predicted something really nice," laughs Magnus, who at 59 has the air of a University lecturer rather than an investment banker. George Magnus does not look like a prophet. Yet this is the man widely acknowledged to have predicted that the US sub-prime mortgage crisis would trigger a global recession George Magnus: the man who predicted the sub-prime crisis
• · · · · · Australians have never forgiven Rupert Murdoch for renouncing his citizenship in order to get rich in the United States. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has attacked his fellow Australians for laziness saying the "bludger" could soon become the national icon Media mogul Rupert Murdoch ; Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch may run one of the most profitable businesses in the UK, but it appears he has somehow managed to avoid a tax bill. Most profitable businesses

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lady Astor once remarked to Winston Churchill at a dinner party,
Winston, if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee!
Winston replied, Madam if I were your husband I would drink it

Blogs are Pervasive and Part of Our Daily Lives: There have been a number of studies aimed at understanding the size of the Blogosphere, yielding widely disparate estimates of both the number of blogs and blog readership. All studies agree, however, that blogs are a global phenomenon that has hit the mainstream. Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2008 report...

We're All Media Dragons and Journalists Now TRUST IS A RISING TIDE, IT LIFTS EVERYONE'S BOAT
The Official Google Blog: As you may have read in the blogosphere, we hit "send" a bit early on a comic book introducing our new open source browser, Google Chrome. As we believe in access to information for everyone, we've now made the comic publicly available -- you can find it here. We will be launching the beta version of Google Chrome [September 2, 2008] in more than 100 countries." Google Chrome

LLRX Book Review by Heather A. Phillips - We're All Media Dragons and Journalists Now: The Transformation of the Press and Reshaping of the Law in the Internet Age

Reshaping of the Law ; [Blogging Best Practices Checklists Available; The Spy Who Came in from the Cold War River ]
• · The Company of Strangers The Economics Of Trust; A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats: The Economics of Trust – Trust is a rising tide, it lifts everyone’s boat.
• · THE university is top-heavy with management. Countless hours are wasted with paperwork, with attending mind-numbing training sessions on this, that or the other, and on seminars which for the most part are a complete waste of time Unleashed VC is a blog's best friend; What makes a blog worthwhile?
• · · My first real attempt to write a long-form essay about the meaning of blogging as a medium and a message is now online. I'm curious as to what you think. Among other things, I try to put the form of blogging into some kind of historical perspective: Why I Blog; A trend once practiced primarily by adolescents and teenagers, internet blogging has become a crucial part of marketing strategies for many corporations. Google world
• · · · Ten Ways Blogs Boost A Law Firm's Image ; Gone are the days when journals were kept from prying eyes.
• · · · · Tips From Four Blogging Fashionistas; In Octover 2008 AD, Google is pleased to launch a new homepage for Google Blog Search so that you too can browse and discover the most interesting stories in the blogosphere. Adapting some of the technology pioneered by Google News, we're now showing categories on the left side of the website and organizing the blog posts within those categories into clusters, which are groupings of posts about the same story or event. Grouping them in clusters lets you see the best posts on a story or get a variety of perspectives. When you look within a cluster, you'll find a collection of the most interesting and recent posts on the topic, along with a timeline graph that shows you how the story is gaining momentum in the blogosphere A new homepage for Google Blog Search
• · · · · · This study employs an online survey to examine U.S. politically-interested Internet users' perceptions of the credibility of blogs. The article focuses on the influence of blog reliance compared to motivations for visiting blogs in determining blog credibility. The study found that blogs were judged as moderately credible, but as more credible than any mainstream media or online source. Both reliance and motivations predicted blog credibility after controlling for demographics and political variables. Reliance proved a consistently stronger predictor than blog motivations. Also, information-seeking motives predicted credibility better than entertainment ones. Every blog has its day: Politically-interested Internet users' perceptions of blog credibility ; Economics Blog Directory & Ranking

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the Slavic dictionary.
-- William Faulkner (about Jozef Imrich ;-) overheard at Sven's Viking Pizza

The cold river flows on bending like a snake moving through grass, its calm waters disturbed occasionally by the wild wind. Water as dangerous as fire, yet as welcoming as a fire on a winter's day. Holding secrets beneath its surface, like the secrets of the universe. A force as powerful as the heavens, but as friendly as the sun breaking through the clouds on a cold day. The water sapping the shore can be as calm as the flakes of snow that gently fall on the ground, and as rough as the driving force of a gale driven wind. She disappears into the distance like the sunset. She captures the rays of sunlight that gently bounce along the water. Water forbidding in the cold of winter, yet welcoming in the heat of summer Your Blog presents your spin and mine represents mine: You've read the blog, now buy the book ;-)

Blogs Blogging since before there were blogs.
There is no doubt that the internet, or the World Wide Web, has opened up new horizons for the marketing and distribution of goods and services. There are few products and services not obtainable from internet providers. Products sold online can be delivered from anywhere in the world, potentially without the customer knowing the geographical source, or the source at all. Online auction site eBay shows how goods and services may be bought and sold anonymously through the internet. This ease of distribution of products creates challenges and opportunities for the internet business owner. The internet creates new complex legal issues for the Media Dragons …

Amazon saw an opportunity to sell books online. It also saw an opportunity to make purchasing easier by having a registration process for customers which involved recording credit card details and mailing addresses. This purchasing process avoided more cumbersome ‘shopping cart technology’ where purchasers have to re-enter all their details each time they make a purchase. This patent helped make the business successful. When a competitor, Barnes & Noble, implemented similar technology, Amazon enforced its patent. Barnes and Noble modified its website to prevent purchases by single click. In this way, Amazon maintained its competitive advantage in an easy technology for purchasing books online.The extension of patent protection to internet activities, and its subsequent significant uptake to protect internet-based innovations, has been controversial, particularly in the US where the question of whether business methods — a term that encompasses a wide class of internet activities, particularly in the financial services sector — is currently being reconsidered by the US courts

Online book retailing: The King is Dead Long Live Cold River ; [His new blog, called Real Dan, isn't nearly as entertaining but is just as well written. It's clear that the best blogs are often written by people who have The top 10 best-written blogs ; Forgive me for being perhaps somewhat extreme, but had the ghosts of the Czech KGB returned from Hell to X this week they might have felt right at home This young devil has all the best tunes]
• · A blog that encourages the literary activity of students, may that be any kind of literary genre - poetry, short story or even academic topics Young writers on blogosphere ;Networks and networking are a hot topic. Both academic research and mainstream business publications suggest that networks are important in business and that getting it right may relate to your performance. Like so many good ideas, actually doing networking is harder for many of us than reading about it. And, unfortunately, most networking discussions and articles stop far short of the "how" Your network balance sheet: what does it look like and where should you invest?
• · 'State of the Blogosphere' finds 900,000 new blog posts are added every 24 hours Blogs becoming entrenched in mainstream -- and more profitable; First presidential debate live blog and chat
• · · The mill of the gods grinds slowly, they say, but it grinds exceeding small. In Washington, something very like the mill of the gods is the GAO (Government Accountability Office), whose anonymous researchers crank out facts about nearly everything the government does.
Without opprobrious adjectives, the GAO just publishes facts and numbers with a droll combination of fearless frankness and resolute neutrality ("average cost of can opener for base kitchen in Kibangistan, $150," a report might say
Its language primly denuded of words like "exorbitant" or "outrageous"). ; Mapping the internet in Australia: Charting MD
• · · · THE media dragons on the internet are everywhere: at work, at home, and on the move. If Kevin Rudd’s plans come to anything, it will soon be in every school. The underlying technologies are scarcely three decades old; some of the most popular sites, such as YouTube and Facebook, only a few years. But this new world of information and communication is now, for many of us, an utterly everyday experience THE media dragons on the internet are ; Evidence-based’ policy is all the rage in Canberra, yet policymakers are not testing their ideas to see if they will work before rolling them out, unproven, at taxpayers’ expense. This author argues that randomised trials are the epitome of rational inquiry: they can establish whether a causal effect has occurred and thus prove whether government action is effective or not What would Ben Chifley and Robert Menzies make of this? Randwick Labour Club this weekend Policy on trial
• · · · · Good information is about more than just databases. It can make or break a business Information governance ; TUCKED away on page 101 of a very informative Parliamentary Library analysis of the 2007 federal election is a table which dissects the two-party preferred vote at the 2007 federal election by four socioeconomic groups. Income, votes and parties: a note
• · · · · · This report is a review of the use of sanctions and rewards based on academic research and an NAO survey of their use in central government. Performance Measurement Practice: The use of sanctions and rewards in the public sector. ; Information architecture in organisations has entered a period of regression rather than progression Knowledge management - when the workforce is more mobile than ever, organisations must effectively manage, pass on and exploit critical know-how Information architecture: from bad to worse - to better?

Monday, October 06, 2008

In 1907 American humorist Mark Twain, in his "Chapters from My Autobiography" wrote: "Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'"

That familiar saying refers to the persuasive power of numbers, the use of statistics to bolster arguments, and the habit of discounting statistics that don't support your positions. Here, James cumes is going to address hard statistics about depression, realistic picture these numbers paint …

Two years ago, early in 2006, James Cumes wrote, in America’s Suicidal Statecraft, that:
One of the more fascinating debates is whether, if and when we crash, we will have deflation or inflation - and either one in its most extreme form. Within this debate, we have such entertaining - or devastating - suggestions as the helicopter drop linked to the names of Friedman and Bernanke. Some forty years ago, one of the more beguiling habits of President Bokassa of the Central African Republic, was to fling handfuls of coins and paper money to his grateful people when he went on walkabouts among them. His little gesture drew the crowds, increased his popularity and nurtured his ambitions. Eventually, it helped to bring about his apotheosis as “Emperor Bokassa I of the Central African Empire”. He was crowned in a magnificent, Napoleon-like ceremony, costing $20 million that the country could not, of course afford; but it added circuses to the presidential appeal. Sadly, however, the fantasy was short-lived. Even his exuberant generosity could not prevent the Emperor’s eventual overthrow and imprisonment…
Assuredly, there will be many extreme as well as some more rational proposals when what seems to be the inevitable crash does arrive. By that time, we may have reached what one commentator has called “The End of the Western World we have known since 1945”, the United States dollar may have become a “monkey currency” like the Emperor Bokassa’s and any dollar notes that Chairman Bernanke might drop from helicopters might have even less real value than the paper money with which the Emperor showered his people on his Coronation Day, back in 1977. The End of the Western World since 1977

Can we change the human tendency for recession? Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending
Interesting article from 1999 AD. courtesy of Steve M

In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.
The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.
Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits.
In addition, banks, thrift institutions and mortgage companies have been pressing Fannie Mae to help them make more loans to so-called subprime borrowers. These borrowers whose incomes, credit ratings and savings are not good enough to qualify for conventional loans, can only get loans from finance companies that charge much higher interest rates -- anywhere from three to four percentage points higher than conventional loans.

Fannie Mae _ mea Culpa; [The Howard government did nothing as house prices spiraled out of control powered by a debt binge that will haunt us for years Sick Soil of Sydney and so on …; 'Casino capitalism', 'robber barren capitalism', 'the greed machine' - call it what you will - the corporate financial orgy has come to a shuddering halt. bubbles deflating worldwide ]
• · PERPETUAL and Wesfarmers are the latest in a string of companies to be targeted by predatory share-buying schemes, running under the names of Hassle Free Share Sales and Share Buying Group Beware of share predators;
• · Robert Higgs Boohoo: The Mainstream Media Are Ignoring Me Depression, War, and Cold War; On September 29, the day the House of Representatives voted down the bailout bill, the S&P 500 opened at 1,209 and closed at 1,106, registering a loss of 8.5 percent. Other stock-market indexes recorded similar declines in share prices. The Stock Market Proved . . . Or Did It?
• · · Mistrust over lending grips the globe, but a wiser, more nimble US could emerge from the chaos Branko Milanovic: Global crisis: how far to go? Part I; Collapsing share markets have dramatically reshaped the fortunes of the nation's multi-billionaires in recent months, stripping Mr Forrest of the crown and elevating perennial rich list bridesmaid Frank Lowy to the top of the rankings for the first time. Collapsing share markets
• · · · Shopping centre magnate Frank Lowy has taken the mantle of Australia's richest man for the first time. First time; Frank Lowy, an Australian Jew, for the first time was identified as the nation’s richest man.Richest Man; AUSTRALIA'S ability to crack down on offshore tax evasion is limited by how much it can legislate for activities that occur outside its borders Tax Havens
• · · · · 4 Corners, 6 October 2008. Liz Jackson reports on the insider who stole a bank's secrets, then sold them, sparking panic among the world's super rich Tax me if you can.; We need a watch kept on the operation of Australia’s terrorism laws Unique legislative regime" needs on-going review
• · · · · · Some of the most innovative ideas are generated during tough times. Kevin Roberts Presentation at the Insider's Creative Forum in Manchester; Three easy watching movies I’ve enjoyed lately in the air. It is definitely going to be Hugh Jackman’s year. He’s set to star in Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kevin believes that Italy needs to invest in a new logo, promise and national campaign, and I'm excited by the appointment of Matteo Marzotto to the president of the Italian Government Tourist Board. He strikes me as the guy for the job... Italian Film Festival in Sydney was magical in 2008

Hungry Media Dragon Antony Loewenstein: Voice of the Dragons
During the recent war between Georgia and Russia, bloggers on both sides of the conflict provided searing accounts of atrocities and manoeuvres unseen by western journalists. In a country such as Russia the space for alternative and critical views are rare. The war showed an authoritarian regime's narrative being challenged by a handful of insiders and outsiders. The government-run media looked staid by comparison.

This was merely the latest example of bloggers beating mainstream journalists at their own game. Online media have exploded in western nations, challenging decades-old business models and forcing reporters to answer questions about their methods and sources. But in repressive states, blogs and websites have become essential sources of information on topics - from women's issues to sexual orientation, dating rituals to human rights - routinely shunned by channels for official propaganda.

• Blogging gives a voice to citizens around the world, but why do their views often go unheard in the west? Beating the western drum; [Best practices in implementing taxonomy for enterprise information management: developing a corporate taxonomy: ; Launched by the Hon Senator John Faulkner in September, the report, as released in October 2007, has now been published in book form.
whistleblowing in the Australian public sector - enhancing the theory and practice of internal witness management in public sector organisations Whistling while they work: ]
• · Imagine walking into a book store and knowing that even the most obscure or out of print books will always be in stock. Angus & Robertson today became the first Australian book chain to install the Espresso Book Machine (EBM), capable of printing, trimming and binding a paperback book on demand within minutes. It was dubbed an "ATM for books" by Time magazine, which last year named it one of the best inventions of the year. Print on demand with 'ATM for books'; pdf version ahead International study on the impact of copyright law on digital preservation
• · Helen Tatham, The concept of networking has been around a long time but senior executives are becoming savvier about schmoozing. A look at the trends in corporate networking Savvy about schmoozing ; Ambitious managers looking to make a mark need to work on their strengths and weaknesses to enhance their careers Manager's mark
• · · Eric Beecher The Sydney Morning Herald a Beecher: Gawenda's right, Fairfax ruined by incompetence and The Age did something quite rare on their op-ed pages today -- they published some rather tough criticism of their own newspapers by one of their former editors. Among the points they extracted from former Age editor Michael Gawenda's A.N. Smith Lecture in Journalism, to be delivered tonight at Melbourne University, were these: Beecher: Gawenda's right, Fairfax ruined by incompetence; No guests at Sky Canberra... Naked journalism at The Age...
• · · · When Slammin' Sam Kekovich speaks people listen. It's why he's the face of Australia's Meat and Livestock marketing campaigns, an ESPN commentator and a favourite for sportsmens' nights and corporate speeches. So here at Crikey we were interested when we received the following email this morning of a speech allegedly made by Kekovich at the AFL's Centre Square Grand Final day event, which had been reported by Peter FitzSimons in the SMH: Being fooled by the internet -- you know it makes sense
• · · · · "The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who don't have it." - George Bernard Shaw CEVERY Tuesday or Wednesday, the boss's foot soldiers would arrive, carrying $6000 in cash in a manila envelope, down the stairs to the airless basements of Sydney shopping centres. Cleaning ; AUSTRALIAN shopping centre giant Westfield will investigate allegations that illegal subcontracting of cleaning is rife in some of its shopping centres. Dirty Business
• · · · Corruption or compliance: weighing the costs - 10th global fraud survey, Ernst & Young, 2008, 28p. The survey, of nearly 1200 finance executives from companies in 33 countries, examines perceptions, occurrences and action against bribery and corruption, including cross border / 'governments outside home countries'. weighing the costs - 10th global fraud survey ; · · I have seen the future and it works,’ the American journalist Lincoln Steffens famously declared on returning from a visit to Russia nearly 90 years ago Cold River ; He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. By Winston Churchill