Well I never

20050304 US Defense VisualIn Tomahawk cruise missile detonation over target San Clemente Island California 19860401I’m sure you know that I have a very poor opinion of Liberal Party politicians and members. Well take a look at this: https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2015/02/21/inside-sa-senator-cory-bernardis-business-web/14244372001523#.VOmiBuaZGUk

Yet another Liberal politician who doesn’t know the difference between proprietary and propriety. Who can’t understand why they can’t use their taxpayer funded office to further their personal business interests. Who doesn’t understand ethics. Look at Nalder, the Liberal WA state minister who used his ministerial office and staff to arrange business meetings with some Chinese guys in connection with his own business in China! He couldn’t understand why this was wrong. He still can’t. And Barnett didn’t sack him. He’s a Liberal, and the law is different for them as we all know.

What is the difference between people who run dodgy businesses, tricky financial planning businesses, get their parliamentary and private interests mixed up and break the law, and trade unions? Answer: one lot has a government Royal Commission imposed on them at HUGE cost, and the other is allowed to get away with it.

This is tragic

This awful Prime Minister and his incompetent government have undone decades of careful diplomacy with Indonesia in a few stupid sentences.

See http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/21/aceh-residents-use-koinuntukaustralia-campaign-to-offer-to-repay-australian-aid  The people of Aceh are outraged at Sir Lord Rabbott AO, OA, KCMD, Order of the Stuffed Shirt, VC, over his suggestion that our aid to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami makes them owe us. I don’t blame them. This is sheer stupidity. This guy is a rank wanker amateur. A prize ocker fool.

Already this whole business is having an effect. Australians are left out of Indonesia’s change to free visas. We still have to pay. How embarrassing. There is now a growing mood of hostility to Australia in Indonesia, a complete change from before our stupid government came to power in 2013.

I’m sure a big proportion of Aussies will be saying, “Too bad. Why does it matter?” I read the other day that 52% of Aussie visitors to Bali don’t know that it’s part of Indonesia. I cringe.

Well, Indonesia is 220 million people, ten times our population, and not far away. With good relations, we sell them food and manufactured goods (fibreglass swimming pools is one example from WA that I know about). And education, which is just as valuable an export as cattle or anything else.

With bad relations, regional cooperation on drugs and people smuggling stops, just as one example. Too bad? I don’t think so.

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I’ve said before that I check all my supermarket bills for errors, and I find them all the time.

Well, a week or two ago I got a letter in the mail with a bill from Unicare for $51. There was no indication of what it was for, just a code number.

Unicare? Who are they? I assumed it might have been a QE II Medical Centre bill for the eye tests I had in January.

I nearly paid it on-line, until I noticed I had a Unicare pdf file on my desktop. It was a receipt from when I’d made an on-line purchase a few weeks ago. I had bought and paid in the one transaction.

So this Unicare, based in Welshpool in Perth, tried to bill me again, and I nearly paid it again! See what I mean? They’re out to get us. Inefficient accounting, obviously. I phoned them and said I’d already paid and the receptionist said, “Oh, please hold and I’ll speak to our accounts person.” So I held, then after a minute or two she said they’d phone me back, but they haven’t.

Wave power again

I was talking about the Carnegie wave power plant that’s just started up on Garden Island in Cockburn Sound. (That’s near Fremantle and Rockingham for my remote readers.)

Here are some more pictures, all courtesy of the Carnegie web site. Rather nice, I reckon:

141106_NearMap_GI Site Aerial

You can see the undersea pipe coming ashore at lower-left/middle

PWEPMap

This picture looks as if it should be rotated 90deg. right, but it looks funny then as well.

20070306ran8109430_055343.JPGGIMapI like this! Free power, or relatively cheap, pollution free, permanent, independent of day or night. The only drawback is that you need to be beside the sea, but aren’t we all? 🙂

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I’ve spoken before about the Lockheed Martin announcement last year of a new compact fusion power generator. Their web site is still there, but I have been wondering about the lack of talk about it. Scientific people seem to be ignoring it.

I’ve just been listening to a radio program that talks about it and, oh dear, it seems that Lockheed Martin are refusing to talk about it apart from their web site, will not take interviews, have not published any details apart from a patent and don’t attend any conferences about fusion energy. Oh dear.

The suggestion is made that they are doing it to attract development money since their defence contracts have been reduced. Oh dear.

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Oh dear again. Last night was the last ever episode of  Foyle’s War, the BBC drama about detective Christopher Foyle (always called Mr Foyle) during WW2 and immediately afterwards. These last four episodes seem to be it. They didn’t kill him off, but it was pretty final.

This series has been the epitome of good TV as far as I’m concerned. Immaculately made, restrained, credible, beautifully recreated wartime scenes (how do they do it?!). I’m sure there’ll be repeats for a long time to come, there already have been, but it’s not the same.

My other favourite show is Silent Witness. It’s not quite as good – the lab scenes are just too clean and slick to be believable, they only ever seem to have one case on at a time, such a light workload, but the story lines have been fantastic. And Emilia Fox! Whoo whoo … ! Talk about thinking man’s crumpet.

But how come … ? Last year, Leo was killed in a suicide bomb explosion while on a job in the Middle East. That seemed pretty final to me. But recently he’s back in episodes that I don’t remember seeing before. Not that I’m complaining, but …

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Crumbs, this model railway planning is harder than it looks. I’m on about version 7 by now and struggling to get the point work right. It looks easy but when you place a point (a switch, a turnout) on the drawing, it’s locked in place. You can unlock it and move it, but then you have to move all the track to make it connect up again. This takes a lot of work. I can see that this planning is going to take months before I start physically laying track.Grubbe Street 160215You can see how I’ve attempted to reproduce the complex tracks on the left, but I’ve got sick of it and I’ll have a go at the Waverley Station end on the bottom part. It takes hours!

I’ve found some pictures of typical WA railway locos – not all of these are in WA, but they’re all Aussies:

CBH Group CBH Class loco

I’ve just noticed – the wheels look odd, but it’s because they’re narrowly spaced. This is the WA country rail network in the Wheat Belt, where the track would still be 3ft 6inches spacing from the old days. The Australian standard is 4ft 8.5 inches, Standard Gauge, but our counry lines wouldn’t have been upgraded – far too expensive. So these WA locos look as if they’re balanced tippy toe on the rails. Huh.

4996758-3x2-940x627 BHPB AC6000CW + EMD SD70ACe CBH_1_and_2_Cranbrook CBH_1_Wagin_2012 DB1588_Forrestfield,_1986  NR29_in_Pacific_National_Livery Nr-bl-class Pacific-national-g-classes PN_DL45_Dec2007By the way, what other hobby wants the models to look dirty and grubby? As they come out of the box, they’re clean and shiny new, but real trains aren’t. They’re muddy and rusty and oil stained. So in theory, we “weather” all our model trains, including adding rust to the rails and oil stains all over the sleepers. You can even buy your models pre-weathered, at extra cost. Crazy. I don’t think I want dirty trains, not yet, anyway.