Bunker bulldust day 122

Feb08 VS3

A snap that worked. © PJ Croft 2020

Brrrrrr. By northern hemisphere standards it’s not cold, but by my standards it’s brass monkeys. It was only 17deg max yesterday and I’ve been forced to put on an extra layer of insulation on top. Still wearin’ me shorts and sandals though. Crumbs, a bloke’s got standards to maintain.

If the doctor was right about chillblains, I’ve got ’em on most fingers now. Red, itchy lumps. Just a few, you wouldn’t notice them. I was forced to use a steroid cream last night and it worked well, stopping the itching. I’m not sure about the chillblains explanation. They don’t look like chillblains to me.


Like father, like son. The son of a former, very well known and remembered premier of Western Australia has outed himself as a liar after being exposed in a news article.

This guy, 30 years of age and a self described wealthy businessman, promoted an animal park he was developing in a NW town by saying he had bought and was importing two Sumatran tigers from the guy in Arkansas or Florida or somewhere who made a big splash in a Netflix show. Trouble was, when the reporter talked to the TV show guy, he denied the sale and said he’d never heard of this West Aussie.

So it turned out this local guy just lied to promote his business venture. Bare faced. At least he’s admitted it.

It should remind us that his father, when Premier of WA, was also partial to telling lies. He made promises to get elected that he never went close to keeping and in fact he came close to bankrupting the state treasury. He went from a balanced state budget with low debt from the previous Labor government to us being left with a state debt of $15bn which we’re still battling to reduce. He also said he was going to build a gas pipeline from the North West Shelf gas fields near Broome to Perth and provided figures at a press conference about it. But the reporters straight away saw errors in his figures and pointed them out to the premier’s face. He just stonewalled. It was amazing and so embarrassing. He denied the errors even though all the reporters could see them. So he was a liar too. As I said, like father, like son and like Liberal.


ABC News 18 July 2020: “Seventy-three millionaires paid no tax in 2017-18, while Australia’s richest people live in Sydney’s Double Bay, on average earning more than 13 times the nation’s poorest, who live in central-west Queensland.” [Yeah, the rich are reporting artificially low taxable incomes because they’ve had all their dodgy deductions. The real ratio wouldn’t be 13x, it would be 50x or more.]

“There were 73 Australians who earned more than $1 million in the 2017-18 financial year that did not pay a cent of income tax, up from 69 the year before.”

Year after year, it’s the same – when you’re rich, paying tax is optional. Most choose the option of dodging tax completely. Their accountants grow rich themselves by devising complex schemes that skirt the law. In my opinion, this is criminality.

I know someone who thinks this is a game. He boasted to me about how he paid no tax because he “put everything through his family trust”. He boasted about “playing games with the tax people”. He denies it but I know what I heard. He wasn’t joking.

People who dodge tax still drive on the roads and freeways, use the airports, use the weather services and customs and border patrol, take their Medicare refunds, use the NDIS, want spouse and child allowances, want all the government payments they can get, but don’t want to pay for them.

Why is it that the government can’t devise laws which would force the rich to pay their fair share? It’s because they are great mates with the barons, with an eye on their own retirements or departure from parliament when they’ll benefit from the largesse of their rich mates. It’s a club. It’s large scale corruption and no-one is doing anything about it.

Except Michael West https://www.michaelwest.com.au/  I admire this guy tremendously. He is dedicated to exposing corruption and dodgy characters in politics and business, and he puts himself in the firing line of legal threats. As I say, this is the kind of person I admire. Tax dodgers? Low life.


I’ve just been reading about transistors, billions of ’em. I’m sure you’ve heard of Moore’s Law, that the number of transistors that will fit on a silicon die doubles every two years. That prediction was made in the early ’70s and ever since then, it’s held roughly true, to the point where we reached 1 million in about 1990, 1 billion in about 2000 and we’re now up to about 50 billion. That’s 50 billion semiconductor junctions in an area of about 4x4cm max. Almost all the area of a CPU chip is taken up with the connecting wires and pins to the outside. All gold wires and gold plating.

This is territory where the interconnections between the junctions are around 7 nanometres in width. 14,000 would fit in the width of a human hair. Look at the line marked 10nm. That’s where the silicon chip interconnect lines are.


The wavelength of yellow light is about 600 nanometres! This is why the tracks can’t be seen by ordinary light microscopes. This is the size of bacteria and smaller than blood corpuscles.


That’s the second division here, between 1-10nm.

These lines in the silicon are so fine that they require the use of x-ray lasers to etch them. They are far smaller than the eye can see and smaller even than light microscopes can resolve. They require scanning electron microscopes to see. This is fantastic technology, and there’s far more to it than the average person knows. The book I read recently, Exactly, by Simon Winchester goes deeply into this.

People have been predicting for years that we’re reaching the limits of Moore’s Law, that we simply can’t fit any more semiconductor junctions onto a chip. Well, guess what. Some researchers have developed new techniques that break the barrier again. Hah, since I started writing this I’ve lost the article that led me to it. More to come… 🙂


Do you know about M-Disc? Do you want 1,000 year durability of your backups? I do.

I’ve known about M-Disc for a couple of years and I’ve just got into it. I’ve just bought an LG external DVD drive which plays CDs and DVDs and records normal DVD-Rs, both write-once and rewritables. But these work by the laser in the drive heating a dye layer on the DVD, changing its reflectivity. Because it’s an organic dye layer, it can change over time and these discs are not guaranteed beyond about 10 years.*

The laser in an M-Disc drive, on the other hand, is a bit more powerful and actually burns the pits into the surface of the disc so that it’s permanent. By permanent, how about 1,000 years? That’s long enough for me.

Expensive? How about $24 for the drive and $30 for a box of five 25GB discs? I call that good backup value.

I have about 50,000 images on my hard drive, not all mine but most are. I consider them priceless. If I lost them I’d be distraught. I’ve got them backed up in a few different ways including the “cloud” (ASUS servers in Taiwan) but that requires internet access to retrieve them. I’ve also got a couple of portable hard drives but spinning disks are going to fail at some point in their life (right at the very end, actually). Solid State Drives (SSDs) have no moving parts but have a finite number of read/write cycles to them.

No, I’ve got all these but I’ve ordered three boxes of five M-Discs and I intend to save everything important to them and store them off site somewhere. For posterity? Who’ll care?

The other thing to do is to put the images into books and I’m doing that, but it takes a lot of time. Each book costs about $40 for 14″x11″ hardcover, 20 pages. That’s not bad too as they’re very accessible, but they’d burn in a fire.

* Back in the early 2000s I was using rewritable DVDs extensively and I was buying an unknown brand from BigW at about $5-10 each (? probably a lot less – can’t remember). I was a little worried about their durability, but now 20 years later, they continue to work fine. I can’t recall ever having a problem unless they got physically damaged. You can have a win.


Speaking of images:


The colours on my screen are glorious.

I’m remaking my Japan interactive slide show from around 2005. I must apologise to my reader to whom I had promised a copy – I found glitches in it and had to remake it, which has taken some time, but it’s almost finished. Next week I hope.

The software is called PTE-AVStudio (previously PicToExe). It’s a Russian team and from fairly primitive beginnings 15 years ago, it’s a polished product now and very easy to use. Wnsoft – there’s a free trial version – the full price is US$139 which is not cheap, I admit. I started years ago so all my purchases are upgrades.