Unsolved mysteries of the modern world

Now that the mystery of Area 51 has been cleared up, here’s 2 modern mysteries still desperately awaiting explanation …

  1. How can a campaign launch possibly be called a ‘launch’ when it happens 60% into an election campaign (Coalition) or even 80% into the campaign (Labor)?
  2. In this day and age of modern electrical lighting, when various cricket matches are regularly played at nighttime, how is it possible for a Test match to be called to a close due to bad light?


Smoke and morals

Finally, a non-glib, tangible statement from Tony Abbott that I can totally agree with, as he announces that the Liberal Party will no longer accept tobacco party donations. Given that we’ve known for decades the damaging health effects of tobacco, it’s about time that the major political parties recognised that accepting financial support from this industry is unhelpful, undesirable, and in my opinion morally wrong.

I find it hard to think of a more clear-cut example in the modern western world of the rich and powerful exploiting the poor and weak, than tobacco companies peddling addictive and harmful drugs to the populace.

I’m not sure I’d go as far as Kevin Rudd suggests and actually ban political donations from tobacco companies – refusing such donations ought to be a principled ethical choice by the political parties, not just a legalistic compliance with legislative requirements.

Paid parental leave

Tony Abbott has announced his proposed paid parental leave scheme, to be partially paid for by a levy on the 3000 largest businesses in the country. While paid parental leave is a good thing, I have a few problems with the proposed scheme.

  • It seems overly generous – providing up to $75,000 for a woman earning $150,000.
  • It is regressive, in giving the biggest benefit to high income earners who need the money the least, less benefit for low income earners, and no benefit at all for women who choose to stay out of the workforce to raise their children, the women who are often the ones working in the local school canteens for no remuneration at all.
  • It seems rather nonsensical for Tony Abbott to be espousing the benefits of a 1.5% cut in the company tax rate on the second day of the campaign, and then to be putting back a 1.5% tax on companies 11 days later.

Groundhog day

“Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.”

I wake up today and find that Labor is pledging $500m towards propping up the car industry. Hang on. Didn’t Labor pledge $200m at the start of the campaign? Oh, yes they did. Perhaps this is groundhog day?

No. Apparently this is another extra $500m, bringing the total to $700m with vague promises of even more to come. Yikes! For that amount of money you could just about buy every adult in Australia a decent bike, and then recoup the $700m in years to come from reduced health care costs as the general level of fitness in the population increased, and the air quality improved.

Google Maps Gaffes and Goodness

After dissing Apple Maps a bit last year, I got caught out by Google Maps yesterday when a search for a particular address in Hunter St Newcastle landed the pin about 2 blocks away from the actual location. Afterwards I checked on Apple Maps and it had it right. There’s a first time for everything.

Anyway on the goodness side of things, I reported the error on Google maps, and unlike Apple maps where more than six months after reporting glaring mistakes, nothing has changed, the Google maps problem is fixed already!

The answer is ‘a pineapple’

Because I was at church last night I didn’t  get to watch the leaders’ debate live. I’ve just watched half of it now, and frankly I don’t have the will to watch it to the end. There was one patently obvious characteristic of both leaders exposed – they both have a chronic inability to answer the actual question posed to them! The questions asked by the panel journalists were good questions, deserving of answers, of which very little was forthcoming.

They may have well answered every question with “its a pineapple” – for that answer has as much relevance to the questions asked, as the answers that Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott gave.

There is some doubt as to whether there will be any more leaders’ debates this campaign – based on last night it will be no loss if there are no more.