Monday, February 28, 2011

This incredible, very real photo taken in 2005 in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia is doing the rounds on Reddit again :

That's an olive python trying to swallow a wallaroo. According to a person who claimed to have snapped this photo, the python spent about an hour trying to drag the marsupial from the water and then gave up.

A closer look :

If you're not familiar with the beautiful Australian olive python, here's a video, but don't hold anything of value in your hands as you watch this :

Not exactly the kind of story you want to make such a massive headline error on. :

"Glitch" or successful hacking expedition? I can't imagine any financial institution would publicly admit they've been hacked, unless forced to do so. They certainly didn't admit to such things in the 1990s.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In 2006, the Howard government turned on a show for Al-Saadi Gaddafi, son of the murderous dictator :
A ''colonel'' with the Libyan special forces, Al-Saadi was invited to visit the Swanbourne SAS barracks at the invitation of the former defence minister Robert Hill.

He also met the then foreign minister Alexander Downer for trade talks, and Australian investors from the oil, gas, tourism, agriculture, racing and cattle industries.

A chat with Alex and a tour of a military base. Nice.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hackers' Challenge

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary, Dennis Richardson, has laid out an open challenge to hackers who want to try their skills at cracking firewalls the Australian government and intelligence agencies believe represent world class digital security.

ABC News :
The Department of Foreign Affairs has reviewed its computer security systems following the WikiLeaks saga to ensure classified documents are kept safe.

DFAT secretary Dennis Richardson has told a Senate estimates hearing that he is satisfied such a breach would not happen to the Australian Government.

"The breach in the US system - it beggars belief how they even had the arrangement they had," he said.

"In terms of the way our classified systems are set up, it would be very difficult to copy what happened in the WikiLeaks case."

Difficult, but not impossible.

The only truly safe digital file is one stored on a laptop or device that has no internet access and no CD or USB drives. Even then...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Christchurch Smashed By Quake

A 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand earlier today, and rocked the city for one solid minute. Buildings collapsed on people across the CBD during lunchtime. Bodies have been recovered from shops, office buildings and at least one hostel. The iconic cathedral in the centre of Christchuch has been destroyed. Aftershocks were still rattling Christchurch more than an hour after the first quake, people still trapped screaming for help inside collapsed buildings as rescuers struggled to reach them.

Powerful raw footage moments after the quake :

Inside the Christchurch cathedral :

ABC News has a round-up of quotes from survivors :

"It was extremely violent. I was sitting there with a friend and the building just like exploded. It was like a movie. It took two or three seconds to comprehend what was going on ... and then we ran onto the street and the front fell out of the building right in front of me."

"It was just scary. [The cathedral], it just came down, like shit, within about two seconds. Unbelievable, unbelievable."

"It was very, very strong, I was up on the top floor of the council building and I got thrown quite a distance. I got down to the street, scenes of great confusion, some very, very upset people, a lot of people crying. I know of people in our building that have been injured." -

"I was in the square right outside the cathedral - the whole front has fallen down and there were people running from there. There were people inside as well."

UPDATE : 4.30pm (Sydney time) : The death toll is likely to be beyond 70 by tomorrow morning, with serious injuries already numbering beyond 300, temporary morgues dealing with bodies that had been lain out in the streets & parks when ambulances were in short supply, water infrastructure trashed, roads shattered, dozens of buildings significantly damaged, many destroyed beyond repair.

How some Australian online media is covering the Christchurch earthquake, with an emphasis on, or overload of, interactivity & multimedia, including live video, maps, before & after photos of buildings where bodies are still to be recovered, plus now mandatory Twitter coverage, Facebook coverage.

The Herald Sun :

The Sydney Morning Herald :

The Daily Telegraph :

And the New Zealand Herald :

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coming soon to SBS, quality new Australian drama :

UPDATE : Unbelievable. Channel 9's A Current Affair ran ads claiming the above clip was from "a reality show" and "a waste of taxpayers money." Dumber than a bag of hammers. It also shows what A Current Affairs producers think about Westies, doesn't it?

Housos is a comedy from Paul Fenech, the creator of Pizza.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Senior Liberal Threatens "Bloodbath" If Joe Hockey Isn't Axed For Being Too Nice

How ugly and bizarre has conservative politics become in Australia when you can be lambasted and told to fuck off for being too popular and emphatic?

A senior Liberal Party staffer, who acts as an advisor to a minister of the Liberal Shadow Ministry (let's take a wild guess here....a member of Scott Morrison's staff?) posted this at the Menzies House website. It was quickly deleted, but not quickly enough (excerpts) :
The most interesting development in the Liberal Party of the last fortnight has not been the “silent pause gaffe” by Tony Abbott when confronted by journalist Mark Riley. It is, in fact, Joe Hockey’s decision to undermine his Liberal colleague Scott Morrison, and contradict official party policy on the issue of taxpayer funds being used to ferry asylum seekers across the country.

This is a day of remembrance of a tragedy, and we all feel great sympathy for those affected by the recent horrific events. Yet Hockey attempted to manipulate this and grandstand for his own personal advantage. And that is unacceptable. To take advantage of an event such as this to advance your own personal agenda is simply beyond the pale.

This is the demonstrated proof that Joe Hockey is completely ill-equipped to ever be a member of the leadership team of the Liberal Party. In fact, it is the last straw, after a string of gaffes and failures, and our parliamentary team is furious.

Joe Hockey has a teddy bear-like appearance and demeanour. He appealed to many viewers when he appeared on the Sunrise programme with Kevin Rudd. He no doubt enjoys a strong relationship with many journalists. To the average person in the street, Joe Hockey probably comes across as a likeable fellow.

It’s now well past the point of being an amusing joke. We are the Party that gave Australia Peter Costello as our Treasurer. We pride outselves on our economic managment. To say to voters that we propose Joe Hockey be the next Liberal Treasurer is an incomprehensible fall from grace - and a stain on our reputation that will not easily be fixed.

It is no secret that many Liberal MP's desire a new Shadow Treasurer who does not activly attack the Party line; Someone who does not seek personal attention at every waking turn; Someone who can stay true to Liberal values of small government when formulating policy.

We are beyond the point of backbencher despair - we are at the point of open revolt. While Shadow Cabinet can continue to put on a brave face, there can be no denying the panic that is spreading through the ranks as members view the destruction Hockey is causing. There can be no doubt that there needs to be a mechanism found quickly within the party to replace Hockey as Shadow Treasurer without resulting in a wider bloodbath...

After all, we have a far safer pair of hands ready in Andrew Robb - an MP with a proven track record of competence, combined with a consistent history of supporting Liberal Party values and fighting for smaller government.

The replacement might be messy, but the public have come to expect something a lot better from the Liberal Party in such a vital area.

Enough is enough. The Joe Hockey circus must come to an end. The Australian people deserve more. The Liberal Party deserves more. Hockey must go - and soon.

Here's what Joe Hockey said that has so infuriated so many of his Liberal Party colleagues :

"I would never seek to deny a parent or a child from saying goodbye to their relative.

"No matter what the colour of your skin, no matter what the nature of your faith, if your child has died or a father has died, you want to be there for the ceremony to say goodbye.

"I totally understand the importance of this to those families.

"I think we, as a compassionate nation, have an obligation to ensure that we retain our humanity during what is a very difficult policy debate."

That's it.

Wow. It's like the Liberals are trying to rebrand themselves as the Complete Fucking Arseholes Party. But why?

Did it even occur to this moron that one of the main reasons why the Coalition is (briefly) leading the Labor Party in (some) polls is because people are hearing a diversity of views & opinions coming from the conservative ranks, instead of the lock-step brain freeze infecting Labor?

UPDATE : A suggestion on a more practical rebranding for the Liberals : Complete Raving Arseholes Party (CRAP).

Great story :

Unfortunately, it's not true.
Tragically, young Rueben's mother was killed by a car and he was left with serious head wounds, but the Herald Sun thinks it's appropriate to report this tragic news with a punny headline :

Boom tish.

On Twitter, RacistWallaby vents his outrage and disgust :

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mother Nature's War On Humans continues. Two cyclones now look to be threatening the Northern Territory. No emergency warnings issued for Darwin as of 1opm tonight, but schools and many businesses will be closed tomorrow, just in case.

Latest warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology can be found here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Northern Territory News. How could a newspaper that breaks such news be losing readers? Complete mystery :

Look, I know you want to know the rest of this story, but once you read it you can't erase the details from your memory. Think carefully if you really want to know how this sex toy was launched across a room before you click this link.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Global Warming Is The New Hitler, according to a letter in the Northern Rivers Echo :
The climate change debate is over! No more silly scepticism, half truths and quoting of supposedly impeachable sources, like some raving Lord lunatic, can ignore the facts as they continue to be represented by scientists of all disciplines and driven home by extreme weather conditions. The extinctions of species, caused by global warming, predicted by scientists, have already begun to be observed. Glaciers are melting exponentially, forests are dying. Recently the Amazon rainforest experienced the worst drought in recorded history killing millions of trees and threatening to alter the forests ability to scrub CO2 out of the atmosphere. In fact scientists are afraid that it will become a reverse situation where dying and decaying trees will actually increase CO714987860 in the atmosphere. Like a smoker, the Amazon, one of the Earth’s lungs, may suffocate from too much toxic gas.

Yet the she’ll be right mentality of the dozy Australian governments and its sceptical numbnuts continues to dominate the inaction we see on just about every front when the world is confronted by a glaringly implacable problem. When the Jews faced annihilation under the Nazis the world dilly dallied and six million were exterminated in the gas ovens. As we dilly dally on the action needed to act on climate change caused by global warming the entire human species and sundry animal stands to reap the same fate. This time the oven will be the planet we live on. We are the 21st century Jews. Our enemies are apathy and vested interests who refuse to change their ways.

It sounds like Mother Nature may be the real enemy here, unless this letter is utterly insane.
Mike Carlton points out that despite there now being 13 times as many vehicles on NSW roads as 1945, the number of people dying each year is almost the same as it was 65 years ago. Hysteria about road safety, Carlton claims, is generated by "the road safety industry" :
"(this industry) makes work for itself with conferences, seminars and workshops, learned papers, academic theories and blizzards of statistics, constantly devising new ways to coerce and punish the rest of us poor mugs behind the wheel.

"No politician ever dares pull the industry into line because road safety has become a sacred cow and transport ministers like to be seen worshipping it. In fact, our road tolls are lower than ever."
Full Story Is Here

Friday, February 11, 2011

State election ads are usually worse than national election ads, so when even a mildly entertaining one comes along it should be enjoyed for the rare treat that it is :

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

The Only Shit In This Storm Is Channel 7 News

By Darryl Mason

This was going to be the lead news story on most Australian TV channels last night, an emotional tribute from Prime Minister Julia Gillard to the victims of the Queensland floods and victims of a nation-rocking run of natural disasters in the past few months, a tribute many Queenslanders, and victims of floods & fires in other Australian states, needed to see, a kind of catharsis, some kind of emotional release :

The stories Prime Minister Gillard recalled from the Queensland floods are pure tragedy, stunning, jolting tales of incomprehensible loss and sacrifice that still haven't completely settled into the Australian psyche yet.

Maybe you don't like it, maybe you don't believe her, maybe you think, like a cartoonist at The Australian, that it's all part of the New Julia Show :

But whatever it was,, it was necessary, and it should have been The News tonight & today. Opposition leader Tony Abbott seem quite prepared to step back from bitter fighting over the flood levy, if only for a day or two, to let Australians see their prime minister acknowledge their pain, their shock, their feelings of distress and loss.

To say, it's okay, it's time to cry about what happened, get it out and then get on with it.

A bizarre and revolting theme had developed that PM Gillard was somehow less than human because she didn't break down in front of flood victims, which is easy to imagine would have been far more upsetting to flood victims than the way she did deal with them. Who wants the leader of their country weeping in their arms after their state had just been smashed by both floods and a massive cyclone and tens of thousands have been left homeless?

She's wooden, she's unreal, some, many, in the old and new media have hissed for months, she doesn't show enough emotion. But how much emotion does PM Gillard have to show?

Here she is at the funeral of an Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan :

Isn't that enough stress and emotion in one face? Doesn't she look shattered by a death in a war she has supported in opposition and in government for almost a decade?

PM Gillard's speech and opposition leader Tony Abbott's measured reply was a moment of reflection at the start of a new year in Australian Parliament, a chance to acknowledge that the last couple of months have been emotionally draining, for all Australians.

That was the news Australians needed, deserved to see last night.

But by a few minutes after 6pm, news priorities across all channels had changed. And instead, we got this :

Mark Riley pretending he thought Tony Abbott was talking about Australian soldiers instead of himself was just plain pathetic, and an impossible to ignore alarm bell that this 'story' was more about Mark Riley's lust for attention and desire to be a press gallery journalist who could claim a political scalp than it was about Tony Abbott saying something "innappropriate" :
Abbott : "A soldier has died, and you shouldn't be trying to turn this into a subsequent media circus."

Riley: "The soldier's shouldn't? I shouldn't?"

Abbott : "Yes."
The first time seeing Abbott's 24 seconds of constant nodding, death staring and utter silence was cringe-inducing TV. The second time I saw it, I began to want to see Tony Abbott nut Mark Riley for being a total fuckhead. The third time, and the next time, and the next time, all the way through to Lateline, it was clear Tony Abbott's reaction to this offensive piece of We Make The News journalism was the right one.

The key question changed quickly from, 'Why didn't Tony Abbott say anything?' to 'In what dimension of irresponsible journalism is this even a fucking news story at all?' And 'Did Mark Riley even stop for a moment to think how the dead soldier's family and friends will feel seeing this blasted across the evening and tomorrow's news?'

From a statement released by Jared MacKinney's wife, Beckie, the day before her husband's funeral in September last year :
I would also like to express our appreciation to the media for the very sensitive manner in which they have covered the tragic events of the past few weeks, and also their ongoing respect for our privacy.

We have reached the deepest depths of despair since we were told of Jared’s death, but we have also been helped and comforted by the support and extraordinary generosity of spirit of old friends, new friends, and strangers who cared.

Beckie MacKinney, and other family members, were contacted by various journalists and news media last night, seeking comment & reaction, on both Tony Abbott's "sometimes shit happens" remark and Mark Riley's story.

Beckie MacKinney released a statement late last night saying the matter rests, that she believed Tony Abbott's comments were taken out of context by journalist Mark Riley and she would not be commenting further.

Jared MacKinney's dad, Ian, had this to say, according to the Sydney Morning Herald :

...the Opposition Leader's comments were ''out of line'' and made him ''feel sick''.

''My attitude would be to ignore it, to give it the least amount of credence,'' he said.

He described Mr Abbott as thoughtless, ignorant and uncaring. ''It just shows how good he is, or isn't. I'm not going to let it bother me, but it just shows he's not very thoughtful. He doesn't care too much.''
Mark Riley's Wikipedia entry was updated last night :

The update, probably removed by now :
"He dishonours the memories of fallen soldiers and causes distress to their widows by trying to make cheap political mileage out of innocent comments by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott."
Hard to argue with that.

Mark Riley bet that Tony Abbott's comment and long silence (and Channel 7 news reporter boasted on Twitter that Abbott's silence actually lasted almost a minute and a half) would be The Story. And it was. For an hour or two.

Riley must have gone to bed last night absolutely stunned at how quickly his 'story' veered from 'Tony Abbott : Still A Heartless Bastard?' to 'Why Does Mark Riley Still Have A Job?'

But, you know, like Tony Abbott says :


Monday, February 07, 2011

Canberra Pride

Hungry Beast returns for a third series this year. This moment of Gold from S2 :

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Into The Heat

By Darryl Mason

Sydney melts under steaming skies
heat so intense
you sweat to breathe outside
the temperature climbs rapidly from daybreak
peaking at alarming digits
35, 38, 40, 42
spiking across the gasping edge
of the Sydney metropolitan basin
It's been like this for six days now,
the dawn sun doesn’t say “Good Morning” anymore
It says “Here, Fuck You.”

so hot you feel drunk
and if you down a few beers
you feel ready to crash
at two in the arvo
maybe the dogs that crawl under the house
into the shade
maybe they got the right idea
they know where it’s the coolest
but we can’t get under our homes

my grandfather could only take the heat
for so long
then he went under the house as well
resting in the cool shade
his dogs by his side
all of them panting
than fading into that half sleep
where the sting of raw blazing summer
just can’t reach you anymore

just how fucking hot can it get anyway?
you wonder this
as you feel an ice-cold beer in your hand
warming as you wind your way back
from the bar
hitting room temperature as you take
that first sip
knowing it’s a race now
to get the drink down
before the heat fucks it

A kid down the road
stoned on the heat
decides to try the old test
to see if its hot enough
to fry an egg on the bonnet
of his dad’s fully worked old Valiant
crack, and even from here
I can hear the sizzle
then the kid’s triumphant cry
then his father coming out
then his father crying out
“What the fuck are you doing?”
but the kid is gone
up the street
into the heat

I suppose I could just get an air conditioner

Friday, February 04, 2011

You were right to be suspicious, the link has now been made abundantly clear :

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Night Of The SuperStorm

By Darryl Mason

(scroll down for latest posts, all posts in Sydney time)

This isn't meant to be a comprehensive round-up of all things Cyclone Yasi, just notes from the news as it breaks, quotes from QLD call-in radio coverage and info chunks from Twitter, throughout this long & tragic night.


10pm : The latest Bureau of Meteorology progress projection for Cyclone Yasi :

11.45pm : Cyclone Yasi is still a Category 5 storm and its full force is about to slam into Innisfail, the Queensland coastal town of 10,000 utterly devastated by Cyclone Larry five years ago.

11:47pm : Sounds like the 300kmh eye of Yasi is not going to hit Cairns. Lucky Cairns.


12:12am : More than 100,000 homes in the path of Yasi have lost power. Power has been cut to the biggest evacuation centre in Cairns.

12:16am : People trapped in their homes as Yasi hits Townsville are calling police for help, but rescues are now impossible. Huge storm surges hitting coastal homes at Townsville.

12:20am : Latest Bureau of Meteorology update. 290kmh winds reported between Cairns and Ingham. "Very destructive winds" expected to last until 4am.

12:27am : The latest BoM satellite image as Yasi reaches land :

12:33am : North Queenslanders plan to ride out mega-cyclone drinking at their local pub. "She'll be right."

12:41am : Cairns locals kept their sense of humour.

12:42am : Caller to ABC Local Radio QLD asked "How's it going there?" Answer : "Yeah, great! Bit windy but."

12:50am : 7 metre storm surge expected to swamp some 10,000 homes in Townsville by dawn. "A tsunami combined with a storm," as ABC's Mark Colvin suggested. Townsville has lost power, winds of about 12okmh sweeping through the town.

12:54am : On Twitter, Queenslanders dealing with 120-150kmh reporting windows, doors bulging & bending, brick buildings shuddering, roofs lifting. Trying to imagine winds rising to almost 300kmh is filling them with terror. Twitter stream is #TCYasi.

1:27am : Caller Debbie from Townsville on ABCRadio QLD describes sitting in dark, listening to radio, crocheting by candlelight. "It's like living back in 1920!"

1:30am : Twitterers in Townsville describing "upside down rain", rain looks like it is falling up, not down.

1:32am : Surreal moment on Channel 7 news live coverage. Reporter Matt White in Cairns begs people not to go outside. He was standing outside as he made this plea.

1:33am : Caller to ABCRadio QLD describes eye of Yasi passing over Mission Beach, total calm, sky so clear he could see the stars.

2:01am : Full fury of Yasi now hitting Innisfail, reports of damage to homes, businesses, local infrastructure. Police receiving more calls from people begging for help, police unable to do anything but talk them through it. Four hours of storm fury still to come.

2:40am : Cairns central business district still has power, traffic lights and street lights still on.

3:02am : Apparently the storm surge near Townsville arrived earlier than expected and didn't combine with the morning tide, instead they acted against each other. This means the expected storm surge damage to homes along the beaches will not be as bad as predicted. Great news.

3:07am : In Sydney at least, channels 10, 9 and 7 have decided infommercials are more important than live coverage of one of the biggest cyclones in Australia's recorded history.

3:25am : Sounds like Cairns has escaped the worst of Cyclone Yasi's winds & storm surge. More great news.

3:26am : Satellite images apparently showing collapse of cyclone's eye, still a dangerous cyclone, but soon to be downgraded. Something miraculous appears to be happening.

3:33am : A roundup on online & print newspaper front pages from last night and this morning.

Brisbane Times :

Courier Mail :

Adelaide Advertiser :

Herald Sun :

Northern Territory News :

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Cyclone Yasi : "It Is Too Late To Evacuate"

Cyclone Yasi is a Category 5 storm now hitting hundreds of kilometres of Northern Queensland coastline. The world famous resort of Cairns is expected to suffer incredible damage tonight by winds reaching 300kmh and a storm surge higher than 4 metres.

Dozens more coastal towns will be swamped by wave surges not seen in generations. The full extent of the damage to tens of thousands of homes and businesses along hundreds of kilometres of Queensland coast is impossible to estimate, but 4000 pre-deployed Australian soldiers in Townsville (also expected to be hit by Cyclone Yasi) have been told to expect the worst.

Many of the evacuation centres now filled with thousands of peoples are not rated for a Category 5 cyclone.

The Queensland premier, Anna Bligh, and the prime minister, Julia Gillard, have both announced it is too late for people to get out. They are being told to stay in their homes, to shelter in bathrooms or basements, failing that, to take shelter anywhere, and too prepare for days without power and water.

Satellite images from yesterday of Cylone Yasi's arrival :

QLD premier Anna Bligh, 4:12pm :
"No-one should be leaving home now, that time has passed. You should be sheltering wherever you are."
2000 people are now taking shelter in a shopping mall in Cairns central business district, in the path of the cyclone. Evacuees are telling ABCNews24 the shopping centre is "full".

This is going to be apocalyptic.

ABC News Online is running near constant updates & important information here.

The State Emergency Service number is : 132 500

You can follow Queensland police services on Twitter : @QPSMedia

Or follow the Twitter hashtag : #TCYasi.

More to come...
Nobody's Buying The Smears

Julian Assange
"How do you best attack an organisation? attack its leadership… with the dozens of wildly fabricated things said about me in the press."
Rupert Murdoch's helps out with the attacks :

None of the Wikileaks-related books being released this week directly calls Assange a "smelly freak". The Murdoch media made up that term, and it's going global.

Commenters at, like commenters on similar stories focusing on Assange's appearance and personality, and not the truths revealed by CableGate or other Wikileaks releases, don't buy into this smear campaign :
Can't get the guy by legal means, lets's destroy his character....

Blatant smear campaign cooked up by newscorp, America's government owned media source. Let's focus on the leaks, that's what's important here. Stop trying to spin and discredit this guy with your bogus stories. The people can see right through this charade.

this is nothing more than a grubby personal attack.

This smear is getting more and more ridiculous.

Character assassination by the media on behalf of the banks and politicians. How juvenille!

This guy starts exposing the truth and the vultures start circling. Go Wikileaks.

Come on, let's get real. The man has done something really important and this is the best they can come up with?

What's next? They're going to start calling him a stinky poopy head?
And my favourite :
so he smells like almost every other computer geek on the planet??? How is this news???