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Open thread

I haven’t tried an open thread for quite a while so I’d thought that I try one again. I am taking a break for a few days as I travel and also try to clear out a backlog of work.

To be honest I am also reading a couple of wonderful books that I want to finish. Les Carlyon’s The Great War. Just great writing and very emotionally involving. Also reading Andrew Roberts, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900. This is ideologically-driven but a welcome change from the usual anti-American, anti-British histories. George Bush liked it, JWH liked it and so do I. I’ll post on both these books eventually.

A couple of points Lee pointed out to me in this morning’s press:

I’ll comment on the situation at La Trobe University – and its purchase of the asbestos-ridden Argus Building – in a future post. Actually, no, I probably won’t – I wouldn’t want to disturb Mr. Costello’s beautiful unemployment numbers.

My blog is getting more visitors than ever before – numbers have trebled since last December. It would be great if some of you who lurk in the background would introduce yourself – pseudonyms are fine. Of course if you post repeatedly on this blog and wish to use a pseudonym please be consistent and use the same pseudonym.

As usual unrestrained praise for my work in maintaining this blog is welcome as is polite criticism and suggestions for future blog postings.

8 comments to Open thread

  • Kiosco Salo Concepción


    Un saludo desde Concepción, Chile.

    Luis Roco C.

  • Paul Martin

    Hi Harry, I’ve been reading your posts for a week or two, and I can’t remember where I found out about your site. I find the subjects you write about interesting. I’m also in Melbourne, though my blog is about cinema. I have a bent for films with a humanistic perspective.

  • lucy tartan

    Just saying hello. My new house has an asbestos roof although it’s getting replaced in the spring. Speaking of roofing, it is thanks to you that I’m completely unable to decide whether to get a rainwater tank or not.

  • hc

    Hi Paul hi Lucy,

    Paul, I am a big fan of the movies by the late Robert Altman. I also like old movies and have started a small collection on DVD.

    Lucy, I’d give the water tank a miss unless you are a mad keen gardener who likes water-loving exotic plants. The economics don’t stack up. The tanks only get you around water restrictions at a very high cost.

  • lucy tartan

    Thanks, yes that’s pretty much what I’m thinking. We’re managing ok at present by collecting clean waste water from inside the house. When you go to the nursery and see how much money is being spent on water-saving appliances it’s something of an eye-opener.

  • Francis Xavier Holden

    lucy – tanks in urban areas are mostly a highly visible feel good gesture – sure its better than throwing the $ in the pokies at your local pub but my opinion is that if EVERYONE or 90% had tanks and used them ONLY for all water in winter or high rainfall times when they are always full and overflowing it might provide for significant increased retention in our dam system through less usage.

    But unfortunetly using tanks in summer doesn’t work – they are rarely full when you need water.

    Paradoxically those I know who do have tanks rarely use them much in winter.

    I grew up dependent on tanks and dams for water and once found my pet cocky dead in a tank after he had been missing for a week. It was the house drinking water tank too.

  • Shawn

    Hi Harry,

    I thought I’d chime in and say hello since I haven’t read your blog in a while. Uhmm..hello :).

    Not much on your blog about cannabis policy. Perhaps I was too forceful in my comments (or maybe even hostile) but I am interested to hear your views on the issues raised. They were basically: what about adults with no history of mental illness, what about baked goods and vaporizors to reduce the intake of tar, and there was the issue of how big the risk of going nutz on pot really is.

    But I guess the biggest question is: why prohibit pot in the first place? Is it worth the millions (billions?) busting stoners, tearing apart families, and putting growers in jail? I remember you mentioned you weren’t in favor of putting stoners in jail but instead in favor of some sort of fine or other punishment (I dont remember the specifics). I’d be interested to know more about your thought on that.

    Also, you cite the heroin supply drop as a success for supply side enforcement. But I’m curious how that blip in the graph measures up in the long term? I’ve seen some long term price and potency graphs and they seem to all have spikes and an overall trend toward cheaper prices and higher potency. So it seems to me that supply side enforcement can win some battles but in the end its going to lose the war, so to speak.

    Take care!

  • melaleuca

    A far cheaper alternative to a water tank is a diverter. Roof top water can be diverted to an irrigation pipe so that when it rains your garden gets an extra dose of water.

    It may sound silly to non-gardeners to water one’s garden when it rains, but since most rain in the south of Oz is a moderate to light shower, an irrigation top up helps ensure rain gets down to the plant roots. It also encourages deeper root penetration and hence drought tolerance.

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