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Winning & triumphalism in sports & politics

The pleasure of having ‘your’ team win is one of the joys of some peoples’ otherwise dreary lives – for example when a favoured (one of ‘our’) sporting team wins. When a bunch of yobbos, whose lifetime skill is the ability to guess the bounce of an oval-shaped ball and then kick it, win a […]

Rudd’s ministerial team

What do you think of this lot? It is the important implication of the election. An open forum with constructive comment sought. I thought the senior ministers generally were as expected and reasonable. Here are some concise bios. Some good comment by Robert Merkel. I’ll update as thoughts occur.

Wayne Swan and Lindsay Tanner received […]

Economics, ecology & policy

I’ve been rather disappointed by the European Conference on Ecological Modelling. Partly because many of the ecological models are numerically-oriented and computer-based (there is a minor component that uses dynamic modelling and game theory that is more interesting) without a lot of emphasis on qualitative insight. There is a strong preference for ‘black box’ modelling […]

Anglicans outdone

Rioters, rumoured to be Presbyterians, have fired on police in France with shotguns. One policeman had an eye blown out. Youths burnt a library, a primary school and torched cars.

The attacks follow the deaths of 2 young males without crash helmets who drove an unregistered motorcycle into a police car at high speed.

Update […]

Tony Abbott

I am disappointed to read that Tony Abbott will not stand for the leadership of the Liberal Party. He claims to have insufficient support. I think Abbott was an excellent Minister for Health and that he displayed considerable loyalty to John Howard whom he disagreed with on hospital policy. Indeed, that one of his problems […]

I met him in the street

I ran into him in the street while searching for some lithium batteries for my $199 digital camera.

I said, ‘Oh James, Where does the riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, where does it brings us back (by a commodius vicus of recirculation) to Howth Castle and […]

European Congress on Ecological Modelling

I am attending the European Congress on Ecological Modelling and presenting a modified version of my paper ‘Conserving Biodiversity in the Face of Climate Change’ (published here, preprint here).

The modifications involve an approach to thinking about modelling climate change that use classical decision theory to analyse adaptations. This paper also reflects applied work I […]

Italian seafood

I am living about 100 metres from the coastline here in northern Italy and, yep, recalling my trade classes on comparative advantage based on factor endowments I have focused my culinary endeavors here on the local seafood.

Lobster, calimari, scampi, prawns, shellfish and some of the local fishes (including fresh tuna steaks) have been subject […]

Saudi justice for women

The Saudis are indeed wealthy barbarians. It is not being anti-Islamic to point to the horrors of a justice system which condemns a 19 year old woman to 200 lashes and one year’s jail for being gang-raped by 7 men at knifepoint for whom guilt (in Saudi terms) has been established*. Her husband has said […]

Formatting my blog

I have resisted the temptation to play around with blog formatting but have finally made some obvious changes. The list of recent commenters has gone – at a pinch I could reintroduce it – and the ‘over the fold’ feature has gone too. The former hard blue screen was sometimes a bit difficult to read […]

Eurasian curlew

The Eurasian curlew, a reasonably common northern hemisphere bird but one that seldom gets past southern Asia, was seen and photographed yesterday at Eighty Mile Beach, west of Broome, by members of the Australian Wader Studies Group (AWSG) . Chris Hassell found it and some 20 observers saw it. This is a new […]

Labor wins Federal election

It is clear to me (at 9-05pm EAT) that the Labor Party has won the Federal election. A disappointing outcome for the Coalition and some particular disappointments for me are the probable loss of seats by Mal Brough and, of course, John Howard. Bright spots? I cannot see many. Julia Gillard has intelligence and will […]

In Venice on election day morning

Having run out of museums and art galleries I took the train from Trieste to Venice today. The 2 hour trip winds down the steeply-sloped coastline through some industrial towns and then out onto some flat countryside and back to the coast at Venice. The autumn colours in the trees, the sombre grey skies and […]

I have already voted

There is a fair chance the riff-raff will seize Government in Australia tomorrow.

As most commentators have noted it is a somewhat strange position that a political party which has presided over the longest running economic expansion in our history should now face electoral defeat. Kevin Rudd is a strong and effective leader of […]

Now Labor even ‘me-toos’ Howard on ‘border protection’

That foul-mouthed, upstart of a former Prime Minister, Keating has wailed that ‘Australia has lost its moral compass under Howard’s rule’. Keating, has, in fact, never forgiven JWH for giving him a well-deserved kick in the rear end in 1996.

Among the Bankstown boy’s misrepresentations on this occasion:

Think about his tacit endorsement […]

Minimising regret in climate change policy

The simplest yet most persuasive case for addressing climate change problems is that huge possible costs, even catastrophic costs in the future, can be avoided at relatively low cost now. If the future huge costs do not arise because we have got it wrong then we have wasted only a small amount now.

Similarly if […]

Bubbling Chinese equities

One of the core truths about every equity market is that eventually prices in it will decline. Indeed, paradoxically, the stronger the apparent basis for the market’s positive growth the more certain it is that the decline will be severe. Why? Investors are a greedy lot and cannot resist the temptation of an apparently easy […]


I am in Trieste (pronounced Tree-est-a) in Italy. Amidst recovering from jetlag I am doing the tourist bit – I spent 30 hours in planes and sitting in airports getting here. My local (Italian) petrol supplier (Eva) in Australia tells me that the residents up here are not ‘real Italians’ – they are […]

Technological options for limiting problem gambling get a whirl

In an earlier post I discussed the use of technological fixes to limit problem gambling. In The Age a proosal by Victorian Gaming Minister Tony Robinson is advanced to do just that. I’ve been pretty savage with the Victorian ALP’s approach to the gambling issue (here, here) so it is fair that I report positive […]

Rudd a leader without policy substance

There is a sensible editorial in The Australian today on the case for voting for Kevin Rudd. Rudd does not have a clear political position, his policies lack substance but he can lead.

‘…the proposition on offer from Mr Rudd is to vote for him not on the strength of his policies but on […]