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Coalition supports plain cigarette packages

Its been a while since I have had much positive to say about Tony Abbott and the Coalition but, if this report is correct, they will do the right thing and support moves to introduce plain packaging of the product that is the leading preventable cause of death in the world today – cigarettes.

The […]

ERA rankings abolished

The totally ridiculous ARC rankings of academic journals into A*, A, B and C rankings has been dropped thank goodness. How about an apology from the nitwit academics and academic managers who pushed this stupid scheme as inevitable. Their stupidity wasted a lot of valuable thinking time. Now let’s abolish the current ARC the Stalinist […]

Oddity – best decorated cakes

I always think that actually eating a cake is less satisfying than the anticipation of culinary delight one experiences in looking at them. An exception are the rare, old-fashioned sponge cakes with a layer of creme in the middle and on top and a few strawberries for decoration. Here you see what you will get […]

Renewable energy optimism

Report suggests 80% of world’s energy could be supplied by renewable energy sources by 2050. It is interesting how research is showing that renewables are not just green romanticism. Renewable targets are important means of getting things going – developing expertise, encouraging learning by doing, overcoming information and technology-based market failures that imply under provision […]

Religious bigotry & creationism

“……anybody believing in evolution or who propagates it must be killed”.

Usama Hasan on the death threats he has received for claiming evolution is consistent with the Koran.


Packer employs Bitar

Because of the appalling climate change policies of the Coalition I will probably vote Labor in the next Federal election. Unfortunately I might be backing a losing team but I won’t vote for the Liberals while people of Tony Abbott’s ilk are leading the party. It’s a difficult choice for me because I have long […]

Bob Gould RIP

I’ve known Bob since around 1966 or 1967. A great character of the left and a shrewd entrepreneur. Bob held strong Marxist views and sometimes said and did strange things. I remember him up in a tree outside the Soviet Embassy around 1968 when we were protesting the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. His bookstore itself […]

Joe Stiglitz on Strauss Kahn

The ferocity of the mass media’s trial and conviction of Dominique Strauss Kahn on sexual assault charges makes me wonder whether the “presumption of innocence” principle is finally dead. Anything related to sexual crime these days seems to provoke an orgy of self-righteous indignation.

Strauss Kahn seems to have been a worthwhile IMF leader. Here […]

Gorecki in Auschwitz

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately – I am bit sick of work and of talking politics, don’t worry I will recover. By chance I caught this filmed version of the second movement of the Gorecki 3rd Symphony. This is a surreal piece of music – a Collection of “Sorrowful Songs”. The […]

Hum: Sacre bleu!

Q: What did the Frenchman say when bail was denied?

A: IMF’d.

How conservative politicians (with principles) address climate change

I took this from today’s who, in turn, took the substance of the article from The Guardian. The latter link worth reading since it also points out that British industry is backing this policy.


Bruckner Symphony #9

One of my all time favourite pieces of music is Anton Bruckner’s unfinished 9th Symphony – I have been listening to it over the last few days but on-and-off enjoying it for about 40 years. I have several versions – all of them very good – but my favourite is by Bruno Walter from the […]

Golfing & birdwatching

I am a member of a beautiful golf club that is only 10 km or so from the centre of Melbourne. It lies on flood plains adjacent to the Yarra River. Golf has largely replaced my previous weekend diversion of bird-watching but not entirely. Now I bird-watch – though not very seriously – as I […]

Border tax adjustments hit Australia

I have long supported use of border taxes as ‘penalties’ on exports from countries that do not address the issue of climate change through measures such as taxes. I put the ‘….’ ears around penalties as they are not really penalties as such. They are just measures that mean residents (in this case in Europe) […]


The decision by the State Government in Victoria to reject abandonment of the Hazelwood Power station – probably the dirtiest in Australia from the viewpoint of emissions – is regrettable given that the Baillieu Government supported the closure move while in opposition. It shows that the Liberal Party is paying lip service to dealing with […]

Urban water supply & insurance

I have been reading with interest the draft report of the Productivity Commission on urban water supplies*. A specific claim made is that the use of a ‘real options’ or adaptive approach to urban water planning would have reduced the costs of water supply augmentation hence enabling lower water prices to consumers. For the cities […]

Insecurity of clouds?

This article discusses the possibility of hacking Gmail accounts. Years of mail and documents can disappear. A practical remedy is to backup your Gmail to another e-mail client (like MS Outlook, or Apple Mail). Here’s a Gmail link that shows how to do that.

Thanks BL

Thumbs down

The last word in academic excellence. An A********* publication. My only submission to it was rejected but I feel no pain at all.

HT J. P-T.

Queue jumpers

The Gillard Government does finally seem determined to address the “people smuggling” issue. The deal is to send the next 800 illegal migrants (almost all “queue-jumpers” seeking a better lifestyle) to Malaysia in exchange for accepting – over the next 4 years – 4000 refugees from Burma currently held in Malaysia. These Burmese refugees will […]

Risky water investments

This is an expository talk that I prepared for the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research (VCCCAR) earlier this week. It relates to our project with the VCCCAR on “Enhancing Water Infrastructure Provision with Climate Change”. It shows how stochastic dynamic programming can be used to guide water investments in the face of uncertain […]