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About gweilgi

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  • Location
    Sydney, NSW
  • Interests
    cigars, wine, good food, pocket watches, music

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  1. Not morons, IMO. This is a calculated policy, standard government playbook stuff. Create a self-fulfilling prophecy to justify and legitimise intrusive policies. First step, they create a situation where widespread illegality becomes not just likely but inevitable. Second step, they publicise said illegality, preferably with large sums attached to "prove" how big the problem is. Blame is being cast, ministers fall over themselves to appear on camera explaining how they would love to be able to pay for thousands more nurses, teachers and so on but cannot because of these anti-social, nay criminal, elements. Third step, they use this as an excuse to tighten the screws on everybody: introduce new laws and more restrictive regulations, ramp up enforcement efforts and legitimise bullying extortionate standover tactics by government agencies. To wit, the recent news on restricting cash transactions, the announcement of yet another ATO crackdown on "tax dodgers" and figures of $51 billion in "lost revenue" bandied about (expressly including tobacco taxes). And the most frustrating part of this is that all too many voters sit there and agree with them ... right up to the moment where this bites them on the arse.
  2. Hey, I resemble that remark! What's wrong with being an ageing white man clinging to 1980??? I am oppressed (and depressed) enough, I deserve some self-indulgence!
  3. Extreme Ironing. If it isn't on ESPN, it should be. I am also quite fond of wife-carrying and cheese-rolling.
  4. Not to mention fornicators and drunks. Oh boy, am I in trouble...
  5. A terrible topic -- all my favourites are double acts (Laurel and Hardy, or the Two Ronnies!) or groups such as Monty Python. I'll give it a go, though: Eddie Izzard -- plain weird and wonderful. Steven Wright -- utterly hilarious. Woody Allen -- outstanding comedy, but a scuzzbucket in personal life.
  6. Fusion power and room-temperature superconductors -- lots of people working on that, and it would be a real game-changer. No loss during transmission would remove much of the rationale for local energy production, and fusion power would deliver all the energy we need without having to buy Chinese solar panels or disfigure our landscape with forests of wind turbines. Medical technology: again, there is great progress being made, and I look forward to custom-grown replacement organs, shiny new teeth and perfect vision.
  7. Having just survived a 4-hour trek up the M1 with all the aggro tradies, the suicidal P-platers, the holiday-makers who keep forgetting about the trailer hitched to their cars and above all the truck drivers who motor along as if they were all German tank drivers at El-Alamein in a past life, all I can say is that autonomous driving scares the living daylights out of me....
  8. So this, then, is a chicken and egg situation. Battery swaps -- or indeed any form of alternative energy supply for vehicles -- require a critical mass before they can become a viable or even mainstream solution. But until the infrastructure is in place to enable quick and affordable refuelling, it is doubtful whether this necessary critical mass will be achieved any time soon. In other words, I (and, I suspect, most others) would not even consider a battery swap vehicle until I can be reasonably sure of having the necessary facilities within driving range of any expected trip I might be making, but until there are enough potential customers for such facilities, who would invest the astronomical sums to build such a network? To say it with Kevin Costner: if you build it, they will come.
  9. Years ago, I was sitting in a hotel bar in Germany that was very clearly set up for cigar smokers: large ash-trays, perspex humidor on the counter and a floor-standing cabinet right next to it, cigar art on the walls ... you could not possibly misunderstand. So I was sitting there with my brother, enjoying a wee dram of something Scottish and a cigar. Then a lady sitting at the other end of the bar gets up, walks over, takes the cigar from my fingers and drops it into the drink. I am a gentleman -- I did not punch out her lights. I simply called the bar manager, who reacted immediately and very properly. The lady was expelled (and banned from he premises for good measure), and I was given a fresh cigar and a new drink on the house. It still confounds me how little tolerance some people have, and how little self-reflection they engage in. What would this lady have said if I had declared myself to be a militant vegan and poured my drink over her leather shoes? Oh, and the bar staff did get a fat tip ....
  10. Nah .... as soon as the first electric passenger jumbo jet lands safely!
  11. That's only half the calculation. For the true cost of car ownership, we also have to factor in the cost of maintenance and servicing, and generally depreciation. If I buy a new car tomorrow, the rate of depreciation is -- very generally speaking -- around 19% in the first year, half of which occurs immediately after I take possession ... followed by a 15% drop in years two and three. So that new $50,000 vehicle will be worth maybe $30,000 three years hence ... and those 20 grand alone could pay for a lot of Uber rides in those three years.
  12. Hmmm ... downsides. 1. Electricity and electric vehicles will get a whole lot more expensive in future. The Australian government alone will lose $2.3 billion in fuel tax revenue every year if Labor's ambitious targets are being met. 2. At some point, consumers and environmental activists will wake up to the reality of the inevitable trade-off. No more hydrocarbons being combusted may be a major goal, but it comes at the cost of massive environmental damage caused by vastly increased demand for lithium, nickel and cobalt. Mining those minerals and metals -- essential for the batteries -- is a thoroughly filthy business. 3. Power generation is an issue that will have to be faced. All these new electric vehicles will require huge amounts of electricity, and bar a few lucky small countries (Norway, Iceland etc) nobody has that much spare capacity. This means lots of new power stations, which is politically tricky in many countries. 4. Pollution: according to a German report out this week, there is another major trade-off. While EVs produce no pollution per se, they do generate much more fine particulate matter because they are harder on brakes and tyres -- and it is this, rather than nitrogen oxides or ozone, which cases asthma and other diseases in humans. 5. Infrastructure: millions of EVs on the roads will mean having to invest in a huge network of charging stations covering the country. This will cost tens if not hundreds of billions. Who will pay for that? 6. This is purely subjective, of course, but EVs simply do not hold the same visceral appeal for me. Where is the feeling, the vibration of all those explosions in the cylinders? Where is the glorious sound of hydrocarbons being turned into noise when I put down the pedal? What happens to my ability to pop the bonnet ("hood" in leftpondian parlance) and tinker with the engine?
  13. Fair assessment. One mitigating point, though: I reckon it has become much harder to have to deal with "those people" than it used to be. Time was when most people had manners and were at least somewhat considerate of those who provided a service. That percentage has gone down markedly, in my observation. These days, when I go to the shops, stay in a hotel or visit a restaurant, I see so many examples of customers behaving like utter shits. I am very glad indeed I do not have to do such a client-facing job today because too many folk seem to think that because they are the customer, it gives them the right to treat staff like dirt. With the sort of behaviour I have to witness regularly, I, too, would be hitting the bottle on a daily basis...
  14. Why stop at relevant education? I stopped reading the Sydney Morning Herald because I caught myself shouting at the paper. Not at the content, mind you (although they are as lefty as they come) ... no, at the sheer unmitigated inability of their staff to string together two sentences that are grammatically correct, have accurate punctuation and contain no spelling mistakes. I have come to the firm conclusion that either Australians have been lied to by their government and the standards in the education system are even lower than they thought, or the SMH has a HR policy that gives extreme hiring preference to dyslexics and those for whom English is their third language. Or both. Added to that, it is quite evident to me that not only are they too damn lazy to even run their incoherent drivel through their computer's spellchecker -- so is their editor. As for fact-checking and secondary confirmation, that's clearly sooo last century! Is there some form of editorial policy that forbids them from mentioning bodily functions? Ah, scratch that -- I just remembered Todd Carney, the Bubbler ....

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