Tuesday 22 December 2009

Taking out the hubbards

A short sequence in overtaking.

What happens when it gets cold?

People die.

Last winter’s cold weather brought about a 10 per cent rise in the number of over-65 deaths and Age Action Ireland has urged people to protect the most vulnerable of older people during the current cold snap.

Research from the Dublin Institute of Technology said the death rate among over-65s during the first quarter of 2009 jumped by 10 per cent, an extra 613 deaths, when compared to the average rate for the same period over the previous three years.

Try typing something like 'deaths from cold weather' into Google, set the time frame to one week and see what you get.

Lots of stiff, frozen people.

Monday 21 December 2009

How much can the CEO of a charity expect to get paid?

The Fred Hollows foundation was in the poo today for blowing a few million on dodgy investments.

I can't find out how much the senior managers are paid, as they don't tell you how many "key personnel" there actually are in the annual report.

In 2008, key personnel raked in $343,000. Now that could be one person - the CEO, or two people (CEO and CFO) or 3.

From what I have seen of charities so far, it would not surprise me if the CEO was making $343,000, but it is more likely that is split between two positions.

At least the Directors don't get a cent. Fred wrote that into the constitution.

World Vision pays its CEO, Tim Costello, $250,000 per year (the details are on page 36). The Deputy CEO gets $246,000.

I don't mind that so much as World Vision is a big organisation (revenue of nearly $350 million per year) and it operates in a lot of countries. Compare the $250k that Tim gets for running a $350 million outfit with the $180k or more that the CEO of ActionAid gets for running an $8 million "charity".

However, that is not far short of what Tim's brother got paid to run the finances for the entire country.

The Red Cross, run by Robert Tickner, pays one of their board members between $450,000 and $490,000 (page 46). No guesses for who got paid that much. An incredible 16 managers got paid between $180k and $369k. What a bunch of blood-sucking leeches they are.

(Hint: if you are doing a search, look for the word 'remuneration' in the annual report.

Save the Children - the sneaky sods have put their annual report up as a PDF that can't be searched. All I can find is that they paid $1.16 million to their "key personnel" this year, without listing who those key personnel are or how many there are.

Vinnies - I searched a number of annual reports, and could find nothing in any of them pointing to how much they pay their key personnel. Knowing how Vinnies works, I doubt they pay them much at all. Vinnies, or the St Vincent de Paul Society, are the only mob here that I would properly classify as a "charity".

Another idiot driving a taxi

It's not so much the fact that this idiot did a U-turn across a double white line on the brow of a hill, but the fact that he was so pathetic and useless and maneuvering his cab. For crying out loud, how long does it take to move the stick from "D" into "R"? I almost grew a beard waiting for him to get his conveyance out of my way.


The thing to note in this photo is the rather narrow set of handlebars. I am starting to notice more of these during my daily meanderings through the city. It seems to be the hip thing to do in New York, and the copycats have started doing it here. That's Globalisation for you - it only takes 5 minutes for a really stupid idea to get from one side of the world to the other.

Charity fat cats at Oxfam

The SMH allowed a bucket of fluff to be written today by Andrew Hewett, the Executive Director of Oxfam Australia. It's full of the usual heart rending stories regarding how the poor in the third world are going to suffer even more from global warming.

Hey, if you're starving today and living on 3 grains of rice, it's going to be even worse in 50 years time because you'll still have 3 grains of rice, and it will be 2 degrees hotter!

Ah. Actually Mr Peasant, you won't be alive in 50 years time as you will have starved to death by the time I go skiing next winter. Oh well.

Here is a quote from Mr Hewett:

And the sad reality is the most vulnerable people will be lucky to get even a fraction of this amount, with rich countries likely to divert cash from existing aid commitments.
Let's check out Oxfam's latest annual report, shall we? Let's look at the salary table for the top executives on page 44.

Base salary band - Number
$130,000–$139,999 - 5
$140,000–$149,999 - 1
$180,000–$189,999 - 1

The ratio between the highest and lowest paid permanent staff member in Australia (including superannuation) as at 30 June 2008 was 4.57:1 (Executive Director at $185,130;Category 7 staff member at $40,504).
The Executive Director on $185,130 a year would be the same Andrew Hewett that put his name to this article.

Give me a bucket. I want to vomit.

I left this comment at the SMH. Doubt they will publish it:

Oops, my bad. Andrew Hewett is on a salary package of $185,130 from Oxfam.

I love it when the well paid charity fat cats tell the rest of us that we need to tighten our belts and make sacrifices.

Sunday 20 December 2009

Actually, this does surprise me

Risky cycling rarely to blame for traffic accidents, study finds.

Well, for starters it's in the Guardian, and the Grauniad is notoriously anti-car.

With adult cyclists, police found the driver solely responsible in about 60%-75% of all cases, and riders solely at fault 17%-25% of the time.

The cyclists' lobby group CTC said the report showed that the government needed to focus more on driver behaviour rather than on issues such as cyclists wearing helmets. The TRL published a separate DfT-commissioned report today in which it was estimated that the universal use of helmets could save between 10 and 15 lives a year, a conclusion disputed by the CTC.

So there. It's mainly the driver's fault when you get run over. It certainly was in my case.

Dude, where's my bike path?

Back in July, I was taking the long way into work when I noticed a couple of council workers leaning on their shovels and taking their usual minimalist approach to "work". They were laying what was clearly a new bike path. Good. We need one through this particular spot, as the existing path is about 18 inches wide and totally unsuitable for sharing between people on foot and people on bikes.

So imagine my surprise when I ventured down that way again this week and discovered this.... the bike path to nowhere.

I know the Council is having budget problems, but this is ridiculous!

Here's a nice visual aid to help you understand my point. The bit in red is what they were building back in July. The bit in blue is where the path finishes today. I don't know where it's supposed to go - it simply tails off into the mud.

I guess that's life in NSW. Some Labor party flunky has probably siphoned off the money and spent it on cocaine and mistresses.

How the warmies took over Wikipedia

Worth a read.

Some of these people could have worked for Nixon and his dirty tricks team.

Connolley took control of all things climate in the most used information source the world has ever known – Wikipedia. Starting in February 2003, just when opposition to the claims of the band members were beginning to gel, Connolley set to work on the Wikipedia site. He rewrote Wikipedia’s articles on global warming, on the greenhouse effect, on the instrumental temperature record, on the urban heat island, on climate models, on global cooling. On Feb. 14, he began to erase the Little Ice Age; on Aug.11, the Medieval Warm Period. In October, he turned his attention to the hockey stick graph. He rewrote articles on the politics of global warming and on the scientists who were skeptical of the band. Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer, two of the world’s most distinguished climate scientists, were among his early targets, followed by others that the band especially hated, such as Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, authorities on the Medieval Warm Period.

All told, Connolley created or rewrote 5,428 unique Wikipedia articles. His control over Wikipedia was greater still, however, through the role he obtained at Wikipedia as a website administrator, which allowed him to act with virtual impunity. When Connolley didn’t like the subject of a certain article, he removed it — more than 500 articles of various descriptions disappeared at his hand. When he disapproved of the arguments that others were making, he often had them barred — over 2,000 Wikipedia contributors who ran afoul of him found themselves blocked from making further contributions. Acolytes whose writing conformed to Connolley’s global warming views, in contrast, were rewarded with Wikipedia’s blessings. In these ways, Connolley turned Wikipedia into the missionary wing of the global warming movement.

Saturday 19 December 2009

Friday bus strike

The RTBU - the bus driver's union - decided to hold a 24 hour strike on Friday. The weather gods also decided to make the day wet as well. The combination of the two produced thousands of miserable, grumpy looking people trudging across the ANZAC Bridge into the city from Balmain. Balmain is a Labor-held seat. I wonder what sort of reaction I would have received if I had stood at the city end of the bridge and asked those trudging by in the drizzle if they would be voting Labor at the next election? I thought I had video of them trudging along, 1984 style, except I found when I got into the city that the camera batteries had gone flat and I had missed them all.

I don't give a bugger about the wet most of the time. The only time I get slightly concerned is when the rain turns to hail and the hail mutates into golf balls. Not much fun cycling in those conditions. Otherwise, I prefer riding in the rain to riding into a stiff headwind when it's 42 degrees. Rain is nice. Why should I worry about getting wet when the first thing that I do when I get to work is take a shower? What is the difference between water falling from the sky and water falling from a showerhead?

Normally, when it rains, the number of cycle commuters dries up. Many cyclists are fair weather two-wheelers; but on Friday, they had no choice. It was ride or walk. As I was stopped at a red light, the bloke next to me quipped, "The RTBU has done more for getting people to walk to work that a decade's worth of government advertising campaigns". I thought about that on the rest of my ride. Perhaps the best way to get people to walk or cycle to work is actually to get rid of public transport.

I followed this cyclist for a while, mainly because I don't hoon around in the wet. I've skidded and fallen over too many times to want to go down again on wet bitumen. The upshot of following someone without a rear mudguard is that when I got to work, I found that my chest was covered in about 1,000 dots of oil and grease that had been flicked up from their tyre. Nothing like a bit of rain to lift all the oil out of the road surface.

Many of us had to play "duck under the umbrella" as we crossed this bridge. Some people have no idea.

Quite a few cyclists looked like this was the first time they had ever ridden into town - or in the wet.

Like I said, there were a lot of bikes around for a wet day.

On days like this, I always wrap my work clothes in a plastic shopping bag before putting them into my (supposedly) waterproof pannier. Another useful use for those supposedly despised enviro-killing bags.

How thick is this?

As a cyclist, I cop a fair amount of grief from a certain type of motorist (aggressive, "I own the road" idiots). It doesn't matter if I am riding in a marked bike lane, or have right of way at a set of lights, a roundabout or a Stop sign - some motorists believe that the rules don't apply to them. Of course the counter argument is made that some cyclists behave in exactly the same way - and they do. I see it every day. However, as I see a lot more cyclists than most motorists, I can tell you that they are a small minority.

There is also a minority of motorists who are as thick as two short planks. The driver of the car in this clip came out of the road that leads to La Montage (a function centre overlooking the water) and thought that if she turned right, she'd be able to take a short cut onto the City West Link.

Utter. Fail. Watch as she blasts through a Stop sign without so much as slowing down, and drives along what I think is a fairly well marked cycle path. Only when she gets to the end does she realise that she has screwed up Big Time.

I laughed like Nelson (from the Simpsons). Har har.

Friday 18 December 2009

The irony is killing me

I love posting over at Mark Mann's green blog. It's a hoot. It sometimes takes days for the comments to go up, so I will start reproducing them here.

Sorry Mark, but the irony is killing me. I've just shown your post to some people here in the office and they're killing themselves laughing. You have just written an article about "accepting constraints", just after [b]flying halfway around the world[/b].

Me, being the baby eating capitalist that I am, cycled to work - as I do every day.

Perhaps I should start calling myself "smug, low carbon footprint, self-satisfied git on a bike".

I'd be careful about telling your fellow travellers about your polar bear executing antics. Oh, how I weep for the bears that you killed this week. Won't someone think of the bears? If you keep on racking up frequent flier miles like Al Gore, the Carbon Stasi will be all over you.

Thursday 17 December 2009

Going, going, going...

Tuesday, work begins.

Wednesday. Why is this place still standing?

Thursday. What is the point of using an excavator to knock down a house if you don't knock it down in one day flat? I've done more damage to a dwelling with a chainsaw, a few beers and a sledgehammer.

One of Elizabeth Fat-head's hated McMansions will surely be erected on this site before long. Good.

I stop for some things

I stopped for two things today. Most non-cyclists would find that unusual and strange, thinking that we stop for nothing. For starters, I stopped for a few seconds to have a look at the blue ship here - it's been in and out of this wharf a few times over the last couple of months, and the funny thing about this visit is that the arse is low in the water but the bow is practically out of the water. There was a floating boom around the bow today as well, and a few boats in attendance. Wonder if it sprung a leak? The frigate on the far right is being stripped in preparation for being sunk as a dive wreck.

A beer truck! Have to stop for one of these!

Thursday funny

Read here.

Greenpeace pwned

Read all about it.

About time the got a taste of their own tactics.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Another stupid impatient bastard

Enough of picking on taxi drivers. It's time to pick on just a plain old driver. Because he's stupid.

I'm approaching a red light. There are two lanes - a straight through lane and a right turn lane. There is one car in the right turn lane, and nothing in front of me. I'm cruising up to the white line because I try and time it so that instead of having to stop and unclip, I can stay clipped in and pedal off as soon as the light goes green - a rolling start. It's much faster and smoother than stopping. It doesn't always work - the Gods of traffic light management usually conspire against me, but when it works, it is good.

The fuckface here decides to cut in front of me. There was pretty much no room for him to get in with a car already in the right hand lane, but he did it nonetheless. I was so shocked at his action that it really didn't register what he had done until I got home and reviewed the video. He went past so closely, I had to swerve a bit to the left to avoid being knocked over. You can see a little wiggle at the start of the video, just before the car appears on screen.

Damn. If I had an instant replay, I would have pulled his door open and had words with this bloke. Maybe even pulled the keys out of the ignition and thrown them on the roof of the nearby shops. That was a close run thing. I think my brain had a hard time accepting that he'd pulled such a stupid stunt - I stood there behind him going, "Did that really just happen, or is my brain playing tricks on me?"

Here's the classic part. He was only about 300 metres from home. I know that because I followed him and noted where he parked. I might have to stick a note under his windscreen wiper in the morning. Something along the lines of:

"Dear Fuckface who tried to kill me last night:

"Go and find the Weeties packet from whence your Driver's Licence came and put it back in there. The open road is not the place for you."

A typically impatient and stupid taxi driver

I ride around The Rocks a lot. The Rocks is prime tourist real estate. It's old - well, old for Australia - and kind of quaint and cute and limestoney. I always ride slowly and carefully, because the quaint old architecture attracts hordes of tourists, and everyone knows that when you sling an SLR camera around your neck, you turn into a moron.

Whenever I pass up and down the streets of The Rocks, my travels are impeded by stupid tourists meandering across the road without any thought about passing traffic. It's like they think, "Hey, quaint old part of town. People here must get around by horse and cart". As the tourist companies bring them in by the bus load, there are generally bus loads of window lickers wandering about having forgotten every rule of "look left, look right etc" that has been drummed into them since kids.

So like I said, I ride slowly, and I am always ready to brake or swerve around anywhere from one to a pack of 10 fools. They're on holiday. I don't want to spoil it by running them down.

In this video, you can see a few members of the stupid species crossing in front of me without looking up or down the street, or crossing with their back to the traffic. I'm doing my best to avoid them when an idiot in a taxi zooms past me (with barely any clearance) and then stops right in front of me to let his passengers out. Would it have killed him to sit behind me for 4 or 5 seconds?

The stupidest things I failed to say today

I normally take Monkey to the shops - he loves running up and down the aisles, or doing spins in the trolley. To him, going to the shops is almost as much fun as setting fire to a nest of ants.

Junior on the other hand has reached his teenage years, and he'd much prefer to hang out sullenly in his room thinking deep emo thoughts. For reasons I won't bore you with, he had to come shopping with me tonight. He didn't even want to get out of the car when we got there. Even though all he had to do was follow me around the supermarket as I grabbed things, I wanted him to realise that the fridge does not magically fill itself with goodies. Someone has to go out and do the shopping.

When he got huffy, I almost snapped at him, "Food doesn't grow on trees, you know".

Thankfully, my brain was marginally quicker than my mouth, and I kept that from getting out. How stupid would you feel saying that?

47 seconds of boredom

Adrian the Cabbie had another run in with a cyclist today. Interestingly enough, the cyclist has appeared in the comments with his version of the story.

I know drivers - especially cabbies - hate cyclists "filtering" to the front of the line at traffic lights, so here is an ineffably boring 47 second clip showing me waiting patiently behind a taxi. I suggest that you don't watch it - nothing happens at all. Nada. It's just there as proof that out there somewhere, there is a cyclist doing his best to avoid annoying cabbies.

However, as there are plenty of cabbies out there who do their best to annoy me, I am still annoyed that the Plod won't let me carry a Glock when I'm cycling. If a cabbie wants to use his car as a weapon, then I need something that I can respond with. Like a 9mm lead equaliser.

What happened?

I left for work about 20 minutes later than usual this morning. When I hit the main commuting artery, I got a shock - it would be no exaggeration to say that 130% of the cyclists were female. The normal ratio is about 10 guys to 1 girl. Maybe blokes just get out of bed earlier, or have fewer childcare duties to attend to - dunno. All I know is that I was completely surrounded by girls. That's odd.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Last two idiots of the day

Just two more idiots to go - hopefully, this will be my idiot quota for the year all used up.

2nd last idiot was driving the white truck on the left. He was trying to turn right out of a side street, and couldn't due to all the traffic coming from up ahead. But for some reason, he decided to stick his head out his window and abuse me as I rode past! I didn't catch what he said - it was garbled - but he was definitely having a go at me. As if I was the cause of his problems!

Last idiot of the day was driving this cab. I was turning right, and was indicating to do so, and he took offense at that. As he went past, he let fly with some abuse as well. Unfortunately, I turned just as he went by, so I didn't get his plate on camera. I really should have chased him and had a word. He didn't leave much room as he went past - another inch or two to the right, and I would have been cleaning the dirt off his panels with my knicks.

Maybe there is a full moon out at the moment - the loons are certainly out in force!

Even more idiots - just one of those days

Meet a not so friendly tanker driver. I first met this bloke when he overtook me on Lilyfield Rd as we were approaching a set of lights. He got a little bit closer to me than I would have liked, but not enough to really bother me.

But here's a view of his details - a McColls truck with a Victorian plate.

We had to wait at a red light for a minute. There was a small car at the front of the line, with the truck behind it. After the light went green, I zoomed off and tucked in behind the car, as up ahead, there was a bus parked on our side of the road, and buses parked in that spot always intrude into the bike lane. The best way to stay safe is to move right out of the bike lane, dominate the road, pass the bus and then tuck back into the bike lane. The speed limit along here is 50km/h, and I easily hit and hold that speed due to the long downhill. About 98% of the time, cars don't seem to mind cyclists doing that - so long as you are moving fast, they don't care.

The truckie cared though - he pulled out and overtook, even though there was a car coming the other way, and he had to do 70 or 80 to pull that off.

After getting around me, he had to duck back in sharpish in order to avoid a head on collision. Even though he is still over the white line at this point, note the gap between the bus and truck. I pulled out and took over the lane to expressly avoid getting pulped in a gap like that. I have no desire to end up as meat paste between a bus and a truck. Notice the truck has its brake lights on at this point - he had to brake hard to avoid hitting the car in front.

And here comes the car approaching from the opposite direction. The truck has only just made it back into our lane.

What does fuckwit do 100 yards down the road? He brakes, comes to a halt and turns right!

Exercising just the tiniest amount of patience seemed to be utterly beyond this idiot. Morons like this one need to be taken off the road. He was a hazard to me and two car drivers all in the stretch of a few hundred metres of road. Menace.

More complete idiots

There I am, riding along and minding my own business when I see a cyclist coming towards me - but meandering all over the road. I hate cars and trucks that meander all over the road, and I hate it when cyclists do the same. I like to know with certainty exactly where every other moving object in my vicinity is going. Meandering vaguely does not provide certainty.

When they meandered right out into my path, I got worried and touched the brakes - it was looking like it was time to take evasive action.

They managed to get their bike back under control, but as she went past, I noticed a bloody mobile phone glued to her ear. Motorists who talk and drive are a bloody hazard, and so are cyclists. Why can't fools like her pull over, stop, talk and then move on?

Complete idiot of the day

Here we have the sort of spacker that turns normally mild mannered motorists into frothing at the mouth raving maniacs. I'm riding on a purpose built, grade separated path that has been designed and built for cyclists and pedestrians. Idiot over there on the right has decided to ignore the path and take to the road instead.

I guess he knows his rights, but he looked like a bloody idiot to me. Especially as he was crawling along. I've seen the odd lycra clad loon riding on this stretch of road, but those guys are very fit and they move very fast - they can pace the traffic. This guy would have had problems pacing grandma in a wheelchair.

Some days, I just despair....

Tuesday photos

Whatever happened to summer? We had a few scorching days, and then it's been back to cool and balmy weather. Or cool and windy weather. Regardless of what's going on in the sky, bloody cyclists seem to be multiplying like rabbits. I now have to fight with cars, trucks, taxis and now bikes for some road space.

A nice thing about my route into work is that I don't have to think too hard about anything - I see half a dozen cars most days, and all I have to do is turn the pedals and I'll get to where I'm going. But those days are coming to an end - I now have to wake up and keep my eyes and ears open for the growing hordes of bikes. Spending a pleasant half hour zoned out is no longer an option.

A hipster on a fixie - and a white one at that. White frame, white wheels, white everything. No brakes either. These guys are nuts.

This is where they seem to end up:

On another serious note we have been noticing an increase in cyclist injuries.

We have had at least three trauma cases in emergency this week as a result of cyclists being hit, all of them riding on our roads at night.

More people are riding on the streets at the same time more cars use them.

People also forget at night it is more difficult for motorists to see pedestrians and cyclists, especially if they are wearing dark clothing.

We have seen people who are still wearing dark clothes at night, without reflective gear and some who are not wearing a helmet.

In one case a cyclist was thrown off his bike and he suffered serious head injuries because he wasn't wearing a helmet.

Another rider had a tiny red light, which looked like a Christmas decoration, on his backpack.

These people will then end up with life-threatening injuries such as a shattered spleen, internal damage to their kidneys, multiple fractures to their legs and arms, internal bleeding and in some cases head trauma.

They need to remember the basic rule - have lights on their bikes so that motorists can see them. They should also be wearing those fluorescent singlets, which are cheap and sold everywhere.

If you get hit even at 40km, you will end up with significant trauma just like these people did.

Cyclists riding at night are invisible, especially on multi-lane roads.

By taking a few simple precautions, like not wearing black but wearing something that stands out at night, then you reduce your chances of being hit and ending up in emergency.

Monday 14 December 2009

Noel Pearson - a good speech

If you've got 20 minutes to spare, have a listen to this speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival. He really pokes Anna Blight and the green movement in the eye.

I couldn't work out how to download it and get it onto my iPod. Such are the vicissitudes of modern technical life. It's so tough having to sit at your PC for 20 straight minutes to listen to something.

Sunday 13 December 2009

This is so cool, I just had to post it

From Mr Watt:

The occasional hazards of underwear confusion

We went shopping for underwear last month and I was certain that I made damn sure that Junior and me bought different coloured jocks. That's the easiest way to sort after washing - he has one set of colours and I have another.

I found to my cost last week that he has one pair of jocks that have crossed the line into my colour range. I only found that out after getting to work, having a shower and then trying to get into what I thought were my jocks. Hmm. Bit tricky trying to get into something that is an extra small - as in teenage width hips. The worst of it was that being at work, I had no recourse to the grundies drawer to swap them for a man-sized set. The choice was three way:

  1. Free ball until I got the chance to escape from the office and buy some more - fat chance in my line of work
  2. Wear my bike shorts under my suit - a yucky option when you've just sweated into it for 40 minutes
  3. Squeeze into them and try not to breath too deeply for the rest of the day

From now on, when I do the sorting, I will pay more attention to the size tag.

The vindaloo theory of CO2 and global warming

Ugh. I have been doing some deep reading this weekend on CO2 and have come to the undoubted conclusion that it is indeed a greenhouse gas.

The simplest way to explain the caveat is to compare the impact of CO2 on global warming to the impact of a beef vindaloo on the tongue.

The first bite of a vindaloo blows your head off. Similarly, if an atmosphere has no CO2 at all and you add 20 ppmv (parts per million volume), then the temperature will go up 1.5 degrees. However, like a vindaloo, each additional mouthful of steaming hot curry does not blow your head off to the same degree. After a few mouthfuls of vindaloo, you reach a tongue/curry saturation point, where the addition of more vindaloo fails to strip any more cells from the surface of your tongue. Similarly, an additional plateful will not double your misery the next morning when sitting on the toilet.

Going from 20ppmv to 40ppmv of CO2 adds about 0.3 degrees C to the temperature. Going from 40 to 60 adds 0.2 degrees and so on so that by the time you get to where we are today, adding another 20 ppmv adds about 0.02 degrees to the temperature. CO2, like vindaloo, has all its impact in the first few bites. After that, the marginal impact of more curry of CO2 is minimal.

That's a theoretical explanation anyone should be able to understand. So yes, it is a greenhouse gas, but not to the extent that people might have us believe.

And if you still think CO2 is the main driver, ponder this:

CO2 is more evenly distributed than water, so if CO2 caused warming it would have a proportionately greater effect in areas where there is little water vapor (such as deserts and in very cold regions), while in areas with a lot of water, the effect of CO2 may be insignificant (in terms of its effect on local temperature) compared to the effect of water vapor. This is one of many factors that mitigate against the idea of a "climate catastrophe."


CO2 levels have only increased by 23.7% since 1900.

According to the US Department of Energy, only about 14.8% of this increase, or 11.88 ppm, is man-made. The remaining 68.5 ppm is caused by natural forces, such as volcanoes and forest fires. From this, researchers have estimated that, when water vapor is taken into account, anthropogenic CO2 contributions cause about 0.117% of the Earth's total greenhouse effect.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Panic merchants - "the glaciers are melting"

So they are. They've been melting for a long time - nearly 200 years. They're not melting any faster today than when most of mankind walked or rode a horse.

Pinheads - number 4

Here I am, approaching a woman pushing a pram from behind. She's been holding a steady, straight line on the left hand side of the path.

But as I got closer, she suddenly veered sharply right - and it was starting to look like I was about to have my first pram/bicycle collision. I yelled at her to straighten up, which she did. As I went past, I noticed she was trying to text on her mobile phone at the same time as pushing the pram. As soon as she went one-handed on the pram, it veered right.

Tools. I hate them all.

Pinheads - number 3

Oh FFS - look how far out from the kerb this twat has decided to stop, just so they can have a gas bag with someone they've seen. You could park a semi in that gap. If you're going to pull over for a chat, fucking pull over.

Pinheads - number 2

I have never understood the principle of going for a ride with a helmet dangling from your handelbars. If you don't want to wear one, just don't carry one at all. But if you have one with you, stick it on your head and do it up properly. Idiots.

Idiot of course jumped the red light. Is there a correlation between being an idiot and going through red lights?

Pinheads - number 1

I've had this problem a few times at red lights, but this is the first time I've caught it on camera. Here we are, waiting at a red light. Note the white ute on the other side of the intersection, also waiting at the red. He's indicating he is turning right.

Lights go green, and ute pulls out. He sees me coming, and I have right of way.

He doesn't care - he just blows through the intersection whilst giving me a look of "What the fuck are you going to do about it?"

I don't know what it is about tradesmen in utes, but they are utter pricks to cyclists. There is something seriously wrong with their mentality.

It was early in the morning, so traffic was light and he was able to get away. This sort of thing has happened to me where traffic has been heavy, and I've decided to chase the bastard and caught him a few hundred metres later, jammed in peak hour traffic. I'm not particularly polite at times like that. I have heard of cyclists that carry a set of side cutters - they pull up alongside the offending car and snip the valves off two tyres.

Sweet revenge.

Friday 11 December 2009

Friday photos

I spotted a touch of trouble on the ANZAC Bridge this morning - traffic was banking up quite badly, and then I spotted the red and blue flashing lights in the distance of a Police car.

I quickly got close enough to find a gaggle of Police and tow truck drivers attempting to sort things out.

One truck driver was preparing to load this VW and take it away - I couldn't see any damage, although it might have been on the driver's side.

The second tow truck had a motorbike on the back, which also appeared undamaged. Of the rider though, there was no sign. He could have been standing in that earlier gaggle, or he might have been taken away already in an ambulance. I guess we'll never know. But so much for "cyclists holding up the traffic" this morning.

On a lighter note, we have two different approaches to "filtering" in this photo. The two cyclists at the front have filtered past the cars and taken pole position, whilst the lady in front of me stopped where she was in the queue. I decided to stop behind her to take the photo. Normally, I'd stay in my spot in the queue and not filter, and that works out well. However, in this instance, the driver turned out to be a complete crab when the lights went green. They failed to move off and turn left, and because they were so far out from the kerb, we couldn't get around them. Grrrr! Some times it pays to filter!

Another casual cyclist in the city heading home, dressed in typical Friday semi-casual office clothes. If the stupid RTA had built the ANZAC Bridge as a much lower and flatter bridge, we'd probably have triple the number of cyclists coming in from the west that we have now. The bridge is fairly steep, and I think it puts a lot of people off - you do get quite sweaty attacking the bridge. If it was flat, you could amble across it and arrive in the city nice and dry and not in need of a cold shower.