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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Trovebots attack!

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This is yet another stretched comparison from my conspiratorial mind. (The last one was that Gillard v Meme picture – a bit less tangible than this one!)

There is a disturbing similarity between the new logo of the National Library of Australia’s Trove project and the symbol of the Autobots from Transformers.

Don’t believe me? Well let that be on your head when a self-aware copy of The Argus is flying at you faster than a wet fish!

autobot trove onecuckoosnest

They said I was mad when I warned that the old books and newsreel tapes were conspiring against us, but who’s laughing now!!!!

I have already alerted the police.


Don’t forget to check out my new shindig – (It’s where all my good stuff gone!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Don’t be a burke – here’s the key to Locke

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I saw the picture below on political reporter Latika Bourke’s Twitter last week:

Abolish Money OWS protest

This picture from one of the occupy protests seems silly, as Ms Bourke was sure to point out with her caption “um”, but there is actually a legitimate philosophical grounding for the sign’s statement that goes to the core of US political organisation.

To see it we have to go back to 17th and 18th century England and the wealthy political philosopher John Locke. Locke was one of the founders of liberalism; in his ideal world all people are free and equal, the government has little to no intervention in daily life and taxes require the direct consent of the people.

Locke’s ideas of property rights were also ground-breaking; he argued that each person should only take as much as they needed and leave as much and as good for everyone else. In other words, only take what you can take without waste and always leave something for everyone else. (It’s actually a little more complex than that but I want to keep the word count down!)

Lovely idea! Except that Locke’s wealth got in the way of his philosophy.

That rule that you can only take as much as you need is called the (rule) of spoilage. The example of this rule given to my first year political philosophy class was picking apples – take as many as you can eat so long as you don’t take so many that some rot. Locke argued that because money does not rot, (and a few other logistical reasons that allowed this concession to fit with his theory,) money should be exempt from this rule.

So according to Locke you can only have as much of anything as you need, except for money which you can have unlimited quantities of. This means that in Locke’s world the wealthy can remain wealthy.

You might be asking what a 17th century English philosopher has to do with 21st century America, but there is a direct link: The libertarian principals of Locke’s works are cited the major philosophical base of the American Revolution.

So America is a country founded on the principals of the man who validated unlimited money in a free and equal society. The sign doesn’t seem so silly now, hey!

I admit that I don’t know if the sign was intentionally a deep political statement or coincidental hippy mumbo jumbo, but the suggestion is surprisingly well grounded. Maybe Ms Bourke is just being too Burkean to see that.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Just something I noticed when surfing The Age

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gillard meme
NOTE: I am NOT trying to pick on Gillard here!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

On A Friday: Everything must go!

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The phrase “selling out” has been taken more literally than usual by one Liberal National Party critic, who has decided to sell the party to the highest bidder on the behalf of the party administration.

Being auctioned under “religious products” on the online trading website eBay Australia is one “Liberal National Party”.

The unusual item is listed as “Used” by eBay seller “ilforddave”, with a more in-depth description of its condition reading as follows:

“The Liberal National is an old favourite but suffered an accident when it fell into a black hole and now needs complete restoration..
It has always run smoothly but has recently tended to lose control and veer to the right.
Fully restored it could provide a valuable resource for your home or mine.
The original policy manual has been mislaid, but currently the Liberal National Party has no polices in place to restrict an immediate take over.
Willing to sell to foreign buyer.
LOW starting price but hope to reach $73,000,000,000”

You can check out the listing and bid on this once-in-a-lifetime party take-over opportunity by clicking here. If the item has sold or been removed by eBay officials, you can click on the image below to view a screenshot of the sale.


Maybe Malcolm Turnbull will use his immense personal wealth to bid in this auction so he can again be leader of the presently cash-strapped party? With bidding thus far totalling just $1.29 from three bidders, he might get the party for a song!

It’s a safe bet too; ilforddave has 100% positive feedback for 125 transactions!


UPDATE: The seller has added the following information:

“I have been asked about bids from RupertbearM.  All I can say is that he has asked that he be allowed to be allowed to merge Foxtel with Austar as part of his bid and that part of the ABC be added to the package.”


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(Full link to listing:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

News: Communist Alliance to change name

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Comm. Gazette PageThe Communist Alliance, a party which formed in March 2009, is set to change its name to something simpler.

According to an article in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (No. GN 28, 20 July 2011), the party is seeking to change its name to “The Communists.”

The party’s official abbreviation will remain the same.

The Alliance formed in 2009 and consists of several communist political parties and groups, including the Communist Party of Australia.

The Communist Party was founded in 1971 as the Socialist Party of Australia.

The Communist Alliance contested the seat of Sydney in the 2010 Federal Election.

For more information, click here to view the page of the Gazette announcing the proposed name change.

Objections to the name change can be made to the AEC.


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Friday, July 15, 2011

On A Friday: The Science of Opinion

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Will's beautiful picture of a treeIt’s a strange time that we live in. Not since 1975 has the Australian public formed a strong political opinion en-masse (with the possible exception of the referendum debate), yet now Cletus has his head out of the window yelling “Ma, it’s happening again!”

It is odd - most people in the country actually seem to have an opinion, or something closely resembling an opinion, about the carbon tax. It’s one topic which you can bring up with strangers on the street and hear in their response an opinion which was obviously formed before your conversation. Depending on your views, you might even get a nice run down the street with your new best friend too.

How set and how ill-informed people’s opinions are varies greatly, but that’s not the key thing to take away from this. The really weird thing is that this issue is not about football, it is not about MasterChef – it is about politics!

It is remarkable how much of a fuss this re-ordering of the tax system has caused. It has occurred to me that yearly alterations to government budgets have done more to effect household bottom lines than this tax is set to do. Indeed, a household earning $110, 000 per year would only have to pay about $10 per week with a carbon price in place; and in most cases you can end up with a huge tax break if you switch to the untaxed renewable energy sources.

Although being ranked as the second least trustworthy group of professionals in a poll of 1000 Reader’s Digest readers this year, people seem to be taking up arms on this issue after listening to, you got it, politicians.

What’s more, this “debate” is all just political rhetoric – something that I thought the Australian public was supposed to have an aversion to. Rhetoric-ridden speeches by Tony Abbott question the quality of our climatologists, our ecologists, our economists and probably even our biologists, archaeologists, zoologists and gynaecologists. At the same time, Julia Gillard levels anti-Abbott rhetoric at the nation.

This completely throws to the wind the importance of scientific research and instead makes this a debate about “who lied about what” and “which multi-millionaire should have to pay 5c extra for a hotdog.” The science is occasionally taken along for the ride.

Indeed yesterday one politician, Malcolm Turnbull, revealed that he had been receiving persistent abusive text messages from one individual about his stance on climate change; this is not in line with political debate or scientific research.

But if all this tax talk is taking its toll on you, you might want to sit back and watch the video below. The sentiment can be appreciated by everyone of every opinion and political persuasion, and even by those managing to hold no opinion.

I’m not sure if it was Terry Gilliam who was responsible for the animations. A large part of me hopes that it wasn’t.

Or maybe that song is too scientific for some people?

But oh, if only the sun were the direct source of all our power - then there’d be no need for a debate at all.


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©2011 William Kulich.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Opinion: When Australian Politics Breaks

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Gough WhitlamToday is former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s 95th birthday. Whitlam became Prime Minister in December 1972 and was eventually toppled, not by the Liberal/National opposition, but by then-Governor-General of Australia Sir John Kerr who sacked him on Remembrance Day 1972.

Whitlam’s short term in office was one of the most unstable moments in Australian political history, and was the first true test to the Australian hybrid system of government.

The “constitutional crisis” which surrounded Whitlam’s dismissal was a clash between the unwritten conventions of the Westminster system and the written constitution of Australia, which is required to make the Australian Federation work.

Sir John Kerr broke many conventions when dismissing Whitlam, especially the convention that the Governor-General should consult with the Prime Minister on important matters. I argue that Kerr also broke the law of the Constitution of Australia by consulting with a member of the High Court – a move which is questionable under the separation of powers described in section one of the constitution.

This was not the first time that convention had been broken for the Labor MP; in fact, right from the moment that Whitlam entered Parliament he was subject to breaches of convention. When delivering his maiden speech to the parliament in 1953 after the Werriwa by-election, Whitlam was interrupted by John “Black Jack” McEwen. Maiden speeches are, by convention, heard in silence.

The political instability of the early- to mid-1970s was, to say the least, a scary realisation that Australia’s democracy is far from perfect. But what is the alternative? One of the strange side-effects of anti-communism in Australia is that any non-democratic system of government is hardly considered by the population.

Although any future Governors-General are unlikely to dismiss a Prime Minister, we’re not out of the woods yet in proving the worth of Australian democracy.

I was watching a sitting of the House of Representatives last week, where the house became rowdy so quickly that Speaker Harry JenkinsHarry Jenkins was forced to stand and issue a general warning after only five minutes of sitting time. The rest of the sitting saw Jenkins throw out five opposition members, nearly throw out the opposition leader and yell for silence at both sides of the chamber.

Once again, we are lucky that there is not a strong alternative to democracy in Australia as, given how much of a rabble our Parliament has started to become, it would be difficult to defend the functionality of our system at present.

Although there is some fun about Australia’s parliament and how parliamentarians interact, when there are clear breaches of standing orders for the sake of TV news bites and attempts to stall parliamentary proceedings to force an extra sitting week it has gone too far. Everyone should be thankful that we have no rival ideology.


©2011 William Kulich.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

On A Rapture: Apples fall, not stars!

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It has been three months since my last post on OCSN. There are a few good reasons for this; I have started a course at University, I have started a local paper (look out Rupert!), and I will even admit that at times I have not posted because of laziness. But one thing that has not been taking up my time is preparing for the Rapture.
Ladies and gentlemen, according to Harold Camping it’s Rapture time!Rapture day. Put on your helmets, wrap yourself in bubble wrap and cover your kids’ eyes for Jesus is a’comin’ back, and he has a grudge 1,975 years in the making!
What is the Rapture exactly? The Rapture is a Christian event; It is a bit like Christmas. Pretty much, the Rapture is the day when all the Christians are supposed to be taken to meet Jesus in the sky whilst all non-believers suffer for not having faith.
But there is only one thing that I really need to know about the Rapture - what time is it supposed to be? I want to know exactly when I will finally get confirmation of my radical Christian beliefs by being spared whilst all my atheist, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist friends are sent to an eternity of torture and pain.* Oh wait…
I should probably show my hand now. Before I took a step back from the teachings of government primary school religious education (hoorah for a secular Australia!) I strongly believed in a Christian God. But I have since stopped accepting what has been preached to me and for the past eight years I’ve been atheist.
I am sceptical about anything religious, mainly because I like to ask questions and the answers that any religion provides seem so ambiguous and/or farcical. Here is one example: The new testament is essentially a re-written, dumbed-down version of the Bible written when Jesus “came back to Earth” and decided that the Old Testament was too hard for “God’s people” to abide by. If we are supposed to have been created in God’s image, why did we not get it right the first time?
But back to Rapture, or more specifically, the twelfth “notable” predicted Rapture (as stated by John “Jo” Smith of Wikipedia) and Camping’s second Rapture prediction. On that note, I think it’s time for a tally of Rapture predictions:
Predicted by: Notable dates: Secondary dates:
William Miller: March 1843- March1844 (seems that in the old days Rapture prediction wasn’t a precise… science?) Revised to October 1844.
(Full marks for trying!)
Jehovah’s Witnesses: 1914, 1918, 1925, 1942. (I don’t think that I’ve missed any...) (I think they pretty much covered it in direct predictions.)
Chuck Smith: 1981. (Although Metallica’s formation in 1981 might have been some kind of a musical Rapture.)
Edgar Whisenant: 1988, 1989. 1992, 1995 and the list goes on.
Mission for the Coming Days: 1992.
MANY people: 1993.
John Hinkle: 1994.
Harold Camping: 1994 (counted with Hinkle), 2011.
Sir Isaac Newton: Any time from 2060 onwards. 2061, 2062, 2063, 2064
So, the past 12 notable Rapture predictions, including Camping’s 2011 prediction, have flopped like a rebellion in Jerusalem. What of the next one? Could Isaac be right?
Well, just for the hell of it, I am going to make the prediction that Isaac’s prediction is right! Why? Well, by using the same method of loose connections used in formulating previous Rapture predictions, I conclude that because there were 13 people at the last supper, the 13th notable prediction MUST be the right one! Onya Isaac!Visual aid to Kulich’s proof of Newton’s rapture prediction, based off the fine research work of Wikipedia.I do not actually believe this; I know that my theory will eventually abide by one of Newton’s other (already proven) theories, the law of gravitation, and come crashing down…
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Friday, February 18, 2011

On A Friday: Ready thine ears

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The King Of Limbs album cover.Over three years after their last album, and after much (often false) speculation over when LP8 will be released, last Monday Radiohead announced the imminent online release of their latest studio album, The King Of Limbs.

The new album will be available from the Radiohead website tomorrow as a digital download. A physical copy, described as “the world's first* (*perhaps) Newspaper Album”, is available to be shipped at a later date. Radiohead was right to put the “perhaps” clause in there – if I recall correctly, the original release of Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick was released as a newspaper.

Can’t wait until tomorrow? Well, here for your Friday night viewing pleasure, is the first single from the new album. (Incidentally, “On A Friday” was the name of Radiohead whilst they were still a school band.)

If this new song, called Lotus Flower, is an accurate indication of what The King Of Limbs will sound like, it would seem that this new album breaks Radiohead’s track record of every album being significantly different from their last. Lotus Flower could easily have been a part of Radiohead’s last album, In Rainbows, or singer Thom Yorke’s solo album, The Eraser.

Now that he’s a bit older, I think that Thom Yorke is starting to look a little like Jamie Oliver.

This is not the only news from the alternative music industry this week. Chiptune and Nerdcore artist Doctor Popular, who recently released Beeps and Smudges, has also released a new single.

Part of a new album planned for release in March, sunchoked is a return to the sound that Doctor Popular had when he released Me Geek Pretty One Day. Doctor Popular manages to do this whilst continuing his venture into iPad and iPhone music software, which he started with Beeps and Smudges.

Compare the new single, which can be listened to through the YouTube video below, to an earlier Doc Pop song, Dropped. (Click here to listen to Dropped.)

It seems that both Radiohead and Doctor Popular are standing by the styles which have worked for them in the past.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

AUDIO Report: Wikileaks and Free Speech - Liberty Victoria Public Forum

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wikileaks forum OCSNThis is a report on a public forum, entitled Wikileaks and Free Speech, which was conducted by Liberty Victoria at Federation Square in Melbourne on the 4th of February 2011.

Speakers included the director of Wikileaks, Julian Assange; Assange’s lawyer in the UK, Jennifer Robinson; Greens MP for the seat of Melbourne, Adam Bandt; Principal of Gordon Legal and former senior partner of Slater and Gordon, Peter Gordon; Melbourne public interest solicitor, Lizzie O'Shea; the Federal Secretary of Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Christopher Warren; and President of Liberty Victoria, Professor Spencer Zifcak.


THE REPORT INCLUDES INTERVIEWS WITH: MP Adam Bandt, lawyer Peter Gordon and Professor Spencer Zifcak.



Audio (via video):
(May require the use of Internet Explorer or plugins to be downloaded to listen/view.)

(10.8MB, WMV Format, 18:02 Minutes)
If audio/video does not play, or the play button does not appear above, please try loading the page in Internet Explorer or
click here for the Firefox plugin. If you are using Internet Explorer, you may have to click on the yellow bar at the top of the page and select ‘allow blocked content’.



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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Government should “pay as we go” with flood relief: Gillard

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In an address to the National Press Club today, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a temporary levy and several policy and funding alterations to pay for the cost of rebuilding after floods in Queensland, Victoria, northern New South Wales and Tasmania.

Ms Gillard has dubbed the new levy as being a “highly progressive levy”, responding to the strength of the Australian economy which, Gillard says, allows the government to “pay as [it] goes” in funding the rebuilding effort. Ms Gillard expects that “by 2013 [the Australian Economy] will be running close to full capacity”.

Although the strong economy has allowed for the relief effort to go ahead quickly, Ms Gillard acknowledged that its strength is a double-edged sword. The low unemployment figure of about 5% means that few workers are available to work on the reconstruction.

To help overcome this problem, the Prime Minister has proposed quicker approval of temporary visas for foreign workers trained in skills that are required for the rebuilding effort. This means a five day turnaround for applications in those fields. The Prime Minister also proposed that jobless people from other states seeking government assistance for relocation should only be given the option of moving to Queensland so as to boost worker numbers there.

Gillard also explained to the Press Club that the government must provide funding in a way which will keep the balance between supply and demand so as to avoid inflationary pressures.

The levy, designed to aid the government in its promise to return the Australian budget surplus by 2012/13 whilst rebuilding after the floods, will pay 1.8 billion dollars toward the “first preliminary estimate” of 5.6 billion dollars required from the government to pay for rebuilding.

The remainder of the 5.6 billion will be raised by a series of policy and program alterations and cancellations. This includes “abolishing, deferring and capping access to carbon abatement schemes”. Schemes to be cancelled include the Green Car Innovation Fund (or “Cash for Clunkers” program) and the Green Start Program. The Solar Hot Water Rebate will be altered with a new demand management scheme and funding for the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institution will be reduced and the body restructured.

Ms Gillard announced that a price on carbon would replace these programs and help improve the budget. Gillard explained the some of the cancelled programs are “not as effective as a carbon price”.

In addition to these cuts, six planned Queensland road and infrastructure projects will be delayed and their funding redirected to the rebuilding effort. This will make a major contribution to funding the rebuilding and will free up more skilled labour for the rebuilding of basic infrastructure. Gillard also said that the deferral will “ensure value for money”.

So how will the relief money be distributed? If the bill passes through Parliament unaltered, there will be an immediate upfront payment to Queensland of two billion dollars for rebuilding projects in the more than 60 flood-affected communities in the state.

The money for the Queensland reconstruction effort will be managed by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. This authority will arrange the state-wide reconstruction plan.

Payments to other states will be managed through the natural disaster relief and recovery agreement between the commonwealth and the states.

The one-off levy to most Australian income earners will be charged “like income tax” and is proposed to be implemented only during the 2011/2012 financial year. Lower income earners earning 50 thousand dollars per year or less will not pay anything. People with an income between 50 thousand and 100 thousand dollars per year will pay 0.5 per cent on taxable income per week, whilst people earning 100 thousand dollars per year or more will pay one per cent on taxable income per week.

The Prime Minister gave the examples of people with an income of 60 thousand dollars per year paying just under one dollar per week, and people earning 100 thousand dollars per year paying just under five dollars per week.

Those people affected by flooding will be exempt from paying the levy. This exemption is awarded to those who claimed the Disaster Assistance Recovery Scheme payouts from the government earlier this year.

The Prime Minister was at pains to make it clear that the levy is “not like the Medicare levy” – a levy model that political and financial commentators had predicted.

Public transport is not usually included in the Commonwealth’s contribution to natural disaster relief funds, however Ms Gillard has explained that there is some possibility that the government could fund this area under the “community rebuilding” section of the funding agreement with the states.

In an effort to calm people who have already given significant sums of money to flood appeals, Ms Gillard explained that, where the flood appeals saw the money being sent directly to the people affected by the flood, the levy will pay for the reconstruction of infrastructure.

The levy will not be increased if the government’s planned return to surplus by 2012/13 comes under threat. There will instead be further cuts to government programs and spending.

The bill must now get through parliament, where it may struggle to pass both the upper and lower houses. With the legislation to be introduced in the first sitting week of parliament for 2011, the government has a very short time cartoonto conduct a hard sell for the crossbenchers who keep it in power. The opposition opposes a levy, and Greens Senator Christine Milne announced, shortly after Gillard’s address, the Greens’ disappointment with the cutbacks for climate change initiatives in response to what they consider a natural disaster exacerbated by climate change.


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Friday, January 21, 2011

On A Friday CARTOON: When the levy breaks

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Early this month, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott suggested that dams be built around the country in an attempt to lessen future flooding. This approach was rejected by the Government.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced on the 7.30 Report that the recovery effort for the flooding across the east coast of Australia will “require some difficult decisions, spending cutbacks and there may even a levy". This approach has been criticised by the Opposition.

Levee or levy!

On the Shakespearian front, Gillard and Abbott’s suggestions could easily be mistaken for the same thing.

Levee cartoon. If this is not visible, please refresh the page.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

On A Friday: Parallels with the past/Hello again!

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It’s just two days until Australia’s newest free-to-air channel stops the ad loop and starts broadcasting its own set of programs.

Yes, at last Channel Eleven, the latest addition to Network Ten’s stable of channels, will rise and become Australia’s promised new “entertainment channel” aimed at younger audiences. Now, last time I checked, that was the job description of Channel Ten!

I found this tribute to bad taste in music, fashion and hair on YouTube. An ad for TEN Brisbane from 1991, it writes out for us at the end that “t – e – n” spells out “the entertainment network”!

t – e – n that’s entert….. oh, sorry. Catchy, isn’t it!

Twenty years later, Ten has had to shift its focus to be able to take on the big two commercial networks in Australia – Networks Nine and Seven. So, channel Eleven is in many ways Channel Ten, attempt number two.

The similarities between the Channel Ten of yesteryear and Channel Eleven are obvious. Remember how the 1991 advertisement started with the Simpsons and spliced the characters throughout? If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at the advertisement for Eleven:



With the number of Australians on digital television between  just 70 and 80 per cent, it is remarkable that Ten has moved the Simpsons, one of its flagship programs, completely over to digital-only Eleven! And then at the end of the month Neighbours will be joining it!

Ten will be investing 20 million dollars to improve its news offerings on the main channel to replace the Simpsons and Neighbours, competing with Seven and Nine’s news services. (Ten news)

Anyway, if you decide on Tuesday that you need entertaining, switch your digital dial to number 11.

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