A Slice of Life
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commentary on issues in politics, culture, environment and technology
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26 Sep 12 How to Create a Storify Slideshow from a Pinterest RSS Feed


It’s very easy to create an embeddable slideshow sourced from a Pinterest RSS feed.  This might be a feed of all your Pinterest pins, or pins from a particular board.  To complete this (very) simple tutorial, you’ll need a Pinterest account and a Storify account.

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02 Jun 12 Lingerie football: Y-front football would provide balance

Seattle Mist vs. San Diego Seduction of the Li...

Seattle Mist vs. San Diego Seduction of the Lingerie Football league game, 11Sep09. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Widespread protests have greeted an exhibition match to be played by 32 women from the US Lingerie Football League at Allphones Arena today.  Names like ‘Allphones Arena’  and other venues such as ‘Centrebet Stadium‘ might give you a clue that the single minded pursuit of profit motivates football leagues with little consideration for anything else.  Sporting ideals of fair play and playing for the love of the game have taken a back seat to the rabid hunt for $$$ for some time.  Should we really be surprised that a cynical exercise in promotion such as ‘lingerie football’ is about to take hold in Australia?  Feminists in the 60s and 70s may have burned their bras; women in this century happily wear little else to provide a spectacle for television cameras and provide a boost in ratings.  Germaine Greer would be turning in her grave if she was dead. (more…)

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17 Apr 12 Dawkins vs Pell on #QandA: Dopey Questions from a Dopey Audience

Richard Dawkins has commented since this debate that he was disappointed in his performance, blaming partly his jet lag, but also “… the astonishing bias of the audience and, second, the interfering chairman.”

During the debate, Dawkins repeatedly asked some members of the audience with credulity: why is that funny?  He really ought to have been able to answer his own question without thinking about it too much.

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07 Oct 11 Time to rethink the Steve Jobs iShrines?

steve jobs ishrineIsn’t the recent outpouring of emotion over the passing of Steve Jobs taking things just a little too far?  Midnight vigils at Apple stores?  Shrines? Millions of tweets, blogs, articles conferring almost saint like status on the ex Apple CEO?  Steve jobs certainly was a visionary.  Yes, he had some wonderful ideas but contrary to popular belief products such as the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, while they may have transformed the consumer electronics market are not likely to solve world hunger, the energy crisis, the GFC, climate change or terrorism and wars.

Steve Jobs the man was apparently arrogant, selfish and inconsiderate.   While these attributes may well have helped him to find his path to success they would have been hardly likely to be endearing  to those that knew Jobs personally.  Apparently Jobs approached working relationships with a similar attitude, setting very high standards and regularly reducing to tears those who fell short of his vision. (more…)

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06 Oct 11 Andrew Bolt: more offensive than sex with a horse?

andrew boltRecently, the well known columnist and blogger Andrew Bolt was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act.  Justice Mordy Bromberg found Bolt and the Herald and Weekly Times contravened the Racial Discrimination Act by publishing two articles on racial identity which contained “errors in fact, distortions of the truth and inflammatory and provocative language”, reported the Herald Sun.

Ron Merkel, QC, for the complainants, said there was no attempt by  members of the group to shut down freedom of speech or debate about racial identity issues.  Mr Merkel said Bolt was free to express his views on the subject but should not have chosen to attack the nine individuals he named in his columns and blog.

Many of us, including myself, may not agree with Andrew Bolt’s views on this issue and many others.  Whatever happened to the famous saying, sometimes incorrectly attributed to Voltaire which many in the legal profession are fond of quoting: ” I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. ”

Yes, there are a number of errors in Bolt’ articles on this topic.  Is Bolt being prosecuted for publishing errors?  It is true that had the facts been presented accurately Bolt’s arguments would not hold much water.  For example, he questioned indigenous lawyer Larissa Behrendt‘s Aboriginality, incorrectly stating that her father was German and that she is somehow claiming benefits that should be the right of indigenous people of ‘purer blood’. In the sometimes heated court exchanges, Bolt took exception to the prosecution’s comparison of the debate and Bolt’s views to Nazi race laws, the Holocaust and eugenics.  Bolt argued those who chose to identify with only one part of their background over another were contributing to racism and came at the cost of less focus on the important issues of education, housing, health and poverty.

It is interesting to note that earlier in the year, Larissa Berendt attracted criticism after using her Twitter account to describe watching bestiality on television as “less offensive than Bess Price“, an Aboriginal woman in favour of the radical Northern Territory intervention. “I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price.” (more…)

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04 Oct 11 Mac vs PC: are you as free-thinking as you think?

The two characters from the ads who personify ...

Image via Wikipedia

The image of ‘Mac’ and ‘PC’ have become one of the most recognisable dichotomies imaginable; PC is unfashionable, old fashioned, straight-laced etc. while Mac is of course creative , cool and free-thinking.  This advertising campaign has been so successful that many involved in creative fields think it impossible to edit images or audio on a PC.  This is of course garbage and has been debated ad nauseam for longer than most of us care to remember.  An operating system is an operating system and most software will work on most systems, regardless of the platform.  If you want to pay twice the price for your system, go for a Mac; it may actually be marginally more reliable and you will of course have the added bonus of thinking how creative , cool and free-thinking you are.  It is of course possible that you are a good less free-thinking than you imagine.

Long before the advent of the iconic Mac vs PC ads, over 90% of the world’s population took to wearing a uniform very similar to the guy on the right.  Running shoes, jeans and T-shirts have become  obligatory for almost everyone.  This kind of outfit makes an undeniably bold fashion statement; I’m not trying too hard, I’m relaxed, I’m being myself, I’m not conforming to outmoded fashion trends.

The problem is of course that most of us are conforming very closely to a fashion trend which may not be outmoded but is undeniably highly unimaginative, non creative and really very boring.

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12 Jul 11 OMG I’m a GPS: 6 degrees of separation

Gillard's stepdaughter poses for 'Zoo Weekly'Some time ago (26th December 2008 to be precise) I published an article entitled “OMG I’m a gay porn star” The article was about the unforeseen consequences of Googling oneself. My search discovered that I share my name with another ‘Liam Alexander’ who is a model on a site called ‘originaleuroboys’; a gay porn service. In the article I wondered if “this Liam is a real person…; quite likely he was dreamed up by two guys fantasizing on the phone”. However, I learned that this Liam is a real person after receiving this comment:

“Liam Alexander the porn star is for real. I was the photographer that did the originaleuroboys.com photoshoot with Liam that is now on originaleuroboys.com. To add the the interest in Liam take a look at our studio website http://www.7bluestudio.com because Liam features on the homepage larger than ever! Ben Willis, Director”

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10 Jul 11 Is Lord Monckton related to Marty Feldman?

marty feldman and lord moncktonIs Lord Monckton related to Marty Feldman? You could be forgiven for thinking that they are the same person; the similarity is positively uncanny. FYI, the gentleman on the left is Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, deputy leader of the UK Independence Party and famous climate sceptic.  Pictured on the right is Marty Feldman, English comedy writer, comedian and actor who starred in a series of British television comedy shows, including At Last the 1948 Show, and Marty. (more…)

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02 Jul 11 How To Fix an Overheating Laptop that Shuts Down Randomly

dusty laptop heatsink

image courtesy of Edmund Tse

My Dell Inspiron 1525 started to overheat and shut down randomly just after the warranty expired.  The machine starts feeling very hot to touch shortly after it starts up.  Applications run slowly or display the ‘not responding’ message, then, with absolutely no warning, the computer suddenly shuts down.  Any unsaved work will of course be lost.  I put up with this for a while; pressing Ctrl + S frequently I could manage to keep working and usually get over an hour of use in before the laptop shut down, but before long, the problem had become worse and I could only get the thing to run for 10-15 minutes.

I took my laptop to the local computer repair shop.  The technician told me that the problem was most likely caused by a faulty hard drive or faulty RAM.  When I came back to collect it, he told me he had installed a new hard drive, new RAM including an extra Gb and had upgraded the OS to Windows 7 (the 1525 came with Vista Home installed).  None of these measures worked.  He said that he had tried everything he could think of and that he couldn’t fix it.  At least he didn’t charge me for the privilege.This of course left me feeling very frustrated.  Dell won’t repair machines not covered by warranty and I was feeling like I had been conned.  Judging by the number of posts around on this problem this is a very common problem.  Thread like this one are filled with various solutions to this problem, most of which don’t get you anywhere.  They are also filled with angry comments and suggestions that users with this problem should take out a class action against Dell.  This is understandable but in actual fact, the problem is quite simple to fix and not the manufacturer’s fault, although they could perhaps provide a little more information on problems like this.

How to fix this problem:

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