Thursday 9 July 2009 at 11:30 pm
- Ever wonder what American lawmakers do all day? Pointless dedications, apparently.
- Meanwhile, President Obama has been off doing promising work to get new commitments towards nuclear weapons reduction. But I wonder: even with a superstar leader in Washington, is the Russian government really that keen on cooperating?
- Hearing about the Rio exec detained in China worries me; Australia’s relationship with China is crucially important, and being that they’re a communist dictatorship it’s easier to anger them than your average liberal democracy. So while the scandal will inevitably pass, I hope no real economic damage is done. (Also, I’m chuffed that yesterday’s ABC article quoted my honours supervisor!)
- In announcing yet more service cuts (sigh), the WA transport minister is quoted as saying taxis are preferred over NightRider; admittedly I never saw a full one of those buses, but seriously? You don’t think that could possibly be because the routes weren’t ideal or there wasn’t enough promotion? Heck, even the Bay Area (and most big US cities) run 24-hour buses on major routes that are slow-but-decent (despite the times I’ve seen shift workers outnumbered by creepy homeless people).
- And finally, Fake Steve Jobs at his finest, explaining why Google’s Chrome OS announcement is barely worth caring about despite all the blog hype: “As Sarah Palin would say, the engineers at Google are ambitionistic about wanting to progress the world, and gosh, ya know what? That’s darn good for everyone.”
Wednesday 1 July 2009 at 6:10 pm
- Two weeks ago, a small town on the outskirts of Phoenix in Arizona held a local government election. They counted exactly equal votes for the candidates — so in equal parts publicity stunt and tie-breaking process, the two guys involved drew high cards. Courtesy of an obscure and not even that old Arizona law, the decision is totally legit!
- Something else I missed last week: on Monday, a company called CLEAR that ran separate security lanes at most big American airports shut down abruptly. Their service always struck me as questionable — pay us money and we’ll overlook normal security measures! — and they never did get all the official approvals they needed, so I’m amused that the recession has killed their little scam. (Heck, second-tier frequent flyers get much the same benefit; maybe that’s why I’ve never seen anyone use a “Fly CLEAR” lane.)
- According to my local papers, an equal (or bigger!) issue than the California budget is the proposal to build a high-speed railway to LA (which won financial backing at referendum last November). It’s a curious thing to watch Bay Area residents whine about whether to spend billions on above-ground tracks or billions more below ground, while around them the state runs out of cash. (Admittedly, the project has a good chance of getting federal money, and the planning phase has at least a year left in it, nevermind the ten-ish years scheduled to build the thing.)