Author Archives: uthinki

Predicting the Australian Federal Election and its Policy Directions

Ask Not for Whom the Poll Falls, it Falls for Thee With the Australian federal election still approximately five months away, it may be time to take stock and consider what may be ahead as the campaign trail starts to ramp up. At the time of writing, the polls for the Julia Gillard led Australian Labor Party (ALP) imply a near 13 percent chance of winning the September 2013 Australian federal election; whilst for the Tony Abbott led Liberal Party (representing the overall Coalition including the Nationals) the implied chance of winning is approximately 87 percent. For up-to-date information on the Australian federal election 2013 polls see BetMetrix. As was considered in the earlier post related to the ALP leadership spill, the dominant strategy for Kevin Rudd or any other potential challenger and would-be alternate leader of the Labor Party, was, and is, simply to remain silent and wait until after the election.  This is because, ...

Read More »

Psy Unwraps The Cheese Wheel

Psy, he’s the South Korean rapper (maybe), or at least the K-pop sensation (for now), who shot to international fame in 2012 with his song Gangnam Style.  The film clip to which smashed all sorts of records and to date has garnered over 1.5 billion views on YouTube.  Not too shabby.  Even the respective leaders of the Beliebers (which apparently would now also have included Anne Frank) and the little monsters have yet to make such an achievement. How then do you follow up such a hit? You tweak it a bit.  Release more of the same.  Then hope lightning strikes twice. Which brings us to the new song, Gentleman.  You can watch it here, if you haven’t seen it already.  And it’s not going to also reach 1.5 billion views unless you pitch in! The film clip to the song Gentleman displays what Psy has described as the “arrogant dance”.  This is ...

Read More »

420 and Social Proofs

420 and the Culture of Marijuana The 20th April is a meaningful date to many. Of course given the history of the world, it won’t take much to pull out something apparently significant, purely by chance, and link it to such a date.  For example, Adolf Hitler was born on 20th April, 1889.  Delving into confirmation biases and relatively prime numbers for mistaken numerology, is a topic for another time. Rather the 20th April here, will first be morphed into April 20, then converted into 420, and maybe 4/20 if need be.  And yes, guilty of using numerology as charged.  Although the whole idea of the 420 here is linked to not being charged. At 4:20pm on 4/20, stoners across North America, meaning the US and Canada, lit up their joints to advocate for the legalisation of marijuana.  Presumably with smoking this weed, some did actually inhale as well. The origins of 420 are ...

Read More »

Kettlebells: RKC or SFG?

Enter the Kettlebell In late 2012, there were murmurs, rumours, and some general confusion about what was happening in the world of kettlebells. The kettlebell (or girya in its native Russian tongue) is maybe best described as a cannonball with a handle.  Weird as that may seem, once people begin to understand them a bit better, kettlebells tend to be known more like the all-in-one gym. The reason for this, is that their use favours not only brute strength grinding lifts, but also ballistic and dynamic movements. The off-centre and displaced weight of the kettlebell can force additional activation of muscles for stabilisation (there is also the law of irradiation at work) making an apparently ‘light’ weight feel rather heavy, adding layers of difficulty and nuance.  Largely reflecting the notion that strength is a skill.  (It should also be noted that because of their shape, for some exercises kettlebells are easier to ...

Read More »

Boston Marathon Bombing: Disturbing Big Data Trends

The Boston Marathon Bombing What should have been a cheerful Patriots’ Day as people ran the Boston Marathon on the 15th April 2013, turned horrific as two bombs were detonated. Three people, including an 8-year old child, were killed in the bombings.  Reports indicate that over 140 people were injured, of which 10 had their limbs amputated. The first bomb was detonated near the finish line of the marathon, as marathoners crossed it.  Impact from the blast knocked those nearby to the ground.  Amidst a scene of blood and carnage, as people fought back panic to help others, a second bomb was detonated about 10 seconds later.  Both bombs appear to have been strategically placed to maximise damage and casualties. With anxiety running high, the people of Boston were moved away from the area and urged to stay indoors.  The concerns were more than justified, with another two bombs subsequently found.  Fortunately ...

Read More »

Makankosappo meet Gentleman

Makankosappo.  If it sounds kind of Japanese to you, then you’re correct. Have a gold star.  Better yet, have a ball with a star on it.  Collect all seven and make a wish. Makankosappo is a dance-like action, playing out Dragon Ball (probably Z) fight sequences.  Whether this is also involves 5-minute close ups of faces and grinding teeth, is probably left up to the hero of the story. Popularised mainly by Japanese schoolgirls- Wait!  This could be dangerous, anything can happen in manga… Moving on. Makankosappo involves the main player acting out a fight scene, and using their ‘energy’ to force the other players flying back.  They’ll jump away, choreographed, as though blasted by a shockwave.  Or a Kamehameha Wave, if you’d prefer.  (For this, training in 10 times gravity and reaching at least Super Saiyan level is recommended, but not compulsory.) Not only is it funny to watch, it has produced some pretty cool photos ...

Read More »

Bitcoin – Buy or Sold?

Bitcoins in Brief Bitcoins are a virtual currency, created approximately four years ago.  They are exchanged digitally via encrypted codes over the internet.  They represent a decentralised and experimental currency that is not reliant upon governments.  To buy Bitcoins, the payments must be irreversible; and exchanges are made anonymously. The supply of Bitcoins is effectively fixed, with people mining them electronically by having their computer decrypt codes.  This can only continue until the year 2040, and there is a self-imposed limit of 21 million on the number of Bitcoins that will ever exist. Money and Economics 101 The basics of what defines any money, often takes into account three key features that are to be satisfied.  Foremost money must be a medium of exchange, in that it can buy goods and services.  Money must be a unit of account, in that it represents a record of what is owed or ...

Read More »

Margaret Thatcher and Other Economic-isms

She Will Not Rust The Iron Lady, as Margaret Thatcher came to be known, was considered a formidable and often divisive political figure.  As Britain’s first, and to date only, female Prime Minister, she was also the United Kingdom’s longest serving PM in the 20th century.  From 1979 to 1990, she held the position.  Leading with an iron first, and not covering it with a velvet glove, was her style.  The lady was not one for turning. Margaret Thatcher passed away on 8th April 2013. Ever the Divisive Politician Love her or hate her, few could ignore her. Even in death, for Margaret Thatcher this continues. Dignitaries and prominent politicians from around the world have offered and paid their respects. It’s often Western custom to not speak ill of the dead.  Yet, in perhaps rather un-British tradition, some within the UK have taken to the streets to openly celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher.  The ...

Read More »

Khloe Kardashian on The Cheese Wheel

Figuring it was probably best to give Kim Kardashian a break for awhile, because she has got bigger problems at the moment – like looking fashionable in maternity wear – it’s time to turn to one of her other sisters.  This admittedly does have a Cinderella-like quality to it.  Because compared to Kim, the others don’t seem to quite stack up the same. This time around, it’s Khloe Kardashian who has been placed on The Cheese Wheel. Why exactly? Well… There’s simply the fact that Khloe Kardashian is a Kardashian.  Kind of a no-brainer that one!  There was some consideration about putting the entire Kardashian family on here this time around, but it’s a cheese wheel and not a cheese platter. Yes, Khloe is known by many other references.  Here, keeping things a bit polite, she can just be referred to as the “husky Kardashian”. Then, there are the allegations of missing ...

Read More »

Them’s fighting words! Mobile giants HTC and Samsung declare a state of war.

Who won the first round? Around one year ago, the quietly brilliant Taiwanese mobile manufacturer HTC got the jump start on its bigger rival Samsung when it launched the HTC One. It was an attractive handset with a gigantic screen and was almost universally well-liked by internet reviewers. While the chassis was slick, the phone’s biggest detraction was its skinned version of Android known as Sense 4. From a hardware perspective it was a powerhouse and looked set to crush the competition. It was months ahead of the looming Galaxy S3 and better looking to boot. It was going to be the smartest of the smartphones, and with its dashing looks it was set to conquer the Android market and restore HTC to power, glory and righteousness. And then it flopped. It flat out belly panned in the market. People held on to their money and patiently awaited the arrival ...

Read More »