Category Archives: Travel

Why can’t we move interstate freight transport from the highways to rail?

Another hideous example of what happens when you mix transporting people with transporting freight.

Seriously, if you can’t build the necessary rail infrastructure because Australians today are less capable than our ancestors 150 years ago, can’t we at least build freight trucks a separate road or something? Get them away from cars. Everyone who’s driven up the Hume has experienced some twinge of concern for their family and friends as one of these monstrosities hooned past. Trucks and cars do not mix well.

PS When doing your cost calculations for this, please remember to factor in the lives saved.

Oh my god! He’s got a phone!

If your mobile phone can really crash an airliner, then why the hell are you allowed to bring it on in hand luggage? Tweezers can’t, and they confiscate those…

Do they really expect us to believe that the next hijacking is going to be some guy holding up his phone and threatening to press the call button?

Meanwhile:

In July last year the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ruled that mobiles do not disrupt aircraft navigational equipment if airlines install special technology, paving the way for travellers to be able to make calls and send text messages mid-flight.

The ACMA approved technology that allows an airline-installed, on-board system to relay mobile-phone signals.

If mobile phones that pretty much every passenger carries are such a threat, then why isn’t installing this technology mandatory for all airlines?

It’s funny because they lock gays up

The head of FIFA is amused by the plight of gay people in Qatar, where his organisation will be holding the 2022 World Cup:

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has joked that gay people ‘should refrain from sexual activities’ at the 2022 Qatar World Cup…

He was asked what he would say to gay football fans who want to go to Qatar for the 2022 competition, given that homosexuality is banned in the Middle East country.

Grinning, he said: ‘I would say they should refrain from any sexual activities.’

Ha ha, they lock them up for their sexuality. It’s funny because it’s a monstrous violation of their human rights. LOL.

Are the footballing nations of the world happy with this, or preparing action to redress this problem as we speak? Please tell me it’s the latter.

And it’ll be interesting to see how Qatar applies and FIFA responds the country’s alcohol laws

ELSEWHERE: A staggeringly moronic slippery slope argument from Bolt, suggesting if we have gay marriage, why not incest?

The same argument could be made against heterosexual marriage, of course. Or anything Bolt champions – eg, if we’re going to reintroduce the Pacific Solution to deter asylum seekers, why not actively sink their boats? That’d deter them more, surely.

It’s just a profoundly illogical argument. I’m arguing for marriage equality, an argument whose opponents have not been able to come up with a rational case against it. So I don’t have any strong arguments for or against incest – if it harms people, then I’m against it; if not, maybe not. If Bolt has some such points to make, then he should present them. (He won’t, of course, because then it’d be immediately obvious why they don’t apply to gay marriage and why it’s a completely different argument.)

UPDATE (18/12): Blatter’s apologised, although he doesn’t appear to have any strategies in mind for making things safer at the World Cup for the gay football fans whose plight he found so amusing.

UPDATE (19/12): I should’ve included this blunt piece by anti-Green unionist Paul Howes:

I HATE to be in agreement with some of the conservative commentators who write for this paper, but on the issue of gay marriage, I am in agreement with them.

I am personally opposed to gay marriage and therefore I have decided that I am going to stay in my heterosexual marriage.

And that’s my advice to all those people who are up in arms about the issue. If you don’t like gay marriage: don’t marry a gay person.

Indeed.

And they call the US a “conservative” country

Today’s poll: do the intimate new US security procedures make a trip to the US more or less likely for you?

US security procedures for passengers who refuse body scans by machine are now being given pat downs that would bring a charge of s-xual molestation or indecent assault in most criminal jurisdictions.

The open-hand procedures mandated for America’s totally out-of-control Transport Security Administration involve manually determining the orientation of the p-nis and testicles in order to determine whether they are in fact explosive devices, as well as pressure to female gen-talia.

These procedures also apply to children and are all conducted by officers who have been commonly categorised in the US media as poorly educated, semi-fluent morons. It means, in plain English, that parents are powerless to stop a security official engaging in physical contact with their children in a degree that would be unthinkable, offensive and actionable in criminal law if it was something they did to a stranger not just their kids.

Ignoring the kids thing completely, talk about deliciously perverted. What other country offers travelers such an intimate “service” for free the minute they get off the plane? What other country is so excitingly dominant that it doesn’t care whether we consent or not? What other country shows everyone, regardless of gender, age, in such a physical way that it’s not just what’s on their outside that counts?


Foreplay.

That should be the new US tourism slogan: Broaden Your Sexual Horizons – Before You Even Leave The Airport!

Who knew extreme paranoia and counter-productive over-reaction could be so hot?

They won’t pick up bombs, but they will pick up happy nudists

Okay, so the new full-body airport scanners are intrusive, and it turns out that they don’t actually pick up bombs, but look at the bright side. It’s making the nudists very happy:

Polls regularly show that about one in five North Americans have skinny-dipped in mixed company already. So if travelers just think of the screen as a virtual skinny dip, something regarded as American as apple pie since before Norman Rockwell, everyone wins in the name of better air travel security. And as an added bonus, you can add the experience to your ‘bucket list’ as a virtual dipping of one’s toe into taking a Nakation – that’s a nudist vacation!

Happy nudists. There’s something you don’t see every day.

ELSEWHERE: You’d think the American Association for Nude Recreation might have considered a different headline image for their site (SFW today, who knows tomorrow).

(Via LGWS.)

We’ll visit, but only if you can put on a record-breaking heatwave for us

Oh – obviously we’re back. Comments for the blog that WordPress inexplicably held in moderation have been approved, and there’s already been a post bitching about an indefensible piece of political bastardry. So, you’re conceivably wondering – how was our trip up north?

Well, Sydney knew I’d waited 25 years to come back, so it put on quite a show. Where an ordinary three day November visit might get you averages of something pathetic like 30 or 35 degrees centigrade, we got up to 40. A bonus 30% extra degrees just for us! It was obviously a real stretch for the city to manage, which is why I gather it relaxed back down to less spectacular conditions the moment we left, but we certainly appreciated the effort.

We only really had two days to see things, and one of those was a good day only for being inside. So on Saturday we walked around the Opera House, and clambered over the Bridge (100% more Harboury and Sydneyish than anything Melbourne can muster), and caught a ferry to Manly. And we visited the Powerhouse Museum on Sunday, and I was mocked by an internationally-renowned astrophysicist for having an insufficiently witty t-shirt (“I’d like to double YOUR entendre”). We went on a monorail with such dodgy systems that leaving it for the 40 degree day outside was actually a relief.

And we saw some old friends and some newer ones, and had a lovely time with them. Thank you to everyone with whom we caught up, and we can’t wait to see you again. Sadly there wasn’t time to meet anyone from the blog on this flying visit, but we’ll be more organised next trip, we promise.

Hopefully Sydney can provide some even more exciting conditions then. Consider it a challenge, climate.

Do they still eat Melburnians?

We’re off to Sydney for a couple of days. Apart from the airport, and a brief transit through a city station on the way up to the Blue Mountains last year, I haven’t been to Sydney since I was eight. In 1984.


Have they built a bridge over the harbour, yet?

I suspect it might have changed somewhat.

Anything in particular I should keep an eye out for?