May 28, 2007

You can't swing both ways

Australia's equal opportunity law specifically says you can not be discriminated against based on your race, religious beliefs, or sexuality. Yet thats exactly what Peel Hotel is doing: they are banning people who are not gay.



Surprisingly, the courts have allowed them to do so, which is in my opinion an extremely stupid thing to do. These laws were put in place to protect the minority, not for them to use it to further segregate our society based on sexuality. You can't have laws which protect the minority against discrimination, and yet allow the minority to discriminate!



With the recent news of Scruffy Murphy's banning patrons based on race it appears our country - once so proud of its multiculturalism, acceptance and tolerance - is quickly becoming intolerant, inconsiderate and increasingly prejudiced. Rather than working out proper strategies to deal with undesirables - something all pubs, hotels, and other entertainment venues need to do - people are choosing instead to tar every one with the same brush: heterosexuals are abusive, people of Middle Eastern or Islander background are trouble makers, etc.



My religion teacher in high school once told me how his grandfather went on the payroll as Smith, not O'Donald because he would have been fired otherwise. I would like to think our society has progressed since those times. Our country is about embracing our differences and celebrating them, for it is these differences which lends vibrance and culture to our society and way of life. It is through understanding our differences that we live in harmony - not only with ourselves but also others on the world stage.



What Peel's Hotel has done, as Scruffy Murphy's has done, is send the message: You will not be judged by your actions, but by the actions of those who happen to have something in common with you - a minority who is noted only because they are trouble some. This is the essence of prejudice, the seed of racism - a slippery slope towards a sign on our borders saying "Not Welcome".





Cheers,

Steve

May 25, 2007

She is not Australian, she was just born here

Pauline Hanson:



"Mr Howard has sold us out by not halting further Muslim immigration and dumping hapless refugees from Africa on us without any consultation. Australia must withdraw ASAP from the 1951 UN Convention on refugees."


Dear God, please show her the error of her ways.





Cheers,

Steve

May 21, 2007

Rudd has it right

Refreshing to see a politican who is putting the environment before economics:



Federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd has defended Labor's plan to intercept Japanese whaling vessels after the Government said the idea was doomed to fail.



Under Labor's plan, unveiled yesterday, Australian Navy ships would be sent to intercept and board whaling vessels in the Southern Ocean.



Labor would also make formal representations to Japan about its whaling program and take the country to international courts such as the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.



While the current government is pussy footing around the issue because:



it could damage relations with Japan - an important trading partner, ally and investor


Pathetic display of priorities and motives. Can't wait for Rudd to become Prime Minister of Australia





Cheers,

Steve

May 19, 2007

Debunking Creation

Was shopping for a birthday card for a friend and needed to make up $10 of purchases for EFTPOS. Since I already have this week's New Scientist, I thought I would buy Creation for bit of a laugh.



Well it turns out, misrepresentation of science by the magazine and its writers is enough to spur me to Debunking Creation. I will update it every time a Creation magazine comes out - I am sick of this slow character assasination of science and rational thinking. I do not wish for the day where speaking up against religious doctrine will end in house arrest or worst.





Cheers,

Steve

May 15, 2007

What is privacy for?

the purpose of privacy is to protect ourselves from the erratic rationality of our fellow humans' moral judgment (as well as the wholesale absence of rationality behind some of our laws). We've still got evolutionary wiring left over that causes us to feel physical pain when others disapprove, and so privacy is a rational demand.


Slashdot is on fire today!




Cheers,

Steve

May 14, 2007

Astute observation about the Australian Government

Don't know what issues your talking about in Australia. Our current government motto when it comes to U.S. intellectual property law (in fact any law that a US entity wishes to impose on Australian citizens) is "We swallow"




Cheers,

Steve

May 10, 2007

Log clock

Got my log clock running. It is not entirely accurate, loses a second every 7hr or so. However its nature is such I doubt it will really matter.Thanks to the JAL interval library routines, it is very accurate. I originally thought the next interval routine returns after the 1 second delay I setup, only that is not the case. It returns when the internal clock ticks over to the next second. So as long as all the logic is done with in a second, and it is, each loop takes exactly 1 second.





The design is very simple. Using a 16F84A (yeah yeah, its obselete blah bah) with a 4Mhz crystal, lots of wires, and a 12 segment bar display. The button is used to advance the clock to the next interval. This method of setting the time is very crude - but then it doesn't have to be sophisticated. Software was written in JAL.



The loss of a second every ~7hr is due to the fact its basically a loop which has a delay of 1 second, and does some logic to handle display and button presses. The logic skews the overall delay per loop because each branch and such takes up cycles. There are several things I can do to improve this:




  • Pad out each branch with NOP so they all take the same time, then compensate for this in the loop delay accordingly.

  • Have a secondary circuit to output a pulse every second, so the logic and such won't skew the clock. This would also allow me to check for button presses more often.

  • Write my own interrupt routines to handle TMR0 interrupts and handle logic in the main routine.



The button is debounced in hardware implicitly, since there is a 1 second delay between each polling of button state. As the 16F84A only has 8bit registers, the intervals in seconds are not stored but rather the time in seconds between intervals is stored. This allows me to avoid multi-register arithmatics. The clock can also represent 13 states despite having only 12 LEDs - the 13th state is all LED off, which I have reserved for midnight.



I will report on how accurate it is eventually. I will check the log clock when I wake up, against real time, to see if the right interval is correctly illuminated.



Update 10/5/07 - Woke up, clock was right. Every 30minutes or so I check it and its been right so I declare it a success :-)




Cheers,

Steve

May 09, 2007

Webcam astrophotography

After seeing what can be done with a webcam, I decided to try it. I asked my cousin for her webcam which she bought a while back - some generic Chinese product, with no identifying brands. macam reported it as Generic ZC031P Webcam.



So anyway I dis-assembled it (with permission of course), which wasn't too hard. Then I mounted the imaging unit on a piece of wood using a few screws (salvaged from dismantlement of the webcam casing) and hot glue. Then I used a film canisters which tapers towards the bottom slightly as an adapter - it fits snugly into a 1.25" eyepiece holder. Luckily its black. Some more hotglue and electrical tape later, I had a home made webcam adapted for prime focus use.





Unfortunately I did not have the presence of mind to take pictures while I was making it... so you will have to make do with these.



Naturally after I built this, the clouds moved in. I tried "spying" on some near by highrises to test it, but found my telescope didn't have enough in focus (back focus? Basically, I can't retract the focuser enough to focus). Maybe things will be better with a target at infinity - i.e. a planet. I will post an update when I get a clear sky.




Cheers,

Steve