Tag Archives: resources

Tax cuts the price of MacArthur Coal

The Prime Minister is saying that today’s Peabody bid for Macarthur Coal demonstrates that the Gillard/Brown “coal tax” has not hurt the prospects of the Australian coal industry. But today’s Financial TImes reveals that the Labor government’s taxes are having an impact on the value of Australian resource assets. Peabody has cut its offer price […]

Auto rip multiple audio CDs in OS X

So you want to rip your library of CDs to your computer. ITunes will automate this for you—loading and ejecting CDs as it fills up its library.

But what if you want a more accurate rip using the Accurate Rip database? What if you prefer not to store your music only in iTunes; for example because you prefer another player or you prefer to use the file-system rather than a proprietary library to store your music? Or, perhaps, you want to encode to FLAC or some other non-proprietary or lossless format?

World Opera season programs


For opera devotees, fans, ‘tragics’ … etc., but mainly for myself, I’ve developed a synthetic RSS feed of news about Season events, tickets and subscriptions for Opera houses around the world that you can find near the bottom of this page.

I’ve used Yahoo Pipes and Yahoo’s YQL—an SQL-type query language for Yahoo search databases—to search for new season announcements from the world’s opera houses and mangled the results into an RSS format. The links in the feed jump to the announcement pages for each Opera house.

Hope you enjoy it. Please let me know.

Century trends in Victorian temperatures

Mean maximum temperatures, January, rural Victoria

There are a dozen or so rural Victorian weather stations, of the 255 listed as reporting maximum temperature data to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, that have records stretching back to years before 1900. I have found them by skimming through the listings on this page at the BOM website. It has a helpful graphic that dynamically displays the record length.

I thought it might be interesting to see the trend of maximum temperatures in these rural locations. The graphic (click the thumbnail) shows that in eight of these twelve sites, including one NSW site—Deniliquin, almost on the Victorian border—the temperature trend is negative or flat. The trend estimate is a simple, linear least-squares trend over the longest period available in each record with 1-sigma bands as indicated. The idea for this experiment came from a post at the Carbon-Sense Coalition website.

Investment barriers stuff-up China relations

No one I know seriously questions the importance of China to Australia’s external balances, especially now in the trough of a recession. Nor can we have any doubts about China’s growing political, cultural and ‘strategic’ importance for us and our region of the world. So why would a government led by sinophile make such a terrible, embarrassing, stuff-up of its response to a proposal from a top Chinese resources company to deepen our commercial relationship?

John Garnaut bluntly explains in today’s Fairfax press what a hamfisted, mis-aimed blow the denial-by-delay in the Chinalco-Rio case has dealt our relations with the Chinese government and top Chinese commercial management. How wooden-headed and inept is our commercial diplomacy to give the impression that Australia disdains commercial integration with China when our official objective—and our real, considered objective, I’m confident—is absolutely the converse?

Considering both the tiny trickle of Chinese investment flows (below) to Australia and the top priority that China has in our foreign policy, this error-of-omission beggars belief.

Malcolm Turnbull on Chinalco’s bid for Rio

Malcolm Turnbull’s wide-ranging speech to the Lowy Institute on the balance of power in Asia is thoughtful, well-aimed, and well-expressed. There is much to agree with.

But I disagree with all three of Mr Turnbull’s arguments against the Chinalco bid for Rio (see below). Here’s my main problem. The two parts of this sentence just don’t belong together. They should be anathema to any liberal, democratic government.

Website engine in new hands

I’m a fan of Burton Malkiel’s analysis of equities markets; I invest mainly in indexes. Consequently, it’s not all that often that commercial A&M actions threaten something of value to me. But this is different.

Oracle’s proposed purchase of Sun affects the future of a key asset in which I have a huge consumer surplus. You, too, probably. Just last year, Sun bought the open-source database MySQL on which this site—like millions of others—is based. It’s a vital piece of the web: not irreplaceable, but still…

Here’s the problem. Sun was a long-term, serial supporter of “open-sourced” software (maybe that was Sun’s undoing?). But Oracle makes a competing, more powerful, commercial database server. It will now also own Sun’s other open-source ventures such as OpenOffice.org, and Virtual Box virtualization software…not to mention the jewel in Sun’s dowry: Java.