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

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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.