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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in James' LiveJournal:

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    Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
    10:35 pm
    Just "The Doctor"
    I've just been awarded my PhD.
    Thursday, October 20th, 2011
    4:27 pm
    The Mathematics of Power
    I've always had a conviction that the picture of the world economy as some kind of giant bazaar where everyone traded on an equal footing and things ran on supply and demand was a fiction covering the overwhelming control of a small group over most of the money and power.
    But it's nice to have it empirically confirmed.

    PS Did you ever think you would see a headline like: "Revealed – the capitalist network that runs the world" in a popular science magazine?

    Current Mood: smartarsed
    3:59 pm
    Maurice Newman's Denialist Dogwhistle
    In a fairly boring speech about the virtue of pluralism in the media to the conservative (and Murdoch aligned) Sydney Institute, Maurice Newman, Chairman of the ABC, came up with this little gem:

    "Amid all the partisan noise, the ABC's responsibility is enlarged. It must offer not the illusion of comprehensiveness but the genuine article. Not some voices but all of them. The ABC town square must be authentically pluralist. Partisanship may affect editorial choices elsewhere, but the ABC must remain dedicated to objectivity and impartiality.

    The impression that powerful vested interests wield power over the media can be as easily gained by what is not reported as by what is. Biologist Richard Palmer from the University of Alberta in Canada shares this view. He says scientists selectively report data and find ways to confirm their preferred hypothesis, disregarding what they don't want to see. "Our beliefs are a sort of blindness," he has said,adding once he realised how it was everywhere in science, he became depressed."

    Oddly, in a talk about "powerful vested interests wielding power over the media", the name Murdoch didn't arise. Instead we get a quote from Richard Palmer about bias in science. Why?

    It's pretty clear that Maurice Newman is quoting from this article in the New Yorker about perception bias and publication bias, itself an excellent example of non-partisan journalism. But this article is almost a year old. Where'd he come across it?

    Well, if you google "publication bias" and "greenhouse effect" your first hit is, you'll never guess, Jo Nova, who quotes the New Yorker extensively, and quotes Roy Spencer to the effect that "While the article comes from the medical research field, it is sufficiently general that some of what it discusses can be applied to global warming research as well." She argues this is"a sober warning to all of us to search hard for the truth hidden behind variables we are not even able to name yet, let alone measure, and to be ever vigilant about variables we can name, like “publishing bias” and “selective reporting”", and her eager crew rush in to proclaim that Globul Warmin is a Fraud!!!111! (When it comes to naming variables, what about scads of money from the coal and oil industries? or is that the great Unnamable Variable for Ms Nova et al?)

    When Maurice came up with that odd cite it was a clear dogwhistle to his fellow Jo Nova readers and denialists in the audience. No different to his previous "challenging the consensus".

    Of course, more than one can play this game: here are the creationists arguing that Palmer's research proves that Evolution is a Fraud!!1! I wonder if Maurice is going to give them space in his newly "pluralist" ABC. Maybe they could have a weekly radio slot, "The Creation Show". It's pluralist, right?

    I wonder how Richard Palmer feels at his research being used this way?
    Friday, October 14th, 2011
    1:58 pm
    Wanna feel old?
    Of course not. But I'm going to help you do so anyway.

    White Wolf just released a special, 20th anniversary edition of Vampire: The Masquerade.

    I got the ways and means
    to New Orleans
    Goin' down by the river where it's warm and green...
    Tuesday, July 5th, 2011
    1:14 pm
    Thesis final draft
    Am now holding in my hot little hand, 254 pages of dense social theory and ethnography. One more round with the supervisors and it's all he wrote.

    Current Mood: relieved
    Monday, March 14th, 2011
    8:33 pm
    The Unspeakable Oath fundraiser for Japan
    Buy a digital copy of The Unspeakable Oath for $5, and it goes straight to the Red Cross appeal for Japan:
    Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
    1:59 pm
    In honour of Governor Brown's re-election...

    The hippies won't come back you say?
    Well mellow out or you will pay!
    Saturday, January 8th, 2011
    11:10 pm
    More Review!
    "I found the Tales of Nephren-Ka section to be most interesting. James Haughton did a great job pulling together various historical and fictional references to The Black Pharaoh of ancient Egypt. This worshipper of Nyarlathotep occurs in H. P Lovecraft’s original works, is later embellished by other Mythos writers, and is used in several adventures from Chaosium and others. The article does a ‘deep dive’ on the legendary figure citing real mythical (ironic, I know) texts giving great adventure hooks, spells, and artifacts as well as the Black Pharaoh’s place in history."
    From here.
    Sunday, January 2nd, 2011
    12:25 pm
    "The first two of the issue’s features are perfect for anyone wanting to delve back into Call of Cthulhu canon. Curiously, given how he has figured in two classic Call of Cthulhu campaigns – Masks of Nyarlathotep and Day of the Beast (a.k.a. The Fungi From Yuggoth), it is surprising how little we know about the Black Pharoah himself, Nephren-Ka. In “Tales of Nephren-Ka,” James Haughton expands and develops what we do know, suggesting that he might actually be the Monotheist Akhenaten and adding tomes and spells devoted to his legend. Notable amongst these is the Book of Thoth, one tome that only the foolishly curious would ever want to read. There is plenty of background information here for the Mythos and plenty with which to dangle in front of the all too curious investigator."

    Get it here (e-copy) or here (dead tree)
    Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
    11:38 pm
    Saying The Unspeakable Oath
    The Unspeakable Oath returns with issue 18.

    Including, inter alia, Feature Articles:
    “Tales of Nephren-Ka,” by James Haughton—a history of a Nyarlathotep-worshipping pharaoh.
    Monday, September 20th, 2010
    6:39 pm
    Why Does the University of Chicago Hate America?
    Those familiar with U.C.'s predeliction for producing academics who advocate horrific policies may find the pitiful whining of this UC law professor explanatory (reposted at Brad DeLong). Professor Henderson and his wife only make >$455,000 a year and are only in the top 1% of american households, so you can understand why they would be concerned that a tax increase of <2% which they knew about in advance, back to what taxes were before President Shrub, will reduce them to abject poverty.
    Friday, August 20th, 2010
    10:20 pm
    AussieCon4 couch-surfing surfboard needed.
    Hi all, particularly Melbournians!

    I am heading back to Melbourne for AussieCon 4 from Friday September 2nd to Sunday September 5th (my birthday, incidentally), and need somewhere to crash. Needs to be somewhere with reasonable public transport into the city and for you not to mind me coming in at 2 am or whenever.

    As a sweetener, the Con actually goes from Thursday September 1 to Monday September 6th so the first person who asks is welcome to use my membership on the Thursday and Monday (and Sunday afternoon as my plane leaves at 4pm). My hoped-for host gets first dibs of course.

    PS Vote 1 Green!

    Current Mood: cheerful
    Sunday, April 4th, 2010
    10:04 am
    About to take Antoan on his first train ride, on a 110 year old steam train no less. He and all the other little Thomas the Tank Engine enthusiasts are wildly excited. It is rather infectious.
    Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
    11:11 am
    Codeine every day just to function. Staring to think i've got some long term damage here...
    Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
    10:17 pm
    Just got rear ended. Everyone ok but feel shaken.
    Monday, March 1st, 2010
    1:45 pm
    Dr Who vs Thatcher
    I was amused to read that Dr Who attempted to bring down Thatcher. I am surprised that people see this as political and not part of his core job responsibility of bringing down world conquering evil cyborg tyrants.
    Thursday, February 25th, 2010
    9:25 am
    Bendable learnings
    Just heard Simon Crean talking to Fran Kelley on BSE. He had the most horribly mangled syntax i've heard in ages. Almost incomprehensible. What made it worse was that he also sounded like he was trying to get a clear message across. He's forgotten how. For Crean, weasel words have become duckspeak.
    Sunday, February 21st, 2010
    10:57 am
    Runequest II
    Am very happy with my Valentine's present: leatherbound copy of Mongoose Runequest II. Much closer to classic RQ as the result of ditching (in fact, explicitly repudiating) a number of ill-advised innovations, but much more streamlined than RQ3 ever was.
    Sunday, February 7th, 2010
    7:03 pm
    nostalgia, the pain of old wounds
    However you define it, these long summer evenings give it to me. Do you remember?
    Friday, November 20th, 2009
    12:33 am
    I am thinking of setting up another blog dedicated to producing "shorter" style summaries of Quadrant blog posts, because, like Plan 9 From Outer Space, they're so bad they're good.

    First potential entry:
    Shorter Ben-Peter Terpstra:
    Being governed by a democratically elected black man who is trying to fulfil his campaign promises is exactly like being ruled by flesh-eating shapeshifting lizards from outer space. David Icke? Who's David Icke?
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