Smoking: The Curious Pastime

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As anyone who does not smoke will tell you, the act of smoking is a despicable thing which makes you smell awful, removes funds from your bank account at a frightening rate, and makes you incredibly prone to cancer and other smoking-related diseases.

However, as a smoker I have a completely different standpoint. I would like to say that this standpoint is not the result of a bias, but that would be a complete and utter lie. I do think, however, that there are a few points that need to be cleared up.

You see, the thing you non-smokers don’t seem to understand is that smoking is good. Really good. It feels wonderful on so many levels, and as a result, people want to do it as often as they can.

But that’s not the way it should be.

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Wii sales hit 100,000

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[image title=”wii-shirt” size=”thumbnail” id=”321″ align=”right” linkto=”https://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/wii-shirt.gif” ]The Nintendo Wii already has the title of fastest-launch seller of any console released in Australia, and today it added another feather to its cap. Figures from industry tracker GfK Australia show that 100,000 Wiis have now been sold down under since the console’s launch on December 7, 2006 — the quickest a home console has reached the 100k mark in Australia.

The previous quickest-to-100,000-sales was the Xbox 360. The 360, which was launched in Australia on March 23, 2006, took approximately seven months to reach that milestone. The Wii took six months and two weeks.

With all three next-generation consoles out for months in Australia, the three majors have been busily beating their chests about how successful their individual products have been. Microsoft was the last one to boast, releasing figures earlier this month showing it had sold one million pieces of software in Australia.

And in other Wii news, Nintendo Australia has finally given an approximate date for the local release for Super Paper Mario. The anticipated game is scheduled for release in September this year, although Nintendo has not confirmed a specific date in the month.

Read more at the source.

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Why Australians don’t (and won’t) have Unlimited Internet Plans

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[image title=”australia_population_density” size=”thumbnail” id=”325″ align=”right” linkto=”https://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/australia_population_density.jpg” ]Australia is the “Land Of The Wide Open Spaces”. Because of the sheer distances involved, it costs an arm, leg, six puppies and your first three children per kilometer to lay cable anywhere. God’s Own Earth Mate might have almost the same amount of land-mass as the USA does, but our national population is on par with that of the state of Texas. We’re spread out, and we love it that way. The USAians by comparison are squished up close, so over there the costs of running the cable infrastructure makes more sense. There’s more customers per square mile across the entire USA that here, by a factor of twenty or more. Extrapolate that, and that means (roughly) that every kilometer of copper or fibre laid down costs we Aussie customers twenty times as much.

“But I live in a city, they live in cities too!” Sure you do. Sure they do. But we city dwellers have always subsidised our rural cobbers with their telephone service. It was that way back when what is now Telstra was part of the Federal Government’s Post Master General, so it’s been kept that way (much to the current Telstra’s constant grumbling). More than half of your phone bill goes towards the personnel and equipment that keeps our country unified over stupendously long distances, by running copper and fibre out to the ten percent of the nation’s peoples that don’t live in cities and major centres. They want the internet too!

Via MacTalk

Telstra: Broadband? Or Fraudband?

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[image title=”oldexchange” size=”thumbnail” id=”328″ align=”right” linkto=”https://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/oldexchange.jpg” ]In telecoms, Telstra is no 800 pound gorilla. It’s an 800 pound colic-ridden infant, irritably throwing its toys out of the pram when it doesn’t get its own way.

Whether you agree with what the government’s been doing on broadband policy or not, it’s become a hot electoral issue — things are definitely moving. There’s a fibre rollout hopefully coming to urban areas, a WiMax deployment for the bush and for everyone else, there’s the Broadband Now Web site: a site devoted to showing those in Australia’s remotest areas how they too can get connected by whatever means possible.

The whole point of the site, according to Helen Coonan et al, is to give those not in the know about their broadband options a list of providers who meet government criteria on price, speed etc (quite what’s the point of an Internet site for those who don’t have broadband to start with is beyond me, but let’s gloss over that for the moment).

Initially, when the site was set up, Telstra’s BigPond ISP didn’t make the list as it didn’t meet the criteria set down by the government: a 512Kbps download speed; a 128Kbps upload speed; a 1GB monthly data allowance; and a total cost including connection fees of not more than AU$2500 over three years.

Telstra had a word with the government about the omission. The telco didn’t like being missed off the who’s who list. They deserved to be there too, dammit, they said.

Via ZDNet

Nintendo: Wii are going online

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[image title=”brucewii” size=”thumbnail” id=”331″ align=”right” linkto=”https://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/brucewii.jpg” ]Next-Gen: Earlier this week, Reggie [Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo America] had talked about getting serious about online. Sure, there are a lot of online gamers using Wi-Fi Connect, but I look at things that Sony and Microsoft are doing with their online programs, where they’re really creating communities and focusing on user-generated content on top of multiplayer online. Where is Nintendo as far as that goes in regards to Wii? Right now we’ve only seen a few multiplayer online games like Mario Strikers Charged and Mario Kart Wii.

Full interview transcript with George Harrison, Nintendo USA’s Marketing Director, over at Business Week.

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Engineering Marvels: The English Electric Lightning

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[image title=”lightning_f1_f3″ size=”full” id=”379″ align=”right” linkto=”https://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/lightning_f1_f3.gif” ]In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the interception of Soviet long-range nuclear bombers was a very worrying topic for Western Military leaders. Models such as the Tupolev Tu-22 were already in development, and could reach Mach 1.5 at 40,000 feet – more than a match for the existing sub-sonic fighters of the age. It was predicted that they could deliver a nuclear payload to British or American cities and be totally unreachable by existing fighter aircraft or surface-to-air missile systems.

The British needed something to stop them, and they favoured speed, accuracy and power to do that. Their response was the development of the English Electric Lightning. The Lightning (not to be confused with the P-38 Lightning of WWII fame), is a second-generation Jet Interceptor. They were designed to climb rapidly to ceiling height and engage a bomber with high-speed missiles, and they did it astonishingly well.

So, what makes the Lightning an Engineering Marvel? There are a few reasons. Click Read More to find out.

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Andean Currents – A Peruvian Blog

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[image title=”limaphoto” size=”thumbnail” id=”382″ align=”right” linkto=”https://irrationale2.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/limaphoto.jpg” ]A friend of mine is currently living in Lima, Peru and is working as a freelance journalist. His travels have taken him to some of the most incredible places of the world, but his latest blog brings something new to the table. Peru seems to be a place unto itself, with such an incredibly rich history and culture, it is unlike anywhere else in the world… and Kleph is right there in the thick of it. Check out his latest news over at http://andeancurrents.blogspot.com/, and you can check out his other work at http://www.kleph.com/

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