Quizzically Musing

Watching the madness

Archive for December 2010

Facebook’s downtime

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This is a case of what was not really reported at all.  Although Twitter was afire with the Facebook problems yesterday, the mainstream press in Australia seemed to just ignore it.  A system outage affects 500 million users worldwide and this is not news?  Does that strike anyone other than me as strange?

Interestingly, the downtime was while the USA sleeps.  I have visual images of the guy or gal who was on call just not waking up  when the pager beeped (correction – server sent text message) alerting a server problem.  I know, not an exciting visual – but I’m an IT person, so forgive me!  Actually – it reminds me of a time years ago when I was at a party.  One of our friends was a Channel 7 cinematographer and carried a pager (it was in the days before text messages).  Having a wonderful time, he threw his pager in a glass of beer – to ensure he wouldn’t get called out!

I managed to find one report in the press.  I expected there may have been some coverage today, explaining the cause of the massive outage that lasted some 6 or more hours.  Nothing I could find.  Admittedly I didn’t search to the nth degree – I expected something obvious.  Not a peep.

Very interesting……………..



Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 31, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Posted in News

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Guns & sex? Not me!

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Maybe this article caught my eye because of my current enforced state of celibacy.  More likely it caught my eye because I am a long standing supporter of gun control.  That is despite having been a A-grade competitive shooter in my younger years.

I have to say I’ve never imagined, even in my wildest fantasies (clearly mine aren’t wild enough), combining guns and sex.  Call me strange if you will, but somehow the two just don’t seem to mix, unless you are into games involving rape fantasies I suppose.

Now we have a situation when the man has accidentally killed his wife.  Interestingly the wife was 50 and the husband only 23, if the report is correct.  This is quite a substantial age difference.  I can’t help but wonder what the life insurance arrangements are.

The husband has been arrested, but no charges have yet been laid.  I suppose in a country where everyone has the constitutional right to bear arms it might take a little longer to determine what the charge should be.  Stupidity springs to mind, although I’m not sure that is actually a criminal offence in itself.

The husband didn’t know the gun was loaded, the report states.  Ummmmmmmm – how many guns load themselves, I wonder?  Did the wife load it, hoping to dispose of the husband?  Was this a murder plot gone wrong?  He put the gun to her head and it discharged? 

I remember the case earlier this year where the husband killed several members of his family because the wife hadn’t cooked his breakfast eggs properly.  Guns and domesticity are just not a good mix.  What is your view?

How many people really involve guns in their sex lives? 

While I am very sorry for the loss of life in this case, I really can’t help thinking that anyone who plays with fire risks getting burnt – in some cases, fatally.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 30, 2010 at 6:15 am

Posted in Family, News, Stupidity

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Fears Groundless?

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Two days ago this report appeared in the SMH.  This might be a reference to an entirely different boat, but I am haunted by information I received last night that there are currently efforts underway to locate a boat believed to be in trouble.

If it is the same boat, how terrible for the people.  They will have been at sea for a great deal longer than anticipated as they were expected to arrive three weeks before the Christmas Island tragedy, according to the above article.

I hope it is not the same boat.  Please let it not be the same boat.  There is nothing in the mainstream media this morning that I have noticed, so perhaps nothing has been found. Or nothing has been

This article published some days ago in The Age is a very good article on why people risk their lives in this way.   I came across another article the other day that was also pertinent. 

There are SO MANY displaced people and refugees in the world.  What are we, as a species, doing to ourselves?

While I know that mathematically as our global population grows, so will the numbers of refugees and displaced persons, I find the figures upsetting.  The UN figures state there were 26 million Internally Displaced Persons around the world in 2008.   15.2 million refugees in 2009.  Asylum seekers are refugees who have not had their refugee status recognised.  I quote the UN web site:

At the beginning of 2009, there were some 826,000 asylum-seekers of concern to the UN refugee agency. They are found around the globe. UNHCR advocates for governments to adopt fair and efficient procedures to determine if an individual asylum-seeker is a refugee, recognizing how difficult it is in many cases to document persecution.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 29, 2010 at 10:17 am

Only in Darwin…

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Or perhaps this almost qualifies for a Darwin Award.  Not quite, it wasn’t a life-threatening situation.  Just rather strange!  A report in today’s HeraldSun details a woman’s reaction to being denied sex by a cabbie.

Quite within his rights, one would think, to say “No, thanks”.

The woman has been charged with criminal damage and having an offensive weapon after kicking the car and smashing the rear window with a bottle.

Quite  a night on the tiles, I think.

The joys of public holidays – slow news days.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 28, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Posted in News, Stupidity

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Liberals are at it again

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This report is actually quite interesting on several fronts.  First is the backpeddling.  Didn’t Abbott vow not to fiddle with industrial relations law because business needed a break from change?

Second is the actual fiddling being considered.  Total revamp of unfair dismissal laws.  Having been an manager responsible for hiring and firing I know that in the past trying to remove an unsatisfactory employee from one’s employment was expensive and difficult.  I don’t know the details right now as these days I’m a very happy technocrat and can happily leave that to others to worry about.

The question of dismissal from employment is always a double edged sword.  Both sides have rights, even if those rights are not reflected in any legislation current at any given time.  I phrase it that way simply because the goal posts keep shifting. 

Surely any employer has a right to decide who should and should not be a member of staff?  On the other hand, employees are entitled to protection against unethical and/or immoral treatment by employers.  How do we balance the needs of both groups and not set up the sort of litigious environment that is depicted by Ms Collier in the article?

We have all heard of situations where employees are terminated a week before their three month trial period ends.  Some employers do this routinely: nothing to do with the actual employee’s merit or lack thereof.  Women terminated or made redundant just because they became pregnant (yes, it still happens).  Fred fired simply because of interpersonal friction. 

Actually, the last is a valid reason, in my personal view.  However, assuming there are not other reasons to terminate Fred, the employer should at least act responsibly and ensure Fred is not impacted negatively (i.e. about to become long-term unemployed).  One thing a workplace needs to be is a pleasant place to spend eight plus hours a day.  We don’t have to love our fellow employees, but at least we should be able to get along with them.  If there is one employee who just doesn’t “fit” and that impacts the whole team or work environment, then it is logical that the employer should be able to resolve that situation with impunity.   And, I venture to suggest, responsibility toward the employee.  After all, the employer made the hiring decision – if the employer got that wrong, that is not the employee’s fault.

If the figures in the article are accurate, I do have to wonder about a 63% increase in unfair dismissal applications.  It indicates something is slightly amiss somewhere.  Or is it a case of something was amiss and correcting that has lead to the increase?  I don’t know the answer, but I agree that as a nation we need to know the answer.

I am not too keen on the “fire at will” principle.  We see it at work in the USA and it doesn’t work too well over there.  Why would it work well here?  A modified version with adequate safeguards might, but what do those safeguards need to be?

This is not something that should be subject to the party line.  There should be a bi-partisan approach to this so Australia can get some industrial relations laws in place that  can stay in place and not change every time there is an election.  We need to stop shifting the goal posts every five minutes.

Written by Robyn Dunphy

December 26, 2010 at 11:05 am