Schadenfreude and Salt

Ah, depression and having to work for a living are not really conducive to blogging.

Anyway, since I last made an update we’ve had a state election. Schadenfreude is an ignoble emotion, but it was still sweet to watch the Liberals* kicked out of power with a 16% swing. Not that Labor are likely to be much better, but at least it’s a new set of faces screwing us over.

And they won’t (probably) sell off Western Power, and they will (probably) cancel Roe 8, both of which suit me just fine.

Switching subjects wildly in that crazy way you love me for, I’ve noticed lately that salt lamps are making a comeback. You know, the ones made of a big chunk of Himalayan pink rock salt with a light bulb shoved in the middle? I’ve got no problem with people buying these as decoration – they look great, if I could afford the ridiculously inflated prices I’d get one myself – but when people buy them because of the ‘health benefits’ it makes my blood boil in the particular way I reserve for scam artists ripping off the vulnerable.

The supposed health benefits of salt lamps derive from them releasing ‘negative ions’. Now, it is true that if you sufficiently heat up salt it will release negative ions, but the ionic bond between sodium and chlorine in salt is extremely strong. So much so that you need to heat rock salt to a few hundred degrees before you get any more than a tiny trickle of ions out of it.

It should go without saying that if a lamp in the corner of your lounge room is heating up to hundreds of degrees, then the resulting plentiful supply of ions is probably not going to be your chief concern.

On top of this is the fact that there is very little evidence of negative ions having any beneficial effect whatsoever. The idea is based simply on the observation that people (some people anyway) feel ‘energised’ after a thunderstorm. Somewhere along the line someone attributed this to ‘negative ions’ and the pseudoscience industry ran with it. Negative ions may under some circumstances reduce dust but that’s about it.

Finally ‘Himalayan’ rock salt does not come from the Himalayas. Most of it comes from a completely different mountain range located in Pakistan. The remainder actually comes from Poland. So not only are you paying big bucks for completely fictional heath benefits, you’re not even getting the material you think you are!

So yeah, quit it with the rock salt lamps people!

Anyway I’ve been grooving to this Chvrches track lately. Not only is it a great song – I particularly like the contrast between Lauren Mayberry’s and Hayley Williams’ voices – the video clip is a lot of fun too. The toast makes me laugh every time.

Finally as prompted by the always amazing Haiz I’ve been getting into Thrilling Intent of late. This is a massive series of videos where an RPG group has recorded their extremely stupid adventures. The style – mostly audio with icons being moved around a map – takes a bit of getting used to, and I suggest setting the speed to 1.25 for the first few eps, but the characterisation and improvisation are brilliant.

The characters are Markus Velafi – a fast talking, magic using, impulsive Tiefling bullshit artist, Gregor Hartway – a well meaning but idiotically naive fighter, and Aesling (Ash) a magic user of some description who is the only voice of reason in the group (she spends a lot of her time yelling at the others). It’s downright hilarious and highly recommended.

So, that should keep you busy for a while. Have at it!

(* Which is to say Conservatives. Don’t ask.)

Cunning, Flesh-Covered Androids

We have now entered the media blackout period for Saturday’s Federal election. Praise the lord for small mercies. If I had to watch another ad with Malcolm Turnbull droning …jobs. and. growth. jobs. and. growth… or Bill Shorten trying to convince us he’s not some sort of cunning, flesh-covered android I may well have gone spare.

It currently looks like the Libs will get back in, probably with a reduced minority. Not the ideal situation, but as long as they don’t get control of the Senate it won’t be a complete disaster. God alone knows what’s going to happen up there, what with the new Senate voting rules and the ever increasing numbers of insane micro-parties – let alone the fact that the double dissolution has put all the Senate seats up for grabs. Interesting times my friends, interesting times. Get your monkey paws ready.

I am currently in the last stages of preparation for my trip to the UK. Airbnb has decided that I am a human being rather than some sort of cunning, flesh-covered android which means I have organised some places to stay and will not have to sleep under a series of canal bridges. This, combined with getting enough stuff completed at work before I leave means I have not had time to do much else, hence the lack of updates.

I have started to develop the ability to recognise New Zealand postcodes. I’m not sure if this is for good or ill.

Housekeeping

Mint for pillow?

Before I go offline for the weekend, some housekeeping…

The trains to Midland were screwed up yesterday afternoon, so I ended up walking along the rail line from the city to the liquor store on Guildford road from where I got a bus the rest of the way home. Annoying, but good exercise I suppose.

It’s state election day tomorrow! I have a horrible feeling Colin is going to get back in. After all, he – apparently – stands up to Canberra (this is about the only campaign slogan the Liberal Party seems to have). Vote early and often people!

I’m going to Oz Comic-Con this weekend to see William Shatner and Richard Dean Anderson. As observed by my colleague Daniel, if we could get them to fight it would solve all kinds of nerd arguments…

With my net access down I’ve actually been painting some of my 40k models. Much to my surprise they’re looking OK (latest pics at the end of the set).

Some more personnel have joined the Lego Tanith First and Only. Chiria, Costin, Dalin Criid and Lucky Bonin are all now fit and ready for duty.

Ummm, that’s about it I guess. See you next week…

Oh America!

Apparently there’s some American woman who wants to move to Australia because…

…their president is a Christian and actually supports what he says…

Hmmm, let’s do a comparison…

Julia Gillard
Prime Minister of Australia
Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
President? No Yes
Christian? No – A stated Atheist Yes – Despite right wingers’ repeated claims that he’s a filthy, evil, communist, socialist, terrorist, Kenyan “Muslin”
He? No Yes
Actually supports what he says? No* No*
Score 0/4 3/4

When it’s put like that, I rather think she’d be happier staying where she is.

(* Find me a politician who does and I’ll give you a shiny new donkey – or if you prefer, elephant)