Schemes Cobra couldn’t achieve, but the banks are trying

io9 put together a list of The 14 Dumbest Schemes That Cobra Ever Came Up With On G.I. Joe. Some really wacky ideas, what do you expect from a kids cartoon? But not all of them are totally insane. Some have merit, just bad implementation.

Take for instance plan 5:

5) Destroying All Currency, “Money to Burn”
Cobra creates a device that destroys all the world’s currency. This completely absurd, impossible device is somehow not the stupidest part of the plan; the stupidest part is that Cobra Commander thinks that people will trade their non-cash valuables, likely jewelry, to him for a new currency which is basically a new gold coin with his face on it. Ignoring the fact that even if people did somehow agree Cobra Bucks would be the new world currency, the loss of all that cash would completely destroy the economy and probably civilization, and Cobra would basically rule the world of Mad Max.

This plot is not that insane. And many banks would like to do it.

Most of the world’s currency exists in electronic form. With only part of it being physical banknotes and coins. All the long term deposits in banks are just stored in computers.

As I see it, destroying all the (physical) money would have 2 advantages:

  1. It costs money to make the physical currency. Physical notes and coins wear out. And then money needs to spent again to replace them. So you are saving money by keeping it all electronic.
  2. Tracking. If all your transactions are done electronically, via Credit/Debit cards/etc, it is much easier for the bank (and government) to track where you spend all your money. You can then create nice profiles of people’s spending/travel habits.

So, Cobra wasn’t too insane. They just need to work on scheme implementation.

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Why you don’t space people in a closed ecosystem #The100

Having just watched the first episode of The 100, I felt the need to write about one flaw of the episode. Why are they spacing people they don’t like? It’s a waste of resources.

The 100 - how big is your airlock?

The 100 – how big is your airlock?

I can see the rational for removing people. They have a small society, limited space to contain it and feel the need to have a drastic deterrent for crime.

But it is just the wrong way to do things, and here is my reasoning:

  1. They are all part of a small closed ecosystem (a space station). They are all worried about dwindling resources, especially as the people in charge know there is a problem. Why eject resources into space?
  2. The person is biomass, just kill them and use their body as fertiliser.
  3. If you really need to space them, strip them first. Reuse their clothes and anything in their pockets.
  4. If you have to space them, why do it from a large air lock? Isn’t that a lot of air to waste, all ejected into space?
  5. If you eject that much air into space, won’t it affect the orbit of the space station? And require a correction later on?

It is nice to see more Sci-Fi on TV. I just wish they thought a bit more about the science.

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Surry Hills lanes in the rain (photo collection)

Back lanes of Surry Hills wet after the rain.

Surry Hills lanes in the rain 1Surry Hills lanes in the rain 2Surry Hills lanes in the rain 3Surry Hills lanes in the rain 4: man with umbrellaSurry Hills lanes in the rain 5: this is draining

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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Construction site squeezed into Chippendale behind Central Park, Sydney

Inner city Sydney seem to be full of construction sites building apartment blocks, or converting old buildings into them. Here is a shot of one construction site squeezed between buildings in Chippendale, with cranes overhead.

Construction site squeezed into Chippendale behind Central Park, Sydney

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Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills (photo collection)

Walking round the back lanes of Surry Hills at lunch time, looking at the lines of light and shadow falling across them.

Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills 1Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills 2Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills 3Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills 4Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills 5Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills 6Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills 7Light and shadow play on lanes in Surry Hills 8

1

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City of Sydney Council warning users to give way to ET overhead #photo

Give Way to ETAround Sydney there are more signs to remind pedestrians about cyclists. Amongst there I found a few telling pedestrians to be aware of Extra-Terrestrials over head.

I mean, what else would a bicycle displayed above the people mean?

(If this means nothing to you, you need to go watch more 80’s SciFi movies.)

Give Way to ETGive Way to ET

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LEGO – Everything is Awesome!!!, for 5 hours?

Having just watched the LEGO movie, and thoroughly enjoyed it, I thought it would be fun to create a Spotify playlist Emmet would enjoy.

We saw all those happy singing constructions workers 5 hours later still singing the same same song. So they really did sing that song for 5 hours? Well, it must be Awesome, what would it be like?

I have put together a Spotify list to try to capture some of that Awesomeness. Use the list below, or click to go to Spotify here.

PS. For those wondering how the time was worked out, here is the Awesome maths:

Song Time
Everything Is Awesome!!! (Feat. The Lonely Island) 2:43 *3
Everything Is Awesome!!! – Jo Li 1:27 *1
Everything Is Awesome!!! (Feat. The Lonely Island) 2:43 *3
Everything Is Awesome!!! -Unpluged 1:24 *1
Everything Is Awesome!!! (Feat. The Lonely Island) 2:43 *3
Everything Is Awesome!!! (Instrumental) 2:42 *1
Total: 30:00

Repeated 10 times for 5 hours, with one more Everything Is Awesome!!! (Feat. The Lonely Island) on the end for good measure. :)

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Lines to infinity on Central Station (no, not the queues) #photo

Lines of light and shadow on the platform extending to a point at infinity.
Central Station, Sydney

#Trackwork on the Northern Line, so getting the #train the wrong way round

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Changes on NSW public Transport tickets due to Opal cards

With the new Opal transport card is being phased in for use in pubic transport around Sydney and other bits of NSW, there are changes coming in the way things work.

Here are some things I found on the Transport NSW site, and have questions about.

Seniors/Pensioners

Pensioner Excursion Ticket (PET)According the Changes to Pensioner Excursion Tickets on State Transit buses (24 April 2014) article, buses are going to stop setting “Pensioner Excursion Tickets, Family Funday Sunday tickets and MyMulti Day Passes“. In the Eastern Suburbs, this is effective from 28 April, and from 1 June for other metropolitan buses.

The justification for this is interesting:

For State Transit buses across Sydney to be ready for Opal, they need to have new technology. Once this happens, some tickets – like Pensioner Excursion Tickets, Family Funday Sunday tickets and MyMulti Day Passes – can no longer be sold on board.

The article goes on to say that you can still buy them, at train stations and ticket sellers. So they are not going away immediately, and I’ll assume there will still be technology on the bus to use them.

So, why does installing new technology stop you selling the tickets? Currently when bought on a bus, the driver just drops the ticket into the existing green Travel Ten machines. So I don’t see the problem.

Further down it states:

Customers who qualify for $2.50 Pensioner Excursion Tickets will be eligible for the new Gold Opal Senior/Pensioner card and no travel conditions will change.

Which is good for Seniors/Pensioners. Although, some of the next points are interesting:

Opal gives you lots of benefits:

  • Daily travel cap: unlimited trips no more $2.50 a day
  • Weekly Travel Reward: after 8 paid journeys in a week all further journeys are free.

While I understand that standard Opal cards give you free travel after 8 paid journeys, how does this apply for Pensioners?

Pensioners have a maximum cost of $2.50 a day, which are probably going to consist of multiple journeys. Does this mean that, if you do 4 journeys on Monday and 4 on Tuesday, you won’t be charged for trips on Wednesday? Or, is each day considered one journey, so you get the 8th day or a 7 day week free?

Not that is is really a big thing, $2.50 a day for pensioners is a reasonable deal. I’m just interested in the way they decided to word it. There may be a bullet point they forgot to remove.

Family Funday Sunday

Family Funday SundayMore worrying though, is the question, how will they deal with Family Funday Sunday tickets?

At $2.50 a family member, taking out the whole family somewhere by public transport on Sunday is not that expensive. The government’s effort to encourage people to use public transport on a Sunday, when most people aren’t using it. (Just make sure you check for track work.)

But, how will this work under the new Opal card?

If each family member has an Opal card, how will the bus/train know they are members of the same family? And that each member should only be charged a total of $2.50 for the whole day?

Will families need to register all they cards together online to count as a family? What constitutes a family?

Looking at the Terms & Conditions, it says “The travelling group must be related by family and include at least one adult and one child“. So the group could also consist of uncles/aunts/grandparents/etc. If the previous question is true, do they all need to register together? Will it be handled in some other way?

I’d be interested to see Transport NSW’s scenarios and use-cases for these family tickets, to see how they think this will work.

Or, has Transport NSW put the Family Funday Sunday tickets in the too hard basket, and decided to scrap them altogether?

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Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC) and related goodies

The Premier’s Reading Challenge (PRC) is on again this year, with participation from NSW, Vic, SA, Tas, and ACT. The Qld and WA ones seems to be on at a different time of year. And I can’t find info for NT.

Premiers' Reading Challenge - Windows 8 requiredI’m interested that this year NSW teamed up with a technology company and create an App to track your reading. As it happens, that technology company is Microsoft, and the software is only available for Windows 8.

Premiers' Reading Challenge - Available in US EnglishAnother interesting result of this team up, is that the software is only available in US English. A bit strange for a competition to encourage Australian children to read.

And, I really hope the related Apps are aimed at parents, not their children. I don’t think K-9 students need the RTA Car Driver Knowledge Test, and I think encouraging them to use the NSW Lotto application is a very bad idea.

Premier's Reading Challenge - Related appsIn case you don’t believe these screen shots all came from the same page, here is a PDF.

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