Sunday, 1 February 2015

What's the colour of the traffic light that tells you when to go? If you're from the Anglosphere (the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) you would most likely say green. However, if your Japanese, you're likely to say blue. No, the Japanese aren't colourblind or crazy, they just generally don't consider blue and green as seperate colours. Now it doesn't mean that they don't have a word for green and a seperate word for blue, they do, it's just not common

Now, what's the colour of the ocean? If English is your first language you're likely to say blue. What's the colour of the sky? If you speak English the answer would also be blue. Now if Greek is your first language, you would say "ble" for the ocean and "galazio" for the sky-that's right, the Greek language considers the colour of the sky and the colour of the ocean as different colours. This is because dark blue and light blue are seen as different colours. Whilst English speakers can see that dark blue and light blue, we consider them the same colour. This is Japanese with blue and green. Although, the English language does have a word for light blue, it's "azure" and blue is technically for dark blue. However, we call blue and azure "blue". For example, "get me the blue jumper" could apply to an azure jumper unless we need to distinguish between them, in that case (assuming azure was a more well known word). Don't get the blue jumper, get the azure jumper (or in reality since
(of coarse since azure is little known, we say "dark blue" and "light blue", but that's a different story). This is the same with Japanese use of blue and green. Since there are no blue traffic lights, the Japanese don't need to distinguish them from the green lights, so they learn them as "aio" in their own language, which when translated is the word for blue, therefore, blue traffic lights. Similarly if an English speaker were speaking Greek we would say the sky is "ble" because that word means blue, even though it's not actually "ble" and calling it would be wrongit's actually azure which is "galazio". Calling the sky blue in Greek would be like calling the colour of a pig red, when in reality it's actually pink, if we use the blue comparison, could be called "light red".
Thank You for reading, and remember, traffic lights are blue!

Life in the country in Australia

If you live in the country in Australia, you do not recieve subsidised public transport, frequent infrastructure booms, cheap healthcare or other tax funded ammenities. If you live in the cities, however, you do recieve these things. Either way you have to pay taxes to fund them. Whilst Australia is a federation meaning that each state operates differently, in my home state of New South Wales (NSW), people get cheap and frequent trains, cheap and (somewhat) frequent buses and cheap and frequent ferries and light rail. This is because taxes pay for most of the operations, even for privatelly owned companies. However, this only applies to the immediate area within Sydney and other major hubs such as the Illawarra, the Central Coast, or basically, anywhere within the reaches of either the suburban or intercity rail network. The areas outside of this (including within the regional rail network) do not recieve subsidised public transport, which means that buses are extremely infrequent and expensive. Yet people both inside and outside of this area have to pay taxes for it

Australia has a system of universal health care (similar to the US' Obamacare) known as Medicare. Medicare is optional for doctors and payment with Medicare is known as "Bulk billing". It is extremely difficult to find a doctor in the city who does not bulk bill, whilst in the country, it is rare to find one that does. Yet taxes from both people in both the city and the country have to pay taxes to fund Medicare.

The government spends millions, if not billions of dollars to pay for new infrastructure, as well as infrastructure upgrades in the cities (especially Sydney and Melbourne) whilst the rest of the nation gets neglected. Okay, you might be thinking that the city is supposed to have better infrastructure than the country, as that's the very definition of country, which is true, however, in Australia, it's ridiculous. Also, from the federal government, most infrastructure funding goes toward Sydney and Melbourne and neglects even other large cities. Yet people in Sydney and Melbourne do not pay any different taxes to people outside of these two cities. Doing so would violate the Australian constitution, which states that all citizens, in all states, are subject to the same tax rates, yet people in Sydney and Melbourne benefit from the taxes incredibly more than people outside of these cities do.

To make matters worse people in the country are further disadvantaged, as wages are generally lower in the country than the city, whilst prices are, however, higher than what they are in the city. Added to the fact that ill-thought ideas such as fuel tax disadvantage people in the country more than city, as whilst the rates are consistant, people in the country have to travel significantly further distances on a daily occurance than people in the city, combined with the lack of adequate public transport, leading to a higher fuel tax paid by people in the country. And that's only one of many examples of taxes that disadvantage people of the country more than city. The bias toward these cities has upset the governments of the states that do not consist of Sydney and Melbourne (Sydney being in NSW and Melbourne in Victoria) as they pay taxes but rarely see the benefits.

To put the scope of this problem into consideration (all numbers are approximate) Sydney has an area of 12,000km2 (4,660mi2), whilst Melbourne has an area of 10,000km2 (3,860mi2), whilst Australia as a whole has an area of 7,600,000km2 (2,900,000mi2). This means that Sydney and Melbourne combine to only 0.3% of Australia's total land area! And if it's not as if Australia is a nation that's so small that benefiting one corner is likely to benefit everyone, Australia is so large that it takes days to drive from one of the nation to the other. So why does an area of significantly less than 1% of the total area reap all the reward? There is a simple one word answer-population. To be more specific (All numbers are approximate) Sydney has a population of 4.5 million and Melbourne has a population 4 Million. When combined this becomes 8.5 million people. Whilst this may not seem like a lot for two cities, the entire population of Australia is 23 million. That means that Sydney and Melbourne consist of 37% of Australia's total population. These numbers aren't child's play. That's within the city itself. There are significant numbers of people who live outside of these two cities who commute to the city every day for work. When you add these people, the proportions become significantly greater. So from the government's percpective why spend millions of dollars to benefit 500 voters when you can spend the same amount to benefit 5 million voters. Australia needs a government who cares about the entire nation more than votes. This is a serious problem.

Having said that however, Australians in the country are far better off than people of the country in other developed nations. Even nations that are more densly populated, and at the end of the day, it's the people's own decision to live there. There is absolutelly nothing stopping (most) of them from moving to either Sydney or Melbourne, yet choose to remain where they are knowing all of this.

Thank you for reading

Thursday, 29 January 2015

What's Down

Many people in English ask as a colloquial phrase "what's up?" to mean "how are you?" or, depending on context, "what's the problem?" However, when someone asks me "what's up" I usually reply "the sky". So one day somebody decided to ask me "what's down" after my reply. After thinking about it, I came up with the answer of "the sky". Now you may be asking how can the sky be down? No, I'm not a Chicken Little impersonator. The answer simple. What happens if you dig a hole through the centre of the Earth? If you don't understand where I'm coming from at this point, I'll explain some more.

If you dig a hole through the centre of the Earth, you will (eventually) reach the other side. On the other side there is water or land, but nevertheless, everything else except the surface is pretty much identical but upside down. If you reach the centre and keep digging, you'll dig up. just like if you were to take to the other side of the world, you'll feel as if you were up. Even if your at the exact antipode (opposite side of the Earth) although you'll be exactly upside to the position where you initially started, you will still feel as if you were up, with sky above you. The sky above you was initially down for the place where you started off, and the sky where you started off is initially down for you. If you still don't understand, there is a diagram below that demonstrates this where the black circle represents the Earth and the blue circle represents the sky.

So the next time that somebody asks you "what's up?" reply with "the sky" and if they ask you what's down, give them the same answer. If somebody tells you that something is upside down, you can also reply with "is it, or is it on the wrong side of the Earth". Of coarse, if you're a member of the Flat Earth society (yes this still exists), then you would think I'm completely wrong.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Jobs and Business

Remember, please do not reveal my real name nor my identity from any other website
If there is one thing that Australia needs is an enquiry into jobs and business

I'll start my justification of the above statement with a quote from a Billy Joel song
"Well we're living here in Allentown,
And they're closing all the factories down"
(The name of that song is Allentown)

As you may or may not be aware, many, many Australians, like many people from Western nations, are loosing their jobs to  outsourcing and computerised processes.

This raises economic and ethical concerns.

First let's start with the economic concerns.

If people lose their jobs in supermarkets, factories, airport check-in desks, etc. The amount of low-skilled jobs around the nation will decline. This would cause a lack of job opportunities for those low-skilled workers. It would also mean that low-skilled workers currently employed in the industries will severely  decrease, and won't be able to find jobs in those same industries. This unfortunately will cause mass unemployment amongst low-skilled workers.

However, this is also creating jobs; jobs for importers, jobs for dock workers, jobs for people maintaining the computer networks of automated factories, supermarket check outs, airport check-ins etc. The majority of these jobs, however, are high-skilled jobs and cannot be filled by low-skilled workers.

However, allowing these low-skill jobs to be performed by manual labour in Australia has the best effect on the economic as more Australians get employed. However this, in turn causes high costs for the manufacturer, and thus a massive deterrent.

However, as you may already be aware, some manufacturers, for one reason or another, choose to continue to use manual labour. Due to the high cost of labour in Australia (and other Western nations for that matter), these manufacturers choose to manufacture overseas, which not only destroys the economy of Australia, not only takes jobs away from Australians, but causes slave labour, which brings me to my next point.

The ethical issues of taking jobs away from Australians in the manufacturing industry. These include the people who once had jobs loosing them, yet not being able to replace their jobs, as well as creating jobs at the other end.

As you may be aware, when a factory closes down in the Western world, it usually moves to third world countries-mostly Oriental Asia. These countries may include China (People's Republic of), Taiwan, Thailand, etc.

In these nations the factory workers are given appalling conditions, they are forced to work for many, many hours on end with no food, no water not even toilet breaks. They are not entitled to sick days nor any holidays or days off. They are also given very little pay (equivalent of $2 US a day). On top of that they are physically, mentally and even sexually abused! (Although US$2 is worth a lot in some currencies, it is still nevertheless an appalling wage), and there is no WH&S (WH&S being Australia's equivalent of OH&S), no safety

This type of labour has been deemed to be slave in the Western world, and if somebody were to treat their workers like that, all hell would break loose, as it should. This is an extremely unethical practice and should be punished.

Another issue with manufacturing in these nations is quality, but that's something I will discuss later.

The government has taken many measures to stop this kind of slavery in Australia, and nobody dares try to treat their workers with such disregard. The Australian government should be trying to close loopholes to stop slavery overseas. Some measures we can take could include banning anything made in certain nations, with severer prosecution.

Another loophole that manufactures have found is the laws of labelling items as made in Australia. If, for example, a jacket is made in Australia, the entire process could be performed in China, for example, all of the materials can be Chinese, the entire process could be Chinese, all the materials could be Chinese and the entire process could be performed in China, except for sewing ONE (not all, but ONE) Chinese made button on to the jacket, and the manufacturer can legally write "Made in Australia" on the jacket, no question. I support Clive Palmer's solution; if 95% or more of the materials and processes are Australian, the item cannot be labbled as "Made in Australia".

However, Australia could have a very simple solution to the problem, a simple solution which I had once heard on the radio-free electricity. 

How would Australia obtain free electricity you may ask??? Well the same solution had thought of that
Well, that's simple. Australia is abundant in both coal and land. Mining is Australia's dominant industry. Instead of charging mining companies for land, we could give them land  for free in exchange for a percentage of their coal. We can use this coal to fire up powerplants, then provide free electricity to our factories, especially those powered by humans, and that way, Australia could be a heavy competitor on the overseas market.

Australian made products are also better quality, and, due to quality, would be more expensive, despite labour prices. However, some people do not care about quality and only care about low prices, which gave me an idea. Identifying three market groups instead of two. the two that we currently identify are the mass and niche markets. The mass market is for mass production and for mass purchase and the niche is for little production, abnd generally more expensive. An example invloving cars is Holden and Ferrari. Holden is mass market and Ferrari is niche market. However, I my thorey devides the market into three sections; niche market, as well as, low price mass market, high quality mass market.

I have no ideas for solutions to solve the problem of call centres moving overseas

Another issue with employment is elderly. Australia has recently announced plans to raise the retirement age-and the age which one is entitled to super annuation and/or pention, from 65 years to 70 years. The reasoning behind this is that paying pention puts a strain on the economy. Another issue with pentions is that migrants come midle-aged, work for 20 or so year then retire, whilst young people who were born here, or migrated with their parents when they were younger, have to work 40 or so years before being entitled to the pention. This could be solved by replacing the system of age pention, with a system of pention paid to people who have only worked a certain  amount of years in Australia.

Whilst this issue does solve the migrant problem, it does, however, not solve the issue of older people in the work force. Whilst some older people do not want to keepm working and want to retire when their time comes, others don't want to retire and still wish to keep working. Others have even died from retirement due to loneliness and/or boredom. These people, if low-skilled, should be given simple tasks that do not carry heavy labour. An example of such a job could be placing labbels on cans. This will not only keep the people alive, but also benifit the economy. The government should be offering intiatives for older people, especially the healthier ones, to remain in the work force, without degrading the quality of the pention for those who choose retirement. Whilst I admit I do not have the solution to this problem, I believe that a brainstoring session should be held by the government, with many experts, in order to find a possible solution to the problem. 

A lack of females exist in industries such mining, construction etc. The extent of the issue goes as far as the government of the state of Queensland (QLD) considering allowing a mining company to only hire female workers, due to the lack of women in their company, against discrimination laws.

My response to that is that people are very good at coming up with problems that don't actually exist. Women are allowed to work in the industry, but make their own personal decision not to work in the industry. If women are allowed to work in the industry, and somebody is doing the job well, there is no problem, no problem what so ever. Somebody had once stated that the problem with women choosing not work in the industry is that they probably think that they may not get accepted. That is a problem that actually does exist, however, in my beliefe, a ban from hiring men is not the right way to tackle the problem. In order to tackle this problem, the companies are trying various tacktics such as depicting women in recrutment posters, or writing the words "Now hiring women". However, in beliefe, the most obvious solution to this problem is placing advertisments in women's toilets (I am the first one to think of placing ads in women's toilets?) 

There are three real problems involving male/female equality in the work place; maternity, equal pay, and a banning men from certain occupations.

Now I know what you're going to say; I'm a hypocritical misogynist (hater of women) because it's alright for women not to be included in certain occuptions, but when men are not, I then call misandry (hatred of men). Not let me reassure you that there is a difference. With women the probelm is that women are permitted but choose not to work in the industry, but would be permitted to work in the industry if they wanted to. In this case, men are prohibited from working in certain roles even if they wanted. To name and shame one company that, although permits men to work for them, bars them from certain roles, White Lady Funerals. Another company which is considering doing so is TaxiLink, in Melbourne. They are pending approval from the Victorian (Victoria being the state that Melbourne is in) government's anti-discrimination board to have pink Taxis, with female only drivers and female passangers. Whilst the reasoning is acceptable, that they want to keep safe, there methods are completely wrong and misandrist. First of all, this scheme will make it more difficult for an unemployeed male applying for a job as taxi driver, but also make it possible for a taxi to refuse to pick up passangers based on gender, which is wrong! There must be a better way to protect females, and males in taxis that does not involve sterotyping or blatent discrimination. I hope that the Victorian government prohibits them from introducing this. 

However, women are also discriminated against. One of the issues is maternity leave. In Australia, perantal leave is paid by the employer. Due to the fact that paid maternal leave is generally longer than paternity leave. This unfortunately means that private companies are reluctant to hire females aged approx. 12 to 56 (I can't remember exact statistics) due to fears that will leave on maternity leave. This is an issue that is close to the heart of the Labor Party (one of Australia's two major political parties). Tony Abbott (current Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party, the other major party) had the solution; the federal government pays maternity leave. (Unfortunately, Labor do not agree with this solution, and waste valuable resources bitching and moaning about the problem, and also bitching and moaning about the only logical solution, instead of developing their own logical solution, but that's a story for another post). I hope that Abbott's bill passes. If the government pays maternity leave, then employers will hire more women, as they don't have to worry about paying maternity leave. (There are heavily enforced laws prohibiting employers from hiring women on this basis, but that's a different story)

The third problem involving gender equality in the workplace is equal pay. Whilst men and women may work the same hours in the same industry, women sometimes get lower pays then men. This is something, that in my opinion, the government needs to crack down on and enforce better than it currently does. 

Australia yet again has yet another problem with employment. Smoking. Since the government has decided to prohibit smoking inside public buildings, many smokers have to take smoking breaks, which waste time which can be used toward productivity. Due to this, many employers want the right to write "Smokers need not apply", however, I have two alternate solutions a)lower pay or longer hours to make up for lost time b) Limiting smoking breaks

Australia also needs to change the culture and highly encourage people to buy Australian.

Small businesses are also suffering in this nation, especially in the retail industry. Thanks to Woolworths and Coles offering their cheap prices, nobody wants to support their local businesses. People also like these two supermarket giants not only for price, but also for convince. However, dividing these giants may cause loss of jobs.  Fortunately, the government has looked into this and are starting to solve this, however this solution only applies to the supermarket industry

I am sorry about the long read, I really am., however there is a finally issue concerning Australian and overseas jobs and earnings is illegal downloading of music, software etc. This is immoral as it causes the artist, whether or not Australia, to miss out on royalties. A solution I once had was to provide a website that allows free legal downloading, funded either by taxes or advertising, but then I came across another problem; the loss of jobs and business for software shops, CD shops etc. Therefore, I have no solution to this problem, but think that Australia should have an enquiry into this issue, either within our borders, or an international conference.

Once again, I apologies about the long read, but thank you for reading it. Remember to comment. 

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Bikes on roads

Remember, if you know who I am in person, or know from a different website, please do not reveal my real name, nor any name I assosiate myself on any other website.

Being born in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), you get to learn how stupid some of the laws are. One of these which was created to protect us, is ironically, in my beliefe, is more dangerous than the lack of this law. The law I am refering to is the law that makes it compulsory to ride a bike on the road (and although forced to ride on the road, I am not refering to motorbikes, which are a different story in themselves, I mean bicycles)

The NSW state law states that if you are riding a bike, you are not permitted to ride on the footpath unless;
-You are 12 years or younger
-You are supervising a child who is 12 years or younger, and are 18 years or older
-You are between the age of 13 and 17, and are riding in a group with an adult (18+) and a child who is 12 years or under
-It is a designated pedestrian AND bike path

This means that people aged 13 or older, unless meating the above criteria, are forced onto roads or bike paths/lanes (there is a difference between bike paths and lanes, I will get into that later). Unfortunately, since there is a limited number of bike paths/lanes, the poor bike riders are forced onto the road.

Whilst Sydney CBD is over-run with bike paths/lanes (which is a story for another post), most of the suburbs, and country towns for that matter, are lacking in bike paths (paths designed for bikes, away from the road), which means that bikes are forced onto the road. There is also a lack of bike lanes (seperate lanes for bikes on the road). This means that bikes are forced to ride on the road, sharing lanes with cars, as well as buses and trucks (including semi-trailers and even road-trains!!!)

Whilst the law exists to protect pedestrians from getting hit by bikes, I am sure that every sane person (unless disabled) would prefer to be a pedestrian who gets hit by a bike, rather than a bike rider hit by a car, bus or truck (including semi-trailers and in rare cases, road-trains). After reading that sentance, you would think that bike riders are stupid for making themselves vulnerable to getting hit by such vehicles, the unfortunate truth is that this is compulsory, which means that bike riders are forced to subject to these kind of danger (not to mention the damaged caused to the car).

This law does not only apply to small suburban or country roads, in which case I would agree with the law 100%, it also applies to major roads, highways and any road which does not ban bikes (i.e. freeways, motorways etc.) ban bikes. Sydneysiders (especially my fellow people from the South) will understand when I try to explain the danger of bikes on roads such as King Georges Rd, Great Western Highway (Parramatta Rd), Military Rd (Manly), Hume Highway (Liverpool Rd), New Illawarra Rd etc.

Can somebody please explain the logic behind permiting, let alone forcing, bicycles to ride on the road for "safety" reasons? Because all I can see behind it is an ironic law which put lives in danger.

Remember to comment. Comment if you agree, comment if you disagree, comment if you think I am a complete moron who does not know what he's talking about and is lacking the intelligence to post like these. If there is anything about the issue you would like to add, comment. If you think I am insane, and belong in an asylum, comment.  Comment, comment, comment! (P.S. Don't forget to comment)