Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Too Crazy to Work

Last week I went in to do some psychometric tests for a job I'd applied for. So after doing all the tests, they said they'd get back to me in the next day or two. The day after, I got a call from the person I'd met at the recruitment place, and she told me that based on the tests they weren't going any further with my application. She then told me that she personally couldn't give me any feedback on the test results because "she wasn't a trained psychologist". She then went on to say that if I wanted to I could make an appointment with someone else there who was to go over the tests.

I haven't as yet decided if I want to find out. From previous job interview type psych testing I've been told I'm borderline unstable. So partly I kind of know some of what they would tell me. Also there's some desire not to know about potential problems. I think I'm sane, but I know I'm not exactly an unbiased observer.

Writing time: 28 minutes
Days since last post: 12 days
Current Media: Serenity Soundtrack

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Are You for RU486

Today the House of Representatives passed a motion to remove the veto power of the health minister over approval of whether the abortion inducing drug RU486 can be used in Australia. Based on the reading and history of the debate, I think that this was the right decision.

RU486, or more correctly Mifepristone is a drug that affects hormones and can be used in combination with other drugs to induce an abortion. It has been used in many European countries since the late 80s, early 90s, and was approved by the US FDA in 2000.

In Australia, the equivalent of the FDA is the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). They are an expert body set up to evaluate goods that are used in treating and diagnosing medical problems. Basicly, before a drug can be used in Australia, the TGA has to approve it. Their authority comes from parliament, but they have the final decision in what drugs are allowed.

Now in around 1996 the current government was wanting to sell off part of the national phone company Telstra. Due to the balance of power at the time, they had to do a deal with an indpendent senator, Brian Harradine. Brian Harridine was quite conservative, and part of the deal was a change to the act that established the TGA, giving the health minister a veto over the TGA regarding RU486.

Fast forward to today, and in past weeks there has been a bit of an uproar about the whole thing because recently a few doctors have started trying to go through the process to get permission to prescribe the drug to their patients. This process includes getting approval from an ethics commitee at a local hospital who take into consideration the use the drug will be put to, the nature of the drug, the competance of the person requesting the permission and other factors. If this stage is approved, it goes through a few more similar steps at higher levels culminating with the TGA. Now with most drugs, if the TGA said yes, that would be it. But RU486 has a ministerial veto.

In response to this a group of women senators from several parties put forward a bill to remove the ministerial veto. The major parties allowed a conciense vote on the matter and it passed both houses without ammendment.

My main reason for agreeing with this decision is that it reverses something that created a special exception for this one specific drug, and while not bypassing allowed the decision of an expert group put in place by the government to make decisions regarding the safety of drugs to be ignored. The Health minister is not an expert on medicine, and the TGA's decision is that of a group who are qualified in the field and have researched the safety and effectiveness of the drug in question, and we should allow them to do the job that we have asked them to do.

I will admit that initially I was opposed to the bill for similar reasons, in that I thought it was changing the process for political reasons, but now that I know that the bill is just reversing something that was what I this bill was I now stand behind it.

I also want to point out that the main reason behind why I support this bill does not alter if you are for or against abortion, so long as you feel that if you set up a process to evaluate if things are safe or not, you shouldn't set up ways to sidestep that process for things you don't like.

One argument that was put forward as to why the minister should have a veto over this drug is that it different from something that just cures a cold, because it causes an abortion. The drug is used under the supervision of a doctor, and so in practise involves a similar amount of consultation with a doctor as a clinical abortion.

Finally, I will state that while I support the right of a woman to get an abortion, I don't think it is something that should be done lightly, or without considering all options.

End Post
Writing time: 1 hour 45 minutes (a friend came over for about an hour or so in that time)
Time since last post: 3 days
Current media: The Prologue from Fiddler on the Roof

Monday, February 13, 2006

Apathy, prevarication and procrastination

As mentioned previously mentioned, I had considered sending in some details to a valentines day match making thingy. Well, while it's not yet Valentine's day, the time frame for doing so has passed. The main reason I didn't was because I left off making a decision until not doing so was the only option left. A few decisions have been made like that.

Sometimes it's because that's the decision I really want to make, I just don't want to close off options too soon. That's not that bad. But sometime it's because I can't make a decision until it's almost or just past crunch time, and those are the ones that aren't so good.

Given that the last two paragraphs have taken an hour, I'll leave it at that.

End post
writing time: 1 hour
time since last post: 2 days
current media: Scrubs season 1 DVD extras

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Rockets go Boom (perhaps)

8am: wake up, have a glass of water, played podcasts downloaded overnight, and get back into bed to listen, go back to sleep.
11am: get up, play some computer games, have a shower. Start messing around with my computer, as I've been having issues with my dvd drive. Part way through get dressed (about 20% of the way in).
2pm: lunch from subway. Watched some episodes of scrubs. Played some of the Undead campaign from Warcraft III.
6pm: watched an episode of The Simpsons, the one where Apu gets married. Some general computer gaming (solitaire, etc). After that some general stargate discussion with one of my housemates prompted by recent progress on my model of the stargate.
8pm: blogging, and some general web browsing.

A podcast I started subscribing to recently is offering a matchmaker thing for Valentines day. I'm considering sending in my details, but I'm not sure. First there's the fact that given the demographic most likely to watch a video podcast, the odds aren't very good in the first place. Although I think my main objection would be that do so would be to admit I do want that sort of thing, something which while I haven't exactly ruled out, I haven't made the whole romance, or even social thing a big priority in my life. It's not that I don't want romance, right now I'm not willing to look for it. If it comes by, I'll see where it goes. If I do send in an email to Rocketboom, I'll put something up here.

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writing time: 1 hour 33 minutes
days since last post: 3 days
current media: Scrubs season 1

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bow Chica Bow Wow

I've been doing a bit more learning how to use Blender. I started from scratch again to get more details on the model. The latest iteration is below. I've twigged to a few things that make it easier to do things and that it's a good idea to use lot's of little objects than one big complicated one. I also found out how to put in a general background, with stars, rather than putting in a big black plane behind the actual object. Positioning the camera still frustrates me though.

Job hunting sucks. No jobs advertised look interesting. I really don't want to go to another job that's just menial busywork. There were a few government jobs, but the job description says one thing and the selection criteria were wanting to show how you can do something else.

Since I stopped working my sleep pattern has really changed. I'm now staying up until about 2 or 3 in the morning and waking up about 11 or 12.

I've had a few very good games of nethack recently. I got two valkyries a little past Medusa, one down about 10 levels down into Gehemmon. Both deaths came about by being too confident about combat, and not considering other ways to deal with monsters.

writing time: 30 minutes
time since last post: 7 days
Current media: Season three of Red Vs Blue

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Seeing Red Book

I tried doing a post yesterday, but didn't get much written, and then I lost what little there was when I tried to get a picture included the way I wanted it, so gave it up. So I'm trying again today.

I'm still enjoying the easy life. I'll start looking for a job on Saturday when the careers section is in the newspaper. I'll also try a few places that actively look for jobs for you. When you're on government assistance you're forced to go to meetings with companies who say they do that for you, but in the few months I've had to be associated with those companies, I haven't had one contact with a potential employer I didn't find myself, so I don't think that much of the ones that get paid by the government. But I have had one recommended to me where they work by taking a cut of your pay for the first few months, so they will obviously be motivated to get you out there and working quickly.

Now for a bit of a rant. For various reasons, I've been looking to find out the value of a motorbike. The one seemingly useful place I've found is Red Book. They have a nice big collection of vehicles by make, model, age, etc and give a trade in value and a private sale value. But their conditions of use are a bit harsh. There are two main things that annoy me. The first term is

Red Book has provided the material contained on this website in good faith. Red Book does not represent or warrant that the material is reliable, accurate or complete, or that the service will be uninterrupted or error-free.

So from the start. The information is provided in good faith. Nothing bad, pretty much all information is provided in good faith. The next bit is interesting. Red Book does not represent or warrant that the material is reliable, accurate or complete. The complete bit isn't a problem. No one can have info on every possible variation of cars. But their not even willing to claim that the information is reliable or accurate. I would point out at this stage, the company providing this information to the public for no charge actually sells it to businesses. If you're going to provide this sort of information, at least have the courage to stand up for what you say. Sure there will be people who try and get more for their car than it's worth, and people might sell for less, and sometimes it may be a while between updates, but make it clear that what you're showing is an average price range, and when it was last updated. Don't just say that we've put these numbers up, they may or may not be related to what an actual person will expect for their vehicle.

The second part that is frustrating is their conditions on who can put a link to their site, which is as follows:
Any linked site must not contain any information that is:
  • unlawful;
  • an infringement of any third party's rights;
  • disparaging of Red Book's goods or services; or
  • offensive, obscene or pornographic.
I'll start out by saying that while sites falling under 1 and 2 should not exist under most current legal environments, all of these are essentially restrictions on where and how you can talk about their website. If anyone asks, I'm not disparaging their goods or services, just their legal section. No entity has the right to stop how others can talk about them on services or at locations they don't own. If someone went to their office and started telling anyone who went in bad things, sure they can have the person taken from their property, but they can't make that person not talk about them in that person's home. They might not like how others talk about them, but if I want to do so from a porn site, that's my call, not theirs.

And finally, below is the latest iteration of my stargate I'm making with a 3d modeling program (Blender for the curious)

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writing time: 23 mintues
time since last post: 4 days