The world is full of idiots, and someone needs to point it out to them or they will never know.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Channel 7 Flawlessly Demonstrates Why It's Easier Just to Pirate Everything

Dear reader, I generally don't encourage piracy. Yet as I've previously discussed, TV networks seem to be trying their hardest to drive us towards downloading everything. A prime example of this is the new season of Heroes Reborn on Channel 7. I watched the first few seasons of Heroes and enjoyed them, so I eagerly tuned in at 8:30pm on Wednesday, the 30th of September on Channel 7. Then, the very next day, Channel 7 shifted Heroes Reborn to 10:30pm the following Wednesday! That was fast! Did you maybe want to give the show a little more time to build an audience before you bump it, Channel 7?

 Save the cheerleader. Save the world. (But only if it rates well)

But you know, whatever. 10:30pm it is. Yet while this was okay for four weeks, Channel 7 has now (inexplicably and without telling the viewers) removed it entirely from next Wednesday's lineup. Why? Who knows. But what really pisses me off here is that if I were to illegally download the next episode of Heroes Reborn, Channel 7 would be very quick to point their fingers at me and scream, "You see! This is why we can't fund more local programming - because you're stealing content! You're treating us with contempt!"

We're the victims here! 

The sheer hypocrisy of TV networks in this country astounds me. What possible incentive is there for me to become invested in a show on free-to-air television in this country when I know there's a very strong chance it'll just disappear from the airwaves if it doesn't rate like crack instantly? Not that I'm endorsing it, of course, but why would any reasonable individual do that when with a few clicks, they can easily download the entire program - without ads - to their computer and watch it at their leisure? Seems like a much more enjoyable way to enjoy content to me - again, not that I am suggesting anyone install torrenting software on their computer and type "Heroes Reborn Torrent" into Google.

Ironically, I thought that Australian TV networks had fixed the problem of niche programming not rating well a few years ago - in 2009 the new seasons of LOST, 24 and even Heroes were all broadcast at late (and inconsistent) times on Channel 7. But in 2010, Channel 7 launched 7TWO, and the new seasons of LOST, 24 and - you guessed it - Heroes were all aired at reasonable times on a reliable schedule on the new channel. There was no sudden shifts in airtime and the programs didn't suddenly disappear - it seemed like the perfect way to air more niche content. So why the hell is Channel 7 shifting Heroes Reborn around and removing it when it could easily move it to one of its two (!) sub channels, 7TWO or 7mate?

You remember me, don't you Channel 7?

I get it, honestly: Heroes Reborn didn't rate well, so Channel 7 placed something else in its spot. But that doesn't explain (or excuse) the absolute contempt Channel 7 clearly has for Australian audiences when they keep changing time slots, pull programs without notice and - worst of all - ignore the possibilities their secondary channels offer. What possible incentive is there for me to do the right thing when this is the level of respect shown to me by Channel 7?

Once again, I'm not encouraging you to download TV shows illegally.

Clearly, Channel 7 is doing that job well enough on its own.

© 2015 by The Free Man

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

If You Don't Love it, Don't Leave

Dear reader, there's a phrase that really makes my blood boil, and it's this: 

Love is a very strong word...
For a very long time, it's been the catchphrase (and easiest way to identify) someone who's xenophobic and bigoted (for example, Pauline Hanson). It's a ridiculous phrase that basically says if you don't love Australia and everything it stands for, you should leave the country. Now, I thought as a society we had all agreed this a stupid thing to say, so imagine my surprise when I heard our new Prime Minister utter the following words...

It is not compulsory to live in Australia, if you find Australian values are, you know, unpalatable, then there's a big wide world out there and people have got freedom of movement

Now, I don't mind Turnbull. I think he's head and shoulders a better Prime Minister than Abbott - he's smart, moderate and very articulate. So I have to wonder what he was thinking when he said this. Because, basically, our Prime Minister is now saying, "If you don't love it, leave!"

Folks, as much as I rant about stuff on this blog, I do love a few things - and one of them is Australia. I love my country, I really do. However, as much as I love the country, I'm sure even the most patriotic bogan would agree with me that our country has flaws - every country does. Now, what I consider a flaw may be different to what someone else considers a flaw, but the fact remains our country could use some improvement. Whether it's more money to pensioners, better public transport, better roads, better education... everyone would have a different list of what needs to be fixed. Are you really saying that because I don't love every aspect of Australian culture, I should just leave?

Because that's what's wrong with the "if you don't love it, leave" argument - it ignores the fact Australia (like every country) has its flaws. We should work, as a society, to fix these flaws. The rest of the world has different ideas on welfare, imprisonment, education and so on - and just because someone disagrees with how we do things in Australia doesn't make their opinion invalid. Telling people to leave the country if they're not happy is just ignoring bigger problems.

Imagine if you visited a friend's house and they had a dog that kept jumping on you and biting you every time you walked through the front gate. Wouldn't you be annoyed if, when you asked your friend to control their dog, they just replied, "Hey, that's just the way things are here - you can leave if you like." Or imagine if you're a vegetarian and a friend invites you over for dinner - then proceeds to only serve meat because "That's how it is here!"

I'm not saying we should change everything immediately, but part of being a grown-up is accepting that other people have different beliefs and values to you, and figuring out a way to accommodate them. I could never be a vegetarian myself, but you can bet that if I had a dinner party and knew a vegetarian was coming I would make an effort to accommodate him or her. Because that's what people who aren't dickheads do - they're nice to people who are different. Isn't that a far more important Australian value than a mosque potentially being built down the road?

If I moved to another country and I didn't like the way they do a particular thing, aren't I entitled to speak out against it? You can bet your bottom dollar I would be anti-gun in the USA or anti-censorship in China. Australia claims to be a country of free speech, and sadly that does occasionally mean people are going to say things you don't like. You can't slam Muslims in one breath, hold up your hands and yell, "Freedom of speech!", then savagely criticise anyone who has a different opinion to you - freedom of speech works both ways.

I'm certainly not saying we should just bow down to whatever anyone wants (that would be stupid), but we should be encouraging outside ideas and constructive criticism, not discouraging. Nor am I saying every new idea is good. What I am saying is that it's okay for someone to criticise your country, as long as it's done in a respectful, informed and articulate manner. So no, strapping bombs to your chest is not a respectful way to get your point across. But neither is saying things like, "Halal certification goes towards terrorism!" - that's just plain ignorant.

Sigh

Telling people to leave the country if they hate it is not helping. All this will do is further disenchant people from Australian culture - ironically the opposite of what Turnbull presumably wants.

This is probably my favourite poster all year

After all, with the exception of the Indigenous Australians, we're all immigrants anyway.

© 2015 by The Free Man

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ten Arguments I'm Sick of Hearing Made Against Gay Marriage

Same-sex marriage. I've been hearing quite a bit of debate about the issue in Australia recently. Unsurprising, really, given Ireland's recent referendum on the subject. I should disclose I'm personally in favour of it, but as I see, hear and read the debate unfold in the media, I keep coming across the same - fundamentally flawed - arguments against it. So, dear reader, instead of doing something productive like go outside or talk to a woman, I present to you the ten most common arguments against gay marriage I'm sick of hearing (feel free to copy and paste them in any Facebook/Twitter/Reddit/comments section debate you find yourself in - it will save you a lot of time, trust me).

1. What about the children? WON'T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN? Children should be raised by their biological parents - who's to say children from a gay marriage won't be screwed up?
Who's to say anything about raising a child? I hate to break this to you, but we've been raising kids for thousands of years now and, shockingly, there's no sure-fire way not to screw up your kid. Some of the nicest parents with the best of intentions can have horrible kids, and vice-versa. I'm not a parent myself (that I know of), but from what I've been able to ascertain the best kind of parent is one who loves their child. While I will admit I do not know any gay parents, I know plenty of people who have just one parent, no parents (i.e. foster care) or a different arrangement altogether, like being raised by an older sibling. Claiming only a child's mother and/or father can raise them properly is a grave insult to single parents and foster carers worldwide.

 Clearly, this single parent is incapable of raising a child

2. But we shouldn't experiment with our children like this!
Nobody is "experimenting" with children - if a gay couple wants to have a child, they obviously just can't have sex and create one themselves to "experiment" on.

3. But they'll want IVF treatment and adoption rights, too!
They don't just let anyone adopt or get IVF treatments, you know. And besides, this whole "think of the children!" argument is irrelevant - the issue is about marriage, not about children. Whether or not gay people should be allowed to adopt/use IVF/take sperm donations is not the issue here! How about sticking to the actual debate, instead of bringing children into it? The Rational Wiki states that using the phrase "Think of the children" is "a logical fallacy... a very bad way of making an objective argument, whereby a debater attempts to win an argument by trying to get an emotional reaction from the opponent(s) and/or audience, e.g. eliciting fear or outrage."

4. But a study was done showing children of gay parents were upset they weren't raised by their real parents!
Still irrelevant. STOP BRINGING CHILDREN INTO THE DEBATE. We're talking about marriage here, not about children! It is possible to get married and not have kids, you know. And stop quoting some bullshit study off the Australian Christian Lobby's website at me - if you are going to try and convince me, for God's sake don't link to a website like that - obviously these sources are biased.

STOP SAYING THIS!

5. Alright, putting aside the children ("Finally, I say"), why do we have to call it marriage? Can't gays be happy with a civil union?
Short answer: no. Let me put it this way: would you be satisfied if you were told you couldn't marry the person you loved, just because you were born with the wrong sexuality? I certainly wouldn't. And besides, words change. The English language is constantly changing, and just because some document written decades ago defines marriage as "between a man and a woman" does not mean it's unchangeable. Words. Change.

6. Look, this is just how things have always been. If we change marriage to be between two people of the same gender, who's to say what other marriages will be allowed? Will people be permitted to marry animals?
Sorry buddy, you've just committed another logical fallacy - you're not very good at arguing, are you? Anyway, to the point you raised, just because something has always been one way doesn't make it right. For example, decades ago women didn't used to be able to vote or own property. Even more recently, black and white people weren't allowed to marry. Yet, we as a society realised this was dumb, and despite the cries of "it's always been this way!" at the time, we rose above it and changed things, because it was the right thing to do.

Do you really want to be remembered alongside these people?

Secondly, nobody is suggesting we marry animals. This is what we call reductio ad absurdum - basically, you've reduced the argument for gay marriage to an absurdity, by pushing the premise to its logical limit (marrying animals) and showing how ridiculous the consequences would be. Please don't do that, it's a pretty dumb way to argue. Stick to the issue. If someone wants to marry their dog, that's a different discussion (and not something I'm in favour of, for the record). We're talking about gays - human beings, in case you've forgotten - getting married here, not animals. Just like the point you raised about the children above, it's irrelevant. And hold on a minute - did you just compare gays to animals? Not cool.

7. The Bible says it's now allowed. Are you telling me to ignore my faith?
No, I'm not telling you to ignore your faith. But to quote Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons, "The Bible says a lot of things". But seriously though, I've read bits of the Good Book too. Some passages I like are:
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged (Matthew 7:1)
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31)
  • Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone (John 8:7)
Like I said, I'm not telling you to ignore your faith. But The Bible says a lot of things, and many of them are contradictory. What I am telling you to do is just accept that it's possible for two people to read the same book and come away with vastly different interpretations. My interpretation of The Bible is to be tolerant, kind and forgiving to everyone on Earth. Now, yours might be different - and that's okay - but you can't force your views on other people, that is where bigotry comes in.

8. There's bigger problems in the world right now than gay marriage. We should focus on them.
I have some unfortunate news for you: poverty isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Nor is famine or climate change. It sucks, but these things are going to take a lot of time and a lot of effort to change. If we waited until all of these "bigger problems" were solved, nothing would every change. Fifty years ago, poverty still existed in third world countries, but that didn't stop us allowing Indigenous Australians to vote. Don't you think Indigenous Australians would be massively pissed off if we'd told them "Sorry guys, bigger things to deal with right now"? Just because there are bigger problems doesn't mean we shouldn't try to fix the smaller ones.

As soon as we fix this they can marry whoever they want!

9. I wish Bill Shorten would stop politicising this! Clearly he only introduced that bill to parliament to win public support.
Are you frikkin' kidding me? I've made this point before (defending Tony Abbott at that time): Bill Shorten is a politician, he has every right to "play politics"! He has every right to introduce a bill to parliament, it's his privilege as, you know, a member of parliament. This may shock you, but the opposition is permitted to introduce bills in parliament. I'll admit it's quite likely Shorten introduced the same-sex marriage bill to win public support, but I also think it's quite likely Shorten is genuinely in favour of it, too.


10. Look - ultimately, I just don't want it, okay?? This is a democracy and I have the right to free speech.
I couldn't agree more. You have the right to your opinion, and I understand gay marriage is a bit of a hard thing to accept for some people. But sadly, you are in the minority here, and you need to accept it. Public support has never been higher, and like it or not, most people disagree with you. The majority isn't always right, but if 70%+ of people had a contrary opinion to mine, it would at least make me stop and think about my position. I have very different opinions on other controversial subjects than I did a few years ago, but rather than stamp my feet and scream "No no no!" whenever I was confronted with an opinion contrary to mine, I listened to the other side of the debate and weighed up what they were saying. As you can see, I have listened to the anti-gay marriage side of the debate, but every point I keep hearing is fundamentally flawed. If you truly want to convince people gay marriage is a bad idea, you must stop making the same tired points that I have discussed here over and over again. They just aren't working. I'm not saying let's not debate these issues - I'm saying let's debate them better.

Thinking about stuff - it's important


I know change can be scary - but change can be okay as well. Fundamentally, you must remember that gay, lesbian and transgender people are just that - people. They are real people, with real emotions, and they deserve to be treated as much. As New Zealand MP Maurice Williamson said when the Kiwis legalised gay marriage:

"All we are doing with this bill is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognised by way of marriage. We are not declaring nuclear war on a foreign state; we are not bringing a virus in that could wipe out our agriculture sector forever. We are allowing two people who love each-other to have that love recognised, and I can't see what's wrong with that."

And one final note to people who are for gay marriage:
Keep an open mind. Many anti-gay marriage people now were probably pro black/white marriage fifty years ago. They were raised in a different time and will never be able to see it from our point of view. The important thing is in fifty years time when we're confronted with something by our grandchildren we don't like because it's always been one way, we mustn't give a knee-jerk "NO!", we must actually listen to the other side, then make up our mind.

© 2015 by The Free Man

Further reading:
Same-Sex Marriage on Rational Wiki - This page clearly articulates why all the arguments against gay marriage are flawed. It is significantly more comprehensive that what I have written here.

Side note: I have used the term "gay marriage" mostly in this article, as opposed to other terms (such as "same-sex marriage" or "marriage equality") that may be more politically correct. No offence was intended.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Cool Daylight vs. Warm White: Light Bulb Shopping Should Not Be This Complex

Quick quiz: what colour comes into your mind when you hear the following words:
  • Cool Daylight
  • Warm White 
Now, I don't know about you, but when I hear the word "daylight", for some reason I get a picture of this thing appearing in my head:

You're certainly doing your job today Mister Sun.

That's right, our old friend the sun. Now, I know the sun isn't actually yellow, but when I hear the word "daylight", the colour I would most likely pair with it would be "yellow" - the colour of the sun as it appears from Earth. Daylight = yellow. Simple, eh?

It's going to get a bit complicated now, dear reader, but try to stay with me - when I hear the word "white", I (for some reason) think of the colour white. I dunno, maybe I'm strange that way, thinking of the colour white when I hear the word white.

I'm weird like that, thinking of this colour when I hear someone say "white"...

Anyway, you would think this type of logic (daylight=yellow, white=white) would be easily transferred to light bulbs, but oh no. If you buy a "Daylight" light bulb, you get a light that looks like this...

Yep, that colour reminds me of daylight!

... but if you buy a "White" light bulb, you get a light that looks like this:

And that colour reminds me of white!

Does this not seem absolutely retarded to anyone else? Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to make "white" light bulb give off a yellow light? And since when has any person looked at the sun and thought "If there's one colour that reminds me of, it's white"?

(Yes, I realise that the packaging in these photos gives you a slight clue as to what colour the light emits, but the brand I bought is a rare exception, most brands are not colour-coded)

Because I clearly have no life, I asked the lady at the hardware store why white bulbs were called daylight and yellow bulbs called white, and she responded it had something to do with the chemical reaction. Oh, very useful. Maybe we should stop labeling our drinks as water and milk instead label them as H2O (Hydrogen and Oxygen) and H2OCaPMgFeMoMnCuC (Hydrogen, Oxygen, Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Iron, Molybdenum, Manganese, Copper, Carbon).

I get it, companies. You want brands that have a distinctive name, sound attractive. That's why you can't just buy "red" paint, there's fifty trillion shades, like midnight red, passionate red, menstrual red, and so on. But even paint manufacturers aren't stupid enough to call their red paint "passionate blue" just because it involved a blue chemical at some point, it would be extremely irritating to the consumer. So why is nobody calling light bulb manufacturers out on this? When I pointed out the confusing labeling to the lady at the hardware store, she looked at me like I was the idiot.

It's just ridiculous. No matter what the reason, the fact we're labeling white light bulbs "daylight" and yellow light bulbs "white" has to stop.

Ugh, I've had enough. I'm off to go get a drink of H2OCaPMgFeMoMnCuC.

© 2015 by The Free Man