We’re gonna need a bigger shredder

Back when Jesus was but a young lad, we kicked this organ off with an examination of why reparations for slavery is a tempting idea but utter lunacy.

Ah, those halcyon days of early 2017 before the world as we knew it went absolutely insane.

Since then, the USA Democratic Party has continued down the road of investigating whether reparations make sense, debating it in Washington.

As we predicted, they are now running into huge issues which are unlikely to be ever resolved. The idea of generational guilt seems to be making a comeback, for example, with Senator Mitch McConnell being asked to “please explain” why two of his relatives five generations ago owned slaves?

To repeat, an apparently otherwise fully-functioning sentient member of the human race just asked someone to comment on the actions 150 years ago of someone with whom they share about 6.25% of DNA…..

Yes, that’s the road we’re on. And it gets worse from here, go back and read my original post on the subject to get an idea of what further lunacy we’ll have to endure. Sometimes slippery slopes have to slide a long way down before they achieve fallacy status.

To McConnell’s credit, he responded perfectly; pointing out the previous President was in the same genetic fix. 

It’s clear this is a bad idea that is going to hang around for sometime to come. The question sensible people should ask now is, what’s the risk to me and where’s the opportunity?

Bill’s Opinion

If you are an American reading this, it’s highly unlikely you currently know whether or not your ancestry passes the slavery purity test. It’s a risk and one which, if it transpires, will certainly cause difficulties for you should you work in politics.

Depending on how long this runs before it’s universally agreed to be daft, there’s a risk that regular people may take a hit (likely financial) if they are found to have had slave owner ancestors.

Actually, let’s clarify that last sentence; EVERYONE ALIVE TODAY has slave owning ancestors. Until William Wilberforce, it was the primary source of cheap labour across every continent throughout human history; if you won a battle against your enemies, you enslaved them. It was just the rule for hundreds of generations.

The amazing thing was that it was ever made illegal at all. Thank you, Christianity and the industrial revolution…..

Of course, the difference between my non-American slave-owning relatives and yours is that mine owned slaves before written records were widely kept. Lucky me.

In fact, it could be argued that people like me, the undocumented slave owning descendants, are the really evil ones because we are hiding in plain sight… No, let’s not give the radical left any more stupid ideas.

There is a silver lining though; there’s a business opportunity here. Every person of ambition who suspects there may be a skeleton in their cupboard from 150 years ago is likely to suddenly be in need of a “cleanskin” service. That is, every electronic and paper record from that era needs to magically disappear like an Epstein flight manifest.

So, this is a call for expressions of interest for funds for my new business venture, Slave Ownership Records Removal Instantly, or SORRI for short.

Our initial start up seed money will be spent on flame-throwers (for the libraries), large degaussing equipment (for data centres) and to pay the salaries of some hairy-arsed mercenaries to undertake the cleansing activities.

 

 

 

 

Shite sports you don’t usually watch

Otherwise known as “The Olympics”.

No, seriously. If you really consider what the Olympic Games has become, it is mainly a collection of events you wouldn’t ordinarily switch the TV channel over to watch and certainly wouldn’t pay an entrance fee to attend.

Sure, the track and field events can pull a crowd outside of the four year cycle, and some swimming and cycling events have support but our friend Pareto then produces a very low and long tail of barely-supported sport for the rest.

Follow this link to the full list and count how many of the categories you’ve physically attended in the last decade. If the answer is more than 4 and you aren’t employed by Sky Sports or aren’t the parent of a very athletic child, I will be amazed.

Nobody in the history of the planet has ever said to their significant other, “Hey, there’s a rhythmic gymnastic competition on Saturday and an indoor climbing event on Sunday. That’s our weekend sorted then“.

Pierre de Coubertin’s re-imagining of the Olympic Games adopted “Citius, Altius, Fortius” as its motto. Or, for those of you who didn’t have a classical education, “Faster, Higher, Stronger“. I’m not sure which of those three categories Artistic Swimming falls under.

A side note, I’m scratching my head as to why the motto is in Latin, not Greek.

Grigorótera, Psilá, Ischyróteri“, for example.

But I digress.

You and I vote with our wallets and feet on non-Olympic years. We don’t attend, watch or have anything to do with most events deigned by the Olympics organising committee to be worthy of time and resources at their games. I would guess that perhaps 95% of the sports don’t have any significant number of spectators who aren’t relatives of the competitors outside the four year festival.

For Australia, the breakdown of sports’ attendance was helpfully recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2010. The following summary table is interesting:

Obviously Australia has its own unique code of football which hasn’t penetrated much in the rest of the world, possibly due to a slight marketing problem with the name, but horse racing and motor sports are popular elsewhere.

So why no Olympic V8 car event?

Because it needs expensive equipment? Go visit a boat show and examine the prices of the various categories of Olympic class racing vessels….

My hypothesis stated in the title seems robust, especially given the ridiculous news that breakdancing is likely to be an Olympic sport.

Breakdancing. Is. A. Sport.

Bill’s Opinion

One feels the Olympics may have been just a little guilty of overreach over the years. When League of Legends is made an Olympic sport, the shark will have been truly jumped, altius.

Oh, and for those curious why I was reading the Philadelphia Inquirer, I was sent there from David Thompson’s place to read this. It isn’t a parody.

Foresight Battle Royale

This is hilarious; Australia’s over budget, late, poor quality National Broadband Network can’t cope with the demand from a bunch of teenagers playing video games.

Unexpectedly high levels of downloads can cause sluggish connections for all customers using broadband, not just those downloading game updates.

Some games companies release their updates, which can be tens of gigabytes worth of data and are known as “patches”, without much notification or the ability to download in advance of the release.

Hang on, that’s not what we signed up for. Back in those halcyon days of 2009 we were told we’d get 100Mbs over which we’d be able to run all sorts of society-changing services.

Here’s the original 2009 press release, just for the record.

Ah, promises made, not honoured. Just $43 billion over 8 years, eh? And the suckers believed them.

The NBN really has stood the test of time in the 24 carat lies department hasn’t it, right up there with, “the cheque’s in the post”, “yes, I love you too” and “of course I won’t come in your mouth”.

Gaming was baked in to the capacity according to the original “business case” (we use that term loosely; it doesn’t bear much resemblance to any I’ve seen in my career). Here’s the document, page 26 has the mention of gaming.

You’d think a modern, highly technical and, most importantly, centrally planned telecommunications network would be able to either cope with a few spotty kids playing shoot ’em up games OR be capable of prioritising other traffic.

After all, the UK are planning to block porn sites unless people have registered to have them unblocked (nobody’s told the government nanny state about VPNs), so it must surely be simplicity itself to block or throttle a single games company?

Yet here we are, begging Epic Games for details of their forthcoming updates and promotions.

How utterly embarrassing.

Bill’s Opinion

Australians are no different to many other nationalities in their belief that the government can magically deliver major programmes of work on time, to quality and on budget… despite all the evidence to the contrary.

I still have conversations with people who believe the plan was poorly executed because their political opponents’ duplicity and/or incompetence.

The reality is, a simple further deregulation of the telecoms industry would have done the same job quicker, cheaper and more suitable to the demand.

The government could have concentrated on making some provisions for the 3% of the population who don’t live in the metropolitan areas. Posting them porn DVDs each week, for example.

This is a knavery of them….

So said Bottom.

There’s another bottom around, apparently:

Sydney’s biggest correction in house prices since the 1980s should be over by year’s end but there is no sign of a return to boom times, according to new forecasts.

Ok. I’m sceptical but let’s hear their reasoning behind this.

Domain’s property price forecast for June 2019, released on Wednesday, expects median house prices in Sydney to bottom out at just about $1 million and median unit prices to dip just below $700,000 in spring.

I don’t want to play the man not the ball here but isn’t Domain’s entire raison d’être to sell property?

The market is tipped see a modest turnaround next year, a forecast supported by low interest rates, strong population growth and ongoing low unemployment. 

House prices are expected to increase by 3 to 5 per cent over next year, while unit prices are forecast to rise by 2 to 4 per cent.

The thing about predictions, as the American mathematician Stanislaw M. Ulam famously said, is they are notoriously difficult, especially about the future.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said the trifecta of an interest rate cut, the Coalition’s election win and potential lending rule changes helped the market bottom out sooner than expected.

Yes, all three of these are potentially good news for property prices. I suppose the missing question and answer is, are any of these actually the most important factor driving rises and falls in the asset class?

“The big factors contributing to prices bottoming out is what has happened in the past few weeks … it turned around the market’s thoughts,” Mr Wiltshire said. “People will be able to borrow more and that should follow through.”

Quite, Mr. River for a Firstname, County for a Lastname, “economist” for a property services website.

Perhaps people are able to borrow more, having the resultant flow on for prices as demand increases. It doesn’t necessarily follow they will borrow more though.

More on that later.

By the way, who knew that a market was a sentient being with thoughts? Hello Skynet.

Meanwhile;

Sydney’s auction clearance rate is at its highest in more than a year.

Don’t, whatever you do, mention that volumes are half of what they were at the peak and those few properties that do sell at auction (rather than sold privately earlier and then added to the highly-fictitious figures) are sold because they are being greatly-discounted to meet the market.

ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said the forecasts were in line with her expectations.

There’s a prediction we will return to in a year or so then.

Economist Stephen Koukoulas said it was more likely for property prices to see zero or negative growth than a dramatic turnaround next year.

Nice to see The Kouk has stopped trolling and returned to reasonable market commentary now he’s come to terms with not landing a plum government advisory job for the duration of this Federal term.

One has to love the use of “negative growth” there, if only there was a shorter, more commonly used synonym in the vernacular. I don’t know, something that rhymes with tall and is a homonym for autumn in American-ese….

Anyway, back to that minor factor impacting property prices; lending.

For reasons of incompetence or mendacity, most commentators talk about supply and demand as if the latter is simply a function of sentiment.

In a real world where most purchases are leveraged through borrowing, demand is less about what one would like to buy and more about what the bank will lend me in order to buy.

So, the RBA’s lending figures have been published for calendar month May. What’s the data saying?

Oh dear, that wasn’t supposed to be story.

Here’s the updated Are We There Yet, Mum? Index;

Now, obviously I’m not as educated and clever as someone employed as the “senior economist” for ANZ or “economist” for Domain but it would seem to me one of two things need to be true for property prices to stop falling and then begin to rise, either;

  1. The blue line on that chart needs to reach the 0.4% hurdle and stay there or above for at least a couple of months, but probably much longer, or
  2. A new magical source of funding is found that doesn’t involve domestic banks.

As you were, people, as you were.

There seems to be an obvious solution waiting to be found

The new oppressed class living amongst us is, apparently, single people.

No, don’t laugh. It’s true; The Sydney Morning Herald managed to find space between the Folau-dering to published an article about it, so it must be correct.

Grab a coffee, settle back and let’s try not to laugh too loudly as we witness mental illness given a public forum yet again in Sydney’s premier progressive organ:

Ok, you were warned. Here’s one of the oppressed;

Lucy Bloom says everyday household expenses such as rent, utilities, insurance and buying food or furniture can be twice as expensive if you’re single.

You may find this to believe but Marilyn, sorry, Lucy is single. Hardly credible, is it?

Now that you’ve got over that shock, here’s some barely believable maths for you to come to terms with;

A one-person household can spend $2835 per month on living costs – 27 per cent more than couples, who spend a combined $4118 per month.
Lucy Bloom can attest to the fact the singles tax is alive and well in Sydney, too.

If, like me, you’re struggling with the underlying equation resulting a statement that $2,835 is 27% greater than $4,118, consider inserting the words “per person” somewhere in the sentence. Sub-editing going well?

Lucy is a financial giant amongst us pygmies, however;

“So many things cost the same whether you’re a single or a couple, so it’s effectively twice the price to be on your own,” the management consultant says.

She’s a “management consultant”? Let that one sink in for a moment. 

It gets better;

“If I had a live-in partner, the only cost that would change would be food, but there would be two incomes to play with,” she says.

And if my mother had wheels, she’d be a trolley.

Actually, Lucy, if you had a live-in partner with another income, you’d have two incomes to play with.

But regardless of language semantics, she’s doing it tough. She barely knows where next month’s hair dye is coming from; 

“The only way I make it work is by renting out my spare rooms on Airbnb, which covers my mortgage.”

“Living by one of the best beaches in Sydney certainly helps my occupancy rate,” she says.

“On the upside, I have my personal freedom and an asset that has increased in value by $600,000 since 2017,” Ms Bloom says.

Right. Not exactly walking 20km barefoot to the well to collect drinking water each day, are we?

That last sentence in the quote is almost “Peak Sydney”; I’m sad and lonely and need to seek attention by dying my hair bright pink and whining about my life in a national newspaper but at least I’m an economic genius when it comes to investing in property. 

Let’s hope nobody bursts her bubble by showing her the CoreLogic indices relating to apartments in the Eastern Suburbs any time soon.

The best is saved for last though. Apparently, the oppressed singletons have one significant expense the privileged couples don’t;

One in four Australians spend $100 or more on pre-date preparation, including new clothes, shoes, hair and makeup and a further $79 on the first date.

They didn’t mention the additional costs associated with veterinary bills for cats, strangely.

Bill’s Opinion

This seems to align closely with Sailer’s First Law of Female Journalism;

The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

Great news for the global economy!

Kevin Rudd is predicting economic doom.

There are very few certainties in life beyond death and taxes but one can make a solid fortune by betting against any economic prediction offered by the former Australian Prime Minister.

No, not that former Prime Minister, or that one, or that one, or that one, or that one, this one just died, but this one who was fired from the job…..hilariously twice.

We can’t be certain that his woeful predictions are due to incompetence or whether he’s got the McGrath-Bouris merdeus touch (everything they touch turns to shit) of being able to pull suckers in to their scheme of handing over wealth.

After all, this is the Prime Minister who had such a poor understanding of basic supply and demand that he unintentionally opened up an entire murderous business opportunity for Indonesian people smugglers to sell unseaworthy end of life fishing boats to Africans make a perilous thousand mile journey.

He also oversaw the Australian response to the 2008 global financial crisis which, arguably postponed what could have been a minor domestic recession to something with the potential to be much worse in the near future. But hey, people got a new TV and some house insulation out of it.

Reading Rudd’s opinion piece today reminds us of the gaping intellectual hole that has been left in Australian political life by his quiet and statesmanlike retirement;

This time last month, I was having breakfast with a Chinese friend in Chengdu, the prosperous provincial capital of Sichuan, discussing the increasingly toxic US-China relationship.

Not just a friend, but a Chinese friend, because he’s Kevin Rudd, Mandarin-speaker extraordinaire.

As for the increasingly-toxic US-China relationship, relative to what? Pre-Nixon in China, days? The years immediately following Tiananmen Square?

Well, if things are toxic now, viva toxicity because the two countries are fairly deeply linked these days.

Rudd can’t help himself by chucking in a little bitterness at his opponents;

Mysteriously these also happened to be the headlines in every newspaper in China that day. I hadn’t seen such editorial discipline since Murdoch’s coverage of the Australian elections.

This is worth looking at in more detail for a quick diversion. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the NewsCorp (Murdoch) titles don’t attract as many eyes as the Sydney Morning Herald. And that’s before we count the various media outlets of the ABC, the Guardian, and most other media outlets landing to the left.

Frankly, any left of centre Prime Ministerial candidate who fails to win an election when the majority of the media is on their side ought to have a good long look at themselves in the mirror. Being a famous narcissist, Rudd looks in the mirror more than most, yet struggles with self-awareness.

Back to Rudd’s panic about the trade war…

His hypothesis is that China has reached the end of their patience and will not offer anything more in negotiations:

My prediction is that the Osaka G20 Summit will see a “reboot” to the negotiating process. And after Osaka, Trump will yield on the first two of China’s new red lines. And Xi will increase the quantum of the proposed Chinese purchasing agreement from China’s previous offer, although not by as much as Trump has demanded. That way, enough face will be saved all around.

Bill’s Opinion

Kevin Rudd knows a lot about China, he has a greater Mandarin vocabulary and speaks with a better dialect than anyone I know who isn’t ethnically Chinese.

His knowledge and understanding of negotiation, supply and demand and matters commercial have been demonstrated, at Australian taxpayers’ chagrin and expense, to be disastrous, however.

Fortunately, few of our failures cost lives. Unfortunately, Kevin Rudd’s poor grasp of basic human nature and economics has cost millions of dollars and hundreds of lives.

Maybe China will back down, maybe they won’t. It’s more likely they will though since Mr. Rudd is convinced otherwise.

The Australian 26th and 28th Prime Minister, brought to you by Dunning and Kruger.

Jessica Irvine’s sharing utopia

Friend of this organ, Jessica “admire my big brain and pants” Irvine has been asked to apply her huge pants brain to the subject of Indigenous finance.

Prima facie, it may seem as if applying Jessica’s genius to matters Aboriginal might risk a somewhat condescending experience given her previous form of explaining that she can lose weight because, well, spreadsheets or something, but the people in the ‘burbs are aren’t clever enough so require the intervention of the benevolent state.

The anticipation prior to reading this latest glimpse into the mind of a polymath was exquisite; would she go full Glebe IQ snob on the traditions and customs of the First People or would she hold back and couch her language out of sensitivity?

As always with Jessica, we are left in awe at her unique skill to synthesise complex ideas into a single taciturn message behind which we can all rally;

Aboriginal people are poor because of racism and their traditions but they are happier than us rich white folk.

Ok. She didn’t actually say that in as many words but, as she explains in her flourishing finish:

As we seek to put Indigenous Australians on a more equal footing, and rightly give them better access to the benefits of today’s economic opportunities, we should also save space in our national conversation for this Indigenous perspective on what it truly means to be a rich nation.

To live comfortably, yes; but to also use our wealth to care for those in need and forge stronger communities.

The true sharing economy was under our noses the whole time.

Ah, the sharing economy.

Not sharing like Venezuela, mind you, it’s a different kind of national sharing that magically works this time.

Ok, any clues as to what this means?

The researchers found the practice of “humbugging”, or asking family for money, is common in Indigenous communities. This could be a source of support, but also a drag on an individual’s desires to get ahead financially.

Ah, scrounging.

We’ve all got one of those relatives already. If they’re not inviting you to invest in a timeshare in Footscray, they’re asking for a loan of a few thousand dollars to buy cryptocurrency.

But hey, according to Jessica we have a lot to learn from people who, according to her own article have bugger all money and are generally highly-stressed because of it;

First, to the obvious: Indigenous people don’t, on average, have much money. Indeed, half of all Indigenous people experience high levels of financial stress, compared with just one in 10 of the broader Australian community.

She hints at a solution though;

Our nation’s first people struggle disproportionately to pay bills and are more frequent users of high-cost credit sources such as payday lenders. It’s a disgrace. And we should do so much better.

Well no, she doesn’t really explain what we could do that would be so much better.

Bill’s Opinion

Here’s a list, in no particular order, of people it is not a good idea to take financial advice from:

  • Generationally poor people.
  • Anyone working in the real estate industry, particularly if their names end in “McGrath” or “Bouris”.
  • Anyone who is so incapable of getting a real job in finance that she will accept the increasingly low wages the Sydney Morning Herald can afford.

Australian Aboriginals didn’t have the concept of money prior to the arrival of the Europeans, hence the recent laughable attempt to pretend otherwise by the Australian Mint.

Perhaps they were happier back then. Perhaps living short, brutish and painful existences before the arrival of effective medicine and agricultural techniques that eradicated famine focussed the minds of Aboriginal people to count their limited blessings.

Perhaps there’s a lesson we can learn from such stoicism.

Or perhaps we could accept the fact that this is 2019 yet a first world country, one of the richest in the world, still has a class of people who are heavily subsidised to sit in remote locations enduring a child mortality rate equivalent to a sub-Saharan African nation?

Here’s an hypothesis; it’s far far too destructive for us to spend time and resources virtue signalling about “culture” while government policy is actively keeping fellow citizens in poverty due to the bigotry of low expectations from people like Jessica. These people have agency just like her, but they are told at every opportunity that they don’t.

Enforcing the existing laws and welfare rules consistently across geography and ethnicity would be a good first step. Don’t hold your breathe waiting for it to happen though.

No Australian earns the minimum wage anyway!

In a move that will directly benefit the square root of fuck all people, the Australian national minimum wage was raised by 3% to $19.49 this week.

If you are reading this from a country other than Australia, yes, that wasn’t a typo; the Australian minimum wage is $19.40 an hour!

Or;

US $13.41

€12.05

£10.64

Look at all the goods and services you’ve bought in the last year. It’s a safe bet none of them were made in Australia. Coincidence?

Before we get into the economics and demographics of Australia’s farcical minimum wage, let’s take a quick journey down a NLP cul-de-sac…

To reduce neuro-linguistic programming to a pithy sentence of dubious accuracy; it is the theory that specific words act as triggers to people’s behaviour. Perhaps that’s what the Australian socialists who came up with the leviathan bureaucracy around the central planning of wages were trying to achieve with the names they gave various elements of the legislation and policies.

In reality though, the persuasiveness of their nouns tends to have the opposite effect. As anyone who’s met a highly dangerous or tough individual has ever realised, if you must tell people you are tough, you probably aren’t. Or, more amusingly, the reason why the 1.85m tall Tiny Tim was called “tiny” was irony.

Hence, we have the Fair Work Commission ruling on Modern Awards and Penalty Rates.

What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good

You’ll find out when you reach the top

You’re on the bottom

So, how many people get this mythical $19.40 an hour?

Nobody really knows. The Australian Bureau of Statistics have one of the worst reputations in the developed world for collecting accurate data on employment. A Melbourne academic study from over a decade ago estimated it was about 3% of the working population (which was about half of the total country). However, there are two factors to bear in mind when reading that study; firstly, academia is populated exclusively by those with at least a left of centre bias and, in many cases, extreme left wing views and, secondly, it’s bloody Melbourne, a city still feeling the disappointment from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the discrediting of Walter Duranty’s New York Times’ reporting on Stalin’s Russia.

Let’s assume the estimates are in the ballpark. Half the population are employed, so that’s about 12.5m people, of which, 3% are on the minimum wage. So about 375,000 people.

What work do these people do? Well, it’s easier to tell you what work they don’t do. Anything covered by this list for a start…..

Take a moment and follow that link to the Fair Work website and pick a random job you’d think is an entry level, minimum wage role. Waiting tables at a café, for example? Nope, that’ll be covered by the Hospitality Modern Award, so they will receive at least the minimum wage or higher plus other benefits such as holiday pay. Similarly, abattoir workers, concrete mixers, grape pickers, sugar cane cutters, sheep shearers, and fish gutters are all on their own “minimum wage plus” deal.

Let’s pause for a moment and state a fact most Australians aren’t aware of; Australia is the only country in the world that isn’t a socialist dictatorship that legislates wages by industry in this way.

Bill’s Opinion

At a stroke, the Fair Work Commission increased the minimum wage by 3%. My statement at the start of today’s rant is inaccurate, it will benefit many people because many Modern Awards are pegged to this rate, this has the effect of increasing those pay rates by 3%.

Great news; everyone has more money to spend.

No so great news; every product or service manufactured in Australia to be exported abroad has just had its input costs increased by at least 3%, thus negating any positive impact of the trashing of the currency by the RBA when they cut interest rates next month to save the banking industry.

But more importantly, who exactly benefits from this ridiculously bureaucratic centrally-planned wage system?

My guess, in order of benefit;

1. Employment lawyers,

2. Union officials,

3. Labor (sic) MPs, both State and Federal,

98. Minimum (or close to) wage workers.

“Brain the size of a planet”

….and they get me to write about economics. Life? Don’t talk to me about life“.

The scruffy old man in the picture below is the unfortunately-surnamed Ross Gittins, senior economics editor of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Despite what we might prefer to believe, the axiom, “clothes maketh the man” still holds true, even in this era of more relaxed business dress codes, the choice of casual clothes says something about you. Self-respect, or lack thereof, can be inferred from the choice of garments one wears to work-related events.

So what does Ross’ choice of crumpled beige suit, an aged shirt with curled collars, a “comedy” tie (tied too long, Trumpesque) and running shoes say about one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s most senior professionals?

To the best of our knowledge, Ross hasn’t been diagnosed as autistic, isn’t an idiot savant, doesn’t run a major technology company, and hasn’t invented a humanity-changing product.

The fact that he’s drawing a relatively meagre salary for writing about what central banks are likely to do next (let’s face it; that’s all economics journalists do) in a publication whose annual circulation numbers resemble the McGrath share chart, suggests he doesn’t actually have a brain the size of a planet, which is the only real defence of someone so bizarrely costumed.

Bill’s Opinion

Ross can dress however the hell he wants, of course. But we can also draw the conclusion that he’s an anachronistic tramp who’s conflated being disrespectful to his position and those with whom he works for being “quirky”.

If we follow the advice, “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”, we can safely conclude Ross has plans for a semi-retirement working as a creepy geography supply teacher in a small regional town.

Lies, damn lies and pointless statistics

new “experimental analytical index” uses census data to measure relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage for households in very small areas

An early contender for this week’s most pointless news article and even more pointless research has emerged from the crowd.

Disparities in social advantage within Sydney suburbs have been revealed by data that shows a pocket of about 80 households in the northern suburb of Frenchs Forest is the city’s most well-off locality.

Six of the 10 most advantaged suburban enclaves are located in the city’s north-west, but none are in the east, the Australian Bureau of Statistics new Index of Household Advantage and Disadvantage (IHAD) shows.

The second most advantaged neighbourhood was a cluster of just over 100 homes not far from Taronga Zoo within the harbourside suburb of Mosman.

Or put another way, “areas everyone already knew were affluent, are affluent“.

No, seriously.

If you have five minutes spare and fancy a chuckle, read the methodology here.

According to the calculation, if your mortgage payment exceeds $2,800 a month, you are “advantaged”. Lucky you!

In total, there are over 50 variables that have been shaken together in this advantaged/disadvantaged cocktail to provide the lovely colour-coded map reproduced in the news article.

When all the data has been crunched, what did we learn?

The people living in expensive areas with new German cars on the driveways of large houses with swimming pools are, in the main, “advantaged”.

Bill’s Opinion

When the employees of the Australian Bureau of Statistics go home on a Friday evening, do you think they tell themselves they’ve moved the human condition forward at all?

The same question applies to “churnalists” such Matt Wade and Nigel Gladstone.