Stupid grunty cars

Here’s a draft of a bulletin I’ll send out at some stage after I’ve taken over as Grand Emperor of the World and established my benevolent dictatorship.

Dear owners of stupid grunty noisy cars,

I hereby decree that you have three choices for your stupid grunty noisy cars:

1. You may, at your expense, have your car altered to remove the stupid grunty noise;

2. You may have your car sent to be crushed and recycled; or

3. You may continue to drive your stupid grunty noisy car, but limited to daylight hours only, and only in designated hoon areas.

(I’m still considering my position on stupid grunty motorbikes, and may rule the same way for them.)

When suburb names get stupid

Came across this business. They have two branches. They have a Chadstone branch, which is actually in Hughesdale, and they have a Bentleigh branch, which I’ll grudgingly admit is technically in Bentleigh, but is actually on Patterson Road, right next to Patterson station.

As I’ve noted before, Hampton East now stretches right the way to Moorabbin, as does Bentleigh — both now end just across the street from Moorabbin Town Hall and Moorabbin Station. Ditto Gardenvale, which is now tiny, wedged between Elsternwick and Brighton.

Moorabbin: Melway edition 1 vs now
Moorabbin in Melway edition 1, versus now

See, if I ran the world, none of this crap would happen. Areas would be named for what they’re actually nearby to — particularly when there’s things like railway stations involved, as consistent naming helps people navigate. They couldn’t just adopt some nearby suburb name that some upwardly mobile people aspire to cheat their way into: real estate bods wouldn’t be able to influence the movement of suburb boundaries (like the one The Age noted the other week — part of Bentleigh migrated over to East Brighton).

Cap and trade

Here’s how I’d work carbon trading if I were appointed Grand Emperor of the World, based on my ten minute assessment of the situation.

I’d set an emissions cap on the world, starting in say 2010, based on the total emissions output of the world as of 2009. Each country gets a share of this, not based on their current emissions, but based on how many people they have.

The countries can trade. So the rich and polluting but under-populated countries (like Australia, 9th per capita) would have to pay to buy the right to pollute up to the levels they’re actually doing. The poor countries with a lower per-capita output would get an income stream, and can continue to industrialise if they want, up to their cap, but they’d have to stop things like deforestation (which is what’s pushing PNG and Zambia and other poor countries into the big league at the moment). Countries like China are painted as the bad boys, but per capita they’re currently well below the average. India is way below.

Polluting industries would be forced to adapt or die. For a little while they could buy their right to pollute…

Measurable, confirmed offsets could be used, but they won’t help for long, because most of them aren’t very scalable, and…

Every year, the cap would reduce by 2 4%. So get a move on reducing your emissions. The faster you do it, the more you can trade to someone else for moula.

So by 2060 2035 the world would be carbon neutral.

That’s my plan. Go ahead, poke holes in it. I don’t care — I’ll never actually be Grand Emperor of the World.

Number one

For a while earlier this month one of the hot email memes going around was a Number One In History web site, though it’s been taken offline now. Happily there’s another site which is online, and even better, it can tell you the number one hits in Australia, the USA and the UK.

Like many others I checked what song was number 1 (in the USA) on the day I was born. It was “War!” by Edwin Starr. Ah, now there’s a good, worthy hit record. I was so inspired by this that I invested A$1.69 and bought it off iTunes. (The Australian number 1 the week I was born was Simon & Garfunkel’s “El Condor Pasa”, which I have somewhere on an old S&G compilation CD.)

Sadly my kids’ birth week number ones are rather less inspiring. Jeremy’s was some sappy Celine Dion number (“My Heart Will Go On” — puke-o-rama). Isaac’s was Merril Bainbridge (“Mouth”), the name of whom is familiar, but I can’t place the tune. (And it’s not on iTunes.)

The site from the email was taken offline by request from Billboard, which owns the US chart data. They want people to pay for archived chart information. If I were in charge of the record industry had any brains, they’d put up an official free “Number 1 this week” archive web site with direct links into iTunes and other online music retailers so you could buy the song with a few clicks. Precisely this kind of thing is what iTunes is designed for.

But hey, a lot of stuff would be different if I ran the world.

If I ran the world

People who wanted their supermarket transaction split-up into separate $30 bills just to take advantage of “spend $30 for 4 cents per litre off petrol” and other such deals would have to queue up again between dockets.

The expression “I’ll let you go”, which is meant to sound like the person is doing you a favour finishing up the conversation but in fact means “get off the damn phone, I’m tired of talking to you now, and have more important things to do” would be banned. A couple of my friends are guilty of using this.

Car needlessly blocking footpathDrivers who consistently fail to use their indicators; needlessly park in driveways blocking the footpath; speed at more than 20kmh above the limit; or deliberately stop at intersections blocking the pedestrian crossing (and may I add often consigning themselves to longer delays because their car is not on the traffic light sensor, so the traffic light may not know it’s there) would in the first instance have a large shiny “MORON” sticker applied to the front and back of their car. In the second instance they would be shipped off to re-education camps where they would face very stern Vicroads testers to try to convince them of why they should get their driver’s license back.

The world’s foremost ant experts would convene at my house one afternoon for a cup of tea and to give me their opinions on why ants are visiting my toilet.

People who complained about stupidly trivial things like the colour of their wheelie-bin would have their bins taken away for a month, to see how they liked it with no bin at all. I mean really, a line of yellow and blue rubbish bins in a street is no less or more ugly than a line of plain green rubbish bins. They’re rubbish bins. They’re ugly whatever colour they are.