How long is a railway station platform?

Last Monday's meltdown soured the return of trains after upgrades on the Dandenong and Frankston lines - which included works for the Metro tunnel, and also power upgrades extensions to some platforms. So, how long is a railway station platform? Generally, as long as the trains that serve it, plus a bit for spare. There are exceptions, especially in regional areas of some countries, thou

driving, Toxic Custard newsletter

Thoughts from the road

I don't drive as much as many people (my average kilometres per year figure is about half the national average), but here are some recent random observations... Seat belts. Why do some people wait for a few hundred metres before they put on their seatbelts? Do they think they're somehow immune from accidents for the first minute or two? Petrol prices are down at the moment. It's unclear if t


Cheese slices

Kath Lockett found some old adverts, including this one: We sometimes had these cheese slices when I was a kid. It must have been my early computer-geek (binary) mind at work, but I would eat them by folding them in half, so one half broke off, eating that, then repeating with the half that was left... until the bit left in my hand was so microscopic it couldn't be folded in half any mor


Laptop vs USB stick for school

Was chatting a while back to a colleague about his kids in high school. One of them ends up carrying an enormous amount of stuff to and from school, including books and sports equipment, but also a notebook (laptop) computer costing a couple of thousand dollars. Giving students laptops makes no sense to me. Compared to desktops, they're damaged more easily, they're more expensive to buy (or les

News and events

I for one welcome our new Obama overlord

I know Barack Obama ultimately may not quite live up to expectations, but I have high hopes, and I'm certainly not sorry to see the back of George W Bush... I had to laugh when I saw a photo of the Ikea Oval Office they set up at Union Station in Washington DC, complete with Secret Service agents on guard and an Ikea flag. What a brilliant piece of marketing. (Photo by ekai) They've als

Going green


Josh sent me a nifty device for measuring the power consumption of various devices. This is something I've been meaning to do for some time: to see what drains power, and how much, and to see in particular what even drains power when it's idle. So I spent a couple of hours plugging it into various things and measuring how many watts they were pulling while running, and while not. Although yo

Doctor Who, Film

The original Matrix

How's this for a sci-fi idea: a computer controlling a virtual reality world. People hook up to the computer and enter that world. But it seems real. In fact it's so real you can get hurt or even killed in there. And it's called "The Matrix." What a concept. Not bad for 1976. Doctor Who: The Deadly Assassin airs on the ABC next week, starting on Monday. Worth catching if you want to

East Gippsland 2003


My sandals at Wingan beach. I hope to sell this picture to the Birkenstock company for millions and millions of dollars. We drove toWingan Inlet, which involved the 45 minute drive back up to Cann River, 18km along the highway, then another hour or so down a very rough road which got exceedingly narrow in places. At Wingan we found a very picturesque jetty, a family teaching their kids how to f


The maddening crowds

Well, I finally did it. After several days of fiddling with my mobile phone antenna because it was playing up giving me a weak signal... well, today I actually snapped it off completely. D'oh! The weak signal turned into a non-existent signal. Time to go phone shopping I think. Last night we rolled up to our local cinema, the Classic, to meet Josh and Cathy to see What Women Want. The Classic is