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A History of Preferential Voting in Australia

With the Australian federal election impending, once again it's time to ignore the personality contest and concentrate on reviewing the policies of the various contenders in your electorate. Reading some of the news comments by non-Australians reveals little is known about preferential voting and it's value to creating Australia's stable political system.

While this article by Antony Green is almost 6 years old, it's a nice summary of the Australian electoral system and it's preferential voting system. Most interesting is how different parties across the political spectrum have benefited over the years (since 1918) from preferential voting.

The Renaissance of Trolley Buses

As part of the upcoming Australian election, The Greens party of Australia have been strongly advocating rolling out light rail (i.e. trams) in Australian cities, in particular, in Perth.

While I applaud the advocacy for light rail by The Greens, the greatest impediment to adoption will be the start up cost. This consists of the three major infrastructure expenses: construction of electrical power lines (overhead or third rail arrangements), installation of rails, purchase of rolling stock.

Shooting the Messenger

Taking an almost random sample of the response to the Wikileaks revelations of the criminal slaughter of Afghan civilians by the overwhelmingly U.S military, Foxnews diatribe by Gutfeld is perhaps the local maxima.

It's curious that while Gutfeld is accusing Julian Assange of selectivity in what he is choosing to leak: "The fact is, their goal is to "expose" only the people they hate — meaning the U.S military — and get famous for it", Gutfeld's diatribe is significantly greater in it's selectivity and hypocrisy.

Anti-bike rhetoric and FUD from NYT

In the New York Times piece reporting the planned introduction of rental electric cars in Paris, the piece opens with frightening tales of the number of the Velib rental bikes that have been damaged in the history of the operation of the system. This clearly is intended to communicate how much the system has failed.

Beat Critic: Beat Tracking Octave Error Identification By Metrical Profile Analysis

Leigh M. Smith

Computational models of beat tracking of musical audio have been well explored, however, such systems often make "octave errors", identifying the beat period at double or half the beat rate than that actually recorded in the music. A method is described to detect if octave errors have occurred in beat tracking. Following an initial beat tracking estimation, a feature vector of metrical profile separated by spectral subbands is computed. A measure of subbeat quaver (1/8th note) alternation is used to compare half time and double time measures against the initial beat track estimation and indicate a likely octave error. This error estimate can then be used to re-estimate the beat rate. The performance of the approach is evaluated against the RWC database, showing successful identification of octave errors for an existing beat tracker. Using the octave error detector together with the existing beat tracking model improved beat tracking by reducing octave errors to 43% of the previous error rate.

Rhythmic Similarity Using Metrical Profile Matching

ICMC 2010
Leigh M. Smith

A method for computing the similarity of metrical rhythmic patterns is described as applied to the audio signal of recorded music. For each rhythm, a combined feature vector of metrical profile and syncopation, separated by spectral subbands, hypermetrical profile, and tempo are compared. The descriptive capability of this feature vector is evaluated by it's use in a machine learning rhythm classification task, identifying ballroom dance styles using a support vector machine algorithm. Results indicate that with the full feature vector a result of 67% is achieved. This improves on previous results using rhythmic patterns alone, but does not exceed the best reported results. By evaluating individual features, measures of metrical, syncopation and hypermetrical profile are found to play a greater role than tempo in aiding discrimination.

Obamas score card

In case anyone in the Democratic party is wondering why support disappeared in Massachusetts, perhaps examining the score card of the Obama administration will reveal why some people feel the behaviour of the executive is little different from the war criminal he replaced.

  • Gave money to the banking executives and left the majority of victims of their predatory lending with no support. He should have just nationalised any bank going bust, sacked the executive boards, and established a means to renegotiate usury mortgages.
  • Attacked a country (Pakistan) which had not attacked the U.S. in the first week of taking office. Even Bush took 9 months before he acted like Hitler.

Donating for Haiti

To help the people of Haiti, I recommend donating to Partners in Health that already have offices in Haiti and a long history of provision of aid, without preconditions and excessive bureaucracy. I have donated to them during the flooding that occurred in 2004 and they do great work. They have already provided two trucks of medical equipment into Port-au-Prince from their office in another town.

Of course, if you choose another aid organisation, that's still great.

Climate displacement is happening now

Via Jill, I learned of a documentary that is currently seeking funding, following the people of Carteret Island in the Pacific who are being displaced by rising waters. There are other climate refugees, such as people fleeing the conflict in Darfur, due ultimately to the evaporation of Lake Chad and loss of arable lands. However, the issue of impending loss of low lying islands due to erosion from sea level rise has been raised by many island nations such as Tuvalu and the Maldives. The film illustrates the effect on the people of Carteret island of forced emigration to nearby Bougainville island as the first refugees solely due to climate change. The film is seeking funding online, which is in the form of pledges.

Minuet in E major duet

A Minuet in E major recorded as a double tracked duet by the Baroque composer Adam Falckenhagen.

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