1. Computer hard drive 1956
Here’s a photo of an IBM 5 megabyte computer hard drive from 1956:
The hard-drive in the picture, most likely the IBM Model 305 RAMAC, only had room to hold 6 copies of that actual image.
- The hard-drive wasn’t even available for purchase — a company could lease the storage for around $3,200 a month, the equivalent of $28,000 today when you account for inflation.
Here’s a current portable hard-drive that fits in your back pocket and can hold two terabytes, about 400,000 times more space than the first hard drive — and that costs less than $60:
2. The live sheep trade is at death’s door
It’s hard to get an objective read on the live sheep trade issue, passions are engaged on both sides of the debate. Craig Emerson is a rational person who was minister for trade when the Gillard government called a halt to the live beef trade for five weeks in 2011. His comments make interesting reading.
The bottom line is that the trade can never be both humane and economic. He says that the rules state that sheep should have enough room to lie down. If they did you couldn’t get enough on the boat to make it pay.
He says agriculture minister David Littleproud has called for an independent review, but how independent is it?
- The veterinarian appointed to conduct the external review, though eminently qualified, has been integrally involved in an industry that has failed to protect animal welfare. A far better choice would have been the Australian Chief Veterinary Officer. From the minister’s public statements, the government’s presumption is that the long haul, live sheep export industry can continue without horrific animal suffering, when all the evidence suggests it cannot.
- It is a sunset industry. Our live-sheep exports have declined from more than six million head in the early 2000s to less than two million. Four-fifths of those exports are from Western Australia.
- A recent economic study by Pegasus Economics, whose team includes former senior public servants and an assistant auditor-general, estimates that the cessation of the live sheep export trade would result in an annual loss of around $9 million for West Australian farmers. But it could also facilitate the engagement of around 350 employees for West Australian sheep-meat processors.
Moreover, farmers engaged in supplying the trade do not depend on it as their sole income stream.
The figures in the Pegasus report have been challenged, but Emerson says more images like we’ve recently seen will damage our reputation as a clean and ethical supplier of food, with a cost more than the industry is worth. So:
- Come on Minister [Mr Littleproud], make us all a little proud and end the animal suffering on these cruel long haul voyages.
3. Politics on a knife edge
Newspoll at the beginning of the week had Labor 51-49 in front, but that would still leave the LNP with 76 seats and Labor well short of the treasury benches. The change from 52-48 two weeks earlier had been wrought by everything staying the same except the Greens had gone from 10 to 9 and ‘Other’ had gone from 8 to 9.
Essential Report has the Greens on 11, and TPP remaining at 53-47 to Labor, so good luck with all that.
Katherine Murphy says the election will be a budget contest as Labor to match Coalition in dumping Medicare levy rise as tax battle lines redrawn.
Meanwhile the number of Australians who earned more than $1m a year yet paid no tax has surged 30% to now reach 62.
Behind those 62 there is a phalanx of people who came close:
But in the 2015-16 financial year, 59 millionaires claimed to have taxable income below $6,001, one claimed to have taxable income between $6,001 and $10,000, and two claimed to have taxable income between $10,001 and $18,200, putting them all below the tax-free threshold.
None of them paid the Medicare levy.
Twenty-two reduced their taxable income to zero by claiming a combined $4.34m for the “cost of managing tax affairs” – nearly $198,000 each.
Fourteen claimed gifts or donations worth $54.9m to help them do so.
Time for a dose of Ross Gittins, who points out that those heroic self-funded retirees have cost the government more in cash concessions than they would have received on the pension.
While the media obsesses about how Labor wants to shave a bit off the incomes of the rich it ignores this government’s war against the poor, with a bill recently passed with Pauline Hanson’s help:
You’ve heard the news that homelessness is much more prevalent than we thought. According to the Australian Council of Social Service, the Senate’s passing of the Orwellian Welfare “Reform” Bill will, in its first year, add to homelessness by cutting off payments to more than 80,000 people.
The bill contains 17 measures that will adversely affect the lives of thousands of the unemployed, single parents and women and children escaping violence.
You’ve never seen such a list of pettifogging nastiness, yielding tiny savings to the budget.
The unemployed will no longer be back-paid to the day they lodged their claim, meaning the longer Centrelink takes to process that claim, the longer the jobless go without (or have to go cap-in-hand to outfits like the Salvos) and the more pennies the government saves.
Let’s hope it doesn’t make lengthening processing times a KPI.
Until now, the legislation has protected people who can’t complete and lodge their claim because they’re in hospital, are homeless, are escaping domestic violence, or are victims of natural disaster or fire. Sorry, such pathetic excuses will no longer be accepted.
4. Other news
In other important news, the new royal is to be named Louis, Abba have written two new songs after 35 years, Bill Cosby was found guilty on all three counts but put on a show in court calling the district attorney an “a****hole” perhaps so that his team can claim dementia, and Kim amd Moon met at the border, held hands, crossing it back and forwards, declaring peace in our times:
Elsewhere Stormy Daniels is on a national tour and a mission:
- The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently referred to Trump as “the first porn president”. If so, Daniels is trumping Trump at his own game.
Her national tour, twisting his campaign slogan, is called Making America Horny Again. He screwed her, she seems to be telegraphing, so now she is going to screw him.
Here’s Stormy, getting into her routine, with clothes on: