Guerilla gardening comes to Marrickville

Apparently guerilla gardening has come to Marrickville, with people taking over the grass verges in their streets. There's no grass verge on our street but I've noticed a few people have planted ornamentals around the trees. In our old street there was sage and rosemary around some of the trees.

I'd actually been thinking recently about planting nasturtiums around the tree out the front of our place, because it's a very hardy, attractive plant and both the leaves and flowers make a good addition to salads. I'm also intrigued by the recipe for nasturtium seed "capers" that I found in the River Cottage Preserves book.

Now if the nasturtium seeds I've had sown for a couple of weeks would just sprout already!

We're all doomed! Doomed I tell you!

Stop me if you've heard this before. It's been around for ages. I keep getting asked to explain how this subprime crap works. Apart from explaining that Lurlene and Jethro, who've never had jobs in their lives, were able to get mortgages to move out of the trailer into a seven bedroom home, there's a slightly more complicated backstory to how this idiocy has happened.

This presentation, while very funny, is also quite a good explanation of how subprime has destroyed the economy. It also explains why we really shouldn't be bailing out the idiots who made this happen. In fact, it already provides a really good practical example for the Wikipedia Moral hazard article.

Update: Des sends this excellent Bird and Fortune video which also does a good job at explaining the mess.

Terror needs help with geography

An article on the Daily Telegraph site seems a little confused, geographically.

A MILLIONAIRE banker was beaten to death by a mob after stepping in to save a couple being assaulted at a taxi rank in London.

...The family went out for dinner on Saturday evening in Norwich, southeast England, after which Mr McGarahan's wife Alison and their children, aged seven and four months, returned to their hotel.

Okay, first of all, Norwich isn't in "southeast England". Second, Norwich is not a suburb of London, so neither the assault nor the taxi rank were "in London". This BBC piece kinda gives that away, particularly the multiple references to Norfolk Police.

One wonders whether their "correspondents in London" really are, or if it's just a sub-editor in Sydney hacking up the Reuters piece.

Obama Yells at Hillary and Bitch Slaps Bill Clinton

Recently spammers have been taking the tabloid approach to get people to open their emails. There's been a lot of emails with subjects like Rare nude photos of Kate Moss, Paris Hilton Charges For Pussy, Paris Hilton violated by Gypsies. I suppose they're working on the principle that if it works for the mainstream media (just look at the "most popular" article lists of most newspapers) should work for them.

One that just wound up in my spam box was headlined Obama Yells at Hillary and Bitch Slaps Bill Clinton. If it wasn't clearly spam, I know I'd be interested in that! Sounds even better than Anti-war protesters menace intrepid Faux News reporter.

Conspiracy or fuckup?

Conspiracy nutters are everywhere these days. George Bush and Dick Cheney ordered the "controlled demolition" of the Twin Towers. The Duke of Edinburgh, a 12th-level Mason, ordered MI6 to kill Di and Dodi, to prevent the British Royal Family including a Muslim. MI5 America faked the moon landing!

The problem with all these conspiracies is they forget how useless we humans are at running large-scale projects without fucking it up. We're just not good enough at enormous projects, particularly when they're supposed to be big secrets.

Charlie Brooker has a good look at them.

It's hard enough to successfully operate a video shop with a staff of three, for Christ's sake, let alone slaughter thousands and convince the world someone else was to blame.

PS: If you read the version in this week's Guardian Weekly, you might want to read this version. The GW version was quite savagely cut down.

Bing Lee pricing is very strange

So I want to buy a heater and search for its model number to find who sells it. Last week Bing Lee were showing it for $850 before it mysteriously changed to $1,095 early this week. I just called the store to find out the real price and it's $845. WTF?

Why would they put a price that seems designed to turn you off buying it on the site? If I hadn't seen the cheaper price a week ago, I would have looked elsewhere to buy it.

A friend of mine bought a Rinnai heater and part of the reason she bought that one was the fixed price, Apple style, with no discounting. At least then you know what you should pay.