Labor Elections and Media Appearances, The New Government, Gaming Updates

The ALP is about to embark in an election for a new leader, which includes a 50% weighting from rank-and-file party members. Some people are not happy with the new rules. Apparently a couple of people dobbed me in to the ABC's Lateline to talk about the new system, which of course I advocated empowerment of members, which should be available on their "vodcast" very soon. It is interesting fact of democratic political theory that people seem to prefer a populist and representative democracy for people in positions of power, but accept a deliberative and participatory method for policy. To be sure, there must be some feedback between the two (e.g., representative should be delegates and advocates of the policy), but a major problem within the ALP at the moment is the "party within a party" model of binding caucuses, which means as a whole the body suffers.

Apropos this, increasingly it is becoming evident that the LNP's Coaliton victory last Saturday was not due to their policies, but rather due to the inability of the ALP to manage itself. A young university student initiated a petition appealing to the Coalition to adopt a fibre-to-the-premises rather than fibre-to-the-node. The new minister is doing his master's bidding (i.e., Rupert Murdoch) and has made it clear that he won't be swayed. Likewise climate researchers and technologists are appealing to the Coalition not to axe the loans scheme in the Green Energy Bank; but again, the new minister has said he won't be swayed, perhaps part of the process of having a climate skeptic indicating interest in becoming science minister. Perhaps people are beginning to learn that they really did mean to implement all those crazies ideas that they said that they would.

Completely on a tangent, have had a couple of very enjoyable gaming sessions recently including another episode of Eclipse Phase last night, and Space 1889 last Sunday. Neglected to mention that the week previous ran a GURPS modern horror scenario, which was full of some fairly factual backstory mistakes (no smilodon or neanderthal in Africa, Sudan does not share a border with Liberia), and has a bit of a Scooby-Doo ending, all of which can - and should be - dropped, in favour of keeping the core story - a vampiric sabre-toothed tiger arises again! In news of the games store, now up to an estimate ten percent of planned stock, adding the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, and some Mage : The Ascension and Vampire : The Masquerade items. Next planned review for is an obscure classic, Lords of Creation.

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Is it true that caucus gets to look at the results of the members poll before they do their voting for their 50%?
Yes, that is true. It's the same with the Public Office Selection Committee for the pre-selection of state and federal candidates for those seats where it applies. The local ballot comes first, then the POSC/caucus. I suppose it provides an opportunity for a candidate to withdraw after the local first round. Plus it's administratively easier to do it this way. I don't think there's anything sinister about it (which would be a change).
Ah, I've just be corrected (actually it was on the Lateline interview last night) that the Returning Officer will hold the member's result in secret until after the caucus vote.
Not even on a tangent, I'd like to talk to you about my possibly emigrating to sunny Victoria. I'm very unhappy with the direction the US is going, and I understand it's fairly easy for people with advanced technical degrees?
Pretty much so, yes. So please, do take the big silver bird and come over. We'll make you welcome.
Super! Are you still associated with a university down there? I'm thinking it may work out for me to complete my MS here , then pursue a PhD down under, so I can graduate and emigrate, but I'm not sure how the advisor / advisee courtship works there.
Kinda-sorta. I'm enrolled in a university interstate (Murdoch), I work in a university building (RMIT) for an organisation owned by several of the universities, and I'm about to fly interstate to teach at another university for a couple of days. So I guess I'm involved.

As for doctoral level enrolling, I'd suggest applying online and hunting about to find a potential supervisor among the staff lists in a relevant field. What area were you looking at?
My experience is with GPU parallelism, neural networks, and image processing, and I was part of a project to train an ANN to ignore noise when detecting edges. This sort of selectivity could be useful for any application that's susceptible to false positives or other noise, like making aircraft instruments see through weather. My prof worked with a kinky, complex-valued neuron that uses simpler, quicker math than the real-valued kind.

I'm also finally getting my 4-year EE degree awarded, so there's that. But I understand there is a cut-off at age 50 for certain things, and I'm a bit over 44...tick...tick...tick....
When I get back to Melbourne (currently in Sydney) I'll have a proper trawl through my contacts and see if I can find the most appropriate people that you may wish to contact regarding supervision.