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Mat Bettinson
Works at University of Melbourne
Attends University of Melbourne
Lives in Melbourne
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Mat Bettinson

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Woohoo, mX to close

Which means they wont shove it in my face as I pass through the turnstiles while offering the 'newspaper' It's basically full of celebrity gossip and weird text-us-your-whinging pages. It started out as a proper tabloid, light for sure, but it had stuff in it. The more they went after the gossip horseshit market, the more they were in peril of being made redundant by people looking at Facebook on their phones.

It also means it wont litter all the carriages. I will miss some of the rent-a-totty that Rupert hires to hand them out though.
News Corp is axing its afternoon commuter publication mX, as readers continue their migration from print to online.
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And one returns

It seems this chap lost his mate. The pair or rainbow lorikeets regularly visited our balcony, squawking and carrying on in the hope they can cajoul me or the missus to put some seed out. Sadly this guy has been solo of late, which usually means his or her mate has been killed (I can't tell sexes of these). Same thing happened a couple of years ago in steps, one of them turned up with an eye missing. I would imagine that the colour scheme is rather helpful for bird of prey. They sure are handsome though.
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:'( awwww. beautiful birdies. and more intelligent than most people think.
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Looks like the UK is voting for more economy-destroying austerity. It never ceases to amaze me the power that politicians have to get people to vote against their own best interests.
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Social Democracy works fine just as long as we stay committed to leveling inequality and soaking the hell out of the rich. The hard part is that is only really works when the elite is afraid of revolution.
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Nifty. Took a good long time to convince PTV to release their data... but now they have.
 
#Melbourne   #PTV  released their public transport as #Opendata  in the #GTFS  format.  Using #ArcGIS  and some #networkanalysis  I have been playing with creating commute catchments.  

If you need to be at the main Flinders Street station for 9am on a Monday, and you dont mind walking to the bus/train/tram stop, this is a map showing you how long it would take you.  

This kind of analysis is really useful for me  as I am trying to buy a house and don't fancy commuting for more than an hour. 
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Solar charger test run. The wife finished yarn bombing the solar panel frames. The four you see here fold up in a stack for transport. Total output is about ten watts which it seems to easily attain. Currently charging up the battery pack/usb module also in the picture.
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The international face of Australia's climate denialism

Aussie government dismantled the Climate Council packed with climate scientists, economists and energy experts. They said it was because they couldn't find the money but everyone knows it's because they don't like what the experts were telling them. 

So what to do? One needs some sort of legitimacy when defending the fucking outrageous lack of meaningful action on climate change. Ahah, how about funding a think tank at a a cash-strapped aussie university which will be more amenable to what we want to believe? Behold, the $14 million "Australia Consensus Centre" which will bring the 'Lombard consensus methodology" to Australia. This methodology is chiefly one of writing a load of tosh and then footnoting with variously fake data or misrepresented conclusions which has been the subject of an entire book. Yep that's Bjorn Lombard, the governments go-to yes-man in times of climate non-crisis.

Prof Tim Flannery pointed out that Lombard had "no credibility " in the scientific community. Lies! He's head of prestigious think tank that we've just created,  no one will listen to that lefty Flannery. [I imagine this is how Peta Credlin phrased this when she talked the PM into doing it]. I despair, I really despair. 
 
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Pretty grim, especially as it looks like Australia could struggle with fires, droughts and flooding
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Short handheld video of the same guy/gal when they were a pair.
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They're natives of arid inland areas. It's common to see whole flocks of them out there. The reason Australia apparently has so many parrots is because rain forests were more prevalent but then dried up, so the birds adapted. We have four common parrots around here; Rosellas, sulfur crested cockatoos, king parrots and rainbow lorikeets. Lots of king parrots in particular. They're astonishingly tame. They'll happily hop onto my arm, or perch on the top of my ipad when I'm reading a paper in the hammock. Cheeky little buggers. Love budgies, but haven't seen any in the wild.
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Eurovision semis

Woo, it's here! The eurotrash kitsch overload and this time they've even asked the aussies to take part, I mean that's practically Europe right? Having reviewed the semi finals, this is what I reckon:

Latvia - Aminata, Love Injected (lol!). My pick of the bunch. World class female vocalist with a fairly simple anthemic piece, almost triphop percussion to it. There's something about the contrast of her pure high end with the 8-bit bass in the chorus. Makes the hairs rise on the back on my neck, wow!

Russia - Polina Gagaarina. Very powerful song. It's let down a bit by Polina's inability to sing in a non-sonorous register but fortunately she doesn't have to do that for long. Perhaps Aminata can teach her.

Sweden, Mans Zelmerslow, Heroes of time. This guys is very good indeed but unfortunately the song has been forced into the Eurodance genre in a way that makes it a bit too busy. The start of it, where he just sings, is brilliant. 

Belgium. Loïc Nottet, Rhythm Inside. I don't know why this hasn't got a lot of chat, I think it's great! Boom, click click. It's got rhythm. Head and tails above the eurodance shite. 

Serbia. Bojana Stamenov, Beauty never lies. Big lass sings a rousing anti fat-shaming song. Slow start but builds up to a trance break that's really quite good.

Netherlands. Trijntje Oosterhuis, Why. Why-ay-ay-ay-eye. Come on, if you're going to sing in English you can do better than that dutchies :) It's competant and inoffensive though, Trijntje can sing, even if none of us has a chance of pronouncing that name. 

Lithuania. Happy song, doesn't take itself too seriously. Has actual music rather than Eurodance.

Ireland. This is a perfectly good song, but it's not upbeat enough for success I think. Shame, because Molly Sterling certainly has the pipes to do it.

Funny shit: Finland's granddad rock band. Italy. Nuff said.

The elephant in the room is Australia. Guy Sebastian's song is quite clearly the best on offer. I think it might have been rather more diplomatic to put something shit in like everyone else. I can't imagine the moaning if it does well.
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Heh you were the only one. I think it got one point. I was most baffled by Italy. I didn't like that at all. Other than that, it was remarkable. There was quite a lot of genuinely good stuff. i was pleased to see Latvia do okay. Surprised Norway didn't do better, that was the best duet of the show in my view.
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Don't buy a Jura coffee machine

This is a Jura Ena 5 super automatic coffee machine. It's actually pretty good, it's made many great coffees straight from beans at the push of a button. The problem is the great lengths the manufacturers went to ensure that you can't even clean it yourself. The side panel, removed here, was robustly fixed to the side of the unit. The bottom line is they want you to send this for a service for things when it goes wrong. The problem is they make it impossible to clean the inside of it, which is actually what goes wrong on these things. They fill up with spent wet coffee grains that promptly hosts thriving mould colonies. It's nasty.

I've worked with electronic devices for a long time so I'm reasonably equipped to defeat a number of the casual schemes manufacturers use to keep you out. This was on a whole other level. The side panels are locked to the back of the case via a devious system. The company logo needs to be pried off the back revealing an insert that can be rotated and removed. Then there's one last protected screw that needs to be removed, whereupon the lock mechanism can be raised, allowing the side panels to slide back. That protected screw was unlike anything I've seen. It needed a female M5 reverse threaded tool to remove the screw. I don't have one, I've never even seen one. 

At this point I was thoroughly pissed off that I couldn't clean out the rotting coffee I can smell and glimpse by prying off a bit of case. It's well out of warranty, and there's no way I'll reward their evil by getting a dealer service anyway. When I can't fix it, it's going in the bin. So I just snapped off a peg from the locking mechanism. I couldn't get the locking panel clips on the front to disengage, it looks like there's a tool needed for that (or possibly more patience), so I snapped those off as well (see bits of red at the front of the case).

I sort of understand why they'd want to stop people from servicing the guts of this thing, but what's unforgivable, and which should be outright illegal, is stopping end users from making their unit hygienic. The build up inside was truly disgusting. Even in terms of regular two-weekly cleans, where you will need to wipe the tamper disk, this involves contorting your hand in from the bottom of the device up inside the guts to wipe the disk. They don't tell you this in the manual. I had to ring them up after owning it for a month because it no longer made coffee, at which point they explained how I could contort my hand to perform this cleaning maneuver so it would at least work. (Also let's not go there about how it's designed to use their own custom water filters and whines when it needs a new one - I don't use one at all since my water is super soft)

So anyway, fuck these guys. You may of course reasonably conclude that super automatics are bullshit and buy a proper espresso machine (no argument) or even one of those pod coffee makers. That said, my first experience of super automatics was of a Saeco in an office setting and where I ended up servicing it because no one else would. It was trivial, you could pop off the cover and lift out the entire mechanism and clean it up, lube where necessary (the machine!) and so on.

Building a food-related automatic piece of machinery and denying users access to the working is a prick of an idea. Don't buy a Jura.
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Disappointed no one said "Dura expect me to make a coffee?". Bialetti moka ftw
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Asus Zenfone 5

The missus needed a new phone. So I went looking for a non-massive, LTE capable phone that does the freq-bands now and in the future in Oz. It would also be a low-end phone, or at least low-end money. Things have changed though. I got her this 5-inch Zenphone 5 thing, snapdragon 400-based. It's a bit of a cracker actually. Pretty good looking, good screen, not quite as much res as my N5 but it's snappy. The model has been around for a year but the A500KL version is better spec with LTE and costs less than AU$300. Bargain!
phones.
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Australia to keep retarded 'negative gearing' system

Negative gearing is a peculiarly Australian middle-class welfare system whereby you can simply invest in a property and offset the costs of that property (such as the loan) against your tax bill. Australians of means are virtually fools to invest in anything else, which of course means that the housing market is distorted. It's been repeatedly fingered as in need of urgent reform. Now Joe Hockey says it's staying, on the basis of warnings about rent prices and and so on. Of course what it's really about is that that every lib MP has a nice little slice of the action, and all their rich mates are similarly feeding from the middle class welfare trough. Squeal!
Treasurer Joe Hockey has all but ruled out any changes to negative gearing by warning that altering the system could drive up rents and harm investors.
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The whole concept of negative gearing hinges upon future growth of the asset, the government still claims CGT from the asset owner when they realise the gain and the investor actually takes a net reduction in income to offset the variance between mortgage repayments and any rent earnings (this is in other words where the "tax break" comes from). It requires no initial assets/extensive savings other than a deposit and in its most effective form there is no repayment on the principle. I see it as A) quite a high risk strategy, should there be a market correction and b) anything that simultaneously reduces government spending and reliance on social housing is a good thing. Disclaimer: I do not have any negatively geared assets.
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Australia: Investigative journalism is not welcome here

Here is a thought experiment, based upon the new Australia reality that was enacted in law last week.

Suppose that a senior civil servant in Australia uncovers some major wrong doing and chooses to become a confidential source for a journalist. Imagine someone in the government gets wind of that. Revealing information is usually a crime. Like, for example, the student that was convicted of leaking the dubious secret scholarship for the PM's daughter. Journalists are typically protected to avoid this scenario, although it apparently didn't help the student in this case.

So, government man reports crime and asks police to apply for access to all of the communications meta data of the journalist (and now this must be held by all telecoms operators for two-years). Apply to whome? An unknown magistrate. The secret 'beak' will be petitioned by two lawyers, one that will argue that we must reveal the journalist's source for they have committed a heinous crime and made us look bad, and the other that will argue against granting the order on the basis of public interest. No one knows who any of these people will be, other than the government appointed them. 

The public interest advocate can't tell the journalist that the order has been sought, which also means they can't possibily be prepared to mount a public interest defence. They only information they will have access to is whatever they are told by the investigating police.

The application for the order cannot be made known by anyone orr they may face 2 years of imprisonment. Journalist information orders we're talking about here, not terrorist sympathisers. The journalist's metadata is handed over without them ever knowing, the source is identified and the the government will no doubt ensure that there are repercussions for making them look bad.

This is by far and away the worst abuse of power that any industrialised nation has enacted in recent years. All of these powers have been justified in response to the terrorism threat, of course, but there's absolutely zero case for applying them in this way against journalists. What's worse, both major parties are onboard with it. Probably because they've both been hurt by leaks in recent times.
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Linguistic grad student, researcher and sinologist.
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  • University of Melbourne
    Researcher, 2013 - present
  • Tantalus
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Darwin - UK - Australia - Israel
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Geeky linguaphile
Introduction
Ex-journalist and ex-videogame industry guy with an electronics engineering background. Obviously that wasn't odd enough so I several years ago I abandoned my career to go back to university to study Chinese and linguistics. I'm now a PhD candidate in theoretical linguistics and my research aims to combine technology and new methods to scale up endangered language documentation.

I'm also broadly interested in China, I  brew my own beer, build weird robotic contraptions, play psychedelic synthesizer and grow chillis. Things I post about: Various computing and technical subjects, linguistics, Australia and Melbourne, China and the Chinese language and all sorts of political commentary, somewhat left of centre.

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Education
  • University of Melbourne
    PhD linguistics, 2014 - present
  • University of Melbourne
    BA (Hons) Linguistics + Chinese, 2010 - 2013
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Lurks, Chinamat
30 years old apparently, and looking it. There's not many good venues on the south coast and sadly this isn't one of them. The decor is shabby worn 1970s with the owners feeling no need to update the venue in the last 30 years. Strangely despite ample room available in the lobby the operators like to have everyone queue up outside in the cold for a random abitrary length of time. Maybe to make it look busy, like nightclubs do. Inside the toilets are under a puzzling state of construction without you precisely knowing which are and aren't. Likewise internal signage is very poor and at any gig there's crowds of people walking around asking where anything is. If it's a seated event you can look forward to hard plastic seats big enough for a child at best. It's a horrible venue and the only reason anyone uses it at all is that there isn't anything better of this size.
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Public - 7 years ago
reviewed 7 years ago
It's somewhat tricky to find a genuine australian burger in Melbourne but this place is the real deal. One guy working in the shop with a large grill often gets a bit overloaded so you need to wait to put an order in but the results are spectacular. A proper 'the lot' burger with bacon, egg, beetroot and pinapple is pretty tricky to cram into a box but cram they do. One thing though, they don't serve real chips - just those american style string fries. They're also not very good so skip the fries and up your burger to 'the lot' and bob's your uncle!
• • •
Public - 7 years ago
reviewed 7 years ago
2 reviews
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