November 2005 Archives
Model for transport
Well-managed discount airlines are making profits in spite of high oil prices and selling air tickets so cheaply that it puts our public transport to shame. They do not have any "roadshow" infotainment income, yet they are able to charge less than public transport, calculated on a pro-rata basis. Sometimes the ferry ride to Macau is more expensive than the plane ticket. The airlines' fare structure is a good basis to force cuts in public transport fares.
NALINI DASWANI, Tsim Sha Tsui
The ludicruously low fares some airline operaters claim to charge are called "Loss Leaders". i.e., the first ten people to book get a loss-making fare, while the rest get a sliding scale of profitable fares. In. Ms Daswani's case, there's a few seats less than $170 (the cost of the ferry), while most of the rest of the seats are more expensive. The airline will make most profit on a route by charging exorbitant fees to business class users. i.e. Cathay Pacific's business class costs three times as much as economy class.
How does this translate to domestic public transport fares? It doesn't. There's no booking of seats or preferential treatment for early customers. Everyone who wants to use the service pays the same fare (unless they're an OAP or a child, of course). There is no scope for differential charges, or charging business users more than others, so the airline pricing model has no connection to public transport fares.
- Blazing Sunshine;
- Baking Heat;
- Christmas Carols.
There's been quite an amount of fuss in the Australia media recently about Howard's proposed new terror laws. And now, there's a Vague Terror Alert to demonstrate the need for immediate removal of civil rights from everyone. What a coincidence. Maybe he's learning from the Bush administration's fake terror alerts on the New York Subway?
UPDATE: There appears to have been An Actual Terror Plot in planning, so fair play to the Aussies for stopping that in it's tracks, if indeed there was a plot. It's kind of difficult to tell from the local news how real the threat was as most of the Headlines on Sky/Fox are full of heavy-handed right-wing gibberish. Reports of 'Bomb Making Materials' are everywhere, but that could just as easily mean sacks of fertiliser as well as crates of C4.
Mythbusters like, totally rocks, man. It's a show dedicated to the scientific testing of Urban Myths such as:
- Can a person receive third-degree burns if he or she lights a cigarette while inside a port-a-potty?
- If an elevator suddenly falls, can you save yourself in the nick of time by jumping just before it hits bottom?
- Does a duck's quack echo?
It's very entertaining, and well produced.
Brainiac, on the other hand, is a Sky One effort which seeks to research such questions such as:
- How many women with large breasts are required to blow up a washing machine?
- How many times can a cameraman look straight down the top of a woman with large breasts pretending to be Tina Turner while she blows up a car?
While there are some interesting and entertaining spots, most of it is typical MAXIM-style 'Laddy' humour, i.e. sexist, lowest common denominator rubbish.
Mythbusters is essentially creative - they build and modify machines and design experiments to test their hypotheses. The other show merely destroys things. OK, crash test dummies get a hard time in both, but at least Mythbusters dummy is a real crash-test dummy, while the Brainiac crew just destroy mannikins. (And the mannikins frequently have large breasts, too. It's something of a signature element to the show. I think the creator was probably bottle-fed as a child.)
This is not to say that stuff doesn't get blown up or destroyed during a Mythbusters investigation - dropping an elevator ten stories to see if your crash test dummy will survive the fall is destructive, but in the course of that investigation they:
- restored the elevator to semi-working order by modifying a soda-throwing robot vending machine!;
- designed and built a mechanism to make a crash-test dummy jump in a rough semblance of a human jump;
- and designed and built quick-release mechanisms for both the elevator and the dummy jumping device.
Compare this to the regular "Tina Turner and her Bunsen Burner" spot on Brainiac, where a short woman (with the obligatory large breasts) cavorts around in a red dress blowing up cars with dynamite, petrol or some other schtick, while the cameraman does his best to look straight down her cleavage.
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