27 September 2023

The ‘is’ has it

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Fascinating facts from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) this week that it has developed a ‘Fit-Bit’-like device for inquisitive farmers to check what their farms’ cattle are getting up to.

According to CSIRO, the new gadget hooks onto a cow’s ear, allowing the farmer access to the animal’s activity – what, where and when!

“Farmers can track …. even unusual movements which could indicate an animal is giving birth or sick” the Organisation ruminated bovinely.

Pardon PS-sssst’s perpetual and pathetic pedantry but we wonder what one – even a cow – would look like ‘giving birth or sick’?

Could a less tummy-churning image be created if the statement was that the animal was ‘giving birth or was sick’?

Perhaps the ‘is’ is silent.

Maybe we should ask the cow!

International Medaling

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery so if ‘they’ are right, the many talented PS staff members wearing their Australian Public Service Medal have just been flatteringly imitated by their brothers and sisters in service across the New Zealand ditch who have just pinched the idea and created a Public Service Medal of their own.

Unlike the Aussie PSM, NZ’s honoured servants aren’t entitled to add PSM to their right royal monikers, but they do get a flash medal with ‘Tohu Ratonga Tūmatanui O Aotearoa’ engraved on it. The Australian medal has ‘Public Service’ engraved on it with ‘For Outstanding Service’ on the flip side.

Congratulations to the NZPS for catching up and thanks for the flattery and imitation, but if there’s a supply of flattery and imitation to dole out, historians recording the history of Australia’s Public Service Medal may like to know its inspiration pre-dates the first PSM in 1989 and derives from the 1982 introduction of the Australia Day Achievement Awards for the Public Service which was an initiative of the then National Australia Day Committee (NADC).

Today’s Australian PSM was Government House’s response to NADC’s approach to do something meaningful for Australia Day.

PS-sssst! is willing to bet the Kiwis don’t know that!

Zeroing in

To a generations-old conundrum now to ask the seemingly unanswerable question: Is zero an odd or an even number?

Regular readers may be aware that mingling with the mathematical is not a regular routine for the largely innumerate press-persons of PS News, but necessity reared its ugly mother of invention recently when the Federal Government’s overworked telecommunications watchdog ACMA, (the Australian Communications and Media Authority), found itself busy chasing up telcos to ensure they adhered to the minimum standards of performance.

In ACMA’s words: “Investigations follow an audit of 41 telcos that found that, as at August 2018, none were providing consumers with all the information required by the Standard.”

PS News chose to report this fact thus: “Not one of 41 telecommunications businesses was providing consumers with all the information required.”

Alert readers will note the contradictory treatment of the number zero.

ACMA said: “none were providing”, assuming zero to be a plural number: i.e. ‘were’.

PS News said: “Not one … was providing”, assuming zero to be singular: i.e. ‘was’.

Anyone know who’s right?

Token book prizes for the best, or most entertaining explanations. Send thoughts to [email protected]

Giveaways given away

To our not-so-weakly weekly giveaway now where it’s no giveaway that our very strong Rama Gaind has powered up again to give away another giveaway in her regular giveaway section.

Not giving anything away, Rama’s giveaway this week is in the form of a much-sought after DVD of the action thriller movie Reprisal: Life for a Life starring Bruce Willis.

To get away with Rama’s giveaway, three lucky readers needed only to identify the actor who plays the role of the ex-cop neighbour in the movie, that actor being Bruce Willis (Doh!).

And the first three entrants to emerge from the PS News Barrel of Booty and give away the correct answer were Scott W from the Australian Taxation Office, Michele C from the Department of Social Services and Chris K from the Australian Border Force.

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone for taking part. The DVDs will be giving way on their way soon.

In the meantime, Rama has gone way out of her way to come up with another giveaway for this week and it’s at this PS News link.

Good luck to all who try their good luck.

Final words

And finally, from an anonymous correspondent who wishes to remain anonymous comes this anonymous contribution to our day:

“Why is it,” the anonymous one asks, “that writers write but fingers don’t fing?”

“Why grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham?

“If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese?

“How it is it that one can make amends but not one amend?

“And to finish, if someone has a bag of odds and ends and removes all but one, is it an odd or an end?”

Thanks Anonymous. All good fun.

And while we’ve got you, can you confirm the plural of anonymous to be twononymous? Morenonymous? Manynonymous?

Just asking!

Till next week…..

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