Random Thoughts


Nick Renton has a new web site

It currently has 160 pages of serious stuff and is at http://nickrenton.com/

The inconvenience that this alteration will cause readers is regretted, but it is entirely due to the unprincipled action of the existing host, Telstra.

That company has seen fit to breach the understanding given when its cable connection was first instituted.

For further details see http://nickrenton.com/980.htm


Our Kitten is growing up


The latest addition to our household


The Unprofessionalism of Some United States Web Sites Continues to Astound

Much Internet content originating in America is very good, but there are always a few exceptions. These reflect poorly on the whole nation.

Recently I came across a site called Veoh. This describes itself in the following terms:

"Veoh is a revolutionary Internet TV service that gives viewers the power to easily discover, watch, and personalize their online viewing experience.

"Veoh is an open platform for content publishers of all sizes and sophistication who want to reach tomorrow's television audience. Currently more than 100,000 publishers - from forward-thinking, well-known entertainment brands to independent, made-for-the-Web producers - use Veoh to connect with an audience of more than 24 million engaged, influential viewers. In addition, Veoh's unique publisher optimization program gives publishers powerful tools to help them raise awareness of their content and cultivate loyal viewing audiences."

This seemed quite impressive. I accordingly thought that some of its users might enjoy a few of my fascinating original fractal images. Thus, as a pro bono act of kindness to strangers, I uploaded my video entitled "Mandelbrot Art 11" to the Veoh site.

To my complete astonishment, a mere few minutes later I received an e-mail referring to this video and reading as follows:

"Veoh has received a notice from a copyright holder or otherwise discovered that the videos listed below and posted through your account contain material alleged to infringe on copyrights held by another party."

The e-mail did not indicate who the unnamed complainant was. Apparently, such messages are sent out routinely and involve lies not based on any bona fide information.

I immediately replied in the following terms:

"The suggestion that I have infringed copyright in this video is quite absurd and I reject it utterly.

"The video contains 60 fractal images created by me on my own computer and not copied from anywhere else.

"I have been publishing books and articles for over 60 years and am thus very conscious of copyright issues. I now look forward to receiving an apology for this insulting allegation."

However, the pathetic scum running Veoh did not even have the courtesy to respond.

For those interested, Mandelbrot Art 11 can still be seen on YouTube.

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A free Fractal Screensaver for Windows computers

This fascinating screensaver can be downloaded from here. It consists of 41 original images created using Sterlingware.



Mandelbrot Art Movies

Several more fascinating Mandelbrot art movies by Nick Renton have now been posted to:

Art Movies

Feedback is invited.


The Board of Wal-Mart should be sacked

An interesting article dealing with the company's ethics.



The expression "pump and dump" refers to a stock market scam, designed to catch greedy investors who are foolish enough to believe that unsolicited e-mails from complete strangers in another country contain genuine stock tips.

The idea is that the recipients will buy a stock based on messages which pump its virtues. The price will then surge, at which stage the promoters of the ruse dump their own holdings in the company concerned. After that the price collapses.

The warning signs are clear enough - it should be obvious that if the originators of the e-mails concerned really had special insights then they would have been much better off exploiting these themselves in total secrecy than offering them free of charge to all and sundry.

Over about three days recently Nick Renton received about 30 spam e-mails, all highly recommending a particular US share selling at 8 cents, on the basis that it would shortly reach 25 cents. Instead, it fell very quickly to less than 0.5 cents.

It is not clear why the fraudsters thought that somehow that number of similar messages would be more effective than just one or two.



Nick Renton's YouTube Videos

Assorted Movies - well worth watching


Mandelbrot Images using Tiera-Zon


A Collection of Controversial Essays by an Opinionated Writer

Nick Renton's fourth ebook was published in July 2007:

Details are available as follows:

Reflections of a Business Rebel

Some of Nick Renton's Books:

A promotional movie for the above ebook

A promotional movie for the three ebooks below


Three new eBooks

Nick Renton's first three ebooks were published in May 2007:

Details are available as follows:

Successful Public Relations

The Wit and Wisdom of the Money Experts

Successful Newsletters




Why does not the Australian government insist that David Hicks, one of its citizens, who has been imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for five years without charge, be tried in the same way as Americans suspected of having committed crimes - by traditional courts in front of a jury and on the United States mainland?

Furthermore, Australia should point out that a country which keeps unconvicted persons in solitary confinement brands itself as uncivilised.


A Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities has been in force in the State of Victoria, Australia, since 2007-01-01. A worthwhile start, but does this legislation go far enough?

Subjects which are not covered but which ought to be include the following:
  • A right to a trial by jury for breaches of State law
    (compare section 80 of the Australian Constitution).

  • Compulsory asset acquisitions to be on just terms
    (compare section 51(xxxi) of the Australian Constitution).

  • Compensation to be provided to persons acquitted of crime
    (in respect of the legal expenses incurred, of any income lost and of any loss of liberty)

  • A right not to pay multiple taxes on the same transaction
    (as, for example, in the case of the fire brigade levy, goods and services tax and stamp duty on general insurance premiums).

  • A right to die with dignity.


Consider a financial institution that is acting as an adviser to a company that is planning to make a takeover offer for a target company. In that capacity it clearly has access to highly sensitive market information.

If that institution wishes to also act as a broker then it is expected to take steps to ensure that those of its staff as are working in the broking area are not able to become aware of such critical information until after it has been made public. This process is called "setting up a Chinese wall".

However, if the broking staff concerned are given a specific instruction from up high not to deal in shares of the target company for the time being, then that rather lets the cat out of the bag.

If, on the other hand, the staff are not given such an instruction and continue trading in the shares concerned either as principal or as agent, then the institution will be widely (and possibly unfairly) regarded by investors, regulators and the media as not having managed its Chinese walls properly.

The only practical solution to all this is for the Parliament to pass legislation prohibiting any institution from being both a corporate advisor and a broker at the same time. Those institutions that are already both would need to choose which of these two hats they wish to wear in the future.


To have short term interest rates set by the Reserve Bank of Australia at irregular intervals may have been useful in earlier times, but in this era of having a competitive environment as an economic goal it no longer makes sense.

Australians would be much better off if these rates were set by market forces - as already happens in the case of long term interest rates.

Another precedent is worth mentioning. Once upon a time it was thought necessary to have the exchange rate for the Australian dollar fixed by the authorities. This requirement was abolished in 1983, when the floating of the currency commenced. The roof did not fall in.

In any case, the assumption that monetary policy can fix the Australian economy on a "one size fits all" basis is a nonsense: the resource States are booming; the cities in the other States are pottering along; the rural sector is struggling in the drought; and so on.


Nick Renton receives his award as a Member of the Order of Australia

The Governor of Victoria, His Excellency, John Landy AC MBE, pins the medal on Nick Renton at Government House, Melbourne.


Nick Renton's Family

Granddaughters Zoe, Lucy and Nellie Seale

Daughter Heather Renton and Grandson Dominic Harvey

Nick Renton's House

And the Street outside the House:

Cartoon of Nick Renton by WEG



Europe has many interesting places for tourists and, generally speaking, the people are friendly.

Long distance trains are of high quality, while local services in the major capital cities, although often very crowded, at least run at very frequent intervals.

However, to a visitor from Australia the common European practice of charging for the use of public toilets seems positively antediluvian - and quite unreasonable in the case of the toilets in certain institutions, such as museums, that charge relatively high admission fees.

It was also astonishing during a recent trip to find that the central Paris branches of a major French bank proved quite incapable of cashing travellers' cheques even when denominated in euros.


Lucy's Story

A short story by Nick Renton's granddaughter, Lucy Seale, when aged 3:

The giraffe went to the elephant's house and the elephant had cake with the giraffe.

The hippopotamus went to the elephant's house with the giraffe and they had afternoon tea. They had biscuits, chocolate biscuits.

And then who came along was the pigeons. And then the enormous giant giraffe came. And then who came was polar bears and then who came was the turtle and then who came along was the fish. And they had afternoon tea and cake and biscuits.

And then they played with each other on the seesaw. And then along came the hedgehog and they all played on the seesaws and then they all jumped on the trampoline because the elephant had a trampoline.

Then who came along was the zebras and then who came along was the penguins and then they all jumped on the trampoline.

They were going somewhere else to have a picnic with their friends. And then somebody else came along who was called the pigs.

Seeing oneself

A favourite image from the web:



Telstra, Australia's biggest ISP, does not seem to be interested in preventing crime.

To elaborate, I sometimes use the e-mail address ner AT nickrenton.com. This gets redirected to my main address, which is nrenton AT bigpond.net.au.

One feature of ner AT nickrenton.com is that it also works for any other name preceding the AT nickrenton.com

Some time ago a spamster started sending out a large number of spam messages using forged sender addresses ending in my domain AT nickrenton.com - with the result that I have now received about 29,000 bounced messages. While I can filter these out and get them deleted from the server this does not solve what appears to be an ongoing problem.

I sent Telstra a sample of the e-mails showing all headers and asked Telstra to take steps to have the perpetrator caught and prosecuted for this criminal activity.

Telstra refused even to investigate, despite the fact that this wasteful use of the Telstra broadband must be costing the company money. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that I am the only user so affected.

Spoilt Family Cats