A satellite to save Australia? We should have one of those

Does Australia need space capabilities? Well, as Senator Kate Lundy said this month when announcing the government’s new space policy: “Australians, whether they know it or not, rely on satellites every day.”

While this importance is indeed reflected in the policy, now is the time for specifics: to assess national space needs and develop programs to meet them. I want to argue that our most pressing national need is for data on water.

via A satellite to save Australia? We should have one of those.

While you were all concentrating on the mining BOOM, seems Australia was having another.

Ash's Machiavellian Bloggery


So Australia is now 23 million people strong! Or weak. Depending on the poll and how you interpret the results.

It got me in a statistical minded mood. Especially when I keep reading stuff about how the ALP has ‘stuffed’ the boom. You see, population is a very important factor. Hugely so.

It influences income tax revenue for governments, it dictates where spending is to be directed in regards to not only meeting services at a current level, but planning for services needed in the future. That is one of the reasons why they have census night amongst other things.

I consulted the interweb and discovered a rather interesting set of numbers. The population in 1996 according to the census taken on 6th August showed us there were 17,892,423 Australians that night. The results of the census of the 8th of August 2006 revealed that the number of Australians…

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10 commandments of the real Mediterranean diet – Health & Wellbeing

We’re always being told a traditional Mediterranean-style diet is an incredibly healthy way to eat.

As well as its proven benefits in preventing heart attacks and promoting a longer life generally, it has specifically been shown to help ward off diabetes as well as bowel and prostate cancers. (And it was the only eating plan achieving the maximum score of five out of five in the ABC Health & Wellbeing guide to weightloss diets, reviewed by nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton.)

But adopting a truly Mediterranean approach to eating, especially that which stems from the island of Crete in Greece, is not as simple as many cookbooks would have us believe.

While plenty of recipes are promoted as Mediterranean, they aren’t necessarily the ones research has shown to be so good for us, says Associate Professor Catherine Itsiopoulos, from La Trobe University in Melbourne. In fact in most cases they’re not, she says.

via 10 commandments of the real Mediterranean diet – Health & Wellbeing.

Largest southern hemisphere wind farm opens in Victoria – Home Tech

The AU$1 billion Macarthur Wind Farm has opened in Victoria three months ahead of schedule, giving our green energy capabilities a massive leg up. Able to generate up to 420 Megawatts of electricity — enough to power 220,000 homes — wind turbine manufacturer Vestas said that the plant brings Australia’s cumulative wind energy capacity to over 50 per cent.The plant was constructed by Vestas and Leighton as part of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, which aims to see at least 20 per cent of Australia’s energy supplied by renewable resources by 2020. Wind power is one of the cleanest sources of energy available.

via Largest southern hemisphere wind farm opens in Victoria – Home Tech.

The vast differences between the NBN and the Coalition’s alternative – Features – ABC Technology and Games (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The Coalition’s broadband policy slogan states that they will “Complete the current NBN cheaper and faster.” This simply isn’t true.

We’ll continue to cover the sketchy claims of being ‘faster’ and ‘cheaper’ in other articles but for now we’ll focus on the supposed similarities and differences.

The Coalition’s NBN alternative is different by almost every measure. It uses different technologies to connect the bulk of the country; it has different uses and applications; it affects Australia’s health service differently; it provides different levels of support in emergencies and natural disasters; it requires a different amount of power to operate; the cost of maintenance is different; the overall cost, the return on investment and the re-sale value are different; the management, ownership, governance, competition and monopoly factors will be different; it has a different life-span and upgradability issues; the effect on businesses (of all sizes) and GDP is different; the effects on television are different; the effect on Senior Citizens is different; the viability and potential for cost blowouts is different; the costs of buying broadband will be different; the reliability is different; the effect on property prices will be different; the timescale is different; the legacy is different. Ultimately, it has completely different aims.

via The vast differences between the NBN and the Coalition’s alternative – Features – ABC Technology and Games (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Computer Woes

Just a great little poem written by a great guy Ian Grice.


computer wiring

Pressed the button one two times
Wait to hear computer chimes,
Screen is blank, no noises heard
Another press, that makes it third.

Check the battery in the mouse,
Look for spares around the house,
Next the keyboard power light
Dust inside unseemly sight!

Power sockets in their place,
Tangled wires great disgrace,
Cables fitted look alright
Feel the couplings out of sight.

Now take manual from the rack
Thousand pages front to back,
Many languages are there,
Is English hiding out somewhere?

Index ten, subtitle six:
“Nothing works, you’re in a fix!
Check with helpdesk overseas
But only when we’re open please!”

Now my tested patience leaves
Out the door the manual heaves;
Then I hear my wife’s loud shout,
“Did you know our power’s out?”

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2013, all rights reserved”

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Terror Group Recruits From Pakistan’s ‘Best and Brightest’ – ProPublica

Imagine a terrorist group that recruits tens of thousands of young men from the same neighborhoods and social networks as the Pakistani military. A group whose well-educated recruits defy the idea that poverty and ignorance breed extremism. A group whose fighters include relatives of a politician, a senior Army officer and a director of Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission.That is the disconcerting reality of Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the world’s most dangerous militant organizations, according to a study released today by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

via Terror Group Recruits From Pakistan’s ‘Best and Brightest’ – ProPublica.