Blogotariat

Oz Blog News Commentary
Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:24 Source

Thirty-five million to 47 million years ago, a carnivorous plant lived in what's now Russia. The dinosaurs were long gone, but various groups of mammals were still just evolving. The plant paid most of its attention, however, to smaller animals. Its leaves sported tentacley hairs that exuded a sticky fluid, designed to trap insects.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:24 Source

With all the symbolism of man's hubris turned to dust, in 1986, the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl melted down. The scale of the devastation was vast. A whole town, abandoned, was left to the elements. And in the decades since, the Ukrainian city of Pripyat has become a strange, modern ghost town.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:24 Source

A Kickstarter project wants to take the art of the selfie to a higher level -- literally. ZANO, by the Wales-based Torquing Group Ltd, is a palm-sized drone that will fly out from users at up to 25 mph, take stabilized 720p video at 60 fps, and send it all back, as well as any pictures snapped, to the pilots' smartphone app. Its creators even boast that the final product will respond to gesture commands, making dronies easier to take than ever.

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Jack the Insider Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:24 Source

The Abbott government is not travelling well. Many of its woes can be traced back to Joe Hockey’s first budget. There is no narrative, little…

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:24 Source

Are you a farmer with galactic ambition? Does the agrarian life lack that aerospace sheen? Or do you just wish your career path looked a bit more like Matthew McConaughey's in the movie Interstellar?

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En Passant Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:22 Source

This is the link to my 30 minute interview with Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on 1 December. We discuss the Victorian elections, the implications federally, the environment and much much more.

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John Quiggin Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:22 Source

A while ago, I suggested that bodies like Universities Australia should dissolve themselves and make way for a body that actually represents universities as communities of scholars (students and academics) and the workers (professional and administrative) who support them. I see I’ve been joined by Stephen Parker from the University of Canberra who describes UA support for deregulation as a “suicide ritual”.

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Cheeseburger Gothic Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:21 Source

Well, not so much, but sort of. Telstra have organised and cancelled a tech visit three times now. I have no idea when or even if I'll have the interwebz back on.

For now, it's not so much of a problem. We're down the beach for a few days and the resort has excellent wifi. I'm writing my Saturday column and doing some last pass proof edits on Dave 2 while I can. Jane and the kids have hit the pool.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

One of humanity's greatest queries has focused on the nature of a change from good to evil. There is no single answer; several possible reasons apply. Julius Caesar, who dramatically asked his friend, “Et tu, Brute?” learned the hard way about the power of opportunity. In the fictional series, Homeland, empathy for a child was the root of Nicholas Brody's turncoat actions. Finally, there is the longstanding issue of necessity, in which a person turns to crime to deal with environmental stressors, such as a lost job or poverty.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

Oh, Smell-O-Vision, how thou hast haunted us. Engineers have imagined of moving pictures with smells practically since movies were invented. In principle, it's not too hard to do. In reality, people just don't care about smells as much as they care about image and sound quality. It's been difficult to make a smell-o-vision that's effective and cheap enough that people and companies would bother to buy it.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

Sleep deprivation saps much more than your energy. Studies show it also weakens your memory, changing the way we convert short-term memories into long-term ones. But not for bats.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

One of the biggest missing person's cases in the world has finally been solved. Or, at least, the biggest missing corpse case.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

Someday, in the not-too-distant future, bacterial infections could be treated by implanting electronics into your body. A team from Tufts University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana developed a tiny implant that can be inserted into an area of infection (or potential infection) and activated remotely, delivering either heat or drugs to infected tissues, and then dissolving harmlessly.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

Robotic cars that drive everyone around are a distant dream at best, but that hasn't stopped auto manufacturers from selling their whiz-bang appeal. In September it was Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who teased a new "Super-Cruise" feature in the automaker's 2017 Cadillac model. A month later it was entrepreneur Elon Musk, who announced “Autopilot” in his company's upcoming “D series” Tesla S electric roadster.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

Testing modern naval weapons in a realistic way is tricky. In order to operate properly, ships need a crew, but there are times, like determining whether a new anti-missile weapon actually works, where having people on deck is an unnecessary risk. To square this circle, the U.S. Navy took the USS Paul F. Foster--an old, out-of-use destroyer--and made it unmanned, ready to be destroyed.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

The X-15 rocket plane, sometimes considered the first spacecraft, wan't designed to take man's first steps into space. It was designed to gather data at a time when new technology was fast outstripping engineers' understanding of how aircraft behaved in high speed flight conditions.

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

Santa Claus may be coming to town, but how are you going to know when? Turns out there's not one, but two prominent trackers for jolly old St. Nick's progress on this upcoming Christmas Eve: one from Google, and a second from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). But with two competing Santa trackers, how do you know where to go to get the most up-to-date information about Father Christmas?

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Popular Science Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:19 Source

After a bit of a hiatus from launching crew vehicles into space, NASA is finally getting back to doing what it does best.

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Peter Garcia-Webb Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:07 Source

Bibi Netanyahu calls for elections, and grabs headlines. A much more important article passes by quietly. It was written by Ghanem Nuseibah, the scion of the oldest Arab family that has held the key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for more that 1,400 years. It is worth comparing the two.

Bibi wants an election in order to gain a mandate to take apartheid in Israel to new heights. He does not put it that way, of course:

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 12:07 Source

Enough said!   Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit + -

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Ambit Gambit Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 11:57 Source

Since the Cypriots found that their cash actually belonged to someone else, I have been suspicious of the Australian bank guarantee scheme. This says up to $250,000 per person per institution is secure, without charge. Do you remember the stunned interviews, just a few years ago, of small business owners and pensioners in Cyprus who […]

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The Australian Independent Media Network Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 11:53 Source

In the many tributes that flowed to Gough Whitlam, we were reminded of his impact on the geo-cultural-political map of Australia.  As Cate Blanchett put it:

“I am the beneficiary of free, tertiary education. When I went to university I could explore different courses and engage with the student union in extracurricular activity. It was through that that I discovered acting.

I am the product of an Australia that wanted, and was encouraged, to explore its voice culturally.

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 11:41 Source

(First published by Independent Australia)

Shorten is a million votes ahead of Abbott as preferred Prime Minister, Labor 1.5 million votes ahead of the Coalition as preferred federal government, and, in the Westminster system, there would normally be resignations by now.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 11:36 Source

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the September quarter National Accounts and the news is weak on growth, which was up only 0.3% over the quarter and by 2.7% over the year, and downright crappy on national disposable income, which fell by 0.3% over the quarter to be up by […]

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xkcd.com Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 11:00 Source

For $5 I promise not to orchestrate this situation, and for $25 I promise not to take further advantage of this ability to create incentives.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 10:51 Source

From Goldman’s Tim Toohey, fast becoming a national treasure: Relative to the commencement of 2013 and 2014, the main challenges and opportunities for the Australian economy seem better understood by the consensus and by policy makers. The triple threat of an income shock via commodity prices, an investment shock via the mining sector and a fiscal shock via […]

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Core Econ Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 10:43 Source

Does increasing the legal drinking age reduce traffic accidents caused by young drivers? The idea is that if you increase the legal age at which people can drink, young people are going to quietly abide by the law, not do anything stupid, read the bible, contemplate their sinful natures, and stay out of trouble.

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Core Econ Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 10:43 Source

Does increasing the legal drinking age reduce traffic accidents caused by young drivers? The idea is that if you increase the legal age at which people can drink, young people are going to quietly abide by the law, not do anything stupid, read the bible, contemplate their sinful natures, and stay out of trouble.

Read more Views: 59
Club Troppo Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 10:39 Source

Does increasing the legal drinking age reduce traffic accidents caused by young drivers? The idea is that if you increase the legal age at which people can drink, young people are going to quietly abide by the law, not do anything stupid, read the bible, contemplate their sinful natures, and stay out of trouble.

Read more Views: 48
The Melbourne Urbanist Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 10:38 Source

Why don’t we “green the streets of Australia”?

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