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Comment: Report is from a crowd funded organisation (Score 4, Informative) 279

by RobHart (#45992053) Attached to: Heat Waves In Australia Are Getting More Frequent, and Hotter

As a slightly different slant on this troll rousing topic, it is worth noting a few things.
1) Per capita, Australia is the worlds highest emitter of greenhouse gases as we use mostly coal to generate electricity. Furthermore, we are one of the worlds largest coal miners/exporters and so contribute significantly to global CO2 production elsewhere.
2) In September, Australia elected a new government that is predominantly in the hands of climate change deniers. The Prime Minister (Tony Abbott) is on the public record saying that climate change is "crap" (http://blogs.abc.net.au/victoria/2009/12/climate-change-is-crap-tony-abbot-said-to-the-pyrenees-advocate.html). Amongst the new government's first acts was to defund the Climate Commission (along with several other "green" initiatives of previous governments). They are also committed to repealing the existing Carbon Tax legislation, but cannot (yet) force this through the upper house (Senate) which they do not control.
3) In response to its defunding, the Climate Commission reformed itself as the Climate Council, raising around $1 million in under two weeks. Whilst not big bikkies in US terms, this is extremely significant in a small population country like Australia that demonstrates that many Australians feel very strongly about climate change - strongly enough to not only make a one off donation but to commit to regular, monthly donations to support the ongoing public information work of the Climate Council.

From their "about" page http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/about-us/
"The Climate Council is an independent non-profit organisation funded by donations by the public. Our mission is to provide authoritative, expert advice to the Australian public on climate change."

+ - SpaceX launches second geosynchromnous satellite in 5 weeks.->

Submitted by RobHart
RobHart (70431) writes "SpaceX this morning completed its second successful geosynchronous launch in 5 week, this time pushing a Thiacom communications satellite into orbit. SpaceX is turning the satellite launch market on its head, with launch costs that are fractions of its competitors (to date, principally the United Launch Alliance). Later this year, it will demonstrate its Falcon 9 Heavy rocket and during 2014 it will move closer to manned certification for the Falcon 9/Dragon combination."
Link to Original Source

+ - Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) downgraded->

Submitted by RobHart
RobHart (70431) writes "Following election promises to create a "better, cheaper, sooner" NBN, the new Australian government has reneged, announcing instead n NBN to cost $12bn more and take four years longer. The critical change is that the new network is based on Telstra's aging and unreliable copper network rather than fibre to the home as has already been delivered during the NBN roll out to date."
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Comment: Read John Wyndham's "The Outward Urge" (Score 1) 206

by RobHart (#42138063) Attached to: Carl Sagan Was On US Team To Nuke the Moon

In 1959, John Wyndham (the Day of the Triffids, the Chrysalids etc) wrote a set of linked short stories about a family participating in the colonisation of space. In one of these, the USA, Russia and the UK have nuclear armed moon bases.

An interesting case of art imitating life - even if the the life was top secret at the time!

Comment: Re:Somebody shake that mans hand (Score 5, Insightful) 193

by RobHart (#39543971) Attached to: Australian WiFi Inventors Win US Legal Battle

If you look at the list of companies that were sued (and have settled), you will notice that none of them is an Australian company. It was Australian tax payer dollars that funded this research (and the patenting process), so just how does the Australian government tax all those non-Australain companies??? The ONLY way to do it is with patents so that the companies making money from the technology in many countries around the world pay a part of their profits back to the inventors.

As has been said, the CSIRO will use this money to fund further research - such as the "pure" radio astronomy work which resulted in this spin off piece of technology in the first place!

RobHart

Comment: Is Maths ability seen as relevant? (Score 1) 845

by RobHart (#38325676) Attached to: Are You Better At Math Than a 4th (or 10th) Grader?

Bias up front: I am an ex academic (in engineering), bored early retiree who is now teaching senior Maths/Physics at high school (in Australia) - including 10th grade Maths. As well as being an academic, I worked in the private sector (including my own business), so I have some idea as to what I would expect of general clerical staff.

I am truly astonished that a "well educated" person could not solve the sort of problems referenced in the article. Simple Maths problems like these do not just show Mathematical capability, but also demonstrate logical reasoning skills - the sort of skills I would look for when hiring someone for a general clerical position.

That said, quite a few of my (middle to lower ability class) kids in 10th grade this year failed to meet this sort of standard, although with most of these it was lack of effort/application not innate ability that determined their outcome. Quite a few of these kids said they couldn't care less as "Maths was irrelevant" to their area of career interest (despite solid examples that demonstrated that idea to be incorrect).

I have the feeling that many kids regard Maths as hard and "you can do well without it" as a socially accepted truth. Yet we live in an increasingly technical (numerate, Mathematical) world, so I can't help but feel this widely accepted "truth" will (or quite probably already is going to) bite us in the bum: without logical, (mathematically literate) people to run our world, it will fall into a hole...

+ - 54% increase in smartphone battery life?->

Submitted by
RobHart
RobHart writes "The research proposes a new idle mode E-MiLi: "Here's how E-MiLi works: It slows down the WiFi card's clock by up to 1/16 its normal frequency, but jolts it back to full speed when the phone notices information coming in. It's well known that you can slow a device's clock to save energy. The hard part, Shin said, was getting the phone to recognize an incoming message while it was in this slower mode.""
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Space

+ - Earth's graviational shape in detail->

Submitted by RobHart
RobHart (70431) writes "The European Space Agency (ESA) has released detailed information about the Earth's gravitational shape, based on data from the ESA's GOCE satellite (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer). The link includes an interesting animation of the data, using an appropriately distorted Earth."
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+ - Best OSS CFD package for high school Physics?

Submitted by RobHart
RobHart (70431) writes "I am teaching a "physics of flight" unit to grade 11 Physics students. Part of the unit will have the students running tests on several aerofoils in a wind tunnel. I also want to expose them to a Computational Fluid Dynamics package which will allow them to contrast experimental results with those produced by the CFD package. There are a number of open source CFDs available (Windows or Linux based are both fine), but I don't have much time to evaluate which are the simplest to use in terms of setting up the mesh, initial conditions etc — a very important issue as students do not have much time in this unit. I am hoping that the Slashdot community can provide some guidance here."
Space

+ - Space X's Falcon 9 appears as UFO in Australia-> 1

Submitted by RobHart
RobHart (70431) writes "ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Commission) has reported extensively on a bright spiraling light that was seen in Eastern Australia just before dawn. They have just broadcast a report from an Australian astronomer who has suggested that the light was probably the successful Falcon 9 launch, which would have been over Australia at that time on its launch trajectory."
Link to Original Source

+ - Gulf oil leak plugged?->

Submitted by RobHart
RobHart (70431) writes "The LA Times is reporting that the Gulf oil leak appears to have been plugged by the "top kill".

"Thad Allen, who is coordinating the government response, says the well still has low pressure, but cement will be used to cap the well permanently as soon as the pressure hits zero.""

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