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+ - Wikileaks releases Australian gag order on corruption charges->

Submitted by solanum
solanum (80810) writes "I recently put up a story on my blog noting that Wikileaks had released the contents of a gag order, here in Australia, covering reporting of investigations into corruption in the note-printing arm of the Reserve Bank of Australia. This goes back to a story a few years ago about RBA officials covering up bribes for note printing contracts overseas. Then I read an article stating that Australians are being threatened with charges for even linking to Wikileaks, despite the website no longer being banned in Australia, and I took it down (my blog is on an Australian server). The gag order is not to prevent the investigation being derailed, which I could just about understand, it is to prevent the names of foreign leaders being published in relation to these charges as some are major trading partners of Australia. Ironically, it has been reported by press in some of those countries that the Australian government was seeking to protect from embarrassment! Is this right? I don't think so."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Waxy cuticle and trichomes (Score 3, Informative) 33

by solanum (#47290737) Attached to: Microscopic View of How Leaves Repel Water

A bit of fun for those involved, but funnily enough plant science has actually investigated this over many decades. Go to a search engine of your choice and look up "waxy cuticle" and "trichomes". Sorry if I appear snide, but this is rather like someone posting an article about how they were amazed at what is inside their desktop PC, with photos and everything, as if no one had looked inside one previously. Neither the word cuticle nor the word trichome appear in that article, which shows they made no attempt to find out anything about their subject. Nice videos though, would be good for teaching!

Comment: Re:FB is dying - Film at 11 (Score 1) 53

Interesting that you should mention that as I removed it last week. I haven't cancelled my account, just taken it off my phone. I'll check it weekly or so via my desktop browser I guess. It was annoying me on the phone though. Now I keep getting emails from Facebook telling me I'm "missing" stuff.... I'm over 30 by the way.

Comment: Different to any other science? (Score 1) 226

by solanum (#44726385) Attached to: Particle Physicists Facing Insane Competition For Work

I'd be interested to see how these figures compare to other sciences. I am a mid-career biologist (did eight years as a post-doc and have had a permanent research position for the last seven years). I've always felt that we lose about half of PhD graduates to other areas, partly because they don't want and to partly because there aren't enough jobs, and then about half of post-docs don't continue in science for the same reasons. Doesn't seem that different. I do remember that, when I was a post-doc, an eminent prof (multiple Nature papers) in my field once said to me that he didn't know anyone who was 'really' determined to continue in science who didn't make it as a career. I'd say that is still true. It is a tough career that doesn't pay that well (compared to other professions with equivalent training), but a rewarding one.

Comment: Re:Great country you have over there (Score 4, Insightful) 771

by solanum (#44515283) Attached to: Encrypted Email Provider Lavabit Shuts Down, Blames US Gov't

I don't want to appear to be joining any anti-US bandwagon or proffering an opinion on any perceived rights and wrongs, but the irony of your post is quite amazing. The origin of much anti-US feeling is that people see the US as interfering in their region, whereas you are complaining that those who have anti-US feeling should do without US involvement in their region...

+ - Government inquiry says Australians should bypass geo-blocks->

Submitted by solanum
solanum (80810) writes "We Australians are often resigned to paying more for goods shipped to this side of the world. The high Australian dollar in recent years has made buying over the internet from overseas very attractive, but this is frowned upon by many manufacturers. Now Federal MPs have suggested "that consumers find ways to lawfully evade technology that allows IT companies to charge up to twice as much for their products in Australia." Further, the parliamentary committee has gone so far as to suggest "reforms to the Competition and Consumer Act and the Copyright Act to remove barriers to competition, foster innovation, and ensure consumer rights are not lost in the transition to digital content". They found that we pay 42% more for Photoshop and 66% more for Microsoft products than elsewhere. Some sanity at last?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Thermodynamics (Score 1) 173

by solanum (#42076945) Attached to: Water Bottle Fills Itself From the Air

Yes, but the airflow is required for it to work. Evaporative fridges have been used for a very very long time, but require energy input in the form of wind. The bottle is inverted in comparison to the evaporative fridge, thus it requires a fan or it would only accumulate a very very small amount of water...

Comment: Re:To the anonymous submitter: (Score 3, Informative) 243

by solanum (#42068829) Attached to: Research Suggests Apes and Humans Separated By a Single Gene

Why isn't this modded up? It's the single most useful post to this story. I've just read the actual Nature article as the submitted link was indeed horrible (with flash video auto-starting to boot), and it makes none of the claims that that the submitted article or the summary make. It is still rather interesting though.

Comment: Re:What about websites? (Score 4, Interesting) 197

by solanum (#41573423) Attached to: Nokia Keeps Quietly Mapping The World

Offline maps. When I got rid of my Nokia N8 and bought a Samsung SIII, there were two things I missed, one is the camera (the N8's was far better in several ways), the other is the maps. With the Nokia you got offline maps for the entire world and the app itself was excellent (though it had teething problems to start with). Turn by turn directions that don't sound like a robot (I'm looking at you Google), were as good as or better than most commercial Sat Nav devices, accurate (looking at you Apple), regularly updated and, I'll say it again, offline maps! In Australia at least you can be quite often out of range of a decent data connection.

The commercial Navigon app that I got bundled with my SIII is definitely inferior and you only get maps for Oceania, I have to buy the European/US ones if I need them.

Comment: Re:Friend-face (Score 3, Informative) 370

by solanum (#39923987) Attached to: Dealing With the Eventual Collapse of Social Networks

Indeed, and I have to say, I can't really see that the economic effect would be that great either (impact on any dot.com 2.0 bubble aside). If Facebook disappeared tomorrow, just how would that have any large effect on the economy? Even Zynga isn't totally relying on Facebook and nobody has shops that only operate through Facebook either to the best of my knowledge.

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