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Comment Re:"BUT SHe'S UNELLECTED!! BLAAAAHH!!11!!!!!!" (Score 1) 419

You forgot to mention that at least 2/3 of people seem not to know how the instant run off system of voting works. We have a voting system that beautifully avoids sticking us with a this or that two party system. Yet we have a two party system because most people won't take the 5 minutes needed to learn how it works, and how you can NEVER waste your vote by voting for one on the other parties so long as you place your preferences down to those two majors.

Comment Re:"First Female PM" is not news. (Score 0) 419

I agree with everything you said, but I do think it marks a milestone toward equality, and a milestone worth recognising.

Ask the previous generation of women what it would have meant to them to have had a female leader of their country when they were growing up? I bet they'll tell you it would have made a difference to know that it was possible for them too - and not just in theory - it will have a psychological impact on young women (and men); which in turn will help make our future work-places less "hyper-masculine" and better environments for all.

No, it's not a magic pill, but every little bit helps.


Australia Gets Its First Female Prime Minister 419

An anonymous reader writes "Julia Gillard has been elected unopposed to the Labor leadership, seizing power in a bloodless Parliament House coup after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd decided not to contest this morning's leadership ballot. Ms. Gillard will now be sworn in as Australia's first female prime minister. Emerging from this morning's meeting, she said she felt 'very honored' and said she would be making a statement shortly. Treasurer Wayne Swan now steps up as deputy prime minister. He was also elected unopposed."

Ranking Soccer Players By Following the Bouncing Ball 142

sciencehabit excerpts from an interesting report on statistics for soccer, in the stats-obsessed world of sports: "Only a handful of soccer ranking systems exist, most of which rely on limited information: the number of goals scored in a match, the number of goals assisted, and some indices of a match's difficulty and importance. ... So researchers turned to an unlikely source: social networks. Applying the kinds of mathematical techniques used to map Facebook friends and other networks, the team created software that can trace the ball's flow from player to player. As the program follows the ball, it assigns points for precise passing and for passes that ultimately lead to a shot at the goal. Whether the shot succeeds doesn't matter. Only the ball's flow toward the goal and each player's role in getting it there factors into the program's point system, which then calculates a skill index for each team and player."

Comment Data free online (Score 1) 398

I'm late on this, but there is some data that is free online, and other data that is available for a small fee. For instance some NASA satellites have public data archives or you can get ALL of Australia's rainfall data (over 100 years of it) for about $100. Research produces so much data that it cannot all be processed in the ways that scientists would like. I would suggest that you download data in an area you can get a handle on. Read up on the papers in that field (probably through a public library subscription) and then go and run some statistical analyses. Looking for correlations in weather patterns is always fun, astronomy is a bit more hard-core.

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