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Comment Re:How much is the fine for false information? (Score 1) 129

The classic dick-n-balls sketch is not generally a unique identifier that on its own would invalidate the ballot paper: counting such ballots is not new. If you put anything on the ballot paper that can uniquely identify the voter then the vote is informal. A high proportion of voters would be the only person with that name that voted at a particular station. Initial counting will treat ballots containing names as invalid until the race turns out to be tight and the votes might make the difference. A handful of tight races end up with court rulings on whether a name is uniquely identifying or not.

Comment Re:They are asking for it (Score 1) 129

The standard talking point coming out of the ABS is this scenario:

The Census form is the only reliable source of information on whether an individual identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. So, after the census, if the census name, DOB, and address records are matched against new death records a better picture of indigenous Australian life expectancy can be made. That information is useful when planning programs to improve indeigenous life expectancy.

Neither birth nor death records carry this indigenous origin information. However, it strikes me that this can be achieved a number of ways without keeping the actual name, DOB or address. Hashes of the components (normalised or perhaps several allowing for variant spelling) can just as easily be compared and the sensitive data is never retained.

There are currently legislated protections forbidding the use of this data for any other purpose including law enforcement, courts, or taxation. However, these can easily be remove by an Act of parliament (and are probably already subverted for intelligence agencies). I do not trust future parliaments.

Comment Re:How much is the fine for false information? (Score 1) 129

by writing yourself in.

There's no equivalent of that US tradition in most of the world. In Australia, writing your name on the ballot paper will, with near 100% certainty, make it an informal vote regardless of any other marks in the boxes. If that is your intent then simply placing the unmarked ballot paper in the box has the same effect and requires less effort.

Comment Recording devices banned since Noah was a boy (Score 1) 482

Cameras and recording devices have been prohibited at the majority of live performances since recording devices became practical to carry. Why on Earth should a recording device suddenly be exempt because it is buried in a phone?

I went to see a play in a 300 seat venue on Friday. and was blessed with being adjacent to a drama school group. The on-again off-again blue glow from these infernal devices was bloody distracting. I must, however, concede that I saw nobody recording the performance or using a flash; just completely ignoring the show. I realise that teens and 20-somethings cannot imagine a life without their personal phone but I also wonder why the phone is more important than the music/play/ballet/opera/whatever that they paid good money to see.

Comment UPS should send bill... (Score 5, Interesting) 202

If enough leaked to affect 9 employees handling the box after the flight then there's a reasonable possibility that the escaped liquid now poses a corrosion hazard to the aircraft structure. UPS should send them the bill for the complete inspection and overhaul of the affected areas of the aircraft used to transport it. Perhaps that will be more than the fine.

Comment Turn the Tables? (Score 2) 186

Let's ask Time Warner Cable News for 190 hours of specified short segments of their raw video material with perpetual, unfettered rights to republish, for profit, and with no ongoing royalty. If you could get them to to agree the conditions (unlikely) then I bet they would charge way more than $36k for the privilege. Somehow though they expect the State to do just that without even cost recovery.

Comment Aeronautical Hazards (Score 2) 103

I can see a lot of fun with aeronautical obstacle databases if this takes off in a big way. Essentially a power plant will need an airspace allocation up to 10000 feet AGL and a nautical mile or two across. Put a lot of these around a city and there are many aeronautical procedure designers that will certainly be cursing as they try to thread an aircraft safely between them.

Comment Re:Happening Downunder (Score 1) 104

The headline is consistent with the article, which does not say there were no humans involved.

At the Ornskoldsvik Airport, one control tower has nobody inside. However, the tower continues to perform its job of guiding planes to the ground safely. The person who controls the landing is in another complex, roughly 90 miles away. That individual has access to cameras which reportedly function better than the average human eye.

That is, the tower building is not manned but there is still a human controller or controllers. Precisely what is being trialled in Alice Springs only with longer distances. It is partly about consolidating the controllers in a less remote area: easier to get people to live there, more likely to retain experienced staff, easier to maintain training currency. This is similar to the existing concentrations of sector controllers in Brisbane and Melbourne, only with different sensor inputs.

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I consider a new device or technology to have been culturally accepted when it has been used to commit a murder. -- M. Gallaher