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Comment Vegetables grown in space for years (Score 1) 39

The article seems to imply that these are the first ever vegetables grown in space by astronauts, but this isn't true.

According to NASA's website about the International Space Station "Since 2002, the Lada greenhouse has been used to perform almost continuous plant growth experiments on the station. Fifteen modules containing root media, or root modules, have been launched to the station and 20 separate plant growth experiments have been performed. "

Comment Re: Really? Autistic? (Score 1) 2

Seems to me that if you are so sure it isn't how autism works then you should explain how it does work.
Why do people with autism have such different bacteria in their feces to a same of the general population?
Correlation doesn't equal causation but something needs to be explained.


Submission + - Gut feeling that people who are fat, depressed or autistic may need pro-biotics 2

NewsWatcher writes: Australia's ABC is reporting evidence that people who have a range of "Western lifestyle diseases" like obesity, diabetes or allergies may just have a bad batch of intestinal biota.
There a lots of unknowns, but it could be that humans have evolved around the micro-organisms just as much as they evolved around us, and they influence us in ways never imagined before. We could be the willing zombies for the 100 trillion bacteria inside each of us.
Mice given some parasites try to get eaten by cats. The same parasite in humans has been linked to schizophrenia and depression.
The cure — getting someone else's feces transplanted into your intestines.

Comment Re:What's that supposed to mean? (Score 1) 71

The Constitution also allows for federal law to prevail whenever there is a conflict between a state law and federal one.

While the federal government may not appear to have the ability to impinge on the states' rights, in fact it probably could if it wanted to.

The external affairs laws, which allow the federal goverment to legislate to adhere to external treaties and obligations has been used in the past to circumvent state rights.

The way it could work is that the federal government would just say "we have signed a UN declaration against children being exposed to violence" therefore they use the external affairs power to pass a law making RC content illegal.

The states can't do much about it though, because when there is a conflict, federal law prevails.

Comment Re:Obvious (Score 2) 462

Just to explain why the dismissal of an unpopular prime minister would trigger republic calls, the answer is in your sentence.

He was "dismissed" not voted out. In a working democracy, an unelected woman who lives thousands of kilometres away, and has barely set foot in a country should not have the right to sack an elected prime minister.

Now it is true that it was Kerr, and not the Queen that made the decision, but either way, I can't imagine John Kerr would have got very far if he tried to get elected.

When you have a system that was shown to be so clearly flawed, then calls for it to be changed are inevitable.

Whitlam won office in a landslide, and was elected to a three-year term. Every government goes through mid-term slumps, when they would be soundly defeated at the polls if an election were to be held.

The fact that Kerr waited until such a time and then plotted to sack our political leader shows nothing other than that governors-general can be rat-cunning and have political agendas of their own.

If you really think that unpopular governments should be turfed out, then that would have meant that the Gillard government would be sacked now, that John Howard would have been sacked in about 1997, and again in the year 2000.

Are you really suggesting a system that would have seen Mark Latham installed PM, until opinion polls showed he was on the nose, at which point another leader would have stepped into the breach?

Australians shouldn't have to put up with an outdated Constitution that vests such enormous powers in the hands of some old woman via her representative.

Pretty soon Prince Charles, he who said he wanted to be his wife's tampon, will be the unelected, de facto leader of Australia.

If that doesn't make you want Australia to become a republic, then you are more one-eyed than I could imagine.

Comment Re:Obvious (Score 2) 462

If you really think the Australian people voting someone in for a three-year term, and then an unelected fruitloop with a penchant for ridiculous hats sacking him two years later on a whim is a "fantastic example of the system working" then you may as well go and live in North Korea, where they enjoy the vibrant style of democracy you endorse.

All governments go through mid-term slumps. The fact that Whitlam was voted out says nothing about the democratic system. A three-year term is a three-year term.

Comment Re:Obvious (Score 1) 462

Nope, the GG still legally, though not practically, has the ability to without royal assent (though no GG ever has) and also the power to dismiss the PM (again, never used)

Maybe not in Canada, but it happened in Australia in 1975. Just to make it clear, in 1975 the governor general (the queen's representative in Australia) unilaterally sacked an elected prime minister. The queen was not consulted until after the fact.

You would think that would ensure Australians would want to be become a republic, free from interference from the queen, but sadly we are a people that rarely embrace change.

Comment Re:Dear Amazon (Score 1) 237

Advertisement is still a cost, and they have to make back their up-front costs such as advances, layout, editing, and proofreading. If that cost them $50,000 and they expect to sell 10,000 copies, then that sets the price at $5 minimum just to recoup their costs..

Um right, so grabbing a softcopy of a book from a publisher, converting it into a different format, and cleaning up the layout costs $50,000.

I would guess the real cost is under $100.

You don't really need proofreading for most ebooks, as the publishers give them the softcopies. The book publishers are working with Amazon.

For some older books you may have to scan them manually and then check to make sure the spelling all comes up OK, but there is no way it will cost $50,000.

I think the model is probably more like: Amazon tells publishers 'cooperate and give us softcopy of a book. Amazon then gets the copy, hits Control-V and converts it into their own format.
Amazon then pays someone to make sure the links to chapters work fine and that the cover art illustrates fine.
Amazon then advertises the book somewhere on their own site (not a cost to the company).
Amazon then waits for people to order the book, getting $10 for essentially doing nothing.

They are like Google News, using the endeavours of others to profit. Now don't get me wrong, I love Google News. I also love my Kindle, but I am not so naive as to not realise how the system works.

Comment I print less, I use less print (Score 1) 252

The amount I print has always been pretty miniscule. This year my printer ran out of ink early, so I haven't printed anything so far.

What I have noticed though, when I thought about it, is that not only have I printed less, but I have used far less printed material than in the past.

I used to buy the newspaper on my way to work, but now I read all the use on my iPhone, so I don't need to.

My bookshelves usually grew at a rapid rate, probaly three books a month last year, when I finally got myself a kindle.

Now I don't buy any books.

I used to use a hard copy map when driving. Now it is all my Tom Tom.

Comment Re:This is a broken window fallacy variant (Score 1) 193

History has shown over and over that expansion into new areas returns money. BIG money. THat is how EU became large from an economic POV.

I think you will find that the EU became large from an ecomomic POV because it amalgamated some of the world's largest individual economies, such as Germany's Italy's and France's.

There isn't a lot Mars will add to earth's GDP (although that creepy face may indicate otherwise) in the short, or even medium term, even if we colonise it.

Comment 2G? (Score 1) 113

I will admit to having limited understanding of exactly what the article meant, but maybe someone more enlightened than I am can tell me whether it will work with a 2G phone, or whether you will need 3G.

I have a 3G handset, but my gf is stuck in last millennium and uses only 2G. She is a huge Facebook user.

Comment Human embryos? (Score 1) 471

I can understand cloning humans. There are plenty of obvious times it would come in handy. If your baby needed a kidney transplant, I could see understand parents wanting a clone, so the existing child would have no rejection issues and a chance at a near normal life.

Likewise someone very ill that needs stem cells may get huge benefits from having their own clone born.

But why would you need to clone a human embryo? I mean, an embryo isn't born yet. I doubt they would require a transplant within the womb, and they no doubt have plenty of stem cells at their disposal.

Comment Re:No worries - they already sell it to us. (Score 1) 385

uranium gets used up, you switch to thorium. lots of that. enough for a century or two. by then, if we haven't figured out fusion, which marks the end of energy problems, then we deserve what we get

I think the problem is that we have worked out fusion. The problem is that we have worked out it only works under massive pressures and temperatures. That is fine in the sun, but here on earth it just doesn't add up financially.

I would love to see cold water fusion a reality, but living in the real world, it would take a quantum leap in our understanding of the fusion process.

Comment Re:Umm... Revenge Fail. (Score 1) 487

Without exception, the captions were humorless and(at least without some knowledge of Weppler's background and/or personal life/activities) not at all cutting. A few generic insults, some just nonsensical.

I read the captions, and while some were humourous, I reckon quite a few were vague, and a few were downright nasty.

I doubt "I take cybersex to a whole new level" and "I can show you my dick" are particularly humouous, particularly to a kid in teens.

In any case, it is probably up to Mr Weppler to decide what constitutes harmless fun and what is just harassment.

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