Oz Blog News Commentary
North Coast Voices Monday, September 15, 2014 - 00:16 Source

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that the terror threat level has been raised from medium to high. He has stressed that people should continue to go about their normal lives and that there is no intelligence on a specific plot. [The Sydney Morning Herald 12 Se

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North Coast Voices Monday, September 15, 2014 - 00:15 Source

Tony Abbott is determined that recognising indigenous people in Australia's constitution is a "national crusade'' that should be important to everyone…. He has promised to finalise a draft form of words for changing the constitution by September.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 22:54 Source

It is strange Tony Abbott thinks it a good idea to answer a beheading by sending in six hundred troops. All that will happen is more beheadings, in Strathfield perhaps, or Longreach, and a falling away of any support there still is for a war already three times lost.

Soldiers’ wives will hate the idea. Traumatised veterans will detest it. Crippled veterans will demonstrate against it. No general likes it. No historian thinks it makes any sense. What is he doing?

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Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 21:47 Source

After a harrowing visit to an immigration detention centre with her son, Julie Pynt will remain silent no longer.

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The Australian Independent Media Network Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 19:17 Source

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian tax accountant who acted for an American client Bill Browder who went to Russia as a hedge fund trader. He discovered an incredible identity theft – fraud – that Bill’s companies had been used without his knowledge by a syndicate of crooked police and tax officials, who used them to steal $250M of public money.

Read more Views: 391
The Political Sword Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 17:30 Source

Tucked away in one of the last Fairfax-Nielsen public opinion polls in mid-July is the intriguing fact that although the ALP was leading on a two party preferred basis, and Bill Shorten was preferred as Prime Minister to Tony Abbott, Abbott was ‘way ahead of Mr Shorten on the issue of “vision for Australia's future'’, leading 54 to 38 per cent’. It’s an odd finding in the sense that while voters appeared to think Abbott has a vision, a good number of them don’t seem to like it.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 17:21 Source

As the world lumbers once more to war John Pilger looks at the rise of the people admist the predicatable silence of the media.

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The Australian Independent Media Network Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 15:12 Source

A few years ago I wrote a play that examined the taking away of some of our rights in the wake of the September 11th attacks. My stage manager’s parents came to see the show – they were from Czechoslovakia. The next day, my stage manager informed me that they thought that I was “very brave”.

They don’t understand, I thought at the time, I’m hardly likely to be thrown into a re-education camp over a play.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 14:31 Source

It’s a while since Reagan funded rockets that, in outer space, would shoot down other rockets in outer space, put up there by Russians for reasons he could not clearly specify, and spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to do so. It was thought then modern wars would be fought in this way. Now we know this is wrong.

Modern wars are fought by kidnappers, who, on the internet, threaten with beheading western journalists who, before their decapitation, applaud their executioners, defame their native lands and scare the shit out of western leaders who know there is no way they can fight this.

Read more Views: 285
Cheeseburger Gothic Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 11:32 Source

Stephen King's The Stand was the first book I ever bought with my own money. This end of the world opus remains one of my favorites, and one of the few books (along with Michael Herr's Despatches) that I've read multiple times. The collapse of civilization brought about by the superflu is superbly detailed at both the personal and global level. It could stand on its own (see what I did there?) as a novel, but of course da King takes it so much further by introducing Randall Flagg and his second Armageddon.

Read more Views: 412
Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:35 Source

I recently had the privilege of participating in the Consumers Health Forum’s ‘Health in a time of change’ national workshop in Melbourne. The Workshop brought together a large number of consumers and other health stakeholders to debate current...

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:33 Source

The global population continues to grow, and climate change is already tangibly reducing food harvests. Can agriculture adapt to be both more productive and more resilient?

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:33 Source

The archetypical robot is a man of metal, a harsh mechanical construct contrasted sharply with the soft fleshiness of the humans that built it. A team of engineers, led by Michael T. Tolley of the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory, created instead a soft robot. Using a flexible body, the robot moves like a flailing starfish over all terrain.

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:33 Source

Remember that early ‘90s horror-themed video game, Doom, where you roamed around a Martian landscape, killing everything in sight? Well, now the game isn’t just for shooting demons and zombie Marines anymore. A construction company called DIRTT (which stands for Doing It Right This Time) is using software based on the old Doom engine to blueprint hospital walls and office spaces. They’re hoping the technology will eradicate the two most expensive words in the construction industry.

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:33 Source

Imagine standing in an open field with a bucket of water balloons and a couple of friends. You've decided to play a game called "Mind." Each of you has your own set of rules. Maybe Molly will throw a water balloon at Bob whenever you throw a water balloon at Molly. Maybe Bob will splash both of you whenever he goes five minutes without getting hit -- or if it gets too warm out or if it's seven o'clock or if he's in a bad mood that day. The details don't matter.

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:32 Source

The impact of 29 films released in the United States was examined, each featuring a different dog breed. Classics such as The Wizard of Oz (1939), Lady and the Tramp (1955), The Fox and the Hound (1981) and Beethoven (1992) were all judged to have influenced people’s choice of dogs. The study traces the popularity of the featured breeds for up to ten years after the film’s release.

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:32 Source

Here's a roundup of the week's top drone news: the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft.

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:32 Source

If you talk to an artificial atom, it turns out the atom will say something back to you. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to hear it.

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:32 Source

480: weight in pounds of the Lunar rover on Earth. On the Moon, it only weighs a light 80 pounds.

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Popular Science Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:32 Source

Popular Science has partnered with British electric racecar driver Katherine Legge, who will compete in the very first Formula E championship. Legge is a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) supporter and is blogging for us from the racetrack in Beijing -- the host city for the first round, which kicks off Saturday, Sept. 13.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 10:19 Source

Mainstream health promotion has failed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, according to Karen McPhail-Bell, a PhD candidate at Queensland University of Technology. In the article below, she argues that those working in the field could...

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The Australian Independent Media Network Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 09:29 Source

The despair at the inaction of Labor is growing louder. The groups they are supposed to represent are under attack and all we hear is endless support for Tony Abbott’s warmongering.

Labor have been gifted a first year of Abbott government that has been so bad that they should be seizing the opportunity to reshape themselves as a viable alternative but all we hear is “our policies will be revealed in good time before the next election and they will be fully costed” or “we aren’t the government”.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 08:47 Source

The head of Abbott’s church, Pope Francis, said we were currently in a World War and wondered if this was a good idea. Abbott said he should keep his bib out of matters which, as God’s representative, did not concern him, and pledged we would die in our millions, if need be, in the coming Armageddon against Putin, the King of the North, whom he would arm with as much uranium as he had money to buy.

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North Coast Voices Sunday, September 14, 2014 - 00:15 Source

THE 2013 Federal Election finally wraps up in Page today with the official confirmation of the Nationals' Kevin Hogan as the member for the next three years.Mr Hogan will be confirmed as the seat's new federal member at noon in the Australian Electoral Commission office in Grafton. [The Daily Examiner, 25 September 2013]Pomp and ceremony will trump daily politics in Canberra today as MPs of the 44th Parliament are sworn in and officially presented to the Governor-General.

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The Idiot Tax Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 16:09 Source

You never know who is behind a user name on an internet forum. But if you pay attention you can pick up clues. It was July last year, as the Essendon/ASADA scandal was raging, that an eagle-eyed...

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The Tally Room Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 14:04 Source

Earlier this week, I wrote a blog post about the Independent Local Government Electoral Review Panel in Victoria, chaired by former federal Liberal MP Petro Georgiou. In particular I focused on recommendations to modify the local government franchise, by extending the right to vote to all permanent residents (ie. non-citizens) living in the local government area, removing the second vote for businesses in the City of Melbourne, and generally simplifying and clarifying the process for non-residents to gain the right to vote in all council elections.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 12:59 Source

The good judge has found Pistorius careless with firearms and negligent of the safety of his beloved in a moment of unjustified but understandable panic. She has let him go free on bail and prepared herself to free him for good under certain conditions in October. His beloved’s relatives are cursing this, and demanding the State waste further millions appealing this decision, though the State will not. And it is worth, I think, saying the following, however murmurously.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 08:21 Source

(First published by Independent Australia)

It’s interesting what the Liberals think is a popular thing to do. Spending a billion looking forever, fruitlessly, for bits of a downed plane in three oceans. Spending a hundred million looking for bits of bodies on a downed plane and ‘bringing them home’. Inviting Protestants, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims into a Catholic cathedral to speak before a crucified Christ. Going to war, again, in Iraq if the guys who lost the last two Iraq Wars ask them to. And, lately, a Terrorist Red Alert.

Read more Views: 248
The Australian Independent Media Network Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 07:38 Source

There is something quite odd about this latest decision to raise Australia’s terrorist alert level to ‘high’. I can’t see what it is supposed to achieve? Is there credible evidence that a terrorist threat is likely? If so, why let the perpetrators know that? Why tell them you are aware of their intentions?

Read more Views: 353
Digitopoly Saturday, September 13, 2014 - 06:50 Source

Two pieces appeared on Medium in the last couple of days about Amazon; both critical and complimentary in their own way. But put together they reveal a contradiction at the heart of what Amazon is doing in terms of social value.

Let me explain. The first piece you should read is by Clay Shirky. When Shirky nails an issue he really nails it. He centres his discussion on the ongoing dispute with Hachette. 

Read more Views: 537