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Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter

 Mars Colonization  Comments Off on Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter
Jan 302015
 

Are we seeing the convergence of a century of space science and science fiction before our eyes? Will Musk and SpaceX make 2001 Space Odyssey a reality? (Photo Credit: NASA, Apple, SpaceX, Tesla Motors, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Illustration Judy Schmidt)

In Kubricks and Clarks 2001 Space Odyssey, there was no question of Boots or Bots[ref]. The monolith had been left for humanity as a mileage and direction marker on Route 66 to the stars. So we went to Jupiter and Dave Bowman overcame a sentient machine, shut it down cold and went forth to discover the greatest story yet to be told.

Now Elon Musk, born three years after the great science fiction movie and one year before the last Apollo mission to the Moon has set his goals, is achieving milestones to lift humans beyond low-Earth orbit, beyond the bonds of Earths gravity and take us to the first stop in the final frontier Mars the destination of the SpaceX odyssey.

Marvel claims Musk as the inspiration for Tony Stark in Ironman but for countless space advocates around the World he is the embodiment of Dave Bowman, the astronaut in 2001 Space Odyssey destined to travel to the edge of the Universe and retire an old man on Mars. (Photo Credit: NASA, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Illustration Judy Schmidt)

Ask him whats next and nowhere on his bucket list does he have Disneyland or Disney World. You will find Falcon 9R, Falcon Heavy, Dragon Crew, Raptor Engine and Mars Colonization Transporter (MCT).

At the top of his working list is the continued clean launch record of the Falcon 9 and beside that must-have is the milestone of a soft landing of a Falcon 9 core. To reach this milestone, Elon Musk has an impressive array of successes and also failures necessary, to-be-expected and effectively of equal value. His plans for tomorrow are keeping us on the edge of our seats.

The Dragon Crew capsule is more than a modernized Apollo capsule. It will land softly and at least on Earth will be reusable while Musk and SpaceX dream of landing Falcon Crew on Mars. (Photo Credits: SpaceX)

CRS-5, the Cargo Resupply mission number 5, was an unadulterated success and to make it even better, Elons crew took another step towards the first soft landing of a Falcon core, even though it wasnt entirely successful. Elon explained that they ran out of hydaulic fluid. Additionally, there is a slew of telemetry that his engineers are analyzing to optimize the control software. Could it have been just a shortage of fluid? Yes, its possible they could extrapolate the performance that was cut short and recognize the landing Musk and crew dreamed of.

A successful failure of a soft landing had no baring on the successful launch of the CRS-5, the cargo resupply mission to ISS. (Image Credits: SpaceX)

The addition of the new grid fins to improve control both assured the observed level of success and also assured failure. Anytime one adds something unprovento a test vehicle, the risk of failure is raised. This was a fantastic failure that provided a treasure trove of new telemetry and the possibilities to optimize software. More hydraulic fluid is a must but improvements to SpaceX software is what will bring a repeatable string of Falcon core soft landings.

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Elon Musk and the SpaceX Odyssey: the Path from Falcon 9 to Mars Colonization Transporter

Silk Road Judge: Tor Browser Is "Mumbo-Jumbo To Most People On The Jury Right Now"

 Tor Browser  Comments Off on Silk Road Judge: Tor Browser Is "Mumbo-Jumbo To Most People On The Jury Right Now"
Jan 192015
 

Illustrations by Susie Cagle.

The Silk Road trial is a high-tech case of nearly inscrutable levels, and prosecutors are grappling with the burden of having to explain cryptographic technologies to a jury whose demographics lean away from technological sophistication. As Judge Katherine Forrest explained to them on Tuesday, the jury need not have any technical expertise to rule on the issues at trial, since everything they need ought to be presented to them in court. But the prosecutionalthough not for lack of effortseems to be falling short of making sense to the jurors.

In a conference with the attorneys on Wednesday, before the jury entered the courtroom, Judge Forrest complained about the prosecutions explanation of Tor. What [the Tor Browser] is, I think, is mumbo-jumbo to most people on the jury right now. theres room for clarity, here.

Quite early on in the pre-trial process, the judge had asked for the two sides to come up with a glossary of technical terms. But in the end, the prosecution and the defense could not reach an agreement on how the terms should be defined. Although the exact substance and the extent of their disagreement is yet unknown, the filings do show that they often sparred over whether to characterize Bitcoin as a currency (a term favored by the prosecution) or as a payments system (favored by Ross Ulbrichts defense). Another point of contention may have been how to characterize Tor. In the opening statements, the prosecution repeatedly referred to the Tor-hidden service Silk Road as a dark and secret part of the Internet, whereas the defense pointedly mentioned that Tor had actually been developed by the U.S. government for legitimate means.

Only three days have passed and the jury has already been barraged with detailed technical explanations of a dizzying array of cryptographic technologies: Tor, PGP, Bitcoin. The run-downs of these technologies have been interspersed with nearly comical explanations of far more basic elements of the Internethow forum posts work, the difference between forum posts and direct messages, what the Internet Archive is, and the concept of a wiki.

With respect to the last, at one point, the prosecutor asked his first witness, a DHS agent, What is a wiki? The witness began his answer with, Its, uh, its like Wikipedia.

Illustration by Susie Cagle.

For the most part, the prosecutions explanations have been thorough, detailed, and technically correct. Explanations have often been accompanied by exhibits that can only be described as tutorial videos, where Jared Der-Yeghaiyan, the aforementioned DHS agent, walked the jury step by step through how to use Tor, how to track Bitcoin transactions on blockchain.info, and how to encrypt e-mails with PGP. Nonetheless, the prosecution is up against a difficult task: hosting a crypto-party for a group that never asked to be in the room in the first place.

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Silk Road Judge: Tor Browser Is "Mumbo-Jumbo To Most People On The Jury Right Now"

Charlie Hebdo: Free speech not affected by race laws, hate speech is

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Charlie Hebdo: Free speech not affected by race laws, hate speech is
Jan 132015
 

LETTERS

Illustration: Alan Moir.

There seems to be confusion between the concept of free speech and hate speech (Letters, January 13).

I support free speech or the presentation of ideas and concepts even if I find them distasteful or stupid. Climate change denial and support of violence are two ideas that spring to mind. One can argue and disagree with them in the same sense of free speech.

Hate speech is when one deliberately insults or hurts another person or group because of either who they are or the ideas they support. It is hate speech to denigrate Muslims or Jews or Whites or Gays or Republicans or members of the Liberal Party if the point is to insult or hurt them.

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Disagreeing with a logical presentation of ideas, however, with any of the above group’s behaviours or beliefs is an integral part of free speech.

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That’s where the radio commentators and Attorney-General George Brandis have it wrong. They confuse demeaning other humans (a bad thing and a sign of social destruction) with disagreeing with another’s ideas (a good sign of a healthy democracy)

Howard Clark Ryde

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Charlie Hebdo: Free speech not affected by race laws, hate speech is

Freedom of speech needs protection

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Freedom of speech needs protection
Jan 092015
 

LETTERS

Illustration: Alan Moir

The French editor, Stephane Charbonnier, who was murdered in Paris said, “I would rather die standing than live on my knees” (“Better to die standing than live on our knees”, Editorial, January 9). But it is better again to exercise free speech without being threatened with death. So free speech needs better protection. It is not enough to re-educate pockets of society and for us to revile terrorism. We need to excise the terrorists from our midst.

We should recognise that religious fanaticism with its jihadism is a deadly disease of the mind just as Ebola is a deadly disease of the body. Ebola is spread in unhygienic conditions among uneducated people. Religious fanaticism spreads in the same way. Its victims are feckless young men who have little education and are easily influenced by infected preachers and websites.

We prevent and treat Ebola by cleaning up unhygienic conditions, quarantining victims, educating people and encouraging them to hand over infected victims. We should do the same with the victims who are infected with religious extremism.

We need to quarantine jihadists, preferably before they commit acts of terrorism, and treat them. They will need to be identified, arrested, detained and re-educated. Obviously this would be abhorrent to many people. But what is more abhorrent? Detaining these extremists or allowing them to kill innocent people, themselves, and spread their mind disease?

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Geoff BlackCaves Beach

I wonder what the great French philosopher Voltaire would be thinking now, were he still alive. Four hundred years or so later, one of his greatest statements, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” certainly has resonance. Would he have imagined this heinous crime possible, I ponder.

Rose PanidisGraceville (Qld)

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Freedom of speech needs protection

Locked in a war of words to define free speech

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Locked in a war of words to define free speech
Dec 232014
 

Activist Pat Eatock speaks to media after the Federal Court found in 2011 that columnist Andrew Bolt had breached the Racial Discrimination Act. Photo: Justin McManus

Fredrick Toben always insisted he wasn’t a Holocaust denier because you couldn’t deny something that never happened. The German-born Australian says there was never any systematic German program to kill Jewish people, denies the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and claims that Jews exaggerated the numbers murdered during World War II, sometimes for financial gain.

When Australia passed racial hatred laws in 1995, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry decided to take Toben on, led by its then director Jeremy Jones and the solicitor in the case, Peter Wertheim. Their first complaint was in 1996. It took until 2002 for it to get to the Federal Court, which found that Toben’s views weren’t part of academic debate about the Holocaust, but were designed to ”smear” Jews.

Toben refused to remove the material, citing freedom of speech. In 2009, he was sentenced to three months’ jail for contempt of court.

Illustration: Matt Davidson.

Wertheim is the executive director of the council, which has used racial hatred laws aggressively to fight serious examples of anti-Semitism – cases have been conciliated though the Australian Human Rights Commission and several have found their way to the Federal Court.

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The influential national Jewish group and every major ethnic organisation in the land will not let these laws go without a fight.

The government, which this week released proposed amendments designed to end the ”chill factor upon freedom of speech”, as Attorney-General George Brandis put it, suddenly seems nervous about championing the free speech of people such as Toben.

The draft laws ”would always capture the concept of Holocaust denial”, Brandis insisted, saying it would amount to racial vilification, a proposed new provision. But Wertheim, as well as human rights lawyers, the libertarian Institute of Public Affairs, which campaigned to scrap racial hatred laws, and the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, are in agreement that people like Toben are likely to have free rein if the proposals become law, because the exemptions to vilification are so broad.

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Locked in a war of words to define free speech

Metallic Bitcoin Plates – Illustration/Photo Series – Video

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Metallic Bitcoin Plates – Illustration/Photo Series – Video
Dec 162014
 



Metallic Bitcoin Plates – Illustration/Photo Series
By subscribing to Depositphotos at: http://depositphotos.com?ref=2719811 you can download some of these illustrations from my favorites list by clicking on the provided link http://nl.depositphotos…

By: Great Pictures

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Metallic Bitcoin Plates – Illustration/Photo Series – Video

Press Freedom: George Brandis is talking plain rubbish

 Freedom  Comments Off on Press Freedom: George Brandis is talking plain rubbish
Nov 052014
 

Illustration: John Spooner

I am not a fan of the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis. He’s a politician with a slender grasp of matters such as fairness and accuracy, as he demonstrated last year when he branded me publicly as an enemy of press freedom.

I defended myself at the time, and don’t need to do it again here. The sad truth is few politicians have much regard for fairness and accuracy. Exaggeration and distortion are much more useful on the hustings. What’s more concerning is that Brandis, who constantly applauds himself for his championship of press freedom, appears not to understand it at all.

Witness his bizarre defence of section 35P of the newly minted National Security Legislation Amendment Act (No. 1). That’s the section that makes it an offence, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, to “disclose information” about a so-called special intelligence operation.

A question of trust: Attorney-General George Brandis urged members of the Press Club to trust the Coalition. Photo: Andrew Meares

On Q&A on Monday night, Brandis announced the law was not aimed at journalists. But, asked Tony Jones, if a journalist reported what a whistleblower had disclosed, would they fall under the law

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Here, verbatim, is Brandis’ convoluted reply:”If it’s a whistleblower, the whistleblower protection laws still apply. If it’s a journalist covering what a whistleblower has disclosed, then the journalist wouldn’t fall within the reach of the section, because the relevant conduct is the conduct constituting the disclosure; so if the event is already disclosed by someone else and a journalist merely reports that which has already been disclosed, as it was by Snowden, then the provision would not apply.”

Well, for a start, as the Attorney-General must know, there is no chance at all that the whistleblower protection laws would apply to anyone disclosing information about an intelligence operation (let alone a “special” intelligence operation) to the media. Not a chance.

Second, most whistleblowers do not act openly, as Edward Snowden did. They approach the media, seeking confidentiality. The first public disclosure of the information is by a journalist, either quoting a confidential source, or publishing a document supplied by that source.

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Press Freedom: George Brandis is talking plain rubbish

Anti-terror laws undermine democracy

 Freedom  Comments Off on Anti-terror laws undermine democracy
Nov 032014
 

Illustration: michaelmucci.com

October 2014 will go down as the month in which the federal Parliament made some of its greatest ever inroads into freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Ironically, this occurred only weeks after our politicians extolled the virtues of these freedoms in the debate over section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

It is disturbing that our political leaders have moved so quickly from this to anti-terror measures that impose lengthy jail terms for journalists and others who speak about matters of public importance. It reveals a shallow adherence to freedom of speech, and an unwelcome, authoritarian streakon behalf of the government and the opposition when it comes to restricting democratic freedoms.

Most of the attention has focused on section 35P of the first anti-terrorism bill passed on October 1. This provision says: “A person commits an offence if the person discloses information and the information relates to a special intelligence operation.” The penalty is jail of up to five years, or 10 years if, for example, the disclosure prejudices a special intelligence operation.

As Attorney General George Brandis has said, section 35P “applies generally to all citizens”. It does not discriminate between people who seek to harm our security by revealing secret information, and journalists and whistleblowers who shine a spotlight on government wrongdoing, incompetence or even the death of an Australian citizen at the hands of an intelligence officer.

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It is not easy for journalists to know whether they are complying with this law. Special intelligence operations are by their nature covert, and the information that cannot be disclosed covers these operations and anything that “relates to” them. This means that the ban extends to other, connected operations by ASIO and agencies such as the Australian Federal Police.

All this can create doubt in the mind of a journalist about whether they can publish a story. They may decide not to do so on the basis that it is better to be safe than sorry. Governments and agencies can exploit this zone of uncertainty by warning off journalists so as to prevent the publication of compromising information.

Brandis has defended section 35P by saying that it is not intended to apply to journalists. If this is the case, it is easy to fix the provision. He should sponsor an amendment that exempts the disclosure of information that is part of a media report in the public interest.

Instead, the Attorney General will direct federal prosecutors to consult with him on any charges laid against journalists. He has said that prosecutions against journalists will only proceed with his consent.

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Anti-terror laws undermine democracy

Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin were made for each other

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin were made for each other
Oct 142014
 

LETTERS

Headed for a “shirt-front”: President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Has the world ever encountered such a pair as Abbott and Putin (“Australians were murdered … I am going to shirt-front Mr Putin”, October 14)? They seem to be a unique breed of testosto-Illuminati those who are mysteriously inspired by their testosterone. I think that truly, once they sort through their posturing, they’ll realise how deep their affection is for each other. Bring on the G20 bromance of 2014.

Catherine HoskinPennant Hills

Many Australians would probably be happy for Tony Abbott to confront Vladimir Putin about the loss of life of passengers on flight MH17, but talk of “shirt-fronting” isn’t the talk we expect of a leader, let alone a prime minister. Grow up Abbott. Speak and represent us appropriately.

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Paul Parramore Sawtell

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Russian-backed rebels murdered 38 Australians. The Prime Minister’s tough words about Putin were inspirational and showed great leadership. But where is the tough talk from the other world leaders who lost so many in the MH17 tragedy? The Russian President must be laughing at their weakness. Full marks also to the Opposition Leader for refusing to meet Vladimir Putin.

Phil Johnson Dee Why

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Tony Abbott and Vladimir Putin were made for each other

Corporate tax dodgers put on notice

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Corporate tax dodgers put on notice
Oct 022014
 

The leaders of Australia’s biggest companies and foreign multinationals, including Apple, Google and coal miner Glencore, are expected to be hauled in front of a parliamentary inquiry into tax avoidance.

The Senate voted on Thursday to establish the inquiry after the release of a report revealed by Fairfax Media on Monday that found almost one-third of the nation’s largest companies are paying less than 10 in the dollar in corporate tax.

It estimated up to $80 billion could have been forgone by the AustralianTax Office over the past decade due to the complex tax-minimisation strategies employed by the biggest 200 sharemarket-listed companies.

Illustration: Ron Tandberg.

The inquiry by the Senate Economics References Committee will be conducted in the shadow of the G20 leader’s summit in Brisbane in November, where Treasurer Joe Hockey has vowed to lead an assault on corporate tax avoidance by multinationals.

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It will seek to unpick the increasingly complex web of foreign tax havens used to keep profits out of the clutches of the Tax Office and is expected to call bank chiefs, miners and media executives.

It will also consider whether the ATO is equipped for the task of tracking the estimated $270 billion that flows between Australian companies and their foreign subsidiaries.

Representatives of business, including the Corporate Tax Association, have rubbished the tax report Who Pays For Our Common Wealth?insisting there are legitimate reasons for a company’s effective tax rate to fall below the statutory 30 per cent.

The report found James Hardie had paid on average $0 in company tax in Australia over a decade, while Sydney Airport and Echo Entertainment owner of Sydney’s Star Casino paid 5 in the dollar or less.

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Corporate tax dodgers put on notice

Advance Australia on unfair tax sidesteps

 Tax Havens  Comments Off on Advance Australia on unfair tax sidesteps
Sep 302014
 

LETTERS

“It is not for the Australian Tax Office to ‘man up’ as there needs to be a legislative power for it to do so.” Photo: Jeffrey Chan

It is no wonder that 60 per cent of the ASX 200 companies use tax havens (“Big business ‘shirks’ fair share of tax load”, September 29). They are simply following the example set by Australia’s $100 billion Future Fund. This fund invests overseas using 47 tax haven entities it owns, and three it does not own 50 all up.

The Future Fund pays no Australian income tax, just GST and FBT. Joe Hockey has stated that the Future Fund is following its own environmental, social and governance (ESG) guidelines, and is operating within the framework of the principle of sovereign immunity (the state cannot commit a legal wrong). The government’s concerns with multinationals using tax havens appears to be a case of “do as I say, don’t do as I do”. Sovereign funds are not of a higher moral order than an ordinary corporation.

Bill Johnstone Marrickville

Illustration: michaelmucci.com

I’ve tried to believe that sacking workers improves a company’s “productivity”. That flogging public assets to private profit makers will improve their “efficiency”. That it’s fair for executive salary growth to have outstripped mine by a factor of 30-plus. That because my tax now funds the profit-making projects of “private contractors, commercial-in-confidence”, rather than public works, it’s none of my business how it’s spent. I’ve tried to believe that my little boat will rise on the tide of collective growth even as it trickles down and forms a bigger slice of cake for all. If I ask how the free market can grant James Packer’s casino a 50-year, publicly underwritten profit-or-compo safety net but can’t even guarantee how many casual hours I’ll be rostered on tomorrow, I’m told I’m “economically illiterate”, a leaner, entitled, playing class warfare. Tax? Last year, the ATO found resources enough to bill me an extra $600, annual salary of $55,000. Guess illiterate me stuffed the sums on the back of my envelope at the kitchen table.

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Don’t want the economists running my country any more, please. Isn’t working. Isn’t fair. Isn’t Australian.

Jack Robertson Birchgrove

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We're trashing our beaches: CSIRO

 Beaches  Comments Off on We're trashing our beaches: CSIRO
Sep 142014
 

Devastating effect: 43 per cent of seabirds have ingested plastic.

Illegal dumping is a primary source of rubbish on Australian beaches, according to the world’s largest survey of coastal rubbish.

The survey, carried out over three years by the CSIRO, Earthwatch Australia, TeachWild and petroleum giant Shell, dispels the idea that the rubbish on Australian beaches is due to ocean currents bringing the world’s rubbish to our shores.

“The majority of coastal debris in Australia is from Australian sources, not the high seas,” the report says.

Illustration: Matt Golding.

“Consumer behaviour and illegal dumping are primary causes of marine debris in Australia.”

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The survey was conducted at sites approximately every 100 kilometres along the Australian coastline. Students, teachers, scientists and Shell employees were enlisted to conduct the surveys.

The surveys found that about three quarters of the rubbish along the cost is plastic, and that local measures such as the South Australian bottle refund program can be effective to stop plastic pollution reaching the water.

“When we compared the ratio of beverage containers to beverage container lids across states in the clean-up data, South Australia came out with a much higher ratio of lids to containers in the clean-up data than any other state,” the report says.

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We're trashing our beaches: CSIRO

Dumping is trashing Australian beaches, says CSIRO report

 Beaches  Comments Off on Dumping is trashing Australian beaches, says CSIRO report
Sep 142014
 

Devastating effect: 43 per cent of seabirds have ingested plastic.

Illegal dumping is a primary source of rubbish on Australian beaches, according to the world’s largest survey of coastal rubbish.

The survey, carried out over three years by the CSIRO, Earthwatch Australia, TeachWild and petroleum giant Shell, dispels the idea that the rubbish on Australian beaches is due to ocean currents bringing the world’s rubbish to our shores.

“The majority of coastal debris in Australia is from Australian sources, not the high seas,” the report says.

Illustration: Matt Golding.

“Consumer behaviour and illegal dumping are primary causes of marine debris in Australia.”

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The survey was conducted at sites approximately every 100 kilometres along the Australian coastline. Students, teachers, scientists and Shell employees were enlisted to conduct the surveys.

The surveys found that about three quarters of the rubbish along the cost is plastic, and that local measures such as the South Australian bottle refund program can be effective to stop plastic pollution reaching the water.

“When we compared the ratio of beverage containers to beverage container lids across states in the clean-up data, South Australia came out with a much higher ratio of lids to containers in the clean-up data than any other state,” the report says.

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Dumping is trashing Australian beaches, says CSIRO report

Darkcoin, the Shadowy Cousin of Bitcoin, Is Booming

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Darkcoin, the Shadowy Cousin of Bitcoin, Is Booming
May 212014
 

Illustration: WIRED

Someone out there likes anonymous money.

In only a month, the little-known bitcoin alternative known as Darkcoin has rocketed nearly tenfold in valuefrom around 75 cents a coin to almost seven dollars. Its selling point: Darkcoin offers far greater anonymity than bitcoin, mixing up users transactions so that its incredibly difficult to trace a payment to a person. And though few have yet to accept that more-anonymous coin for actual goods and services, the promise of Darkcoins privacy features seems to have sparked a miniature boom. Its one of the fastest growing among the wave of cryptocurrencies thats followed bitcoins success, with the total value of its combined coins topping out at nearly $30 million.

Darkcoin, supporters argue, serves a real privacy need. Despite its reputation for being more anonymous than traditional money, the bitcoin network actually allows anyone to see every transaction on a public accounting ledger known as the blockchain. Users often have to take extra steps, like mixing their coins in a laundry service, to prevent those addresses from being tied to their identity by any government or corporation that wants to snoop.

Darkcoin adds an extra layer of privacy by automatically combining any transaction its users make with those of two other usersa feature it calls Darksendso that anyone analyzing the blockchain has a harder time figuring out where a particular users money ended up. A large community believes that the way bitcoins blockchain is designed is a problem, says Evan Duffield, the 32-year old Arizona-based software developer who launched Darkcoin in January. Darkcoin has this anonymity aspect to it, which is attractive to a lot of people.

Darkcoins exchange rate with the dollar and market cap over the last month. Credit: Coinmarketcap.com

Darkcoins uncanny growth, of course, may also be fueled by speculators who see an opportunity to jump on a hot commodity. And given how wildly its appreciated in its short life, theres no guarantee it wont crash just as fast.

But Darkcoins price increases may also be linked to real changes in its features, says Kristov Atlas, a bitcoin consultant and Darkcoin fan. He argues that its value comes in part from its unique properties as a payment system, not just as an investment vehicle. The currencys first big price jump occurred in late April, for instance, when its Darksend privacy trick was initially switched on for real transactions. Its not purely a speculative bubble, Atlas says. Theres some solid indications the market price is currently based on the fundamental value of the coin.

Darkcoins price may in fact be manipulated by investors, says Allen Price, a trader in the bitcoin alternatives known as altcoins. But he says its already outlasted his expectation that its price growth was caused by a pump-and-dump scam. I had sort of smugly stood to the side waiting for the big, inevitable crash with an I told you so ready, says Price. But no crash ever really came, and its been kind of an ongoing success for investors.

Much of the currencys more recent price increase, says Duffield, may stem from its system of financially rewarding users whose machines serve as the coordinators of its Darksend transactions. Anyone can become make their computer into one of those coordinators, which Duffield calls master nodes, by proving that theyve paid a thousand darkcoins. In exchange, they reap ten percent of all new coins added to the Darkcoin network, which are distributed among the master nodes as an incentive for their work. Duffield says Darkcoiners seeking those rewards created 170 master nodes in the last month, tying up 170,000 darkcoins, a number that significantly decreased the currencys supply and has likely helped raise its price.

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Darkcoin, the Shadowy Cousin of Bitcoin, Is Booming

The free speech tongue-twister

 Free Speech  Comments Off on The free speech tongue-twister
Mar 142014
 

Illustration: michaelmucci.com

Thanks to ABC1’s Q&A last Monday, we’re in an even more confused state about the government’s free speech program. There was Attorney-General George Brandis appropriating an inordinate amount of time to tell viewers that section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act was throttling free speech and that it should be repealed ”in its current form”.

Brandis said: ”In a free country, people should have the right to say things that other people find insulting or offensive or wounding” – and that applies to making nasty remarks based on someone’s race or ethnicity.

So that seemed fairly clear, until the Q&A panel got onto the topic of Chinese buyers snapping up all the best housing. Brandis said: ”I’m always uncomfortable with the idea of picking on one racial group and saying, well, they’re the problem.”

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He may well be uncomfortable, but that didn’t mean he wants the law to get involved.

Yet if the man who is engineering this legislative change feels unsettled about people picking on particular racial groups, maybe that should be a tiny warning.

Two days after Q&A the Attorney-General gave a doorstop interview in Melbourne where he complained about an ALP leaflet circulating in the South Australian election that attacked a Liberal candidate, Carolyn Habib.

He said the flyer showed Habib in silhouette against a bullet-riddled wall with the caption ”don’t trust Habib”. This, he thundered, was ”a thinly veiled racist slur”.

The slurs may not be so thinly veiled once s.18C ”in its current form” is ditched. Be careful what you wish for, George.

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The free speech tongue-twister

How To Use Excel To Gain SEO Insights – Video

 SEO  Comments Off on How To Use Excel To Gain SEO Insights – Video
Feb 132013
 



How To Use Excel To Gain SEO Insights
How to use an Excel spreadsheet to gain SEO Insights By SEO Synovation an Innovative Search Marketing Optimisation company. Presented by http://www.seosynovation.com . Various SEO efforts have various affects on web analytical metrics. This presentation gives you an insight of how to use Excel and graphically improve the presentation of SEO actions plans and how they affect the business. An extraction from your website analytic data would include traffic volumes, number of conversions that led to a certain amount of revenue for your chosen keyword. Another set of data would detail the ranking positions for the selected keyword during the same period. Construct your Excel spreadsheet in this way. In week 1 there was an SEO exercise to create an improvement in keyword rankings by SEO of on page elements and SEO link building. This had an almost immediate effect by moving the website from the top of the third page (position 20) to the bottom of the second page (position 18). However there no impact of Traffic volumes and Revenue for weeks 1 to 4 which we shall call SEO Action A In the Excel table focus on the ranking positions and traffic volumes are you will see two distinct jumps — in week 2 and in week 5. In the chart for traffic, conversions and revenue the only jump you see is in week 5. This illustration proves that different SEO actions have impacts on different metrics. See SEO http SEO action A focused upon on page Meta tags and link building. See http://www.seosynovation.com

By: Vincent Sandford

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How To Use Excel To Gain SEO Insights – Video

The Fall Of English France 1449-53 – David Nicolle – Video

 Islands  Comments Off on The Fall Of English France 1449-53 – David Nicolle – Video
Dec 262012
 



The Fall Of English France 1449-53 – David Nicolle
ll4.me The Fall Of English France 1449-53 – David Nicolle For the overwhelming majority of people outside the French-speaking world the Hundred Years War consisted of a sequence of major English victories, above all Crcy, Poitiers and Agincourt. The only significant victor or 'hero' on the French side was Joan of Arc, and she ended up being burned at the stake. Yet somehow the war ended in a French victory and with England's martial energies being turned against itself in the Wars of the Roses. This book is intended to provide some balance. It will describe the campaign that brought the Hundred Years War to a close, with English possessions being confined to Calais and the Channel Islands. It will also explain how the somewhat unprepossessing and unmartial King Charles VII of France succeeded where his predecessors had failed. The campaign consisted of more than battles, of course, but it was marked by two major victories – at Formigny in 1450 and at Castillon in 1453. Formigny is of special interest because it saw French cavalry defeat English archers, in effect a reversal of Crcy, Poitiers and Agincourt, and could be interpreted as one of the last 'medieval' battles. Castillon is of interest because it was a victory of gunpowder artillery in fixed positions over a traditional medieval assault by mixed infantry and cavalry, and thus could be interpreted as one of the first 'modern' battles.Author: Nicolle, David Publisher: Osprey Publishing Illustration: Y Language: ENG …From:JodiBeaudonViews:0 0ratingsTime:00:10More inPeople Blogs

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Obama vs. Romney: The Battle of the Century

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Jun 132012
 

JAPAN APRIL MACHINE ORDERS RISE 5.7% VS EST. OF 1.6% GAIN

Illustration by Andy J. Miller

Widespread U.S. unhappiness with the government would seem to call for a blockbuster election, such as the one we had exactly a century ago, when both candidates offered sweeping plans for public renewal.

An election fought over such visions makes more sense than our current jobs-growth donnybrook. The president has far more control over the federal government than over the economy. The 1912 election even provides a template for contention, with one candidate urging a Hamiltonian platform of reform through big government, and the other supporting (at least in the campaign) a progressive libertarianism.

Today, just 19 percent of Americans say they trust the government most of the time or more. Only 41 percent agree that the government is really run for the benefit of all the people.

President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 as a reformer who connected the recession with the absence of sensible oversight that can occur when special interests put their thumb on the scale. Two years later, the Tea Party rode a similar surge of anti-governmental anger fueled by the financial bailout and health-care reform or, as Sarah Palin put it, the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest.

This unhappiness mirrors the mood in 1912, when a swath of the U.S. also believed that special interests had subsumed the state. Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt were Progressives who railed against the shaping of our legislation in the interest of special bodies of capital and those who organize their use (Wilsons words) and politicians serving the great special interests of privilege (Roosevelts words). More than 75 percent of the U.S. votes cast in 1912 went to Wilson or Roosevelt or the Socialist Eugene V. Debs. The Republican candidate, William Howard Taft, received less than a quarter of the votes.

The election was the culmination of a wave of reform in the late 19th century, fueled by the malfeasance of politicians such as Boss Tweed. His archenemy, Samuel J. Tilden, ran on the 1876 Democratic ticket pledging to fight the corrupt centralism that had infected States and municipalities with the contagion of misrule, and locked fast the prosperity of an industrious people in the paralysis of hard times. For Tilden-era reformers, government would be fixed if civil-service reform replaced bad people with good people.

By the late 19th century, reformers came to blame the whole system, not just individual politicians. Muckrakers, such as Lincoln Steffens, uncovered the business leaders who funded the political machines. The transport magnate Robert Snyder, for example, paid $250,000 to St. Louis legislators in return for a traction franchise that he rapidly resold for $1.25 million. Corporate chieftains were rumored to run the U.S. Senate, as depicted in a splendidly vicious 1889 Puck cartoon. Some fad- like reforms sought more democracy, such as the referendum and judicial recall powers, and some involved less, such as replacing elected mayors with professional city managers.

Today, antipathy toward Wall Streets political clout and the bailout gets mixed together with essentially unrelated claims of other financial-sector misbehavior, such as credit- card fees. A century ago, hostility toward bribery and influence was also combined with resentment of other corporate misdeeds, such as Jay Goulds stock-market manipulations and Andrew Carnegies strike-breaking at the Homestead mill. Ida Tarbell lavished poisonous ink on John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Co., which used its alliance with the railroads to shut out rivals.

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Why Lower Corporate Taxes Won't Create More Jobs

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Feb 232012
 

Illustration by Alexander Ho for TIME

Yesterday, President Obama announced a long-awaited proposal to cut corporate taxes in America, which U.S. businesses complain are much too high by international standards. The proposed reform is intended to prevent companies from shifting operations and earnings to tax havens (paging Mitt Romney!) and instead encourage companies to bring them back into the U.S., where they could create jobs and growth.

What’s being missed in all this is that the corporate tax debate and the jobs debate are two separate things. Here’s why.

America has the second highest corporate tax rate in the rich world. But most American businesses don’t pay it. The President is suggesting that the corporate tax rate drop from 35% to 28%. But as my colleague Fareed Zakaria wrote a few months back in Time, few of the biggest U.S. businesses are paying that rate right now; indeed, most are paying much less – 115 of the companies in the S & P 500 paid less than 20% in tax over the last five years. And 39 firms paid less than 10%.

(MORE: The Corporate Tax Rate Is Lowest in Decades; Is Business Paying Its Fair Share?)

That gets at the key issue: Fundamentally, lower taxes aren’t the reason that businesses choose to invest, or not, in a certain country. As Warren Buffett told me when I interviewed him late last year, “The idea that American business is at a big disadvantage against the rest of the world because of corporate taxes is baloney in my view. In the 50s and 60s, corporate taxes were 52%, and we were making all kinds of [job] gains.”

True enough. In fact, you can see more and more evidence for the fact that business doesn’t locate in a particular country just because it’s cheaper to do so. Consider the recently released Harvard Business School study looking at insourcing and outsourcing decisions among 10,000 alumnae who are running American businesses. The key reason for outsourcing wasn’t labor cost, but a combination of cost, proximity to market, and (most importantly) better worker skill sets abroad. In order for America to create jobs at home, we need to do the heavy lifting to reform education and develop workers who can do the sort of jobs businesses need them to do. (On that score, I applaud the way the President is trying to link educational reform with the bolstering of American manufacturing.)

(MORE: The Street Fighter: This Man is Busting Wall St.)

This goes to the final point, which is why companies are holding such a huge wad of foreign profits abroad to begin with – $1.5 trillion by some estimates. You can make a case that they simply don’t want to be taxed at 35%. But there’s no reason to think that under our current complicated tax structure, they couldn’t find ways around that, as they do with U.S. earnings.

Even more to the point: As Buffett says, nobody ever stopped investing because of high taxes. Companies stop investing because they don’t fundamentally believe in the growth opportunities in a market. I agree with Buffett that you can’t allow U.S. firms to repatriate foreign profits tax-free; it creates moral hazard. But it would be interesting to see how much of that money would flow back into the U.S. if the rate was 20%, or 12.5%, as it is in Ireland. It would tell us a lot, not only about corporate America’s belief (or lack thereof) in shared sacrifice, but also about their belief (or lack thereof) in the U.S. economy.

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Why Lower Corporate Taxes Won't Create More Jobs




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism