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Australia

Australia Passes Mandatory Data Retention Law 112

Posted by timothy
from the what's-in-the-box dept.
Bismillah writes Opposition from the Green Party and independent members of parliament wasn't enough to stop the ruling conservative Liberal-National coalition from passing Australia's new law that will force telcos and ISPs to store customer metadata for at least two years. Journalists' metadata is not exempted from the retention law, but requires a warrant to access. The metadata of everyone else can be accessed by unspecified government agencies without a warrant however.
Australia

Draconian Australian Research Law Hits Scientists 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the blunder-down-under dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The Australian government is pushing ahead with a draconian law placing "dual use" science (e.g. encryption, biotechnology) under the control of the Department of Defence. The Australian ACLU, Civil Liberties Australia, warns the law punishes scientists with $400,000 fines, 10 years in jail and forfeiture of their work, just for sending an "inappropriate" e-mail.

Scientists — including the academics union — warn the laws are unworkable despite attempted improvements, and will drive researchers offshore (paywalled: mirror here).
Australia

Australian Company Creates Even Faster 3D Printer 52

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-when-you-need-new-shower-curtain-rings-NOW dept.
ErnieKey writes: One of the major reasons 3D printing hasn't really caught on is because it's an incredibly slow process. Just last week a company called Carbon3D unveiled a super fast new 3D printing process that utilizes oxygen and light. Now, another company — Gizmo 3D — has unveiled an even faster 3D printing process which is claimed to be more reliable than the process presented by Carbon3D. It can print 30mm in height at a 50 micron resolution in just 6 minutes.
Australia

World's Largest Asteroid Impacts Found In Central Australia 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the call-bruce-willis dept.
schwit1 writes Scientists doing geothermal research in Australia have discovered evidence of what they think is the largest known impact zone from an meteorite on Earth. The zone is thought to be about 250 miles across, and suggests the bolide split in two pieces each about 6 miles across before impact. The uncertainty is that the evidence for this impact is quite tentative: "The exact date of the impacts remains unclear. The surrounding rocks are 300 to 600 million years old, but evidence of the type left by other meteorite strikes is lacking. For example, a large meteorite strike 66 million years ago sent up a plume of ash which is found as a layer of sediment in rocks around the world. The plume is thought to have led to the extinction of a large proportion of the life on the planet, including many dinosaur species. However, a similar layer has not been found in sediments around 300 million years old, Dr Glikson said. 'It's a mystery – we can't find an extinction event that matches these collisions. I have a suspicion the impact could be older than 300 million years,' he said."
Australia

New Alzheimer's Treatment Fully Restores Memory Function For Mice 109

Posted by timothy
from the better-than-deja-vu dept.
New submitter wrp103 writes Australian researchers have come up with a non-invasive ultrasound technology [abstract] that clears the brain of neurotoxic amyloid plaques — structures that are responsible for memory loss and a decline in cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients. A slice: Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to move in. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so once they get past the blood-brain barrier, they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps before the blood-brain barrier is restored within a few hours. The team reports fully restoring the memories of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks - a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.
Crime

Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US 1088

Posted by timothy
from the if-there-weren't-all-those-pesky-rights dept.
HughPickens.com writes CNN reports that when asked how to offset the influence of big money in politics, President Barack Obama suggested it's time to make voting a requirement. "Other countries have mandatory voting," said Obama "It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything," he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly. "The people who tend not to vote are young, they're lower income, they're skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups. There's a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls." At least 26 countries have compulsory voting, according to the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Failure to vote is punishable by a fine in countries such as Australia and Belgium; if you fail to pay your fine in Belgium, you could go to prison. Less than 37% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. That means about 144 million Americans — more than the population of Russia — skipped out. Critics of mandatory voting have questioned the practicality of passing and enforcing such a requirement; others say that freedom also means the freedom not to do something.
Australia

Australia May Introduce Site Blocking To Prevent Copyright Infringement 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the lucrative-lobbying dept.
Bismillah writes: The conservative Coalition government in Australia is on the verge of introducing legislation requiring ISPs to block sites alleged of copyright infringement. Details of the bill have not yet been published, but it is expected to be sent to Parliament this week.
Medicine

Homeopathy Turns Out To Be Useless For Treating Medical Conditions 447

Posted by timothy
from the ask-your-doctor-if-placebex-is-right-for-you dept.
MightyMartian writes It should prove to be no surprise for most rational people, but a group of Australian researchers have determined that homeopathy is completely useless at treating medical conditions. Researchers sifted through 1,800 research papers on homeopathy and found no reliable report that showed homeopathic remedies had any better results than placebos. Of course, anyone with compelling evidence to the contrary (or better yet, proof to the contrary) is encouraged to post links in the comments below.
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Video Storage For Time Capsule? 169

Posted by timothy
from the what-would-vint-cerf-do? dept.
New submitter dwywit, anticipating World Backup Day, writes I've been asked to film this year's ANZAC services in my town. This is a big one, as it's the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, and dear to our hearts here in Oz. The organisers have asked me to provide a camera-to-projector setup for remote viewing (they're expecting big crowds this year), and a recording of the parade and various services throughout the morning. Copies will go to the local and state library as a record of the day, but they would also like a copy to go into a time capsule. I have two issues to solve: 1. a storage medium capable of lasting 50 or 100 years and still be readable, and 2. a wrapper/codec that will be available and usable when the capsule is opened. I have the feeling that a conversion to film might be the only way to satisfy both requirements — it's easy enough to build a projector, or even re-scan the images for viewing. Has anyone got a viable alternative? Cloud storage isn't an option — this is going underground in a stainless steel container. See also this similar question from 2008; how have the options changed in the meantime?
Power

Energy-Generating Fabric Set To Power Battery-Free Wearables 40

Posted by timothy
from the static-cling-is-powerful dept.
An anonymous reader writes A team of researchers in Korea and Australia have developed a flexible fabric which generates power from human movement – a breakthrough which could replace batteries in future wearable devices. The effect of the fabric's nanogenerators mirrors static electricity with the two fabrics repeatedly brushing against each other and stealing electrons from the one another – this exchange creates energy from the wearer's activity without the need for an external power source. During testing, the researchers demonstrated the nanogenerator powering a number of devices such as LEDs, a liquid crystal display, as well as a keyless car entry system embedded in a nanogenerator 'power suit'.
Australia

Researchers Create World's First 3D-Printed Jet Engines 58

Posted by Soulskill
from the come-fly-the-3d-printed-skies dept.
Zothecula writes: Working with colleagues from Deakin University and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), researchers from Australia's Monash University have created the world's first 3D-printed jet engine. While they were at it, they created the world's second one, too. One of them is currently on display at the International Air Show in Avalon, Australia, while the other can be seen at the headquarters of French aerospace company Microturbo, in Toulouse.
Australia

Australian ISPs To Introduce '3-Strike' Style Anti-piracy Scheme 78

Posted by timothy
from the australian-rules-baseball dept.
angry tapir writes Australian ISPs are considering a draft industry code, developed in response to government threats to step in and do it for them, that will implement a 'three notice' scheme for alleged copyright infringement. If an ISP customer gets three notices in 12 months, a rights holder can go to court to obtain their details and potentially take legal action against them. (The other part of the government's copyright crackdown is the introduction of a scheme to have pirate websites blocked — the government has yet to introduce the legislation for it, however.)
Australia

The Quantum Experiment That Simulates a Time Machine 139

Posted by timothy
from the already-been-done dept.
KentuckyFC writes One of the extraordinary features of quantum mechanics is that one quantum system can simulate the behaviour of another that might otherwise be difficult to create. That's exactly what a group of physicists in Australia have done in creating a quantum system that simulates a quantum time machine. Back in the early 90s, physicists showed that a quantum particle could enter a region of spacetime that loops back on itself, known as a closed timelike curve, without creating grandfather-type paradoxes in which time travellers kill their grandfathers thereby ensuring they could never have existed to travel back in time in the first place. Nobody has ever built a quantum closed time-like curve but now they don't have to. The Australian team have simulated its behaviour by allowing two entangled photons to interfere with each other in a way that recreates the behaviour of a single photon interacting with an older version of itself. The results are in perfect agreement with predictions from the 1990s--there are no grandfather-type paradoxes. Interestingly, the results are entirely compatible with relativity, suggesting that this type of experiment might be an interesting way of reconciling it with quantum mechanics.
Space

Astronomers Record Mystery Radio Signals From 5.5 Billion Light Years Away 121

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-the-depths-of-space dept.
sarahnaomi writes For the first time ever, astronomers have captured an enormous radio wave burst in real time, bringing us one step closer to understanding their origins. These fleeting eruptions, called blitzars or FRBs (Fast Radio Bursts), are truly bizarre cosmic phenomena. In the span of a millisecond, they emit as much radiation as the Sun does over a million years. But unlike other super-luminous events that span multiple wavelengths—gamma ray bursts or supernovae, for example—blitzars emit all that energy in a tiny band of the radio light spectrum. Adding to the mystery is the rarity of blitzar sightings. Since these bursts were first discovered in 2007 with Australia's Parkes Telescope, ten have been identified, the latest of which was the first to be imaged in real time.
Australia

Uber Suspends Australian Transport Inspector Accounts To Block Stings 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the fine-me-once-shame-on-you dept.
jaa101 writes In Australia Uber is reportedly suspending the accounts used by government transport inspectors conducting sting operations. The article suggests that a new handset, credit card and email account are all needed to get a new, unblocked account. If inspectors can only issue one or two fines before they're blocked then the sting operations will cost more than the fines. Presumably the Uber app can block based on IMEI, SIM and/or phone number.
Australia

Extreme Heat Knocks Out Internet In Australia 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the some-really-don't-like-it-hot dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that bad weather caused internet connectivity problems for users in Perth, Western Australia on Monday. But it wasn't raging storms or lightning that caused this outage — it was extreme heat. Monday was the 6th hottest day on record for Perth, peaking around 44.4 C (111.9 F). Thousands of iiNet customers across Australia found themselves offline for about six and a half hours after the company shut down some of its systems at its Perth data center at about 4.30pm AEDST because of record breaking-temperatures. ... "[W]e shut down our servers as a precautionary measure," an iiNet spokesman said late Monday night. "Although redundancy plans ensured over 98 per cent of customers remained unaffected, some customers experienced issues reconnecting to the internet." ... Users in Western Australia, NSW, Victoria and South Australia took to Twitter, Facebook and broadband forum Whirlpool to post their frustrations to the country's second largest DSL internet service provider.
Transportation

Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501 132

Posted by timothy
from the sad-news-for-families dept.
Searchers have found traces of the crashed AirAsia Flight 8501, which lost contact with ground controllers shortly after requesting a weather-related course change. Reuters reports that both debris and some passenger remains have been recovered off the coast of Borneo, in a search complicated by waves "up to three meters high." From the report: About 30 ships and 21 aircraft from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the United States have been involved in the search. The plane, which did not issue a distress signal, disappeared after its pilot failed to get permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather because of heavy air traffic, officials said. It was travelling at 32,000 feet (9,753 metres) and had asked to fly at 38,000 feet, officials said earlier. Pilots and aviation experts said thunderstorms, and requests to gain altitude to avoid them, were not unusual in that area. ... Online discussion among pilots has centred on unconfirmed secondary radar data from Malaysia that suggested the aircraft was climbing at a speed of 353 knots, about 100 knots too slow, and that it might have stalled.
Transportation

AirAsia Flight Goes Missing Between Indonesia and Singapore 275

Posted by timothy
from the hard-loss dept.
iONiUM (530420) writes As reported by many news sources, yet another plane has lost contact during a trip. This comes on the heels of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which is still missing, and Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down. From ABC's coverage: Sixteen children and one infant were among the passengers. At a press conference this morning, Indonesian officials said the plane was several hours past the time when its fuel would have been exhausted. The six-year-old aircraft was on the submitted flight plan but requested a deviation because of enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost. The plane was under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control and had been in the air for about 42 minutes when contact was lost, AirAsia said.
Australia

Australia Moves Toward New Restrictions On Technology Export and Publication 91

Posted by timothy
from the locked-file-cabinet-in-the-basement dept.
An anonymous reader writes Australia is starting a public consultation process for new legislation that further restricts the publication and export of technology on national security grounds. The public consultation starts now (a few days before Christmas) and it is due by Jan 30th while a lot of Australians are on holidays. I don't have the legal expertise to dissect the proposed legislation, but I'd like some more public scrutiny on it. I find particularly disturbing the phrase "The Bill includes defences that reverse the onus of proof which limit the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty" contained in this document, also available on the consultation web site.
Australia

Over 9,000 PCs In Australia Infected By TorrentLocker Ransomware 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the cash-for-corrupted-computers dept.
First time accepted submitter River Tam writes Cybercriminals behind the TorrenLocker malware may have earned as much as $585,000 over several months from 39,000 PC infections worldwide, of which over 9,000 were from Australia. If you're a Windows user in Australia who's had their files encrypted by hackers after visiting a bogus Australia Post website, chances are you were infected by TorrentLocker and may have contributed to the tens of thousands of dollars likely to have come from Australia due to this digital shakedown racket.