scmagazine.com.au 10 July 2013
12 July 2013
Victoria's Wyndham council has gone to the extraordinary length of intercepting residents' mobile phone and email data 31 times in the past three years to catch "litterbugs and owners of unregistered pets".
Outspoken privacy advocate, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has been contacted for comment.
scmagazine.com.au 10 July 2013
A sad state for the masses to be in.
The Wyndam Weekly revealed the council was the only in the state to monitor resident's phone and email data, according to figures from the Attorney General's Department.
The metadata interceptions were made from 2010 to 2012.
A further 18 interception authorisations were made over the last year for the same reasons, the council’s acting chief executive Kelly Grigsby told the Weekly.
She said metadata was accessed in a small number of cases where needed.
“Retrieving a telephone subscriber’s name and address for an investigation into an offence is an important tool," she said.
The news comes amid ongoing revelations from former National Security Agency (NSA) staffer Ed Snowden about the extensive surveillance activities of the US and other nation states, including Australia.
scmagazine.com.au 10 July 2013
City councils are registered businesses, which may also suggest that ANY business may have access to your private information at any time under whatever pretext.
Australia is truly a police (nanny) state, where the entire population is under surveillance.
11 July 2013
Robin Room, director of the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, says marijuana should be legalised under strict controls because the social harm associated with it was significantly less than from drinking.
"It makes sense to legalise marijuana in a controlled market," he told the Herald Sun yesterday. "We are in a situation where we need to look ahead. I think we need to have the discussion and it makes a lot of sense in terms of, among others, cutting down government costs to have a fairly highly controlled legal (cannabis) market and, while we are at it, tighten up the legal market of alcohol in the same way we tightened up the market of tobacco."
Prof Room, a leading academic at Melbourne University, is funded by the Department of Human Services.
In an ideal world, Prof Room said teens would not smoke marijuana or drink alcohol to excess.
But if an 18-year-old was going to use substances, he said they would likely land themselves in less trouble after using cannabis rather than bingeing on alcohol.
Teens were "better off" on a mixture of booze and marijuana rather than just pure alcohol in social settings, he added. Alcohol was more dangerous than cannabis because it had a closer association with aggression and violence, loss of co-ordination and impacts on work and family life, he said.
"Cannabis is not without harm but it's substantially less than alcohol and tobacco in terms of social harm," he said.
"If you are adding the cannabis to an equal amount of alcohol, then in some ways you'd be probably less likely to be aggressive but it's a bad idea to add it on if you want to drive a car."
Prof Room said if marijuana were legalised, among the measures to control the use should be "state sellers" and "state stores" where sales were regulated. It should not be sold in supermarkets nor advertised on TV or at sporting matches.
While Prof Room acknowledged many people would be "surprised" and even "bothered" by his stance, the statistics backed him up.
The controversial proposal comes as Melbourne continues to battle booze-fuelled violence, and alcohol-related hospital admissions soar for men and women.
dailytelegraph.com.au 10 July 2013
Alcohol and cigarette related illnesses are literally the largest killers in Australia, yet these two products are legal.
The Australian government makes billions of dollars in tax revenue from alcohol and cigarettes.
Currently marijuana is not under government control, and if it were to be legalised, that would mean there WILL be a tax on it.
Not one single politician cares about the children of the canon fodder, but rather the revenue the government can raise from another brilliant idea.
Police say since February there have been about 40 reports of counterfeit money being used at fast food restaurants, milk bars and supermarkets in a number of suburbs including Lalor and Heidelberg.
In some cases the fake notes are smaller than they should be and are not cut straight.
Police say the best way to identify a counterfeit note is by looking at the clear window, attempting to tear it or by doing a "scrunch test".
"If the counterfeit notes are made of paper, then when you scrunch the note it won't return to being flat but will remain scrunched," Detective Senior Constable Matthew McKenzie said.
Police are calling on anybody who believes they been given a fake note to hand it to police.
09 July 2013
In essence the Queensland government is a private entity hiding under a corporation, a fact that the corporate media are reluctant to report or pursue.
The corporation has been set up to fleece the masses of their Fee Simple rights to land ownership.
"On the 3rd of October 2007, the High Court of Australia made rulings over residential and rural land that effectively removes all land ownership from the people of Queensland and puts it squarely into the hands of the State Government.
The court ruled that ‘fee simple’ and ‘common law’ are now no longer recognised in Queensland, which means that the people are no longer part of the Commonwealth, but rather resources or slaves and no longer have ownership or say over any land.
Queensland is now a fully fledged corporation, a fact that is unknown to the masses.
QLD being a separate entity that can make its own laws, with other states to follow soon.
There is a definite conspiracy (not theory), by the corporate media to keep this information away from the plebs, remembering that the corporate media is subservient to the corporate government.
Germany's top security official says internet users worried about their data being intercepted by US intelligence agencies should stop using American websites such as Google and Facebook.
Leaked revelations about the US National Security Agency's wholesale information on foreign web users has prompted outrage in Europe and calls for tighter international rules on data protection.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (pictured) told reporters in Berlin on Wednesday that "whoever fears their communication is being intercepted in any way should use services that don't go through American servers."
Friedrich says German officials are in touch with their US counterparts "on all levels" and a delegation is scheduled to fly to Washington next week to discuss the claims that ordinary citizens and even European diplomats were being spied upon.
theage.com.au 4 July 2013
The old excuse for data gathering to stop 'terrorism' does not really cut the mustard any more.
The primary objective is to collect data by governments via many different sources on every single person on the planet.
Opposition environment spokesman Luke Foley said the government and regulator had "sat on information" since May about unacceptable levels of mercury, lead and chromium in the soil at the Grace Campbell reserve at Hillsdale.
"Despite knowing about these very serious risks, the Government and Environment Protection Authority (EPA) failed to inform the local community and families who use the playground," Mr Foley said in a statement on Sunday.
He said testing of the playground's soil showed up mercury, a substance for which there is no safe limit.
The testing also uncovered lead triple the safe amount and chromium two-and-a-half times over the safe limit, he said.
Mr Foley said the contamination marked the second time Environment Minister Robyn Parker "had failed to inform the public about toxic chemicals from an Orica facility".
"Robyn Parker almost lost her job over the Kooragang Island debacle, where she and her department failed to inform the local community about the release of toxic chemicals into the air around their homes," he said.
Grace Campbell Reserve is located nearby the industrial site of chemical giant Orica's former ChlorAlkali plant.
"Mercury emissions from the former ChlorAlkali plant at Botany constitute the most serious ground contamination issue in NSW," Mr Foley added.
The government and EPA are being sought for comment.
The EPA rejected claims of a cover-up on the issue.
"The EPA's tests confirmed that contaminants HCBs (hexachlorobenzenes), metals and mercury are below the health investigation levels," it said in a statement on Sunday.
The EPA's chief executive Barry Buffier said testing had been carried out at a Sydney water easement, not a children's playground as claimed in media reports.
"The playground depicted ... is not the Sydney water easement where EPA testing has been undertaken and was not associated with any elevated test results," he said.
"In my opinion this is sensationalist reporting that causes unnecessary concern in the community."
American researchers used mock homes, big speakers and seven volunteers to simulate and measure the impact of low-frequency noise produced by early model, two-blade wind turbines under controlled conditions.
A November 1987 report prepared for the US Department of Energy said the impact of low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines was often "confined to within surrounding homes" and that residents became more sensitive to the impact over time.
The laboratory experiments found that "people do indeed react to a low-frequency noise environment".
The study, A Proposed Metric for Assessing the Potential of Community Annoyance from Wind Turbine Low-Frequency Noise Emissions, was prepared in response to earlier research into "acoustic disturbances" associated with the operation of a wind turbine near Boone, North Carolina.
The research was sent by an American acoustics expert to Australian wind health campaigners and has now been published internationally.
The US report built on earlier research by two NASA facilities and several universities. It was presented to the Windpower 87 Conference & Exposition in San Francisco by physicist ND Kelley from the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colorado.
Wind health groups in the US and Australia said although modern wind turbines were different to the one studied, the 1987 research was significant because industry noise-testing regulations had been specifically designed to exclude testing inside buildings and did not concentrate on low-frequency noise -- the two main issues identified in the report.
A federal Senate inquiry recommended two years ago that in-house testing be conducted in Australia but it is not included in the present noise guidelines.
Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said the study was not relevant to modern turbines.
"This is the equivalent of taking a study about Ataris and applying it to the latest iPads," Mr Marsh said.
The US research was conducted on older-model wind turbines which the CEC said were known to have noise problems as the blades were exposed to airflow patterns caused by the wind swirling its way through the supports of the trestle tower structure before flowing on to the blades.
"Australia has some of the toughest noise guidelines for wind power anywhere in the world and there is a growing body of more recent evidence that wind turbines do not produce enough low-frequency noise or infrasound to directly cause health problems," Mr Marsh said.
But other research has shown that as wind turbines get larger, a greater proportion of the sound is emitted in the lower frequency range.
"The (US) research is highly relevant, even though the acoustic emissions themselves are different between old downwind turbines and upwind ones, where the turbines turn around to face into the wind," Waubra Foundation chief executive Sarah Laurie said.
"What is important is the impact on the people from the sound energy emitted from the respective wind turbines, how it is experienced by them inside their homes and the acknowledgement that the symptoms are real, and that the symptoms may be perceived but not heard," Dr Laurie said.
Health campaigners said the results of the laboratory simulations in the US study proved there was a direct cause-and-effect relation between the low-frequency noise and "annoyance".
The National Health and Medical Research Council has said there was no published evidence linking wind turbines to health impacts. The NHMRC is conducting a review of its advice but its updated report on the issue is now overdue. The South Australian Environmental Protection Agency has recently completed a major sound monitoring program at Waterloo where there have been significant complaints from residents, but the results are not yet available.
theaustralian.com.au 9 July 2013
Governments are fully aware of the many dangers to environment and people with respect to certain alternative energy sources.
Since these alternatives are great moeny spinners, certain information is kept from the public in order to keep the businesses created flowing, at the expense of the health of the general population, and NOT the policy makers.
07 July 2013
Two billion years from now, an ever-hotter Sun will have cooked the Earth, leaving microbes confined to pockets of water in mountains or caves as the last survivors, a study said on Monday.
The bleak scenario is proposed by astrobiologist Jack O'Malley-James of the University of St. Andrews, Edinburgh.
As the Sun ages over the next billion years, it will become more luminous, cranking up the thermostat on the Earth, O'Malley-James suggests in a computer model presented at a meeting of Britain's Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).
Increased evaporation rates and chemical reactions with rainwater will cause a dramatic fall in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), on which plants depend for photosynthesis. Animals, in turn, depend on plants.
"The far-future Earth will be very hostile to life by this point," O'Malley-James said in an RAS press release.
"All living things require liquid water, so any remaining life will be restricted to pockets of liquid water, perhaps at cooler, higher altitudes or in caves or underground."
But 2.8 billion years hence, even these hardy holdouts will have followed the dodo, according to his model.
The finding could help hunters of exoplanets who dream of finding an Earth-like planet in another solar system.
A dying planet would have a telltale nitrogen atmosphere where there would be only traces of methane pointing to residual bacterial life.
The five-day RAS annual meeting, gathering more than 600 astronomers and space scientists, runs at St. Andrews until Friday.