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James Lamb
All who wander... (you know the line - are not lost). All who wonder... are not dangerous heretics.
All who wander... (you know the line - are not lost). All who wonder... are not dangerous heretics.

James's posts

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There's a really interesting conglomeration of rocks at the south end of Garie Beach in Royal National Park. There was coal mining farther south and off shore, but I'm not sure whether there was mining in this exact location, so it's hard to say if this was exposed by miners or natural forces. The geometric patterns are in stone that's between a slate and shale. One of the photos is a giant sandstone boulder that's white in the center but surrounded by a harder shell of reddish sandstone.
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When the sun has set but the clouds are still glowing.

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El Tora is what they were selling at Aldi. Is there another brand with a similar logo?
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If the wars are just, those speaking the local language would assist. Instead, the current US leadership is squandering what's left of good will among allies. 

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How to help the terrorists win

Rolled into the only Starbucks in Cannes, France, and logged onto their WiFi with my iPad, only to be greeted by this cringe-worthy idiocy.

11-year-old anti-terror legislation supposedly requires that customers register to use wireless services. They require name, email address, phone number AND home address.

By definition, they are collecting accurate personal information ONLY of honest people who aren't trying to hide anything.

By definition, they are NOT collecting personal information on users who are dishonest, trying to hide something or (as in my case) just think it's all dumb and see no reason to share accurate information.

This policy is EXACTLY what's wrong with emerging legislative trends in democracies around the world.

They violate the privacy and freedoms of law-abiding citizens, which is what the terrorists want. And they enable terrorists to freely use the Internet anonymously, which, again, is what the terrorists want.

This is a metaphor for encryption backdoors, which the UK government and others around the world are pushing for. They leave honest citizens vulerable to privacy violation by any criminal organization, hackers, nefarious governments and terrorists, while the terrorists easily route around such issues by other means.

The terrorists are counting on the stupidity of policy makers, and the policy makers are delivering it in spades.

#terrorism #privacy #encryption


Curation & compensation

In another social media outlet I got into a classic online fray that was prompted by recent strategic moves by the New York Times (NYT). As part of a roll-out of coverage and partnerships in Australia, the NYT set up a daily briefing email with top stories, and a group in Facebook to discuss their articles and ideas. The timing roughly coincides with a potential private equity buy-out of Fairfax Media as well as budgetary cutbacks by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). NYT is collaborating with ABC on content production and as things evolve could acquire some Fairfax journalists(?)

Where does Google Plus come into this? To be honest - I have a better content feed from Google Plus than the New York Times provides. My sources in Europe and Asia feed me stories from the regions that aren't just what's in headlines, but what's behind the headlines. While Google Translate might give me a somewhat garbled version of a story in another language, the person who mentions the story offers a more in-depth perspective of what the story means. People working in IT and scientific fields feed me information that stands out or goes to a deeper level than most journalism. They give informed opinions born of experience; not an outsider trying to understand concepts. Of course this is personalised content - by way of the choice of Google Plus users I've included in my circles.

The argument I had was about... the pay wall. The New York Times is pretty generous - ten free articles per month before the paywall hits. In my normal consumption, I might not hit the pay wall. With the Australia roll out, and perusing their daily email, I quickly hit the paywall.

Why would I subscribe to a newspaper in this era? I might subscribe to get a sense of local perspective (for example the Chicago Times would have a local mix different from the LA Times). But the New York Times is more of a national publication than a New York-specific source. The New York Times has some excellent journalists and columnists - and those articles often rise to the top in my searches or circle feeds. The ongoing question of the internet - how to compensate those efforts?

One person mentioned an app called inkl. It's a consolidator with a subscription or pay-by-article plan that gets you past the paywall of a number of major publications. It seems reasonable, but it's like an RSS feed where the inkl editor has decided which articles to include in the feed. And when I tried searching for the NYT article that caused me to hit the pay wall - it wasn't in there.

While most newspapers have put a lot of effort into their digital strategies, the evolution is now tilting towards social media since they've realised that most of their traffic is coming through social media referrals. The social media outlets drive the traffic, but the news outlets have the content. The New York Times and others have taken the path of trying to channel those clicks, after a certain free number, into subscription plans. While that may work for readers interested in the curation the newspaper provides, it doesn't work for those who have created their own curation strategies via RSS feeds and social media connections combined with search when a topic strikes curiosity.

Rather than pushing readers into the irritating paywall and demanding they subscribe to more volume than they want, what would make better sense for me would be a funding account set up through the social media. The content provider and the social media company would negotiate their revenue sharing agreement (which may fluctuate based on referral volume), and I would receive an alert as I am clicking through something that's going to dip into my pay account. Rather than the pay wall only offering subscription, it would also offer to set up the per-article click-through fund.

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I want to fly! And ice skate. Both. Sequentially.

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"But as you meet the people; you're talking to mothers on Christmas Island with their babies, you're meeting men who have been held for seven years in detention centres or meeting the families of women killed in domestic violence, or realising a 55-year-old can't get promotion or a job; when you're dealing with them and you start to get the data, frankly, one becomes radicalised," she said.

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We have a grafted and non-grafted passionfruit vine. The grafted one grew much more in the summer, but the fruit mostly fell or was chewed off before it got ripe. The non-grafted one grew much more later in the season. So while the grafted one is losing leaves for the winter, the non-grafted one is still green and the fruit stayed on until ripe.

Another difference is the non-grafted one is directly in the ground, but the grafted one is in a raised bed. I just checked online and lead soil contamination is less an issue for​ fruits than for root crops and leafy vegetables.

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At least they won't be eating the cabbage palms? The beetle exercise rig in this video is pretty cool, but only runs until the beetle gets tired.
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