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Robert Smart
Works at Wombat Lang
Attended Trinity Grammar School
Lives in Melbourne
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Robert Smart

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Ross Anderson on the issues surrounding government surveillance. A bit of +David Brin in "Secret laws are pure poison; government lawyers claim authority and act on it, and we don’t know about it. Transparency about what governments can and can’t do is vital."
https://www.lightbluetouchpaper.org/2015/05/02/meeting-snowden-in-princeton/
I'm at Princeton where Ed Snowden is due to speak by live video link in a few minutes, and have a discussion with Bart Gellmann. Yesterday he spent four hours with a group of cryptographers from industry and academia, of which I was privileged to be one. The topic was the possible and likely ...
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Fusion Power is one of the things that might save us. This interesting talk won't inspire much confidence. Surprise to me: "The sun uses a slow reaction based on the weak force. Fusion options for power generation are much stronger.". It also seems (as I've noticed before) that fusion is better at creating neutrons than energy. Meanwhile fission reactors struggle to have enough neutrons. This seems like it should be an opportunity.
https://cds.cern.ch/record/2004827
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Fusion tends to rely heavily on the weak force, since that's what turns protons into neutrons.
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Puzzle: Statistics used to show that overweight meant bad health outcomes. Now they show the reverse. Both are right.
http://grampsgrumps.blogspot.com.au/2015/04/the-health-and-diet-debate-heats-up.html
A news.com.au article chases up both sides after a recent anti-carb study: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/whats-the-real-secret-to-weight-loss/story-fneuzkvr-1227316009826. The BBC takes a different tack on the same ...
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You don't need to care about "Categories for Programmers" to read this intro to Part II. Everyone should read it. It is interesting to consider what makes great expository writing. Journalists, like John Timmer at Ars Technica, can be good, but it is great to find people who are working at the coalface who can also write well.
http://bartoszmilewski.com/2015/04/15/category-theory-and-declarative-programming/
This is part 11 of Categories for Programmers. Previously: Natural Transformations. See the Table of Contents. Introduction to Part II In the first part of the book I argued that both category theo...
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Robert Smart

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Presidents and monarchs were delighted to find they could bypass parliament (or at least the House of Reps in the USA) by making treaties. Now in Australia the High Court decided a while ago that Freedom of Speech was an implied right of our democratic constitution. So I can't understand why they can't also decide that aspects of treaties that go beyond executive discretion need to go through parliament. Grumble grumble. 
http://www.crikey.com.au/2015/04/01/new-tpp-leak-reveals-how-were-trading-our-sovereignty-for-cheap-tariffs/
WikiLeaks has published the secret investment chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Dr Matthew Rimmer, associate professor at ANU College of Law, explains its insidious implications.
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Robert Smart

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Politicians and bureaucrats rarely seem aware that governments are the greatest threat to the public (just as pilots are the greatest threats to air passengers). It is written large in early US history, but it only got into the constitution as something about firearms. A movie about this is "Brazil" where the government confuses technical infrastructure problems with terrorism and the bureaucrats get involved with a heavy heart in their duty to torture the population. Or if you want a more real-world example there is Stalin's quote "One death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic".
The golden age of "collect it all" surveillance is over: Is that so bad?
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Robert Smart

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The British voters rejected a sane voting system, and now have only themselves to blame for turning their election into a complete lottery. For example the SNP still has under 50% support in Scotland, but that might deliver every Scottish seat in a first past the post election.
http://theconversation.com/uk-election-spells-the-end-for-the-biggest-law-in-political-science-40706
Voters in the UK are again looking beyond the traditional two-party system and look set to put paid to a famous proposition of political science.
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Robert Smart

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Ecomodernist is a label I'm happy to wear, even though I don't agree with every line of the manifesto. I'm sure the authors feel the same. The key points should be (1) Use the energy and other resources that aren't the ones that nature depends on; (2) Recognize that we need to put an increasing proportion of our wealth into protecting nature from humanity.
http://www.ecomodernism.org/manifesto/
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Hi +Ramsay Dyer. The Green voters in Australia mostly live in the very middle of cities, yet they are strongly attached to the National Parks they never go to. And actually there is a lot of scope for allowing city dwellers to experience the natural world remotely: You see more wildlife from a quiet webcam than by going noisily through the bush.
There are lots of things we need to convince people of to make this work. One is that forests need more management in a post-megafauna world to avoid excess undergrowth and subsequent very hot fires. But I don't think the need for more national parks, particularly along the coasts, is going to be a hard sell.
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My infrequently updated blogs have doubled their miniscule readership. All puzzles demand a theory. My theory is that google search is favouring pages with no ads, because they don't want the EU to say "look you favour sites displaying google ads".
It's nice to have one theory. When you have one theory it feels almost like a verified solution. When you have one theory you are very resistant to learning of another, because then you'd have to look at the evidence and wonder if there is a 3rd theory. This is a very common syndrome.
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Greenjacked.
Guest Post by Geoff Russell. Geoff recently released the popular book “Greenjacked! The derailing of environmental action on climate change“. The Climate Council has a new report out. The Global Re...
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Sunrise.
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I actually sympathize with those who worry about what humans will do when they have access to more cheap energy. But we need the cheap energy. There's no route backwards. We just need to be aware that it has to be combined with a massive effort to protect the natural world in a proactive way. A big increase in national parks and international protected areas is just a start. This is the deal the Greens should be looking for to support nuclear power, because nuclear power is coming whether they like it or not.
http://www.wired.com/2015/03/illegal-sand-mining/
The global demand for plain old sand is so high that illegal mines are everywhere, and mafias around the world are killing for the stuff.
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Have him in circles
146 people
Ahmed Alhasani's profile photo
Eduardo Rodriguez's profile photo
Holistic-LifeChange.com's profile photo
Faiz Zin's profile photo
Steven Shaw's profile photo
Georgia Hammond's profile photo
Sarah Elliot's profile photo
Dzenan Ridjanovic's profile photo
Dana Marie Newell's profile photo
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  • Wombat Lang
    Software development, present
  • CSIRO
  • La Trobe University
  • Control Data Corporation
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Sydney
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  • University of Sydney
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Robert Smart's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Signed languages can do so many things spoken languages can’t | Sarah Kl...
www.theguardian.com

The deaf community is no utopia, but it does offer an alternative language, culture and social life to those who choose to be a part of it

Thorium: An Alternative Source Of Energy?
www.investing.com

Commodities Analysis by Adam Taggart covering: . Read Adam Taggart's Commodities Analysis on Investing.com.

Mathematics Rising » Beauty, Passion and Computation
mathrising.com

I listened to a couple of interviews with Gregory Chaitin on the Closer to Truth website. They may have been part of TV episodes that I have

Claims of misuse of ‘hopefully’ etc make my blood boil, literally
theconversation.com

Recently on The Conversation, Baden Eunson argued that the current uses of “hopefully”, “literally” and “begs the question” were prime examp

Misty Adoniou
theconversation.com

There are a few key pieces of grammatical knowledge that can make an immediate difference to the quality of children’s reading and writing.

Food Irradiation Can Save Thousands of Lives Each Year | ANS Nuclear Cafe
ansnuclearcafe.org

Excellent report, Lenka. I would only add that having the “label” on irradiated foods causes anxiety in the radiophobic demographic, which i

Cheap Nuclear -- UC Berkeley's Per Peterson Pursues Radical New Design w...
thebreakthrough.org

What is the best design to make next generation nuclear reactors safer and cheaper? That's the question everyone from Bill Gates to the Chin

White paper leaves carbon questions unanswered
www.smh.com.au

Economists and environment groups have rounded on the Abbott government’s Direct Action climate change policy after key details of its centr

Tom Wigley: Why nuclear power may be the only way to avoid geoengineering
bos.sagepub.com

Next Section Abstract In this interview, climate scientist Tom Wigley says that waiting to take significant action on climate change makes i

How we know so much about asteroids…#ARKYD
www.planetaryresources.com

We know more about asteroids, than the Earth beneath our feet.

Modeling Financial Instability
www.debtdeflation.com

This paper will be published in a forthcoming book on the crisis edited by Malliaris, Shaw and Shefrin. In what follows, I derive a correcte

"Energy in Australia" book
bravenewclimate.com

Graham Palmer, a regular BNC community member, has published a new book. It is titled "Energy in Australia: Peak Oil, Solar Power, and Asia'

Schneier on Security: Consumer Manipulation
www.schneier.com

Consider, first, confusion by design: Las Vegas casinos are mazes, carefully crafted to draw players to the slot machines and to keep them t

OPUS 500: A retrospective
thonyc.wordpress.com

This is, and I don’t really believe it myself, the five hundredth post here at the Renaissance Mathematicus. This is generally regarded as a

What made Canada become a country with the highest incidence of inflamma...
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (which includes both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease [CD]) emerged and dramatically increased in the

The Venn Diagram of Christmas Traditions
crispian-jago.blogspot.com

I love Christmas. I love everything about it, apart perhaps from the predictable fundamental Christians bleating on about the so called War

nice place, good coffee.
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