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Dennis Clark
503 followers -
Code janitor, augmented reality foot soldier, peaceful warrior-in-training, introvert, over-thinker, recovering ignorant person.
Code janitor, augmented reality foot soldier, peaceful warrior-in-training, introvert, over-thinker, recovering ignorant person.

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An important product warning for customers of Aldi Australia
"If you have bought an Aldi “The Spiral Spring Mixer Tap” you should not use water from it for drinking or cooking until investigations of reported lead contamination is complete.

What we know

The media reports that water passing through the tap has up to 15 times the lead levels allowed in Australian drinking water (maximum 0.01 milligrams per litre). Queensland Health’s Forensic and Scientific Services conducted the tests, so the results are credible.

What we don’t know

We don’t know how extensive the contamination is. So far, only one tap has been tested and I haven’t seen the actual results. So, we need a larger sample of taps to determine if this was a one-off contamination (unlikely) or represents a wider problem.
[...]
Aldi confirmed the taps were undergoing independent testing, which is expected to be completed by 31 July. “If these results present any indication that a health risk exists for our customers, we will take appropriate action,” a company statement said.

In the meantime the company recommends customers who have bought the taps register their product to receive updates and the results of the testing."

+Kam-Hung Soh +Kwanghui Lim

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I reached my personal target for MAGNUS Builder on Sunday afternoon. Shame it didn't stay in my stats after it was over.

My MAGNUS adventures started in Singapore, continued in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, and finished back in Sydney. Great fun!
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Ingress takes me to Sydney's Northern beaches! #LuminescentHeart #13MagnusReawakens #MagnusReawakens

I hope to share pictures of my adventures there shortly...
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John Clarke, Australian political satirist, comedian and actor, died suddenly on Sunday at the age of 68. He will be missed. Nobody could make us laugh at the silliness of Australian politics quite like he could.

Here is one of his classic sketches.

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Better order a year's supply of popcorn: this is looking to become the biggest scandal in US political history.

The fuss over Clinton's emails now seems laughable compared the growing number of shady links between top Trump aides and foreign governments trying to buy US policy and kidnap dissidents. There is so many pieces of evidence out now that the Trump team will wear themselves out calling "fake news", and we can expect even more revelations going forward.


The following is a comment by Yonatan in a previous post on how he predicts this will play out:

What happens next is unclear. The traditional thing to happen is a Congressional investigation, but because of the changes in the past decade or two, the idea of someone doing an investigation of their own party seems more treasonous than actual treason to many in Congress. So it's very unclear whether this investigation will go anywhere. Many of the people in charge of it seem to actively wish it to fail.

The FBI investigation is real, but has confusing factors: Comey seems to waver between being a very serious investigator and FBI man on the one hand, and using his position for nakedly partisan purposes (as with the Clinton letter in October). I've gotten the sense from his recent testimony that he's become disillusioned enough with Trump that he's swinging towards the former, but it's never clear. And Comey's boss is Jeff Sessions, who is one of the principal subjects of this investigation.

So it's possible that this will remain in the media court for longer than most scandals do, because of political pressure not to investigate. The transition would happen because some very large news story came out somewhere with all the details laid out in a row, so detailed that nobody could claim this was just bollocks. It would almost certainly have to come out in a major medium for this to happen. (NYT, WP, LAT, TIME, etc)

Once something hits the news big enough to force a real investigation, the political ducking and weaving will begin in force. Lots of people will be working hard to not have their names associated with it, because it'll be viewed as harming the future of their party, so in many ways it will be a hot potato. But the odds are good that somebody will want it, and will end up in a position to make it happen.

At that point, the administration's goal is to discredit and interfere with the investigation; you can expect a tremendous political campaign against them. You can also expect that there will be pressure that any reports they produce must first be vetted by senior political officials – with the consequence that the sort of person who can effectively lead this is the sort of person who can force public hearings early on in the process. And that's precisely the thing that most terrifies Ryan and McConnell, because public hearings can destroy everyone politically.

The ultimate legal options are fairly limited: Trump could be impeached or resign, and if impeached, he could be tried by the Senate, whose maximum allowable penalty is to bar him from political office for life. It's only after that that ordinary criminal charges are possible, but looking at the history of such things in the US and abroad, such things are incredibly rare, even when deposed leaders looted the country's treasury and murdered people by the thousands. Most likely, he'll run off to some secluded place to live in a wealthy retirement.

The more interesting questions are around who would take his place, and what happens next. Pence is next in line, of course, so that's quite a likely outcome if this happens, but nothing could be rated as more than "kinda likely" at this point because so many things can shift politically during an event like this.
There have been so many news stories about the Russia investigations in the past week – from Comey's testimony to Flynn's possibly turning state's evidence – that I sat down and tried to pull everything into one place. Here you go.

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First draft of things for me to work on in 2017.

These have been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks but I only just wrote them down. Seeing them like this makes it clear that progress will be slow as long as I am confirming to other people's expectations.

Not included: learn to dress better. I would consider adding it if my list weren't long enough already, and I can't put it before Number 13.
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This image showed up on my Chromecast background today

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Vera Rubin, perhaps the greatest astrophysicist of the 20th century, passed away on December 25th, 2016.

Rubin discovered key evidence which led to the discovery of "dark matter". Dark matter is to astrophysics as what quantum mechanics is to particle physics: mind-boggling and yet amazingly accurate. It is counter-intuitive and defies much of our previous understanding, yet its equations match observed data remarkably well. I have no doubt many astronomers have been infuriated with the theory of dark matter, and many have offered alternate theories and equations. However after over 40 years no alternate theory has offered equations which match the observed astronomical data to the level that the dark matter equations do.

Vera Rubin's work was controversial before she even started on it. Fritz Zwicky made observations of motions not explainable by observable matter 40 years before her but his findings were discounted. On top of that, astronomy was a very male-dominated field at the time. She must have known that any findings she made on such a controversial theory would be viewed with great skepticism by colleagues and subject to intense scrutiny.

She worked for many years collecting data, making observations and collaborating with other astronomers to show that some great force from an undetected source was affecting the motion of galaxies. The work was so solid that it achieved general acceptance in the astronomy community, although even today there is still no shortage of astronomers looking for a theory to replace it.

Rubin won many awards for her work, but one award that eluded her but many believe she deserved was the Nobel Prize. Looking at some of the recent work awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, it's clear that the prize committee's decision to overlook Rubin was not based on lack of merit.

That oversight however is just a tiny footnote: there can be no argument that the discovery of dark matter has caused a major shift in both astronomy and particle physics research today, and Vera Rubin was key to that discovery.
A nice post on Vera Rubin and two of her papers on the rotation of galaxies that lead to the discovery of the existence of dark matter. Note: comments like 'this is nonsense, the Earth is flat', etc. will be deleted. "“Fame is fleeting, my numbers mean more to me than my name. If astronomers are still using my data years from now, that’s my greatest compliment.”

A quote of Vera Rubin‘s, and rather a knowing one. I would argue she gave us the single most important piece of evidence for the discovery of the existence of dark matter. She was an inspiration to many, and I’m sad to say that she passed away last Sunday at the age of 88.

This is likely not the only tribute to her that you’ll read on this website over the coming weeks, but here I’m going to take what she said to heart and focus on her work, her data and how it was used to show that there’s much, much more to the Universe than we once believed.

I’m going briefly to highlight two of her papers. The first containing just a hint at a mystery, and the second following that thread to a conclusive proof, that something unseen and undiscovered was encompassing every galaxy we see in the night’s sky."

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A cool Thanksgiving story that has nothing to do with the President-elect
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