Search Results: information technology

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Libraries adapt to the age of free information

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 05 July 2017
    6 Comments

    I often visit my local library. I tend to go in the after-school hours, so there are children everywhere. I can see mothers guiding young, chubby hands across picture book pages. I think of Mem Fox's advice about how children should hear a thousand stories before learning to read. With the internet and ebooks, the free information that made a library unique is no longer exclusive. Classic literature can be found with a Google search. So what do brick and mortar libraries offer that Amazon can't?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Data, distrust, and the disastrous My Health Record

    • Amy Coopes
    • 05 July 2017
    7 Comments

    Plagued by sluggish uptake, clinician reticence and a substantial privacy backlash, the $1.2 billion My Health Record has proven, thus far, something of a lemon. The putative benefits of an electronic health record have been expounded at length by the government. But for success there must be buy-in, and for buy-in, there must be trust, according to the Productivity Commission. Both are lacking, and it is important to consider why.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Turnbull's coal pitch is a Trojan Horse for gas

    • Greg Foyster
    • 22 February 2017
    10 Comments

    Australia's most politically contentious rock is back in the limelight after Prime Minister Turnbull spruiked 'clean coal' power stations in early February, and Scott Morrison brought a lump of the stuff to parliament. It was a juvenile act, but an effective one: here we are again, still talking about coal weeks later, when the real energy policy battle is over gas. But that's how it goes - a pitch for a new coal-fired power station in Australia is actually a clever exercise in repositioning gas as a greener fuel.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Empathy for Russia after Trump's ascent

    • Justin Glyn
    • 14 November 2016
    6 Comments

    If a failure of empathy marks our understanding of internal politics, its effects are magnified, with even worse results, in the international arena. A classic example is Russia. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the west has failed to take Russian interests seriously. I endorse neither the present Russian government nor its point of view. However, knowing that the other side has a point of view and what it is is vital in avoiding miscalculations. You don't get a second chance with nuclear weapons.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Hope, not nihilism, is the antidote to bleak times

    • Fatima Measham
    • 14 September 2016
    3 Comments

    In Mexico, a 12-year old boy walked onto the road to stare down an 11,000-strong anti-LGBTQ protest. In Italy, a small town has been revived by the arrival of refugees and migrants. In the US, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has pulled the issue of police brutality into apolitical spaces, using symbolic gestures to draw out the history of racialised oppression. As Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine puts it, 'If you want to be right, be a pessimist, if you want to do right, be an optimist.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Valuing the lives of people with disability

    • Joan Hume
    • 07 September 2016
    15 Comments

    On 26 July this year of 19 severely disabled residents were massacred as they slept in their beds at a residential care facility in Sagamihara, Japan. A further 26 were wounded. The perpetrator, Satoshi Uematsu, a former employee sacked for his disturbing views about the residents, later boasted of his 'achievements': 'It is better that disabled people disappear.' Isn't there an ever present probability that without an inclusive and accepting community, without believing in our possibilities rather than seeing only our limitations, we will spawn the likes of another Satoshi Uematsu here?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Census scepticism as privacy comes under threat

    • Kate Galloway
    • 31 July 2016
    18 Comments

    Government wishes to capitalise on our data using new data mining technologies. The ABS uses the language of efficiency and public interest in justifying the changes. It even implies that the new online census is environmentally friendly. It may well be that collecting and retaining our names along with our personal information is efficient, but that does not address the foundation question of whether we as citizens retain the privacy that constitutes us as members of a liberal democratic society.

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  • MEDIA

    Breaking out of the social media echo chamber

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 28 July 2016
    2 Comments

    Though the internet has stretched and expanded the number of people and places we have access to, it has also constrained the range of ideas and opinions to which we're exposed. Research has found that Facebook users tend to read and share information that reinforces their own beliefs. This phenomenon has been particularly noticeable in the past month, with the emotion whipped up by the Brexit campaign, the election, and a spate of shocking, apparently Isis-related killings.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Laudato Si and the Australian election

    • Neil Ormerod
    • 21 June 2016
    23 Comments

    It is now 12 months since Pope Francis issued his environmental encyclical Laudato Si'. He opined, 'Although the post-industrial period may well be remembered as one of the most irresponsible in history, nonetheless there is reason to hope that humanity at the dawn of the 21st century will be remembered for having generously shouldered its grave responsibilities.' Where are the Australian politicians who can give hope to the coming generation by focusing our attention on this most urgent issue?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A closer look at the AFP's shady Labor raid

    • Justin Glyn
    • 31 May 2016
    14 Comments

    It has puzzled me that the constitutional implications of the AFP's raid on the offices of the official opposition and one of its senators two weeks ago has not been explored in more detail. The uncomfortable fact is that the leaks about which NBN Co is complaining are not damaging because they relate to competition nor to national security, but because they expose cost overruns and reflect badly on the government of the day - the same government which holds all the shares in NBN Co.

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  • MEDIA

    The ills and thrills of talking about science

    • Ketan Joshi
    • 05 April 2016
    7 Comments

    When Alan Alda was 11, he threw a simple inquiry to his teacher. What's a flame? The response he received was less than satisfying. 'All I heard from the teacher was "it's oxidation". That didn't explain anything to me.' It's a neat illustration of a modern problem. Merely presenting over-simplified factoids is no longer sufficient in a world filled with phenomena like climate denial and the anti-vaccination lobby. For science to be communicated effectively, it needs to spark passion and excitement.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Funding our own surveillance

    • Leanne O'Donnell
    • 11 January 2016

    Back in March Malcolm Turnbull told ABC radio: 'The only thing the data retention law is requiring is that types of metadata which are currently retained will be retained ... for at least two years.' In fact the laws, which come into effect next week, include an obligation on service providers to 'create' data that falls within the data set to be retained, if they don't already collect it. This isn't nitpicking. The more data that is created, the more the scheme will cost, and the greater the risk of privacy breach.

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