Episode 077

posted in: Show Notes

'Doomsday' seed vault opens in Norway – CNN.com
Doomsday' seed vault opens in Norway

A vast underground vault storing millions of seeds from around the world took delivery of its first shipment Tuesday.

Dubbed the "Doomsday Vault," the seed bank on a remote island near the Arctic Ocean is considered the ultimate safety net for the world's seed collections, protecting them from a wide range of threats including war, natural disasters, lack of funding or simply poor agricultural management.

Norwegian musicians performed Tuesday as part of an elaborate opening ceremony marking the opening of the vault, located 130 meters (427 feet) inside a frozen mountain. Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmental and political activist who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, placed the first seeds inside the vault, followed by other dignitaries

Was going to post a video in forum but never have I seen a video on youtube being not available in my country!!!

'Grand Theft' maker: $2 billion is not enough – CNN.com
Grand Theft' maker: $2 billion is not enough


  • Electronic Arts trying to buy Take-Two, maker of blockbuster "Grand Theft Auto"
  • Take-Two says $2 billion buyout offer not enough, but it's willing to talk
  • Analysts say that may be highest offer Take-Two will see
  • Negotiations complicated by upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto IV, due April 30

Realistic fake photos challenge child porn prosecutors – CNN.com
Realistic fake photos challenge child porn prosecutors


  • Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that computer-generated child porn images are legal
  • That leaves prosecutors with task of proving images are real in order to make case
  • Juries, familiar with digital photos and photo editing, are skeptical about images
  • Police say situation has made prosecution of child porn cases more difficult

Morocco jails Facebook royal imposter – CNN.com
Morocco jails Facebook royal imposter


  • Computer engineer accused of posing as Moroccan royal on Facebook jailed
  • 26-year-old charged with stealing identity of younger brother of Moroccan king
  • Fouad Mourtada said he created profile as "a joke, a gag"
  • Bloggers in Morocco and across Europe have rallied behind him

Net filter at test phase | Australian IT
Net filter at test phase

 Trials are to be conducted soon in a closed environment in Tasmania.

ISP-based filters will block inappropriate web pages at service provider level and automatically relay a clean feed to households.

To be exempted, users will have to individually contact their ISPs.

The testing is slated for completion by July and will be followed by live field trials.

report, released last week, also conceded that Web 2.0 technology poses the greatest threat to the younger generation.

"The risks to Australian youth are primarily those associated with Web 2.0 services – potential contact by sexual predators, cyber-bullying by peers and misuse of personal information," ACMA said.

The rise in popularity of social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace, coupled with a dive in the use of email, has made it difficult to filter content.

"Filters are currently unable to sift the content of communication between users using instant messaging or chat services," ACMA said.

The agency concluded that education was the most effective way of addressing risks associated with illegal contact online.

Aussie-Nintendo.com – News
A possible change to the Australian rating system

February 25, 2008 – The Federal Government has announced that a change to the Australian ratings system for video games may be in the air, which currently only allows ratings of games up to MA15+ criteria.

A review of the system is coming up on March 28, according the Minister for Home Affairs spokesman Bob Debus. The next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General will be discussing the issue, which requires all of the state and territory Attorneys-General and the Commonwealth itself to agree on any proposed changes, and will be the first time this subject will have been discussed at the committee since November of 2005.

According to Claire Bowdler, a Classification Board spokeswoman, 18 games have been refused classification since 2001, effectively banning them from sale in Australia. One of these was the recent Wii game Manhunt 2, which was also banned in the UK and given an Adults-Only rating in the United States, with both versions subsequently changed by developer Rockstar. Australia's version was never resubmitted for a new classification review.

Australia is the "only developed democracy" without an R18+ rating, said Jeffery Brand, an associate professor at Bond University in Queensland. The university conducted research on behalf of the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia on the issue, finding that the average age of gamers was 28, and more than half of the gaming population is over the age of 18. In 2005, a public opinion survey of an R18+ games rating by the university discovered that 88% of the surveyed population supported the higher rating.

Spokeswoman for the Australian Family Association, Angela Conway, said that they're against any higher ratings, explaining that their research is "pointing to the fact that these games actually do impact behaviour and psychology more easily than a film," and that the content of current games available is already concerning. She commented that the concern with higher ratings in games is that there would be "a continual [positive] reinforcement" for violent behaviour, also saying that "this sort of technology has actually been used to desensitise soldiers" and erode their resistance to killing.

Ron Curry, the CEO of the IEAA, supports the idea, but said it would be up to the individual states and territories, and the retailers themselves to make certain that R18+ rated games would not be sold to under-age customers. He also commented that he supports compulsory ID checking for customers wishing to purchase these games.

Smartcard maker Intercard liquidated | Australian IT
Smartcard maker Intercard liquidated

In April 2006 the federal government announced that it would replace 17 welfare cards with one human services smartcard that was due to enter service between April this year and late 2010.

But the project foundered on privacy concerns.

THE protracted death throes of smartcard maker Intercard Wireless were stilled yesterday after it entered liquidation following more than three years in voluntary administration.

Credit card security doesn't travel well | Australian IT
Credit card security doesn't travel well

 Australian Payments Clearing Association chief executive Chris Hamilton says that local banks are developing plans for the introduction of chip and PIN.

Old-style magstripe cards cannot be validated by the chip and PIN systems used widely around the world, but some card issuers permit their use for customer convenience.

As a result, insecure cards are prized by international criminals.

"If you use an Australian credit card in some countries, it is likely to be blocked," Lockstep Consulting smartcard and security expert Stephen Wilson says.

Typically, they give a device to an attendant at a late-night service station or convenience store and get him to swipe customer cards for a while.

"Then they come back, pay the going rate and walk out with several hundred credit cards in a memory stick."

Industrial-scale card theft is an inevitable response to changing fraud opportunities, chief executive Carl Clump says of Retail Decisions, a payment card company that specialises in retail card fraud prevention.

In 2006-07, domestic and overseas CNP fraud on Australian-issued cards reached $40 million. In contrast, total fraud committed with lost or stolen cards cost $16 million

People don't like being ripped off, but if it happens they're reasonably confident the banks will reimburse them."

Banks generally charge the fraud back to the merchants, so they also have been quite slow to move on more secure systems.

Increase in Telephone Allowance for certain customers with a home Internet service

 A higher rate of Telephone Allowance will be introduced for:

  • all income support recipients of Age Pension age,
  • Disability Support Pensioners,
  • Carer Payment recipients, and
  • holders of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card who have a home Internet service
  • The new higher rate of Telephone Allowance is $132 a year (the lower rate of Telephone Allowance is $88 a year) for a household. (see TAL Payment Rates for Partnered Customers below)
  • Customers must be qualified for the lower rate of Telephone Allowance and the Internet service must be in their or their partner's name to qualify for the higher rate


Telephone Allowance (TAL) is paid as a component of any income support payment that attracts a PCC. It is also paid to CSHC holders. TAL is paid at either the basic or higher rate to eligible customers to assist them with maintaining telephone and Internet services.


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