Saturday, May 31, 2014

Universities Teaching Innovation in Sydney Today

I will be leading a session on  "Can Universities Teach Innovation?" at ProductCamp Sydney, 2:50pm today (at Atlassian HQ in down-town Sydney). I was a little intimated by a room full of "product managers", but the first presenter seemed to be using familiar language such as "agile" and "waterfall" from software development (originally from engineering).

Innovation in Sydney Today

Greetings from ProductCamp Sydney, at Atlassian HQ in down-town Sydney. This is an "un-conference" for Product Managers and Marketers.  I put up a proposed talk on "Can Universities Teach Innovation?". But I feel a little out of my depth as these are product managers not technology developers.

One the way I dropped into the opening of Random Hacks of Kindness at Fishburners, which I am one of the judges for. Sydney has now reached the point where such events are not unusual.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Minister for Communications on the Right to be Forgotten

Greetings from the opening of "Information: the Currency of the Digital Economy" conference in Canberra, by Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications. The Minister is asking if you have the right to be forgotten online. The conference is run by the National Archives of Australia. The program is available and the opening session is being webcast live:
  • opening address by The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Minister for Communications
  • video conference presentation by Dave Adamson, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, on 'Exploring the Canadian experience'
  • an address by David Fricker, Director-General, National Archives of Australia, titled 'Digital continuity and the digital economy – towards 2020'
Questions can be tweeted: @naa_digital and use the hashtag #IAM_2014.

The minister spent part of his speech discussing open data initiatives in government. This brings up a problem for the National Archives of Australia (NAA), as its charter covers only "dead" data after agencies are finished with it. Much of the useful data is still live in agencies of the government. I suggest NAA needs to assist with how to provide this live data, even if that is not in their mandate.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Multinational Operations and the Law

Greetings from the Australian Launch of 'Multinational Operations and the Law' at Australian National University House in Canberra. Unfortunately the International Review of the Red Cross being launched was not available, even in electronic form. The issues of the law of international armed conflict may seem very esoteric, but this effects people's lives. As an example, the International Criminal Court has to determine what is an international armed conflict (and so they have jurisdiction), or not. Just because troops from a third country are involved, that does not make it an international conflict. I asked the expert panel if international law was adequate to cyber-warfare and they seemed to think it did. cope with Also ANU will host a conference on the "Strategic Corporal Re-visited: Challenges for combatants in twenty-first century warfare" in August 2014.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hybrid Tablet/laptop Computer

The HP Pavilion x360 hybrid tablet/laptop looks an interesting combination. This is a relatively low cost (less than $700) laptop with a 11.6 in screen. The screen is touch sensitive and the keyboard hinges 360 degrees, so the unit will convert to a tablet computer. The 11.6 inch screen is my favourite size as the computer is then small enough to fit in a bag designed for a pad of A4 paper.

I tried out the unit briefly and it worked okay as a laptop, but made a cumbersome tablet. The 360 degree hinge works, but the process of bending the keyboard all the way around is a difficult process. When folded the keyboard does not fit neatly under the screen, with one edge sticking out. The unit is hard to hold when in tablet mode.

HP's designers appear to have placed an emphasis on the laptop look of the HP Pavilion x360, making it look conventional in that mode. They could have given the unit a bulkier hinge and the keyboard a rubber coating, to provide a better grip in tablet mode.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

More than the SUMS of their Parts

The Sydney University Musical Society (SUMS) performed Vivaldi Magnificat last night in the Hunter Baillie Church Annandale, in Sydney’s inner west. The old sandstone church, with the choir in academic gowns looked like a scene out of an Inspector Morse episode. An Australian touch was added by the crickets chirping from somewhere in the church roof.

Can Universities Teach Innovation?

Next Saturday I am going along to see what "ProductCamp Sydney 2014" is about. This is an un-conference, but one for Product Management, Marketing, and Development professional, so I am not sure what that will be like (I am used to going to one with computer programmers). The organisers (or un-organisers I guess) have asked for ideas for sessions. So one I would like to put up is the questions as to Can Universities Teach Innovation?. Australian universities claim to be in the innovation business and have degree programs and courses on innovation, but can you really learn innovation from a course, or are these skills which only come through experience?

Here are some courses:
  1. University of Sydney: Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Enterprise
  2. University of Adelaide: Bachelor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  3. Charles Sturt University: Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation)
  4. University of Queensland: Master of Technology and Innovation Management
  5. Swinburne University of Technology:
  6. Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  7. University of Technology Sydney: Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation


The ACT Government and Canberra's higher education institutions run the Innovation ACT competition.

Co-working Spaces

The Entry 29 Innovation Centre. and similar across the world try to encourage new start-up businesses.  But how effective are these?

Skunkworks Projects

F-35 Lightning II
Dr Paul Bevilaqua, Chief Engineer of the Lockheed Martin "Skunk Works" talked erectly in Australia on "Inventing the Joint Strike Fighter". More generally a skunkworks project is one for a small team outside the usual corporate controls developing a radial product.

The NeXT Computer developed by by Steve Jobs might be considered a Skunkworks Project. A next computer was used by Berners-Leefor developing the World Wide Web. After Next failed as a product it was acquired by Apple and the software used as the basis of the Apple Mac operating systems for their desktop, laptop computers and iOS for iPhone and iPads.

Studio Teaching of Innovation

The best known innovation teaching technique is Bauhaus studio teaching, developed in 1920s Germany for architects. This approach is still commonly used for teaching architects and other creative disciples, but has also been used for  Teaching IT at Monash University.

Universities Can Teach Innovation

King's College Chapel at Dusk
A university can teach teach the process of innovation, using formal courses and studio based techniques. They can then provide the infrastructure around the formal programs, for those students, teacher and graduates who want to turn their innovations into products. I saw this first had in the UK  around Cambridge University. The university has a Computer Laboratory, plus formal and informal relationships with research originations and companies in the area.

Friday, May 23, 2014

University Graduate Can Organise a Brewery for a Booze Up

There is an old saying "They could not organise a booze up in a brewery", but this does not apply to the Australian National University Alumni, which managed to do just that last night. Graduates of the university met in the Zierholz Premium Brewery, established by ANU graduate Christoph Zierholz. Christopher provided a tour of the brewing facilities last night and a tasting of the beers. My favourite was the  Porter – Zugtrompete, a rich dark beer for a cold Canberra evening, accompanied by the Crackling Roast Pork Belly. The next ANU Alumni Event in Canberra is the ANU Alumni Career Forum, 29 May. There are also events at the Tate Modern Gallery London, Melbourne, New York and San Francisco.  If you are not an ANU graduate, get someone who is to bring you as their guest.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What to See in Vancouver in August?

Any suggestions as to what to do in Canada in August? I have visited Vancouver briefly before, arriving from Toronto by train and have seen the whales.

I will be University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 21 to 26 August 2014, to present a paper at the 9th International Conference on Computer Science & Education (ICCSE 2014). Normally when speaking at a conference I also give a free public talk for government, professionals and academics, hosted by a local body. Anyone willing to host a talk please let me know.

My paper for the conference is "Chinese and Australian Students Learning to Work Together Online: Proposal to Expand the New Colombo Plan to the Online Environment". This has attracted some interest, as the conference is organised by the China Research Council on Computer Education in Colleges & Universities.

The Australian Government's "New Colombo Plan" provides $100m funding for Australian university students to undertake part of their studies at universities in the Indo-Pacific region, to foster greater cultural understanding, technical and business links between Australia and the region. The aims of the origins and aims of the original and new Colombo Plans are compared and the option of to teach Australian and Chinese students together on-line, to meet the plan's aims are explored.

Worthington, T. (2014, August 22-24 ). Chinese and Australian students learning to work together online. Paper presented at the 9th International Conference on Computer Science & Education (ICCSE). Vancouver, Canada.

ps: I am a Distance Education Masters student at Athabasca University and so was thinking of dropping in to visit the campus, until I discovered Athabasca is 1,300 km from Vancouver. ;-)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Tech Girls Are Superheroes

Greetings from the Great Hall of the Australian National University in Canberra, where the book "Tech Girls Are Superheroes" by Jenine Beekhuyze. The idea is to provide role models for girls in technology. A competition was launched by Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women.

Jeff Mitchell, Director Community Engagement at the Australian Computer Society cited a study the ACS funded by Dr Karen Macpherson on "Digital Technology and Australian Teenagers: Consumption, Study and Careers". The study fund that interest in IT peaks in Year 8 (age 14) for school students, so that is the age where the students needed be engaged, thus the need for initiatives like Tech Girls..

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How Smart are Smart Watches?

Greetings from Entry 29 in Canberra, where Ruth Ellison is leading a discussion of Smart Watches at Wearables Canberra. A smart watch can provide notifications and reminders, but these units are currently much larger than ordinary watches. I suggest there is potential for a smart watch combined with a fitness bracelet. This could have a simple one line text display and be very slim. This would prompt you to look at your smart phone or other device.It is interesting to look around the room and see how many people have smart watches, Fitness Bands and Google Glass.

There have been proposals for modular phones, such as  Google's Project Ara. Perhaps there is scope for modules to build wearable devices. The same components could be used for smart watches, Star Trek communicator pins, head mounted displays and also very small smart phones.

One issue was the power consumption of smart watches. One person mentioned that there were mechanical self-winding watches. I suggest it would be possible to run the vibration alert device in wearable devices in reverse to generate electricity.

There was discussion about how reliably the smart watch communicates with a smart phone and headsets. This puts me in mind of Future Soldier projects. Perhaps we will see something similar with wearable civilian gadgets. ;-)

One issue which applies especially in Canberra are secure premises where electronic devices are not permitted, thus the wearable device user has to leave their smart phone, watch, fitness band and head mounted display behind.This could be very expensive for someone who forgets and takes the devices into a secure environment. Apart from any penalty for not complying with security rules, the devices will be confiscated and destroyed.

A second demonstration was of Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears (more models offered by Amazon Japan). These claim to be able to measure the wearer's emotions and then adjust the ears to reflect this (down for sad, up for happy). Perhaps this could be useful during meetings to gauge the support for proposlas. ;-)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

IT matters of interest in the 2014/2015 Federal Budget

Just about every year since the Australian Federal Budget was first put on the web, I have done a quick search though the documents to find matters of interest in information technology.


The budget search service responded promptly. References to "Information Technology" were down from 5 last year to 4 (well below the 15 in 2011/12). All the references to IT were in Budget Paper No. 1 "Budget Strategy and Outlook":
    1. Statement 4: Sustaining strong growth in living standards - Conclusion
    2. Statement 8: Statement of Risks - Fiscal risks
    3. Statement 8: Statement of Risks - Contingent liabilities and assets
    4. Statement 8: Statement of Risks - Contingent liabilities — unquantifiable

      The "National Broadband Network" (NBN) is getting less attention, with 4 mentions, down from 11 last year. The NBN will be funded for two further years, at which point the built infrastructure will be required to be self supporting.

       Last year the Government "recommitted" to "Remote Indigenous Internet Access", but but without an explicit amount of money committed to the program. This year, apart from the NBN I could not find any similar programs, for indigenous or other communities.

      Last year the Government announced it would save $31.2 M over two years by incorporating the functions of the National Health Information Network (NHIN) into the Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) system. This year $140.6 million is to be provided in 2014-15 for the PCEHR. This project has not gone well and the Government could have achieved a larger saving, by cancelling the PCEHR.

      The government is bringing forward $500 M for Boeing EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, the Romeo Naval anti-submarine combat helicopter and upgraded to Naval Standard Missile-2 anti-aircraft missiles. Unlike some other Defence projects, these have gone relatively well and will provide a useful asset in a time of increased tension in our region.

      The Bureau of Meteorology will get a new supercomputer, over the longer term, at an undisclosed cost. The Department of Education will spend $3.8 M over four years on the Higher Education Information Management System (HEIMS)  for university and higher education data.

      NICTA’s funding, of about $40 M per year for IT research, will end after 2015–16. NICTA has a significant number of PHD students jointly with universities, who presumably continue to be funded.

      Also the Australian Interactive Games Fund will be ended with $10 M not going to game developers.

      Apart from these minor items, there is not much explicitly on IT in the budget. However, the planned changes to government functions will require considerable changes to IT systems, resulting in work for years to come for IT professionals (be they public servants or private contractors).

      Cuts to federal school and hospital funding may also see an increase in demand for new IT systems to reduce costs and increase efficiency, as well as new ways to deliver health and education.

      In addition changes to higher education will also require new IT systems. The deregulation of tuition fees from 2016 will require minimal direct changes. However, there is likely to be a reshuffling of campuses, with some major city universities closing regional campuses.

      The opening financial assistance to students studying diplomas may change the way higher education is delivered in Australia. Students who would have previously enrolled in a bachelors degree at a university, may opt for a shorter and cheaper diploma at a state government TAFE or private Registered Training Organisation (RTO), then top up their education with a part-time blended or fully on-line degree. This will require an expansion of IT systems to support the new education options. Also IT courses are likely to be one of those disciplines most changed.

      However, certificates are not included in the new higher education funding scheme. The shortest program the student can get funding assistance for is a diploma, which normally requires one year full time study. Certificates, which require six months full time study are very useful, as they allow students to quickly get a qualification for a job. Where institutions offer four terms a year, a part time student can do a certificate in one year. I did my Graduate Certificate in Higher Education this way, mostly on-line.


      This year budget web site worked fine at 08:44pm and kept working (in 2010 the system failed at 7:53pm, reporting: "HTTP Error 404 - File or directory not found").

      Each year from 1996 to 2006 the budget web site got better. But by 2007-08 seemed to reached a stable design, also used for 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2013, with HTML 4.01 Transitional. The2014/15 site is much the same but using HTML5. The code is mostly clean and efficient. However, I found curious syntax error on the home page, where a hypertext link (on "Transcript of the Treasurer's budget night speech") was not correctly nested (the sort of error a school student should not make, let alone information professionals)

      As happened last year, the home page failed a W3C HTML Markup Validation test, but with a decrease from fourteen to three errors (really just two).

      The home page scored a very poor 0% p(down from 33% last year) on the W3C mobileOK Checker. This is unfortunate, given the  use of smart phones and tablet computers in the last year (and the government plan to lessen funding for broadband). The home page is  The total size of the page 17.9MB, with 17.7MB of images. The problem is 14 background images of about 1 MB each. There is not sensible reason for this. Last year I commented that the size of image files used should be reduced to improve the efficiency of the site, but instead the images files have got stupidly large. It is a little difficult to take a document about reducing government waste serious, which is using more than tens times the amount of resources as needed.

      The budget home page failed a aChecker automated accessibility test (WCAG 2.0 Level AA) but with sixteen known problems (up from five problems last year). These could be easily corrected.

      As introduced last year, important tables in the budget documents are rendered as well formatted HTML tables, not as the blurry image files in previous years. This make it possible to increase the size of the text for easier reading. Also a table can be simply copied into a word processing document with the layout intact, or into a spreadsheet for extra analysis. The headings are marked up in HTML has headings, which should make it much easier for assistive technology to interpret.

      The PDF version of the budget overview has almost halved in size, down from 5 MB last year to 2.7 MB. , but still much smaller than the 16.6Mbytes, the web page quotes. The Budget is released under a a Creative Commons BY Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, in line with open access government policy (commenced 2012/13).

      Comments on past budgets:


      Budget Papers:
        1. Budget Strategy and Outlook
        2. Budget Measures
        3. Federal Financial Relations
        4. Agency Resourcing
        Also 2014 Federal Budget - ACS Response

        Nano-Antennas for Solar Power and Sensors

        Arnold McKinley will speak on how nano-scale antennas can be used for collecting solar energy and other uses for such technology, at the Australian National University in Canberra, 2pm 3 June 2014. Arnold has a background in designing practical devices for the solar power industry and the ability to explain such technical topics clearly. Apart from power, his research could have application in the development of sensors for the military and in remote environmental monitoring.

        The Physics and Mathematical Theory of Nano-scaled Ring Resonators and Loop Antennas for Meta-material, Solar, and General Nano-photonic Applications.

        Arnold F. McKinley (Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems)

        SOLAR SEMINAR SERIES PhD Final Seminar

        DATE: 2014-06-03
        TIME: 14:00:00 - 15:00:00
        LOCATION: Engineering Lecture Theatre

        Closed circular rings were never very good antennas for radio frequency communications. But in the early part of this century, someone shrunk one down to millimetre size, put in a single gap, spread out a number of them in a 3-D array and thereby made the first invisibility cloak. Since then closed rings and split-rings (ones with gaps) have been found useful for high definition imaging, radiation beam control, tiny Fresnel lenses, single photon emitters, medical sensors and a host of other applications. I wanted to use them to enhance light capture in solar cells. I was surprised to learn that most of the applications noted, were applied in the microwave region and that no one had developed a general physics or mathematical theory of rings for the teraHertz, infrared and optical regions. This thesis rectifies that by applying low frequency antenna theory to nano-scaled loops; that is, to rings on the order of 300 - 1000 nm in circumference. I am happy to say that we now have an analytical theory that will provide us with the resonances, current distributions and radiation patterns of any sized circular loop, of any useful thickness, with any useful number of gaps, constructed of any material for which we have measured index of refraction data.
        This talk will present the physics and the theory of rings in the radio frequency region and show how the theory was extended to the optical region. I will show how the theory was then extended further to incorporate multiple gaps around the periphery. Matlab code was written to perform many different kinds of calculations and I will end by showing calculations of resonances and current distributions for rings made of metal and for rings made of dielectric materials, such as Silicon and Germanium.
        In questions and answers we can talk about how these results might be used.

        Arni holds three Master's degrees, two of them in Engineering from Stanford University. In the 1970's, he worked at Stanford's Institute for Energy Studies and at the Center for the Study of Social Policy at Stanford Research Institute (now called SRI, International). In the 1980's, he taught Physics and Electrical Engineering for four years at San Diego State University and worked at Apple Computer for two years before starting a 25 year computer programming career. His main contracts were with scientific laboratories and academic institutions. His last work before coming to the ANU was with a solar startup company working on micro-inverters for PV modules.

        Wednesday, May 07, 2014

        Cyber Security Challenge Australia

        Four teams of students from the Australian National University are currently taking p[art in the "CySCA Cyber Security Challenge Australia 2014". This is timely as there have been allegations the Australian Parliamentary Email System was hacked by China. Also the CSIRO recently released "Enabling Australia's Digital Future: Cyber Security Threats and Implications". For more on the topic see my blog Cyberwar and Security.

        Apple Wins Technology War in Software Engineering Classroom

        Greeting from the famous Computer Sciecne room N101 at the Research School of Computer Science at the Australian National University in Canberra. I am helping teach software engineering to a room full of students. Almost every student had a laptop in front of them. The most common are Apple laptops, followed by Dell. The typical screens are 13 to 15 inches. I can see no Apple iPads and just one Microsoft Surface. My preference is for a 11 to 13 inch laptop, but I have a larger desktop LCD to use. I suspect some students like a large screen to hide behind in the classroom, just as lecturers hide behind the lectern. ;-)

        Tuesday, May 06, 2014

        Big Scary Complex Open Data

        Greetings from the CSIRO Discovery Centre, where Dr Markus Buchhorn is speaking on "Big Data: Big Scary Complex and Open Data". Dr Buchhorn mentioned "The Internet of Things", wearable devices and MOOCs (but was a little sceptical of MOOCs). The "National eResearch Collaboration Tools and Resources" (NeCTAR) at the Australian National Data Service was also mentioned. Dr Buchhorn related this back to government, business and even personal computing, with "cloud computing". Organisations and even individuals can use the same tools and techniques as big data users. But big data scientific users, with the Square Kilometre Array Telescope and the like, will require their own dedicated facilities. Also security and legal/privacy restrictions may require data to be stored at a particular locations. Examples of uses for big data range from predicting climate change to selling beer to fathers while they are in the supermarket for nappies.

          Also there is an "Australian Public Service Big Data Strategy" and a "APS Better Practice Guide for Big Data".

        Branch Forum: BIG DATA - Big Scary Complex and Open Data

        Big data is a broad concept that means different things to different people.
        This talk will look at the perspectives around “big” data from researchers and educators and government agencies. This is a world where petabytes are not uncommon, where outcomes can change not just some people’s lives but the future of humanity and our planet – and some less edifying outcomes. It will also discuss the issues around “openness” and access to data; when should it be more widely available, under what rules, to whom, and how can we achieve that. 
        To support these kinds of activities is not just a political/social discussion, challenging enough, but also a technical one, requiring appropriate infrastructure and skills to collect, manage, analyse and share the data/results. All of this in a world with continually new market offerings, new technologies, shrinking budgets, higher expectations, and greater competition.

        Dr Markus Buchhorn

        Programme Manager with several national and international research infrastructure projects

        Dr Buchhorn is a former astrophysicist, a former geek, a former University IT director, a former company director providing technology services to universities, and now consults widely on ICT enablement and enhancement of research, education and societal services.

        Friday, May 02, 2014

        Australian Parliamentary Email System Hacked?

        Yesterday I was interviewed by ABC Radio about alledged hacking of the Australian Parliamentary Email System, the result is "China rejects Australian hacking allegations" (ABC Radio Australia, 1 May 2014, 14:05 AEST). This seems a reasonably balanced update on an old story that email on the  Australian Parliament’s unclassified system was being monitored by China. I pointed out there was no way to know who was doing the monitoring, this should be investigated,  but it is was not a major security issue. The problem with security in parliament house is that while public servants are trained in security measures, this is less the case for the MPs and their political staff.

        ps: It was amusing to be described as a  "cyber warfare specialist" at the Australian National University. I actually teach IT ethics and sustainability at ANU. I did work for the Defence Department, but mostly on essentially administrative IT policy.

        Thursday, May 01, 2014

        Joint Strike Fighter in Australia

        Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where Dr Paul Bevilaqua, Chief Engineer of the Lockheed Martin "Skunk Works" is speaking on "Inventing the Joint Strike Fighter". The Australian Government has announced they will order 72 F-35A aircraft.
        Dr Bevilaqua developed the F-35-B lift fan for the Short Takeoff / Vertical Landing (STOVL) variant of the Joint Strike Fighter. He discussed the history of attempts to create a vertical landing fighter aircraft. The Harrier is the only successful such aircraft so far, using a ducted turbofan engine, but is not supersonic. The problem was to create an aircraft with the speed of an F-18, but land vertically like a Harrier.
        The F-18's engines have only half the thrust needed to land vertically. Also engine's thrust is at the back of the aircraft and so the solution was to balance with with a shaft driven fan at the front. In retrospect this sounds obvious, but as Dr Bevilaqua pointed out that previously engines were either used as a turbojet or turbo-shaft, not both. Research shows the the combination is possible with only a small drop in power.

        Interestingly Dr Bevilaqua's initial sketch for the aircraft has the lift fan mounted horizontally in front of the turbojet, with two nozzles to direct the air down, as with the Harrier. The final design for the F-35B has the fan vertical, so no nozzles are required. However, it seems to me this gives up some subsonic efficiency, as the fan is not used in forward flight (as it is in the Harrier). It might be possible to have an annular fan with a clutch. This would be shut down at high speed, but operate as a turbofan at low speed, then with additional doors open, direct air down for vertical landing.

        Dr Bevilaqua pointed out that the stealth features of the F-35 are not designed to make the aircraft completely invisible to radar, just hard to spot from some angles.

        Dr Bevilaqua related how the design of the VSTOL aircraft was turned into an idea for a conventional aircraft, simply by taking out the lift fan and replacing it with a fuel tank. He related how previous such "joint" designs had a bad reputation in the US DoD due to the TFX project (which resulted in the F-111 which Australia purchased).

        One interesting part of the talk was the approach to making the prototypes of the X-35. 3-D printing was used to produce plastic mock-ups of the parts, so the companies making them had a full size template for making metal parts.

        Dr Bevilaqua explained that the three variants of the F-35: Airforce, Beach and Carrier have essentially the same fuselage with some different components attached.

        Australia is planning to order the conventional take-off F-35A, which does not use a lift fan. Dr Bevilaqua explained that the US Marines have had their own air-support using Harrier aircraft and the F-35B is the supersonic replacement for it. Air support for amphibious operations is very relevant to the Australian Army, which is re-equipping itself to operate from Australia's two new Canberra Class amphibious assault ships. These ships have flight decks specifically designed for the Harrier and the F-35B STOVL aircraft. I have suggested Australia order eighteen F-35b aircraft, to equip the ships.

        ps: The event was organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics - Australia. They showed a very cheesy video promoting AIAA and aerospace technology. What got my attention was that AIIA membership is free for school teachers.