Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chief of Australian Army on Protection of Women in Conflict

Greetings from the Australian National University where Lieutenant General David Morrison AO, the Chief of Army is speaking on "Protection of women in conflict: Chief of Army discusses the London Global Summit".  General  Morrison's "Chief of Army message regarding unacceptable behaviour" went viral on the Internet last year. Gender restrictions on combat roles were removed from the Australian Defence Force, 1 January 2013. There is also a "Defence Abuse Response Taskforce".

In person the General was a little milder than the video, but just as compelling. He made the point that the Army is authorised by the state to use violence, but should respect the diversity of the community. The Army has set targets for women's participation (I have noted this in the café at ADFA). The General was asked why all the Expert Panel members for the 2015 Defence White Paper are white males. The general responded that they had a point and would raise it with the Minister. The General was asked what practical steps were being implemented to involve local women when the ADF is on peacekeeping missions. He made the point that having female front-line troops would aid this and all receive relevant training.

There was a "Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict" in London on in June 2014. There is a Chair’s Summary, Statement of Action and Summit blog. Curiously, the UK Government have "archived" the website, as if the event is over and they can forget about it now.
Armed conflicts are currently occurring in various regions of the world and the need to protect innocent victims of these conflicts has never been greater. Women are particularly vulnerable in times of conflict and the recent Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, co-chaired by William Hague (United Kingdom Foreign Secretary) and Angelina Jolie (Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees) brought together 1,700 delegates and 129 country delegations to consider ways in which women could be better protected. The Summit agreed on practical steps to tackle impunity for the use of rape as a weapon of war, and to begin to change global attitudes to these crimes.

Sino-capitalist Urbanization With Internet Characteristics

Greetings from the Australian national University where Jane Golley is speaking on "Sino-capitalist urbanization", discussing the nature of China's urban development. She emphasised that China is very unlikely to adopt a pure market system for determining urban land use. The central and local governments will continue to use controls to try to balance development. It occurred to me that perhaps the Internet could be used for some decision making. This could provide a way to get the views of the citizens, while the  central government need not feel a loss of control.

Studying the Chinese Internet

The Australian National University has presentations on "Studying the Chinese Internet" (研究中国互联网/ 研究中國互聯網), Friday 1 August 2014. The workshop is free and it is possible to register just for day two. A small group is learning social network analysis today, using the free open source NodeXL and VOSON software. Tomorrow's presentations discuss the results of using such research and the challenges involved:

Day 1 (Thursday 31 July) – Small group training in social media analysis

Instructor: Dr Robert Ackland, Guest lecturer: Prof Jonathan Zhu

Day 2 (Friday 1 August) – Research presentations

9.00 Welcome

9.15-10.30 Keynote presentation

“Charting the Landscape of Chinese Social Media: What We Know and What We Don’t Know from Existing Research”, Prof Jonathan Zhu, City University of Hong Kong
中国社会化媒体研究的已知与未知 / 中國社會化媒體研究的已知與未知

10.30-11.00 Morning tea

11.00-12.30 Paper session 1

“A Web Analysis of HIV Information Delivery in China”, Dr Robert Ackland, Australian National
University and Dr Jiaying Zhao, Australian National University
爱滋病信息的传递 :
基于网络的分析 / 愛滋病信息的傳遞 :
“Predicting Depressed Individuals with Suicide Ideation Using Social Media Data”, Jin Han, Australian
National University
微博社交网络抑郁用户识别 / 微博社交網絡抑鬱用戶識別
“Analyzing Events in Chinese Microblogs”, Dr Lexing Xie, Australian National University
社交网络上的新闻事件分析 / 社交網絡上的新聞事件分析

12.30-1.30 Lunch

1.30-3.00 Paper session 2

“Preliminary Analysis of Muslim Networking on the Chinese Web”, Dr Wai Yip Ho, Hong Kong Institute of
Education and Dr Robert Ackland, Australian National University
中国穆斯林网络的初步分析 / 中國穆斯林網絡的初步分析
“Multiple Identity Formation via Social Media by Professional Chinese Immigrants to Australia”, Dr Jerry
Watkins, University of Canberra and Dr Chong Han, University of Western Sydney
社交媒体上的多重身份构建:以澳大利亚中国技术移民为例 /
“Human Flesh Searching in the Greater China Region”, Dr Lennon Chang, City University of Hong Kong
分析大中华地区人肉搜索之现象 / 分析大中華地區人肉搜索之現象

3.00-3.30 Afternoon tea

3.30-4.30 Paper session 3

“Institutional Analysis of Chinese Internet Governance: Some Tentative Thoughts”, Ryan Manuel,
Australian National University
关于互联网体制与管理若干问题的分析 / 關於互聯網體制與管理若干問題的分析
“Internet Use in China: Citizens, Consumers, and Social Consumption in Chinese”, Dr Michael J. Jensen,
University of Canberra and Wei Si, University of Canberra
因特网在中国的应用 :
公民 ,
消费者与社会消费 / 因特網 在中國的應用:公民,消費者與社會消費
4.30-5.00 Wrap up

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Studio Co-working Space in Canberra

Walking past the shopping centre in the inner Canberra suburb of O'Connor, I noticed a new sign for "The Studio" (Level 1, 3 Sargood Street, O'Connor ACT 2602). Bytron Little, Creative Director of graphic design company 26 Hundred, provided a tour and a very good cup of coffee.

For those not familiar with the concept, a co-working space (or creative collective space), provides a desk to run a micro-business from at low cost. The space is open plan and you are encouraged to make use of the skills of your fellow workers. You can pay for a full time desk of your own, or for a few hours a week. This is an excellent alternative to the home office, for those who need some company (and some help with their creative ideas). These spaces are typically occupied by graphic and web designers and other "creatives". Some, such as Entry 29, on the edge of Canberra's CBD, are intended for new start-up technology companes.

The Studio Canberra is much smaller that the other co-working spaces I have visited (Entry 29 Canberra, Fishburners Sydney, Spacecubed Perth and Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology  Colombo). Apart from two clusters of desks, there is just room for a well equipped kitchen and a meeting table for four. There is no separate meeting room for confidential meetings (but there is a good coffee shop downstairs). The design is upmarket compared to Entry 29 (which was fitted our with second hand furniture) and is similar to Space-cubed Perth (131 St George's Terrace).

My hope is to be able to run courses for students learning about innovation, making use of such facilities. The idea would be that the student would study online and occupy a co-working space, rather than a university campus. They would take part in informal, or formal programs, such as Innovation ACT and learn to work with others. At the end of their course they would hand in an e-portfolio of business plans and other materials to receive formal academic credit. Regardless of if their business idea was successful or not, they would still learn.

ps: The Studio is also opening "Marrickville Studio" in Sydney, at 10 Mitchell St, Marrickville NSW 2204.

Ambassador's Innovation Roundtable in Canberra

Greetings from the "Ambassador's Innovation Roundtable" at the  Questacon science centre in Canberra. I am not exactly sure what this event is, as I was invited late yesterday (while sitting in a café at ANU). John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, is giving a welcome address, highlighting US innovations, but saying how they need to look beyond their boarders for innovation. Also present are student from Canberra schools, including those who build UAVs.

Unfortunately this event appears to consist of set piece speeches. This is a mode at odds with the message the event appears to be dedicated to: innovation. Innovation does not happen by someone standing at the front of the room talking, while several hundred people sit and listen. That is a format which universities used to use, but is now obsolete. For education and events, we now give all the attendees the opportunity to participate. The most extreme form of this is an unconference, where the participants decide the topic and get up to speak. It sounds chaotic, but works. I suggest that Australia and the USA's science leaders need to work in this new mode and would benifit from spending some time sitting, listening and learning, from the students.

The audience includes students who take part in UAV Otback Challenge,  a competition sponsored by aerospace companies to design an autonomous robotic aircraft (UAV) which will locate a survivor in the outback and drop a bottle of water to them. The organisations sponsoring this competition are obviously more interested in dropping bombs on terrorists, than water to survivors. So I suggest that the schools involved should take the opportunity to introduce a discussion of the ethics of dual use technology into their participation.

Here is the agenda for today:

Ambassador's Innovation Roundtable Agenda 

"In today's market, innovation is essential for success.... Investment in science, technology, and research is one of the most important guarantees we can make for our future and I believe this is one of the fundamental areas in which we as partners and friends should look to increase our cooperation." -- John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, National Press Club, June 25, 2014 0830
Participants (100 officials/business reps and 60 students) ...
0900 Opening -- Innovation and the U.S.-Australia Economic Relationship --Welcome by Questacon Director Graham Durant --Intro by U.S. Embassy Economic Counselor Matt Murray --Keynote Remarks by Ambassador Berry --Keynote Remarks by Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb --Keynote Remarks by TBC
0935 U.S.-Australia Innovation Success Stories: Business Partnerships Panel Discussion – 45 minutes Moderated by: American Chamber of Commerce Australia CEO Niels Marquardt Panelists: --Maureen Dougherty, President, Boeing Australia --Dr. Terry Stevenson, Chief Technology Officer, Raytheon --Christian Bennett, Vice President, BHP Billiton --Glenn Frankish, Technology Manager, Lockheed Martin --Kirby Anderson, Director of Gov't Affairs, General Electric Australia
1020 Networking -- Coffee & Tea Break (25 mins) 1045 Challenges to Promoting Innovation Cooperation in a Knowledge Economy: Paving the Way from R&D to Commercialization Panel Discussion – 45 minutes Moderated by: U.S. Embassy Economic Officer Mark Krumm Panelists: --Ros Harvey, Director, Sense-T --Dr. Mick Cardew-Hall, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation, ANU --Dr. David Ireland, General Mgr, Int'l & Innovation Systems, CSIRO --Dr. Shiv Kalyanaraman, Chief Scientist, IBM Research Australia --Tim Fawcett, General Manager, Gov't Affairs & Policy, Cisco
1130 Emerging Ideas and Trends in Innovation – SMEs and Entrepreneurs Panel Discussion – 45 minutes Moderated by: Stuart Kohlhagen, Questacon Panelists: --Lindsey Grossman, Senior Manager, Public Policy, Intuit --Alan Noble, Engineering Director, Google --Sarah Vaughan, Director, Developer Experience, Microsoft --Ken Kroeger, CEO, Seeing Machines --Jim Minifie, Director, Productivity Growth Grattan Institute
1215 Closing Remarks & Vote of Thanks --U.S. Embassy Economic Counselor Matt Murray --Questacon Director Graham Durant 1230 Networking Lunch *sandwiches and drinks to be provided to participants in lobby
1330 Small Group of Students and Select Panelists Depart for Questacon Technology Learning Centre -- 60 Denison St., Deakin 1400 Student Forum: STEM Education and Future Opportunities Town Hall-style Moderated Discussion (by special invitation only) Venue: Questacon Technology Learning Centre (QTLC) 60 Denison St., Deakin Moderated by: Natalie Sullivan, Questacon Participants to Include: --U.S. Ambassador John Berry --Ishtar Vij (Google) --Jason Armstrong (Boeing) --Sarah Vaughan (Microsoft) --Katie Ford (Intel) --Mike Lovell (Northrop Grumman)
1500 Student Forum Concludes

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Innovation ACT 2014 Launch

For the last few years, the ACT Government has been sponsoring a competition to encourage Canberra's Higher Education students to learn how to turn their ideas into businesses. The Innovation ACT 2014 Launch is 13 August 2014 at the Australian National University. More on the Innovation ACT website.

InnovationACT 2014 Launch

This year, the program is undergoing some exciting changes, aimed at:
  • Increasing the learning and toolkits provided to participants;

  • Increasing the diversity supported ventures by catering to high-growth startups, social ventures and microbusinesses;
: Doors open 5:30 for refreshments and networking. Event begins 6:00pm
During the launch, you will find out more about these exciting changes, see how InnovationACT fits in with your entrepreneurial aspirations, and get the opportunity to meet people who could become your future team-mates...
InnovationACT will be hosting the ANU Entrepreneur Society’s Annual Pitch Night...

Sri Lanka Announces 1,000 Telecentres

The Sri Lankan Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology plans to open 1000 E-nenasala Centres in 2014. These are similar in aim to Australia's telecerntres, providing local access to the Internet and help with its use, for e-literacy, culture, education and economic development (Roger Clarke and I helped this by wiritng "Vision for a Networked Nation"). The Sri Lanka program seems a little over-ambitious. Apart from the installation of equipment, such a programs requires staff to be trained (and ongoing funding to be provided). In Australia the most successful location for Internet access and help has been local libraries. Perhaps for Sri Lanka the best location for this would be the local school.

ps: I was unable to get the  E-nenasala website to respond, but the archived version is available.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Events at the University of British Colombia in August

I will be at the University of British Colombia (UBC) 21 to 26  August 2014 to speak at ICCSE 2014 Conference, So I thought I would see what is on at UBC while I am there. Last year I spent a month around UWA, considering "Where is the University Headed?", dining at St Catherine’s College (which was about to become co-ed), gave a Seminar on Green Computing, attended concerts and gallery openings.

UBC is a much bigger place than UWA, but August is holiday time (which may be why the conference organisers chose it (available venues and accommodation). Even so I have found the UBC Eevents Calendar has some things on. Some are a little specialised, such as Menus from the Canadian Pacific Railway's Ships, Trains, Planes, and Hotels at the Barber Learning Centre, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, 1961 E Mall, Vancouver, BC. A little more unusual is "The Metaphysics of Love Pilot Workshop", asking such questions as : "can you love a computer operating system?" (25 August 2014, D324 Buchanan Building).

A web search found more events:

Creating the Future- Partnerships for Inclusive Learning Conference, August 25-27, 2014 at UBC

It is frustrating that some event announcemtns provide little explanation of what they are about, for exmaple, what is Slackline UBC?

From Eventbrite:

Looking outside UBC in Vancouver, there is the "Transition Regional Workshop for Central & Western Canada", 23 -24 August, but what is it? Apparently it is "proactive transition to a low-carbon society, requiring resilient communities, ‘re-skilling’ for a low-carbon future, and re-localizing the production of basic needs, while emphasizing opportunities for greater connectedness and celebration.".

Walking Tour: The Cardero Street Heritage Stroll, Heritage Vancouver Society, 10am to 12 noon, 23 August 201.
Vancouver Craft Brew Cruise, August 23rd at 3:30pm and 8:00pm.

Tiny House Workshops (building an off grid Tiny Community Center) Vancouver Community Laboratory, 1907 Triumph Street, Vancouve

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Open Document Formats Mandated by UK Government

The UK Government has mandated the use of Open document formats by all government bodies. The
selected standards are PDF/A and HTML for viewing government documents and Open Document Format (ODF) for sharing documents. ODF is the native format used by the free open source LibreOffice/OpenOffice software package. The Office Open XML format, as used by Microsoft Office, is not one of the formats chosen for use by the UK Government. The Australian Government is unclear as to its preferred files formats. The most advanced agency in use of ODF is National Archives of Australia, who adopted the format for long term storage of government documentsTheir Xena open-source software converts documents from Microsoft formats to ODF.

A quick search showed 83 ODT documents at,  265 at and 1450 at Gov (US).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Government Internet Censorship in Canberra

Jillian York, Director of International Freedom of Expression for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), is speaking on a panel "Unfriended? Social Media and Government Censorship in Times of Violence" at the Australian National University in Canberra.

One comment from the panel was that Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),are sophisticated Internet users, including pictures of kittens posed alongside weapons to promote their campaign. The problem for the Iraqi government is that they have made use of the state media for partisan purposes and so not in a position to appear credible online.

Another panellist commented that Facebook in particular to inflame sectarian violence in Myanmar, but also to counter it. They advocated the Myanmar government censoring the Internet.

One panellist pointed out India limited users to five SMS messages per day during times of communal tension.

What I found curious was that all the panellists treated the Internet as a given fixed thing. In fact the Internet was something which was invented and is being modified continuously. Perhaps the question should be under what circumstances the government can censor citizens communication. With the increasing convergence of communications there is a risk that all communication could be monitored and censored by government. Also as one panellist mentioned, there is censorship by companies acting on what they believe to be local laws and customs. 

It would be feasible to build a national communications system which would filter what each citizen sees and hears on their computer, telephone, TV and newspaper, but would this be a good idea? In effect the government, or a company, could impose what is effectively what is electronic house arrest on every citizen, all the time.

One panellist  pointed out that a minority of citizens in developed nations have access to the Internet and so are cut off from its benefits, even before censorship.
Do governments ever have the right to cut off or censor internet access? What about in times of civil unrest? Do companies have an obligation to work with governments in such situations, or an obligation to refuse? In a region regularly beset by communal violence and political unrest, but with some of the fastest growing populations of internet users in the world, the rights and responsibilities of companies such as twitter, facebook and youtube are not clear-cut. Last month, for example, Thailand’s newest government ordered facebook to be temporarily shut down amid a wave of protests, blunting the tools of pro-democracy campaigners. But in Iraq, the government recently shifted a 17-day social media ban imposed to disrupt brutal media offensives initiated by armed militants sweeping towards Baghdad. In Papua New Guinea, meanwhile, recent unrest has seen several government members argue that access to the internet should be cut off to avoid rumour, gossip and violence.

Join us for a panel discussion on the complex rights and responsibilities of internet companies on Tuesday 22 July, featuring Jillian York, Director of International Freedom of Expression for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Other panel participants include: Dr Nicholas Farrelly and Usman Hamid Abdul of the Department of Political and Social Change; Jacky Sutton, of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies; and Dr Sarah Logan, of State, Society and Governance in Melanesia.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mode of Power in International Security

Greetings from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at Australian National University in Canberra, where Professor Barry Buzan is speaking on his forthcoming book "The Global Transformation: History, Modernity and the Making of International Relations" (with George Lawson, London School of Economics, to be published by Cambridge University Press in March 2015).  Professor Buzan argues that modernity (ie technological change) from the 1840s allowed the rise of new superpowers. Countries which were unable to exploit modernity declined and other countries (including China) prospered. One example was a qualitative arms race in battleships, rendering large fleets of old warships obsolete. 

Controversially, Professor Buzan argues that as the current superpowers, such as the USA, decline new ones will not be able to rise (such as China), as the technology is more widely distributed across the world. I am not sure this argument is sound, as not all countries have the resources to invest in education for their citizens to create and use the technology and may have poltical systems which do not encourage innovation to flourish. One example is that the UK's GCHQ invented public key encryption, but kept it secret, so it could not be used for e-commerce. Another example is the dilemma which China has in allowing Internet use for commerce, while preventing its use for political dissent.

With current international tensions, in the East and South China Seas  and in the Ukraine raises the question of if Professor Buzan's analysis can be applied today. One area might be the development of UAVs for warfare, which can make manned aircraft obsolete. Another is the use of the Internet for propaganda, where the citizens of a country can be directly targeted. There is also cyber-warfare. Arms races races are also currently taking pace in Asia with submarines, aircraft carriers and ballistic missiles. One revolution which much was made of a decade ago is digitisation of communications. 

Professor Buzan had a gloomy conclusion that more destructive technology will be increasingly be available to smaller non-state groups, with little prospect of control. I suggest we should not give into this and there is the prospect of the rule of international law backed up by collective fire-power.

There is also a free paper from the LSE by the authors : "The global transformation: the nineteenth century and the making of modern international relations" ( Barry Buzan and George Lawson):
Unlike many other social sciences, International Relations (IR) spends relatively little time assessing the impact of the 19th century on its principal subject matter. As a result, the discipline fails to understand the ways in which a dramatic reconfiguration of power during the ‘long 19th century’ served to recast core features of international order. This paper examines the extent of this lacuna and establishes the ways in which processes of industrialization, rational state-building, and ideologies of progress served to destabilize existing forms of order and promote novel institutional formations. The changing character of organized violence is used to illustrate these changes. The paper concludes by examining how IR could be rearticulated around a more pronounced engagement with ‘the global transformation’.

Getting Innovators in Government

The last question at GovCamp on Saturday was "How do we get the people with the right skills to innovate?".  The answer to me seems obvious: hire staff who are already trained in how to innovate and train the existing staff.It happens the OECD have issued a report on "Measuring Innovation in Education".

Costs of Climate Change

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where a "Costs of Climate Change" colloquium is being held. This features Dr Frank Jotzo, Director of the Centre of Climate Economics and Policy, ANU, Dr Mark Stafford-Smith, Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee and Mr Howard Bamsey, Adjunct Professor at the ANU. A recording of the event is available.

A cynic might say that the political cost of Climate Change in Australia is clear: loss of office. ;-)

More seriously, I suggest that the priority for Australian research in this field must change to focus on  how to communicate the seriousness of the situation to the public and to politicians. If researchers continue to fail to communicate their findings effectively they will be in part responsible for the resulting human misery as well as economic loss from global warming.

Dr Frank Jotzo provided a graph explaining the trade-offs between the cost of action now and consequences later. He then provided a carefully worded explanation of the issues which was easy to understand for the academic audience. However, this explanation appear to have had no effect on the public debate (or may well have had a negative effect, with the public becoming suspicious of researchers) . In terms of providing practical measures for dealing with climate change we have enough "facts" and need better marketing.

Dr Mark Stafford-Smith, Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee, discussed the likely increased deaths in Australia due to global warming. But more likely to influence government and industry are effects on infrastructure, such as roads, railways, water supplies and the mining industry. However, the time over these costs will be incurred are outside the planning horizon of industry and government and are not decided centrally.

The last speaker, Mr Howard Bamsey, Adjunct Professor at the ANU, was the only one to address the issue from the point of view of policy making.He pointed out that costs are not as important for matters of vital national interest, such as going to war. He suggested that the previous government appealing to individual's current well-being, pointing out they would be compensated for carbon pricing, was the wrong one and it would have been better to describe it as a sacrifice necessary for the future. Mr Bamsey also pointed out that models for estimating costs are very sensitive to initial assumptions and warned that numbers have a misleading fascination for policy makers.

I suggest that research into policy makers decision making on climate change would be a worthwhile area for increased research into, with reduced funding for research on the physical and economic aspects of climate change (which are unlikely to produce any useful outcomes).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sydney Harbourside Urban Renewal Project

The NSW government is planning to redevelop industrial land around the harbour in Sydney with the "Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Program". This includes 80 hectares of Government owned land, the White Bay Power Station, Glebe Island, White Bay, Rozelle Bay, Rozelle Rail Yards and Blackwattle Bay and the Sydney Fish Markets.  A two day by-invitation summit on this will be held in Sydney on 19 to 20 November 2014 and workshops for the public in February 2015.

In 2002 students and staff from the "new" Bauhaus Dessau visited Sydney and undertook a planning exercise for the city foreshore. They were interested in the role of computers and telecommunications on the city, so I gave them a talk on Canberra's fibre optic broadband system: "Canberra: Encircled by Light". The results of the Bauhaus study were published in 2003, as the book "Serve City: Interactive urbanism" by Neil Leach, Wilfried Hackenbroich and Regina Sonnabend, available in the libraries of the University of Sydney and Western Sydney and from".  The effect of ICT on city design and innovation industries is even more important today.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Live Video Still a Challenge Online

There is a team of dedicated volunteers working to keep the technology working at GovCamp, even so there have been some interruptions to the live video to the other venues. This makes the approach Pia Waugh used for GovHack last week look good: pre-record as much as possible, so it will be high quality, fast and reliable.

Join GovCamp Across Australia

Greetings from the opening of GovCamp 2014 at the Inspire Centre, University of Canberra. The event is also being held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney (as well as online). This is an un-conference with presentations from whoever wants to talk, about how to make government work better.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Boats With Wheels for Australian Navy

In "Ship-to-shore utility key link in ADF amphibious vision" (Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, Jun 2014), Ian Bostock wrote that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) would have a problem getting people and supplies from their new amphibious ships to shore. The ADF has only a few old amphibious cargo vehicles (LARC). Other vehicles will need to be transported in a few landing barges. Even the rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) will need trailers for launching from the well decks of the ships. 

One option would be to make the inflatable boats amphibious, by adding three retractable wheels, as with  New Zealand’s Sealegs amphibious rigid inflatable boat. These can self launch and recover through the well deck of an amphibious ship (and also drive over sand bars and up the beach). A lower cost option would be un-powered wheels, with the crew pushing the boat.

The Australian Light Armoured Vehicle has limited amphibious capability, which could be supplemented with additional flotation using RHIB technology and propulsion for beach landings. New Zealand company Lancer manufacture inflatable tubes up to 20m long and 1 m diameter and these have been used for military purposes. The bow of the vessel could be simply deflated to allow loading and unloading the vehicle. The boat could be fixed to the vehicle, with the wheels protracting through the bottom, so it could be driven on land. The Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle could be similarly adapted; while is is not designed to be amphibious, it can ford to a depth of 1.2 m without any preparation. The French EFA floating bridge, with a 50 tonne capacity, shows that military vehicle using inflatable flotation is feasable.

Discussion of Government Internet Censorship in Canberra

Jillian York, Director of International Freedom of Expression for the Electronic Freedom Foundation, will speak on "Unfriended? Social Media & Government Censorship in Times of Violence" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 1:00 PM, 22 July 2014.
Do governments ever have the right to cut off or censor internet access? What about in times of civil unrest? Do companies have an obligation to work with governments in such situations, or an obligation to refuse? In a region regularly beset by communal violence and political unrest, but with some of the fastest growing populations of internet users in the world, the rights and responsibilities of companies such as twitter, facebook and youtube are not clear-cut. Last month, for example, Thailand’s newest government ordered facebook to be temporarily shut down amid a wave of protests, blunting the tools of pro-democracy campaigners. But in Iraq, the government recently shifted a 17-day social media ban imposed to disrupt brutal media offensives initiated by armed militants sweeping towards Baghdad. In Papua New Guinea, meanwhile, recent unrest has seen several government members argue that access to the internet should be cut off to avoid rumour, gossip and violence.

Join us for a panel discussion on the complex rights and responsibilities of internet companies on Tuesday 22 July, featuring Jillian York, Director of International Freedom of Expression for the Electronic Freedom Foundation. Other panel participants include: Dr Nicholas Farrelly and Usman Hamid Abdul of the Department of Political and Social Change; Jacky Sutton, of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies; and Dr Sarah Logan, of State, Society and Governance in Melanesia.

E-learning in Canberra

Brenda Aynsley OAM FACS CP, President of the Australian Computer Society, talked on "Teaching with Technology" at the Australian National University in Canberra, 16th July 2014. Topics covered include:
  1. ACS Virtual College 
  2. ANUx | edX
  3. Australian Council of Deans and Information Communications Technology (ACDICT).
  4. ACDICT Learning and Teaching Academy (ALTA)
  5. Plagiarism 
  6. Impact of online education: A study on online learning platforms and edx
  7. MOOCs
  8. E-standards for Training 
  9. Not so recent Books on Higher Education and e-learning
  10. Khan Academy
  11. Flipped classroom
  12. Second Life Education
  13. Negative impact on child development
  14. Optimal Video Length for Student Engagement 
  15. Stockport Hat Works Printing Press
  16. Who Performs the Best in Online Classes? 
  17. What Will eLearning Look Like in 2075?
  18.  41 Surprising Facts About Online Students
  19. NO CLASSROOMS, JUST EXPERIENCES: “free thinking” the future of higher ed

    This was the inaugural meeting of the ACS e-Learning Special Interest Group (eLearningSig). It is free and open to all those interested in technology for teaching and teaching about technology. The next event is "Teaching Students to Work Together Online", 3 September 2014.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Australian Army Considering Use of Cyber Weapons Against Terrorists

Operations Centre, CanberraThe "Future Land Warfare Report 2014" from the Australian Army's Directorate of Future Land Warfare Headquarters discusses the issue of boosting the Army's cyber capability. The most interesting point is "Military cyber operations can be as effective as precision-guided munitions against either a nation-state or a non-state actor", that is cyber-weapons can be used against terrorists. It is not quite the "Australian CyberWarfare Battalion" I proposed, but it is a step in the right direction:
Less sophisticated but highly lethal threats of the
future may seek to undermine the kinetic dominance of Western forces. To what degree is the Army prepared to rebalance its force structure into non-traditional capabilities and units (such as boosting the capability of the intelligence battalion or adding an Army cyber capability) in order to build greater capacity for intelligence-led targeting? Can the Army manage risk and reduce some traditional capabilities while relying on its ability to rapidly regrow these as required? ...
The land, sea and air domains will become further entwined with the cyber, electromagnetic and space domains. These domains will be the subject of constant competition, with land force operations increasingly enabled (or disabled) by access to digital networks. ... 
Global telecommunications networks coupled with omnipresent communications technology will continue to empower non-state and semi-state actors. The effect will be disproportionate to their size and stature and allow the formation of supra-national organisations within the cyber domain. ... 
Current cyber defence capabilities have not kept pace with technological change and the Army must develop an ability to defend critical networks against cyber attack, while also being prepared to operate in a degraded network environment. ...
Given the increasingly important role of cyber capability in conflict, land forces must constantly evaluate their professional military training to ensure that soldiers understand how to use digital systems and other emerging technologies. Military cyber operations can be as effective as precision-guided munitions against either a nation-state or a non-state actor. Legal and ethical employment of cyber capabilities requires an appreciation that friendly, adversary and civilian forces may rely on t same digital infrastructure. Understanding the second and third order consequences of preventing access to digital domains, particularly for civilians, is critical. 
28.     The trend towards inter-agency and joint operations will make the land force more integrated at lower levels. Thus the force will become increasingly enmeshed with external enabling capabilities and require much greater use of civilian infrastructure in the conduct of operations. If access to digital systems offers Australian forces a ‘competitive advantage’, interdependence will see the land force become increasingly vulnerable to disabling attacks on partner capabilities (in addition to direct attacks on military systems). 
29.     In addition to protecting its access to digital domains, the land force will also need to identify back-ups to digital technologies. To achieve this, land forces must retain skills and equipment that will provide redundancy when digital networks fail. Troops will require the ability to fight effectively without access to digital networks for limited periods of time. The Army will need to imbue its soldiers with the mindset to ‘fight for communications’. ... 
The land force may be required to develop more dispersed headquarters and decentralised logistics infrastructure in its future operating concepts to reduce exposure to long-range kinetic and cyber attacks.   ... 
The capacity of a variety of threats to collect, share and analyse data will improve the precision of attacks on our forces. These attacks will be cross-domain in nature, exploiting cyber means and traditional kinetic effects. ...
From:  "Future Land Warfare Report 2014", Directorate of Future Land Warfare Headquarters, Modernisation and Strategic Planning Division, Australian Army, April 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

GovHack Canberra Winners

Greetings from Entry 29 in Canberra, where the Canberra GovHack 2014  winners are being announced:
Other categories to be announced  Red Carpet Awards in Brisbane on the 10th August. One entry which got my attention was "Energy Calculator and Comparison tool". Here are the entries for each location:


Project Team Video
#What'sUp Canberra Alcon United
Accessibility Beacon Jake MacMullin
ACT Art Finder Command-X
Art Run Syntax First
Art Seeker The Art Seekers
ARTifacts: ACT Public Art Make Hack Void
ArtNearMe CrescentCode
artrACTion Just Kitten
Charlie's Magical Data Adventure Charlie's Data Angels
DoCanberra DoCanberra
Inefficient Directions 0x539
Landsat Time Lapse Journey A Kicking Wheel
Languages of Sydney The Fact Machine
Open Dashboard Accendo Republic
Piknik Corrupt Robot Development
Quick Findr ACT Illuminaté
Random ABS NRP fact Martlark
Record Breakers: Climate Change Visualised Ruby GovHackers
SRS: Reservation System Syntax First
Stat.Map Michael de Hoog
Surge - Energy Search Corrupt Robot Development
Where Should I? Hackwarriors
Who Is Canberra Goldilocks Zone
Crash Story It’s more fun to compute
Drought effects on Australia You are now breathing manually
Energy Calculator and Comparison tool Jonathan and Wai
If Then That
Push-Canberra Mind the App
Time data visualisation Time data vis
Visualisations Pataphysical Science
Who Do You Think You Are? Hacker? I hardly know her.


Project Team Video
Automatic Infographic Generator PeterCV
BUZZSTOP Moonshine Laboratory
Cancelled The DJ Team
Civicality Avocado Smash
Coursify Fruit Toast
Data for social change P://layford <-> OpenStreetMap</-> Conflation
Dinkum Street Dinkum Street
Endangered Species_Natural Disasters Disaster Area
Immersive Transit Timetable Hakman
Mining the Metropolitan Fire Service Shiny Red Mining
My Career Pathway DataSpark
Navig8 CITBS
PlaySA New Venture Institute
ptViz Adelaide factor43
Raydar Midnight City
Revive Survive Tobias and Friends
School Environment Explorer Randoms
Senior Hub The DJ Team
Silver Service Data With Style
Smart Park Hermes
The Coworking Sociatea War Tapir
Unleashing SA SpryLithe
VCare VCare
Vocational Education Infographic DataSpark
What grows here? Nature Ninjas
When the Heck am I? INTEC Disco Ninja's
Winning arguments in pubs... with data! Sleep-in software
YOCAL Moonshine Laboratory

City X The X Team
Community GatewaySA StatsSA
Data Shmata Frotraz
driverZaid On The Spot
duplicate duplicate
Hakman Project X -- place-holder PLEASE IGNORE -- Hakman
I Can Has Data Here Hackerspace Adelaide Kittehs
LAIM: Local Area Information Mapper xquisit
Lambert Conformal Conic (GDA94) to GPS converter Dinkum Street
Park IT Multiplier
PieinSky SpryLithe
SA Youth

Seniors Card SA Seniors Card SA
Shaprgram roroYo
Should you be afraid? Hackerspace Adelaide Honey Badgers
SimAdelaide Leashed
Up My Tree with a Frying Pan #4 Leashed
What's gov got to do got to do with it? Hakman
Working Title #72 Leashed


Project Team Video
AussieMon: The Native Pokemon Game Invisible Witches
Brisbane Park Finder Team Lambda
Conviction Rum Soaked Invisible Witches
datapinata Tropical Tweakers
Futura Visionaries
GoldGo Tech Stars
Hither and Thither Andy and the exDSTCers
npm install -g govpack, OR github govpack/govpack Team Omad
Reading Parks Invisible Witches
Science Dog does GovHack

Vic Builder Andy and the exDSTCers
WATCH_DATA Awesome as a Service
Water Bottle Invisible Witches
A PixelDust Project PixelDust
A PixelDust Project 2 PixelDust
DateNight Invisible Witches
Empowered Invisible Witches
Evolution of government Andrew's team
fixmycity rameelcajo
Park Life Rum Soaked Invisible Witches
Park Me The Outliers
Park Me Mikrob
Parkme Active brisbane
Re$earch Andy and the exDSTCers
Route Watch The Stunned Mullets
Science Budget Thing Hobo coder
State of the Queensland Rental Market Cruion
Strzelecki Wyld Stallyns


Project Team Video
Environmental Justice Planner Technogesic
Pee on a Tree Ballarat Hackerspace
Whats Up Whats up Geelong
A /dev/null > Project | less cat /dev/null > GovHack14Project_FINAL.project
cityApp Jazz It Up!

Gold Coast

Project Team Video
City Companion Elite Four
DiscoverGC ISB Solutions
Findr TM2ES
GCFocus GCFocus
myBackyard ISB Solutions
MyCity GovLink
myShots Jcat
Social City GC Chikote
SocialTest 5150 Studios


Project Team Video
#ZettaGraf-VR Virtual Reality Awesome
Accessible Melbourne Accessible Melbourne
Australia Through Time - iPad App Conor O'Kane Steve
Check out my Roofage: Geelong Edition Yuri and the Beards
Crash Test CreativeDrought
Environment Metropolitan Melbourne M&O
Eventable Rampsters
Herri - Find your place in your community Herri
inEvent Team Borg
Living, Breathing Melbourne Living, Breathing Melbourne
MELB Parking Team Low Carbon
Project Moneyball Moneyball
Real Trends Real Trends
UnlockAustralia The Unlockers
Affordability Through Transparency Realer State
Have A Seat LazyHackers
Hidden Agenda Data Ross
Multi-modal Bike Share Trip Planner mechturk
Paypol Team Paypol
Snapshot of change Goni
TruthInNumbers - because seeing is believing TruthinNumbers
VirtualVictoria L&M
Where is my Pollie? Team Where is my Pollie
You've got red on you Gov it all you got

Mount Gambier

Project Team Video
Ausplore The_Nexus
South Aussie Fisher GYPCS Unleashed
South Australia Informative Mapper BTB Enterprise
Mitch and Trent's Project Mitch and Trent's Team


Project Team Video
_ _
Go West! Optimer Prime
Hot News Time Machine Hot News Time Machine
Live Labour Force SoothsayRs
MedMoney MedMoney
Money money money! Murphy's Law
Project Doom FUS-RO-DATA
Show the Gap R3K1
Social Tapestry P84D
TheChosenOnesies The Chosen Onesies
Time Machine Time Travelers Australia
. 0
*Insight Detectives* Insight Detectives
#DisruptTheGap #hacktivists
5th-D Dataset The graph team
CancerMash SilentHackers
Data-by-region comparator Something Spatial
Food Buddy
HealthBites HealthBites
Science Budget Trend SilentHackers
Street Safe

Taxation Office CMU - Tartans
Toastie BigDataBigDreams
Transport Trails Transport Trails
WaterCooler Water Cooler


Project Team Video
Alex's Project Alex
Altrove TotesProfesh
CrashUp Hobart Hackerspace
Settlers The Settlers of GovHack
Tasmanian OpenTripPlanner Just in time. TAS_OTP_JIT Err:510
The Hack Report Lorem Ipsum
Vizidat - Timelapse of Victoria Building Activity By Postcode Desalasworks :: Flyin Solo
What Is Gov (Baby Don't Hurt Me) All You Need Is Gov
OpenTasmania Err:510


Project Team Video
Australia On Drugs BeaverLodge
Botaniser Botaniser
ClueGo Code Blue
Crime & Space Acme Crime Lab
Do Rich Suburbs use less Buses Caffeinate Me
Goldfields Through Time Goldfields through time
GovDesk Nextia Novarum
GovTroll GovTroll
Mash Academy Data4Kidz
National Eyeball The Kranzky Brothers
Sarbii - Search & Rescue Sarbii
VizStat VizStat
Walk About The Game Changers
Bushack Bushack
InvestHack InvestHackers
Rain Parrot Team Rain Parrot
Shooting Star The Justice League
Specifik HackSackCrack