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Government embracing web 2.0 technology, but not quickly enough

Barack Obama’s use of social media in the lead-up to the recent US presidential election is well documented. Now in office, the Obama administration is making extensive use of social media to communicate and engage with citizens.  In his blog, President Obama said governments “cannot meet the challenges of today with old habits and stale thinking."
Across the Atlantic, the UK Government is also leading a charge to embrace social media. The UK Cabinet Office has published guidelines encouraging civil servants to use the micro-blogging site Twitter.

Indonesian terrorist's new website

A website claiming to represent the successor organisation to Indonesia’s Jema’ah Islamiyah terrorist network has claimed that the recent bombings of two luxury hotels in Jakarta was an attack against foreign intelligence and businesses operating in Indonesia. It also claimed the bombings in honor of JI leader Azhari, who was killed in a shoot-out with Indonesian security forces in 2005.

The website, claiming to represent an organisation called ‘Tandzim al Qo’idah Indonesia’ (Indonesian Organisational Base), represents a new trend in Indonesian Islamist terrorism, being the first such official claim of responsibility for a terrorist attack. Its ‘official statement’, dated 26 July 2009, was ‘signed’ by Indonesia’s most wanted man, Noordin Muhammad Top.

Will I win the $80 million Powerball Jackpot? When it comes to chance, don't expect to be rational

 

Most of us like to think that we make decisions in a rational, sensible way. We prefer to believe that when it comes to making choices, whether to get out of bed, buy a Powerball ticket, turn left at the next set of lights, or even buy that house, the choices we make typically reflect our desires; we choose what, all things considered, we want.  The process by which we make choices is pretty straightforward.  We consider the pros and cons of a particular choice, or perhaps even do a more formal cost-benefit analysis.  After weighing up our options, we choose the product we want the most.  For the most part, it is a process that is carried out in the conscious mind. Pretty straightforward. 

 

Right?

 

Wrong.

 

Cartels now criminal

Today marks the first day the long-awaited criminal cartel laws enter force in Australia.  The news laws create new civil and criminal offences for engaging in cartel conduct.  Cartel participants now risk up to 10 years jail for making or giving effect to cartel provisions, defined (in s 44ZZRD(2)!) to include price-fixing (this replaces s 45A which has been repealed), bid-rigging, restricting outputs and market division between competitors.  Despite the flaws in the drafting of the laws, it is appropriate to treat cartels as criminal and the law should be welcomed.

Trade Practices Act - Time to split it up?

The Trade Practices Act (TPA) is too big and too complicated. The Government has introduced phase I of their two-phase plan to implement a new Australian Consumer Law which will bulk up the Act even further (the Bill alone runs to 84 pages).  The adds to the additional 90 pages of statutory text generated by the recent passage of the criminal cartel act.  It cannot go on ... the annotated acts are bursting at their seems.

 

Student engagement is on the federal government agenda

I have been at two national forums on student engagement in the last 3 weeks - one here in Melbourne and one in New Zealand.  I've been talking about student engagement for about 3 years now and was just beginning to give up hope that it would ever catch on.  But catch on it appears to have done.

 

Its popularity is probably due in part to the federal government's stamp of approval of student engagement as a site of interest.  In 2009, the Australian federal government responded to the Bradley Review of Higher Education report through the May 2009 federal budget.  In their budget summary document, Transforming Australia’s Higher Education System (http://www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Pages/TransformingAustraliasHESy...), the government indicate the status of each of the specific recommendations made by the Bradley Review. 

 

Indonesia's vicious circle renewed

Just two weeks ago, observers were congratulating Indonesia for a presidential election that was seen to consolidate that country’s process of democratisation.

Viruses, and Viral Marketing or What's the difference between Swine Flu, Facebook, Susan Boyle, and "chk chk boom"?

Lots, but there are some very scary similarities.

 

Okay, I’m not really qualified to write about flu epidemics, but the increased incidence of swine flu reports, made me return to an article that I read a little while ago.

 

Desperately seeking success: Or maybe hoping for a bit of luck

The link between success and luck is stronger than most people think, writes Economist Robert Frank of Cornell University in The New York Times. The difficulty that some have with his argument is that it challenges everything about the American dream. But, sadly for all those people who like to think that they are fully responsible for "pulling themselves up by their boot strings", "brushing themselves off", and "thinking about tomorrow", it is very much the truth.

 

Friends of Balibo

For those interested, please see my other blog site: Friends of Balibo at http://friendsofbalibo.blogspot.com/

Friends of Balibo is one of about 50 Friends of East Timor groups operating across Australia, and acts to suppor the community of the town of Balibo and its surrounding sub-district.

For those further interested, the movie 'Balibo', based on the events surrounding the murder of five Australian based newsmen at Balibo in October 1975 and another two months later in Dili, will headline the coming Melbourne International Film Festival and will be available on general release in August.

 

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