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  • The Quantum Experiment That Simulates a Time Machine

    KentuckyFC writes One of the extraordinary features of quantum mechanics is that one quantum system can simulate the behaviour of another that might otherwise be difficult to create. That's exactly what a group of physicists in Australia have done in creating a quantum system that simulates a quantum time machine. Back in the early 90s, physicists showed that a quantum particle could enter a region of spacetime that loops back on itself, known as a closed timelike curve, without creating grandfather-type paradoxes in which time travellers kill their grandfathers thereby ensuring they could never have existed to travel back in time in the first place. Nobody has ever built a quantum closed time-like curve but now they don't have to. The Australian team have simulated its behaviour by allowing two entangled photons to interfere with each other in a way that recreates the behaviour of a single photon interacting with an older version of itself. The results are in perfect agreement with predictions from the 1990s--there are no grandfather-type paradoxes. Interestingly, the results are entirely compatible with relativity, suggesting that this type of experiment might be an interesting way of reconciling it with quantum mechanics.

    127 comments | 10 hours ago

  • Astronomers Record Mystery Radio Signals From 5.5 Billion Light Years Away

    sarahnaomi writes For the first time ever, astronomers have captured an enormous radio wave burst in real time, bringing us one step closer to understanding their origins. These fleeting eruptions, called blitzars or FRBs (Fast Radio Bursts), are truly bizarre cosmic phenomena. In the span of a millisecond, they emit as much radiation as the Sun does over a million years. But unlike other super-luminous events that span multiple wavelengths—gamma ray bursts or supernovae, for example—blitzars emit all that energy in a tiny band of the radio light spectrum. Adding to the mystery is the rarity of blitzar sightings. Since these bursts were first discovered in 2007 with Australia's Parkes Telescope, ten have been identified, the latest of which was the first to be imaged in real time.

    121 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Uber Suspends Australian Transport Inspector Accounts To Block Stings

    jaa101 writes In Australia Uber is reportedly suspending the accounts used by government transport inspectors conducting sting operations. The article suggests that a new handset, credit card and email account are all needed to get a new, unblocked account. If inspectors can only issue one or two fines before they're blocked then the sting operations will cost more than the fines. Presumably the Uber app can block based on IMEI, SIM and/or phone number.

    299 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Extreme Heat Knocks Out Internet In Australia

    An anonymous reader writes with news that bad weather caused internet connectivity problems for users in Perth, Western Australia on Monday. But it wasn't raging storms or lightning that caused this outage — it was extreme heat. Monday was the 6th hottest day on record for Perth, peaking around 44.4 C (111.9 F). Thousands of iiNet customers across Australia found themselves offline for about six and a half hours after the company shut down some of its systems at its Perth data center at about 4.30pm AEDST because of record breaking-temperatures. ... "[W]e shut down our servers as a precautionary measure," an iiNet spokesman said late Monday night. "Although redundancy plans ensured over 98 per cent of customers remained unaffected, some customers experienced issues reconnecting to the internet." ... Users in Western Australia, NSW, Victoria and South Australia took to Twitter, Facebook and broadband forum Whirlpool to post their frustrations to the country's second largest DSL internet service provider.

    103 comments | about three weeks ago

  • Debris, Bodies Recovered From AirAsia Flight 8501

    Searchers have found traces of the crashed AirAsia Flight 8501, which lost contact with ground controllers shortly after requesting a weather-related course change. Reuters reports that both debris and some passenger remains have been recovered off the coast of Borneo, in a search complicated by waves "up to three meters high." From the report: About 30 ships and 21 aircraft from Indonesia, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and the United States have been involved in the search. The plane, which did not issue a distress signal, disappeared after its pilot failed to get permission to fly higher to avoid bad weather because of heavy air traffic, officials said. It was travelling at 32,000 feet (9,753 metres) and had asked to fly at 38,000 feet, officials said earlier. Pilots and aviation experts said thunderstorms, and requests to gain altitude to avoid them, were not unusual in that area. ... Online discussion among pilots has centred on unconfirmed secondary radar data from Malaysia that suggested the aircraft was climbing at a speed of 353 knots, about 100 knots too slow, and that it might have stalled.

    132 comments | about a month ago

  • AirAsia Flight Goes Missing Between Indonesia and Singapore

    iONiUM (530420) writes As reported by many news sources, yet another plane has lost contact during a trip. This comes on the heels of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 which is still missing, and Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down. From ABC's coverage: Sixteen children and one infant were among the passengers. At a press conference this morning, Indonesian officials said the plane was several hours past the time when its fuel would have been exhausted. The six-year-old aircraft was on the submitted flight plan but requested a deviation because of enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost. The plane was under the control of the Indonesian Air Traffic Control and had been in the air for about 42 minutes when contact was lost, AirAsia said.

    275 comments | about a month ago

  • Australia Moves Toward New Restrictions On Technology Export and Publication

    An anonymous reader writes Australia is starting a public consultation process for new legislation that further restricts the publication and export of technology on national security grounds. The public consultation starts now (a few days before Christmas) and it is due by Jan 30th while a lot of Australians are on holidays. I don't have the legal expertise to dissect the proposed legislation, but I'd like some more public scrutiny on it. I find particularly disturbing the phrase "The Bill includes defences that reverse the onus of proof which limit the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty" contained in this document, also available on the consultation web site.

    91 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • Over 9,000 PCs In Australia Infected By TorrentLocker Ransomware

    First time accepted submitter River Tam writes Cybercriminals behind the TorrenLocker malware may have earned as much as $585,000 over several months from 39,000 PC infections worldwide, of which over 9,000 were from Australia. If you're a Windows user in Australia who's had their files encrypted by hackers after visiting a bogus Australia Post website, chances are you were infected by TorrentLocker and may have contributed to the tens of thousands of dollars likely to have come from Australia due to this digital shakedown racket.

    83 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • New Cargo Ship Is 488 Meters Long

    An anonymous reader writes: The BBC reports on the construction of Prelude, a new ship that will be the world's longest vessel. It is 488 meters long and 74 meters wide, built with 260,000 tons of steel and displacing five times as much water as an aircraft carrier. Its purpose is to carry an entire natural gas processing plant as it sits over a series of wells 100 miles off the coast of Australia. Until now, it hasn't been practical to move gas that comes out of the wells with ships. The gas occupies too much volume, so it is generally piped to a facility on shore where it is processed and then shipped off to energy-hungry markets. But the Prelude can purify and chill the gas, turning it into a liquid and reducing its volume by a factor of 600. It will offload this liquid to smaller (but still enormous) carrier ships for transport.

    116 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney

    An anonymous reader send this link to a developing situation in Sydney, Australia, being reported on via live feed at the Guardian, and covered by various other news outlets as well. According to CNN's coverage, "CNN affiliate Seven Network said that at least 13 people are being held at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe. It published a photograph of people inside the cafe holding a black flag with Arabic writing on it. The flag reads: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God." From The New York Times' coverage: The police have shut down parts of the city’s transport system, and closed off the mall area. They would not confirm how many people were being held hostage inside the cafe, nor whether those inside are armed. Local media reports said that the airspace over Sydney had been closed and the famed Sydney Opera House evacuated. Television images showed heavily armed officers with their weapons trained on the cafe.

    880 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • Australia Pushes Ahead With Website Blocking In Piracy Fight

    angry tapir writes As part of its crackdown on unauthorized downloading of copyright material, the Australian government will push ahead with the introduction of a scheme that will allow rights holders to apply for court orders to force ISPs to block websites. (Previously Slashdot noted that the Australian government had raised such a scheme as a possibility).

    100 comments | about a month and a half ago

  • Utilities Face Billions In Losses From Distributed Renewables

    Lucas123 writes: Over the next 10 years, adoption of distributed power in the form of renewables such as solar power has the potential to reduce revenues to grid utilities by as much as $48 billion in the U.S. and by $75 billion in Europe, according to a new study. The study, by Accenture, revealed that utility executives are more nervous (PDF) about the impact of distributed — or locally generated renewable power — than ever before. 61% of those surveyed this year indicated they expect significant or moderate revenue reductions compared to only 43% last year. The cost of rooftop solar-powered electricity will be on par with prices for common coal or oil-powered generation in two years, and the technology to produce it will only get cheaper, according to a recent report from Deutsche Bank. New technologies, such as more efficient solar cells, are also threatening to increase efficiencies and drive adoption.

    280 comments | about 1 month ago

  • Australian Target Stores Ban GTA V For Depictions of Violence Against Women

    MojoKid writes "There's no such thing as an official Grand Theft Auto game until there's been a bit of controversy leading to its removal from at least one set of store shelves. It's a right of passage for the GTA series, if you will, and GTA V just earned its place among the franchise's previous titles by ruffling feathers in Australia, leading to its ousting from Target stores. At issue this time around is the "game's depictions of violence against women." Jim Cooper, general manager of corporate affairs for Target, explained that customers have voiced a "significant level of concern about the game's content." Separate reports say Target Australia received a petition with nearly 40,000 signatures demanding the game be removed. According to the petition, the game gives players plenty of "incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get 'health' points."

    310 comments | about 2 months ago

  • MasterCard Rails Against Bitcoin's (Semi-)Anonymity

    angry tapir writes: MasterCard has used a submission (PDF) to an Australian Senate inquiry to argue for financial regulators to move against the pseudonymity of digital currencies such as Bitcoin. "Any regulation adopted in Australia should address the anonymity that digital currency provides to each party in a transaction," the company's told the inquiry into digital currencies. MasterCard believes that "all participants in the payments system that provide similar services to consumers should be regulated in the same way to achieve a level playing field for all."

    111 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Australia Elaborates On a New Drift Model To Find MH370

    hcs_$reboot writes Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared on Saturday, 8 March 2014, while flying from Malaysia to Beijing with 239 people on board. And 8 months later, after millions of dollars invested in a gigantic search operation, there is still no sign of the aircraft. Now, Australia is developing a new model to predict where the debris of the missing MH370 could wash up. Authorities had initially predicted that the plane's wreckage could drift and come ashore on Indonesia's West Sumatra island after about 4 months of Flight MH370's disappearance. "We are currently working... to see if we can get an updated drift model for a much wider area where there might be possibilities of debris washing ashore," search co-ordinator Peter Foley told reporters in Perth.

    154 comments | about 2 months ago

  • UNSW Has Collected an Estimated $100,000 In Piracy Fines Since 2008

    Jagungal (36053) writes The SMH reports that The University of NSW says it has issued 238 fines estimated to total around $100,000 - to students illicitly downloading copyright infringing material such as movies and TV shows on its Wi-Fi network since 2008. The main issues are that the University is not returning any money to the copyright holders but is instead using the money raised for campus facilities and that it is essentially enforcing a commonwealth law.

    98 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Laser Creates Quantum Whirlpool

    Quantus347 writes: Physicists at The Australian National Univ. (ANU) have engineered a spiral laser beam and used it to create a whirlpool of hybrid light-matter particles called polaritons. Polaritons are hybrid particles that have properties of both matter and light. The ability to control polariton flows in this way could aid the development of completely novel technology to link conventional electronics with new laser- and fiber-based technologies. Polaritons form in semiconductors when laser light interacts with electrons and holes (positively charged vacancies) so strongly that it is no longer possible to distinguish light from matter.

    59 comments | about 2 months ago

  • Amazon's Luxembourg Tax Deals

    Presto Vivace writes in with this story of a European Commission investigation into a secret tax agreement between Amazon and Luxembourg. "Leaked tax documents from accounting firm PwC in Luxembourg show how Amazon sidesteps the 30 per cent tax rates local [Australian] players face. The Luxembourg documents, obtained in a review led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, contain some of the first hard numbers and details on how Amazon pays virtually no tax for its non-US earnings, including in Australia. Last month, the European Commission announced an investigation into the secret 2003 advance tax agreement Amazon struck with Luxembourg that is the key to its global tax strategy. The Luxembourg documents show not only the extent of the related-party transactions in Amazon's Luxembourg companies but how Amazon has changed its tax strategy after investigation by French tax authorities and the US Internal Revenue Service. The change is so dramatic it raises questions whether the European Commission is targeting the right transactions."

    200 comments | about 3 months ago

  • Australian Post Office Opens Mail Forwarding Warehouse In the USA

    Zanadou writes Australians are well used to paying what's called an "Australian Tax": high(er) prices for international products and services simply because they are are being accessed from an Australian IP address and/or being delivered to an Australian mail address. But Australia Post, Australia's national mail service, might have a solution: last week they opened a new warehouse/delivery depot in Oregon, U.S., allowing Australians to use a U.S.-based delivery address for mail items, which can then forwarded onwards to Australia.

    However, this service, called "Shopmate", comes at a cost.

    142 comments | about 3 months ago

  • We Are Running Out of Sand

    HughPickens.com writes John R. Gillis writes in the NYT that to those of us who visit beaches only in summer, beaches seem as permanent a part of our natural heritage as the Rocky Mountains but shore dwellers know that beaches are the most transitory of landscapes, and sand beaches the most vulnerable of all. Today, 75 to 90 percent of the world's natural sand beaches are disappearing, due partly to rising sea levels and increased storm action, but also to massive erosion caused by the human development of shores. The extent of this global crisis is obscured because so-called beach nourishment projects attempt to hold sand in place (PDF) and repair the damage by the time summer people return, creating the illusion of an eternal shore. But the market for mined sand in the U.S. has become a billion-dollar annual business, growing at 10 percent a year since 2008. Interior mining operations use huge machines working in open pits to dig down under the earth's surface to get sand left behind by ancient glaciers.

    One might think that desert sand would be a ready substitute, but its grains are finer and smoother; they don't adhere to rougher sand grains, and tend to blow away. As a result, the desert state of Dubai brings sand for its beaches all the way from Australia. Huge sand mining operations are emerging worldwide, many of them illegal, happening out of sight and out of mind, as far as the developed world is concerned. "We need to stop taking sand for granted and think of it as an endangered natural resource," concludes Gillis. "Beach replenishment — the mining and trucking and dredging of sand to meet tourist expectations — must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with environmental considerations taking top priority. Only this will ensure that the story of the earth will still have subsequent chapters told in grains of sand."

    264 comments | about 3 months ago

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