The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent source of information, analysis and commentary from the university and research sector - written by acknowledged experts and delivered directly to the public. Our team of professional editors work with more than 2,700 academic authors to make this wealth of knowledge and expertise accessible to all. More than 180 institutions contribute to the site, and it is based in Melbourne. (All content is republished under Creative Commons)

Stories

Krauss: Science funding is a national investment – not an expense

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As a relatively small and young country, by population if not by landmass, Australia has played a noticeable role on the world stage when it comes to science. Contributions to new technologies, from Wi-Fi to vaccines, are well known, as is the growing role Australia has played in more fundamental areas such as astronomy. Nevertheless, by comparison with many first world countries, Australia is not known for its support of [...]

Violent videogames aren’t the problem – it’s in our genes

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Image: The Conversation The debate around videogames and violence is getting seriously out of control – not least in the US. Just take this recent homepage on The Huffington Post above. Hyperbole aside, videogames are (once again) being used as a scapegoat by politicians looking for a simple answer to causes of violence. But despite how they skew research outcomes there is one undeniable fact: aggression is a normal response [...]

#IDF vs #Hamas: the new Gaza war, in 140 characters or less

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The hostilities between Israel and Hamas this week are just another sad exchange of munitions of no benefit for anyone, least of all the impoverished residents of Gaza. Rockets go one way, Hellfire missiles go the other. Targeted killing, random strikes, claim and counter claim of who is a terrorist and who is acting in self defence. Of far more novelty though is the Twitter war that broke out between [...]

The question of Python-iView: Copyright crusader or vigilante operative?

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The ABC recently raised eyebrows when it wrote a cease-and-desist letter to Python i-View, a mobile application which allowed viewers of ABC’s popular iview to download and playback its content later on slow or non-compatible technology. The issue of whether the Python-iView app infringes copyright, particularly it’s download feature, hinges on a number of specific sections of the Copyright Act and a concept of “vigilante interoperability”. Firstly, some background. Launched [...]

‘Sexting’ teens: decriminalising young people’s sexual practices

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We need to acknowledge the diverse context in which teens engage sexting (Image by: Mahdi Abdulrazak/Flickr) Cases of teenagers “sexting” each other have recently provoked panicked responses by media, parents, educators and policy makers in Australia. Now a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the practice has been told it’s better to use discretionary powers to deal with sexting cases rather than new laws. “Sexting” can mean the creating, sharing, sending or [...]

Surviving the zombie apocalypse: the DayZ experiment

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Amid the resurgent popularity of zombies in recent years – think The Walking Dead, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Shaun of the Dead and so on – the 2011 publication of Dan Drezner’s Theories of International Politics and Zombies showed we might be able to learn something useful from the lumbering horde. In short, Drezner poses the question: how would we deal with a zombie outbreak? He answers it not [...]

OPINION: New copyright laws are not the answer to stop piracy

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Image: Dr Stephen Dann/Flickr (Creative Commons) Earlier this week, Kim Williams, CEO of News Limited, spoke at the Australian International Movie Convention on the Gold Coast and called for new copyright laws to better protect digital property rights. Back in February, my colleague and friend Bruce Arnold opined a similar view, stating that in “the age of the internet and multinational business models, many of the existing laws are under [...]

A dangerous investment: Australia, New Zealand and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Image: NZ National Party/Flickr (Creative Commons) This week, San Diego is hosting the latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Australia and New Zealand are at loggerheads over this secretive new trade treaty spanning the Pacific Rim. The rift between the neighbours over the Trans-Pacific Partnership was revealed after the investment chapter of the agreement was leaked to the public. Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson has argued that the [...]

The NBN, service providers and you … what could go wrong?

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Image: NBN Co Unless you’ve been boycotting all forms of media in the past five years, you’ll be aware that the National Broadband Network (NBN) is well and truly on its way. For some of us the NBN is already here, and for others it will hopefully arrive in a year or two. But for most Australians, the NBN will not arrive for five to ten years. The NBN rollout [...]

Convergence Review: the call for regulation will be unpopular with established media

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Image: dailyinvention/Flickr (Creative Commons) I’m looking forward to the next few days. The Convergence Review’s key recommendation to introduce a new body to “regulate” the activities of our major 15 media operators – including newspapers – is significant. I expect the major media ownership groups, particularly those primarily invested in newspapers, will vehemently oppose this move given newspapers have been the one part of the media landscape that has, to [...]