Opting Out of the Digital Health Record


The Australian Government is introducing a digital health record where all of your health information is stored in one location accessible to all health professionals. On the face of it, this is a great idea. Hospitals, GPs and specialists will be able to see the full story of your health.

My mother-in-law in her later years required a huge number of medications and was under the care of several specialists who did not talk to each other. Consequently she sometimes became ill from the interactions of the drugs with each other.

The My Health Record would have prevented suffering for her and for many other people with chronic health conditions.

But the Government could not leave it there as a service to individual citizens and to the health service. No, they had to use it as a backdoor to spy on our personal data. So numerous agencies have access to your health records regardless of their need to provide health services.

Agencies which can access personal health records include The Australian Tax Office, Centrelink, State and Territory Police Forces, the various crime commissions, the Agency that runs the NDIS and many more.

I am not a huge privacy nut. If you want to know about my haemorrhoid, my blood pressure (controlled nicely by medication), or the prostate infection I had 20 or so years ago, I will happily tell you. That’s my choice.

I will not have nosy public servants having access to my information without my consent, just because they have an interest or they think I might be defrauding them. If they think a crime may be committed, for example by people on sickness benefits, then they should gather evidence and apply for a warrant.

This is yet another “Big Brother” exercise by the Government under the guise of helping the people.

If they rescind the ability of agencies that are not health related, then I will be in it.

You can opt out at http://www.myhealthrecord.gov.au


The Federal Government announced on August 1st that it will legislate to ensure that health records can only be accessed by other agencies after obtaining a court warrant. A win for privacy! After the legislation is passed, I will be opting in.

The Amazing Wax Worm Eats Plastic!

This is amazing!

From the ABC

Wax worms biodegrade plastic bags at ‘uniquely high speeds’, study finds

Posted about 3 hours ago

Scientist and amateur beekeeper Federica Bertocchini picked parasitic wax worms from the honeycomb of her beehives and left them sitting in a plastic bag.

When she returned to the bag, it was riddled with holes and many of the worms had escaped.

It was that chance discovery that led her to collaborate with scientists at the University of Cambridge in England to unearth the possibility of using worms to munch through the world’s plastic problem.

The team discovered the wax worm, a caterpillar commercially bred for fishing bait, has the ability to biodegrade polyethylene — a type of plastic used to make shopping bags — at uniquely high speeds.

The degradation rate was extremely fast compared to other discoveries, like plastic-eating bacteria, the study published in Current Biology found.

When the team exposed about 100 wax worms to a plastic shopping bag, holes started to appear after 40 minutes, with a reduction of 92mg after 12 hours.

To compare: plastic-eating bacteria biodegraded plastic at a rate of 0.13mg a day, and it takes 100 to 400 years to degrade polyethylene in landfill.

Analysis showed the wax worms transformed the polyethylene into ethylene glycol, a chemical used to make polyester and anti-freeze.

The team of three scientists said the discovery could lead to a biotechnological approach to plastic pollution.

People around the world use about 1 trillion plastic bags each year, the study said, and more than 45 million tonnes of polyethylene plastics are produced annually.

“The caterpillar produces something that breaks the chemical bond, perhaps in its salivary glands or a symbiotic bacteria in its gut,” said Cambridge University’s Paolo Bombelli said.

“If a single enzyme is responsible for this chemical process, its reproduction on a large scale using biotechnological methods should be achievable.”

Wax has similar chemical structure to plastic

Wax moths lay their eggs inside hives where the wax worms grow on beeswax.

The worms are known for living like parasites in bee colonies and damaging hives by eating their wax comb.

Researchers said breaking down plastic and beeswax required similar types of chemical bonds.

“Wax is a polymer, a sort of natural plastic, and has a chemical structure not dissimilar to polyethylene,” Ms Bertocchini, from the Spanish National Research Council, said.

When the team mashed up the worms and smeared them into plastic they had similar degradation results to when the caterpillar “ate through” the plastic.

“The caterpillars are not just eating the plastic without modifying its chemical make-up. We showed that the polymer chains in polyethylene plastic are actually broken by the wax worms,” Mr Bombelli said.

“The next steps for us will be to try and identify the molecular processes in this reaction and see if we can isolate the enzyme responsible.”

From The Babylon Bee

Presbyterian Man Asks Apple Genius To Remove ‘Praise Hands’ Emoji From His iPhone

GERMANTOWN, TN—Walking calmly into his scheduled Genius Bar appointment at exactly 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, local Presbyterian believer John Garner stoically greeted the Apple employee assigned to assist him before asking how he could remove the “Praise Hands Emojis” from his new iPhone, sources confirmed.

“There’s a problem with my phone,” Garner began. “See, there are these hands raised up in the air when I pull up the emojis on my keyboard, and I’d like to get them taken off—or if we could at least replace them with hands being placed in pockets where they belong, that’d work too.”

The confused Apple employee, unsure exactly what Garner was asking, launched into a demonstration of how to use the emojis, according to witnesses, but was interrupted by Garner.

“Whoa! Did I just see clapping hands on there? Those are going to need to be removed right away,” Garner said. “Please and thank you.”

“I’m not sure what it is you want, sir. These are installed by default on every iPhone we sell. It’s not a glitch, it’s a feature,” the bewildered Genius Bar worker reportedly replied.

“It’s pretty simple—I want you to remove all these emoji fellows showing various emotions. You can keep the expressionless guy, but the rest have to go,” Garner noted as the worker continued flipping through the pages of emojis on his iPhone.

At publishing time, Garner had run from the store in terror after seeing the wide array of diverse emojis from various cultures.

Jonathon van Maren: Don’t Give Your Children A Smartphone


I’m not a technophobe by any means but I am worried when I see primary school children with phones. Even teenagers are too connected to the world “out there.”

From Lifesitenews.com

The horror stories are real. Don’t give your children a smartphone.

Oct. 4, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – After spending four days at the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Summit in Houston, Texas, my brain is very tired. We heard lectures on neuroscience, human trafficking, sexual abuse, child exploitation, and so much more. And we heard many, many lectures on the poison that is seeping in everywhere, fueling sexual abuse, destroying relationships, breaking down the ability of men to function, and obliterating childhood: pornography.

I’ll be writing a lot more about what I’ve learned (read my reports from the conference here, here, and here) but for now I’d like to make one simple plea to parents, something nearly every speaker and every lecturer advised: don’t give your children smartphones.

This advice has made me very unpopular in some circles—one teenager greeted me at a high school presentation by saying balefully, “So you’re the one who told my parents I shouldn’t have a cellphone.” But it is essential. Children, and most teenagers, do not need a phone with Internet access.

It’s crazy to think that a decade ago, smartphones were uncommon. Many people didn’t even own a cell phone. Now, as we heard from Vanity Fair journalist and author ofAmerican Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers Nancy Jo Sales, nearly every social interaction – and sexual interaction – of teenagers is shaped by the tiny, always-throbbing devices they carry with them wherever they go. This has given rise to cyber-bullying and a spate of suicides, sexting and sexual exploitation of teens by teens, and the nearly non-stop viewing and amateur production of pornography. Teenagers – and children – are pulled into the social webs woven from Facebook to Instagram, from Snapchat to a half-dozen other underground cyber-settings, the interactions and content curated only by the children who populate them, free of parental or adult supervision.

Teenagers know that it’s making their lives miserable. The girls Sales talked to told her so. They also said that they had no way of getting out. Much of life is now lived online, and to opt out is to engage in voluntary isolation. The currency is often nude or sexually explicit pictures or “selfies”—and increasingly, that’s often non-optional, too.

Parents cannot control the new world of teenagers. In many cases, they cannot even penetrate it. That is why one man was so bewildered when his daughter hung herself after a teenager cruelly posted a video of her in the shower on Snapchat—that was the first time the girl’s bereaved father had ever even heard of Snapchat. For parents who wish to rescue their children from the cyber-jungle or spare them the pain that is engulfing millions, there are a number of answers. Open communication and open conversations. Attempted oversight of social media use. Accountability software and filters on all technological devices.

But for today, I just want to push one: Don’t give your children smartphones.

This advice has made me very unpopular in some circles—one teenager greeted me at a high school presentation by saying balefully, “So you’re the one who told my parents I shouldn’t have a cellphone.” But it is essential. Children, and most teenagers, do not need a phone with Internet access. They do not need nonstop access to social media sites that put them under the influence of their peers rather than adults. They do not need the social pressure that inevitably – inevitably – comes with entering a cyber-world of teenagers with new standards and new currency. And above all, they should not have access to all the pornography the web can offer, vile material that is setting new sexual standards teenagers across North America and beyond are beginning to conform to, through pressure, through force, or by choice.

I heard dozens of stories this weekend of parents finding children on smartphones, watching hardcore pornography. Children younger than the former average age of first exposure to porn, which used to be age eleven. It’s now age nine. These children, in a few gawking, horrified moments, are robbed of their childhood. Their worlds change in that moment. They cannot unsee what they have seen. And they should never have had access to it in the first place.

Don’t give your children smartphones.

I understand that teenagers are more likely to actually need a cell phone. My parents signed for a cell phone for me when I got my driver’s license—not so I could interact with my friends or go online, but so they could contact me and I had a way of communicating with people when I was out and about. My first cell phones had no Internet capability, and I didn’t miss it. I sometimes wish my current phone didn’t have Internet either, because I’m as guilty as the rest of this generation of wasting time on my phone when I could be doing something – or anything, really – more productive. But when teenagers need a phone, they still don’t need a phone with Internet access. A phone that allows them to make phone calls and text is good enough. They don’t need nonstop social media connection, they don’t need SnapChat (a “sexting” app that destroys photos in seconds), and they absolutely should not have access to the twisted pornography that they will almost inevitably find.

Do not give the pornographers the access to your children that they seek. They know that children and teens are most likely to find porn on phones, and that’s why they’ve made a gargantuan effort in recent years to create porn that can be viewed and streamed on mobile devices. They know how to access your children—through a smartphone.

Don’t give them one.

World’s Smallest Hard Drive

Wow! So it’s just a starting point and you can only use it at temperatures of about -200 C, but this is just incredible


From the SMH:

World’s ‘smallest hard drive’ means every book written can now be stored on a stamp

July 19 2016 – 1:08PM

  • Marcus Strom, Science Editor

When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press he changed the world.

Now a team of scientists in the Netherlands has taken this to the ultimate extreme. Through the manipulation of single atoms they have made the world’s smallest hard drive. It is so dense the technology could store all the world’s books on device the size of a postage stamp.

Sander Otte.
Sander Otte. Photo: Delft University

“It is as if we have invented the atomic-scale printing press,” lead researcher Sander Otte at Delft University told Gizmodo.

Using a scanning tunnelling microscope to push single atoms around, Associate Professor Otte’s team created a stable grid of 8000 chlorine atoms where each can represent the one (1) or zero (0) that make up binary digital data. 

Potential: all the world's books on a single stamp.
Potential: all the world’s books on a single stamp. 

This means a storage density of 78 terabits per square centimetre, many hundreds of times greater than the best hard disks available. 

IBM estimates that humanity is creating about 2.5 billion gigabytes of data a day – and that was in 2012. So the ability to store data efficiently is as a global challenge.


The researchers at Delft hope their research, published this week inNature Technology, will be a step towards dealing with this data management conundrum. 

“In theory, this storage density would allow all books ever created by humans to be written on a single post stamp,” Professor Otte said.

Read the rest here

Hyperloop Train System Passes Test

Exciting new transport technology. I wonder if it will actually work in real life.

From the ABC.

Hyperloop One’s magnet-powered sled hits 160kph in breakthrough test of future train system

Updatedabout an hour ago

GIF: Hyperloop One acceleration test hits 160km/h at 2.5G

A car-sized sled powered by electromagnets has rocketed to more than 160 kilometres per hour through the Nevada desert in what the Los Angeles company developing the technology said was the first successful test of a futurist transit system called hyperloop.

Key points:

  • Developers say system will transport passengers by 2021
  • Sceptics say construction costs are underestimated
  • Hyperloop One already has raised $80 million from backers

Hyperloop One is among several companies competing to bring to life a technical vision by Elon Musk, the founder of rocket maker SpaceX and electric car company Tesla Motors, who suggested sending pods holding passengers and cargo inside giant vacuum tubes between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

It is a matter of debate how soon — or whether — passengers and cargo will ride the system at velocities approaching 1,200 kilometres per hour, but Hyperloop One has already raised $80 million from backers including clean technology venture capitalist Khosla Ventures, high-speed railway SNCF, the French National Rail Company and GE Ventures.

Brogan BamBrogan, a former SpaceX engineer who co-founded Hyperloop One, called the test a major milestone.

“Technology development testing can be a tricky beast,” he said to a crowd of 300.

“You never know on a given day if things are going to work exactly like you want.”

The sled began on a train track and then was rocketed to 168 kilometres per hour by electromagnets as electricity was shot into copper coils. After a short ride, the sled ran into a sand trap, sending out silicon sprays. If all goes according to plan, sleds will levitate and carry pods in a test later this year.

Gigantic tubes are already scattered around the Las Vegas area test site.

Read the full story here

“Impossible” Engine

This is either a completely new form of propulsion previously unknown or a load of rubbish. It’s a worry when devices appear to defy conventional laws of physics.

From the SMH:

‘Impossible’ propellantless engine appears to work despite breaking laws of physics

JIt took New Horizons more than nine years to reach Pluto, but a craft powered by an EMDrive could make it in less than two.

It took New Horizons more than nine years to reach Pluto, but a craft powered by an EMDrive could make it in less than two. Photo: NASA

Ridiculed as impossible by the scientific community, the electromagnetic propulsion engine – which could supposedly take a craft from Earth to Pluto in just 18 months without the need for rocket fuel – has apparently been confirmed by an independent scientist as working.

German scientist Martin Tajmar​, who has a history of debunking fanciful propulsion systems, claims in a paper he has tested a copy of NASA’s experimental device (known as the EMDrive) and that it does produce thrust. This is controversial because the theory that has been used to explain the device violates conventional physics and the law of conservation of momentum.

The EMDrive is complete crap and a waste of time. 

Sean Carroll

The EMDrive theoretically works by converting electric power into microwaves which bounce around inside an enclosed cavity, using the difference in radiation to move through an environment. This violates the laws of physics, which state that if something moves forward it must also push something back, as no propellant is expelled to balance the engine’s momentum.

The original EmDrive was invented nearly 15 years ago, but its use has been consistently ridiculed as scientifically impossible.

The original EmDrive was invented nearly 15 years ago, but its use has been consistently ridiculed as scientifically impossible.

Despite appearing to contradict our understanding of physics, NASA’s tests of the device (which has been described by overenthusiastic  media as an attempt to make a Star Trek warp drive) inexplicably produced a thrust in 2014. If the results were accurate, a much larger version of the device could have incredible implications on future space travel and colonisation, as well as on vehicles and buildings.

Tajmar​’s tests were apparently an attempt to replicate NASA’s work and see the results for himself. He was careful to state his testing cannot explicitly confirm or refute the claims of how the EMDrive works, only that the thrust produced is consistent with those claims, even in a vacuum.

“We do observe thrust close to the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena,” Tajmar says.

Predictably, many in the scientific community remain unconvinced.

“My insight is that the EMDrive is complete crap and a waste of time,” American physicist Sean Carroll told tech site io9“Right there in the abstract this paper says, ‘Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EMDrive’, so I’m not sure what the news is. I’m going to spend my time thinking about ideas that don’t violate conservation of momentum.”

Professor Tajmar presented his paper, which is not peer-reviewed, at the 2015 American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Propulsion and Energy Forum and Exposition this week.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/impossible-propellantless-engine-appears-to-work-despite-breaking-laws-of-physics-20150728-gimlhr.html#ixzz3hGNKAIpJ