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1426  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 19, 2013, 10:53:28 PM
Zen and contemporary wisdom.

* A closed mouth gathers no foot.
* Accountants aren't the only ones to employ a double-entry principle.
* Always remember you're unique.  Just like everyone else.
* Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
* Buddhist monks don't need Novocaine for a root canal as they can transcend dental medication.
* Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead.  Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow.  Do not walk beside me either.  Just leave me the heck alone!
* Don't be irreplaceable.  If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
* Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.
* Dreaded word in the operating theatre: "Oops.".
* Dreaded words in business "Hi. I'm from Head Office (or the Government) and I'm here to help you.".
* Dreaded words in the computer-room: "Ooh, I wonder what happens if you press this button...".
* Duct tape is like the Force.  It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
* Ego is to your thinking as Hitler was to Germany.
* Generally speaking, you aren't learning much whilst your lips are moving.
* Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.  Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
* Good judgement comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.
* If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
* If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
* If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of loan repayments.
* It's always darkest before dawn.  So, if you're going to steal your neighbour's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
* It's not democracy if it stops when someone makes fun of your hat.
* Never take a laxative and a sleeping pill at the same time before going to bed.
* Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
* Never use thinners when painting a church. You'll only have to repaint and thin no more.
* No one is listening until you f#rt.
* Sex is like air.  It's not important unless you aren't getting any.
* Some days you are the bug; some days you are the windshield.
* Some of the greatest mistakes made by man were preceded with the words "I think...".
* That's right, you're doing it wrong.
* The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tyre.
* The quickest way to a man's heart is via his stomach, and to his wallet is via the Inland Revenue.
* The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
* Two legs good; four legs bad.
* We are not all equal; a lift smells different to a midget.
* What I am telling you is a lie, believe me, it's the truth.
* You are a jerk if you don't agree with me. I am a jerk if I don't agree with you. Therefore, when we argue, we may both be jerks.
* You know that thing about being descended from apes? It's more common than you'd think.
1427  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 19, 2013, 09:03:49 PM
I always liked these IT Lyrics to the Beatles' songs. (I can especially resonate with "Something".)

Yesterday
Yesterday,
All those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly,
There's not half the files there used to be,
And there's a milestone hanging over me
The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong
What it was I could not say.
Now all my data's gone
And I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.
Yesterday.
The need for back-ups seemed so far away.
I knew my data was all here to stay,
Now I believe in yesterday.
____________________________

Eleanor Rigby
Eleanor Rigby
Sits at the keyboard
And waits for a line on the screen
Lives in a dream
Waits for a signal
Finding some code
That will make the machine do some more.
What is it for?

All the lonely users, where do they all come from?
All the lonely users, why does it take so long?
Guru MacKenzie
Typing the lines of a program that no one will run;
Isn't it fun?
Look at him working,
Munching some chips as he waits for the code to compile;
It takes a while...

All the lonely users, where do they all come from?
All the lonely users, why does it take so long?
Eleanor Rigby
Crashes the system and loses 6 hours of work;
Feels like a jerk.
Guru MacKenzie
Wiping the crumbs off the keys as he types in the code;
Nothing will load.

All the lonely users, where do they all come from?
All the lonely users, why does it take so long?
____________________________

Unix Man (Nowhere Man)
He's a real UNIX Man
Sitting in his UNIX LAN
Making all his UNIX plans
For nobody.

Knows the blocksize from du(1)
Cares not where /dev/null goes to
Isn't he a bit like you
And me?

UNIX Man, please listen(2)
My lpd(8 ) is missin'
UNIX Man
The wo-o-o-orld is at(1) your command.

He's as wise as he can be
Uses lex and yacc and C
UNIX Man, can you help me At all?

UNIX Man, don't worry
Test with time(1), don't hurry
UNIX Man
The new kernel boots, just like you had planned.

He's a real UNIX Man
Sitting in his UNIX LAN
Making all his UNIX  plans For nobody ...
Making all his UNIX  plans For nobody.
____________________________

Write in C ("Let it Be")
When I find my code in tons of trouble,
Friends and colleagues come to me,
Speaking words of wisdom:
"Write in C."
As the deadline fast approaches,
And bugs are all that I can see,
Somewhere, someone whispers:
"Write in C."
Write in C, Write in C,
Write in C, oh, Write in C.
LOGO's dead and buried,
Write in C.

I used to write a lot of FORTRAN,
For science it worked flawlessly.
Try using it for graphics!
Write in C.

If you've just spent nearly 30 hours,
Debugging some assembly,
Soon you will be glad to
Write in C.

Write in C, Write in C,
Write in C, yeah, Write in C.
BASIC's not the answer.
Write in C.

Write in C, Write in C
Write in C, oh, Write in C.
Pascal won't quite cut it.
Write in C.
____________________________

Something
Something in the way it fails,
Defies the algorithm's logic!
Something in the way it coredumps...
I don't want to leave it now
I'll fix this problem somehow

Somewhere in the memory I know,
A pointer's got to be corrupted.
Stepping in the debugger will show me...
I don't want to leave it now
I'm too close to leave it now

You're asking me can this code go?
I don't know, I don't know...
What sequence causes it to blow?
I don't know, I don't know...

Something in the initializing code?
And all I have to do is think of it!
Something in the listing will show me...
I don't want to leave it now
I'll fix this tonight I vow!
1428  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 19, 2013, 08:18:24 AM
Bush and Cheney in the restaurant.
Dick Cheney and George W.  Bush were having breakfast at the White House.

An attractive waitress was on duty and she asked Cheney what he would like, and he replied, "I'd like a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit.".

"And what can I get for you, Mr.  President?", asked the waitress.

George W.  Looked up from his menu, gave her his trademark wink and slight grin and replied, "How about a quickie this morning?"

The waitress was shocked.
"Why, Mr.  President!" she exclaimed, "How rude!  You're acting like President Clinton!", and she stormed off.

George W. looked puzzled at this, and then Cheney leaned across the table and said in a quiet voice, "It's pronounced 'quiche' ".
______________________________________

Those missing votes.
When Obama was moving into the White House, he discovered a screwed-up piece of paper in one of his desk drawers. He carefully uncrumpled it and read it:

To: Al Gore
From: George Bush
Al, we've found more votes.  You won.
When can you start?
______________________________________

George The Would-be King Bush.
When George Bush met The Queen, he said in a conspiratorial tone of voice, "You know, as I'm now the President of the United States, I'm thinking of changing how the country is referred to, and I'm thinking that it should be a Kingdom."

The Queen replied "I'm sorry Mr Bush, but to be a Kingdom, you have to have a King in charge, and you're not a King."

Bush thought a while and then said "How about a Principality then?"

To which the Queen replied "Again, to be a Principality you have to be a Prince - and You're not a Prince, Mr Bush."

Bush thought long and hard and came up with "Well, how about an Empire then?"

The Queen, getting a little annoyed by now, replied "Sorry again, Mr Bush, but to be an Empire you must have an Emperor in charge - and you are not an Emperor."

Before George Bush could utter another word, the Queen said tartly "I think you're doing quite nicely as a Country."
______________________________________

Bush and the Israeli Mossad.
After numerous rounds of "We don't even know if Osama bin Laden is still alive.", Osama himself decided to send George Bush a letter in his own handwriting - to let him know he was still in the game.

Bush opened the letter and it contained a single line of coded message: 370H-SSV-0773H.
Bush was baffled, so he emailed it to Condoleezza Rice.  Condi and her aides hadn't got a clue either, so they sent it to the FBI.

No one could solve it at the FBI, so it went to the CIA, and then to MI6.

Eventually they emailed it to the Mossad (Israeli intelligence) for help, and within a minute the Mossad emailed the White House with the reply: "Tell the President he's holding the note upside down."
______________________________________

In the barber's shop.
George Bush and Clinton somehow ended up at the same barber's shop.  As they sat there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word was spoken.
The barbers were both afraid to start a conversation, for fear it would turn to politics.

As the barbers finished their haircuts, the one who had Clinton in his chair reached for the after shave, but Clinton was quick to stop him, saying " No thanks.  Hillary will smell that and think I've been in a whorehouse!"

The second barber turned to Bush and said, "How about you, Sir?"

Bush replied "Go ahead. Laura doesn't know what the inside of a whorehouse smells like anyway."
______________________________________
1429  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 19, 2013, 06:54:57 AM
Oh dear. I'm hooked...
1430  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firefox Extensions: Your favorite or most useful on: April 19, 2013, 06:22:06 AM
I believe it is a file manager that can tag every downloaded file, and replace Evernote
- all from within Firefox.
Looks rather intriguing. Shall give it a whirl, and see.
1431  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 18, 2013, 08:50:07 AM
Rejected Names For Horses (from a UK TV chat show):
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erasLnR6Wh8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erasLnR6Wh8</a>
1432  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Google Reader gone on: April 18, 2013, 08:12:55 AM
..I'm anxious to see what Digg is going to offer, and how soon.

Yes, so am I. I have signed up for their ßeta interest group and user surveys. I have just completed their second survey, in which they link to this very interesting post from BuzzFeed.com - which I had not seen before - about Google Reader and its demise: Google's Lost Social Network.

Warning: If you read it, you might find yourself - like me - getting all pissed-off again about Google killing Google Reader.    Angry
1433  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Malwarebytes FREE and PRO - Mini-Review. on: April 18, 2013, 03:17:25 AM
MBAM is now up to v1.75.0.1300 (I have just updated the opening post about this).
[attach]

It seems the MBAM developers caused a major problem for some users the other night, and this blog post (below) describes how they responded to the problem they had caused:    Thmbsup   Thmbsup   Thmbsup  
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Yesterday’s Database Update Issue
    By Marcin Kleczynski
    April 16, 2013
    In Company News

It saddens me to report that at around 3 PM PST yesterday, Malwarebytes released a definitions update that disabled thousands of computers worldwide. Within 8 minutes, the update was pulled from our servers. Immediately thereafter, users flocked to our support helpdesk and forums to ask us for a fix.

I want to offer my sincere apology to our millions of customers and free users. I started this company because I thought everyone was entitled to malware-free computing. We acted overzealously in that mission and realize far superior procedures around updating are needed. More was expected of us, and we failed.

So what’s my promise to you? Working day and night, we are commissioning several new resources to stop this from happening again. We are building more redundancy to check our researchers’ work and improving our peer review.

Here’s what we’ve done to address the issue. We immediately wrote a tool to fix the issue and published instructions on our forums. If you are affected by the issue, please visit the page. If you need assistance or are uncomfortable performing the fix manually, please contact our support team. We have our entire support staff answering tickets feverishly. Tickets are being answered within an hour, and we will reach out to you by phone if e-mail support is not enough.

Please, once again, accept an apology on behalf of our entire company. Let’s get you fixed up and back to a malware-free existence!

Marcin
1434  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 17, 2013, 11:11:39 PM
Not only is this piece of dirt for government spying, but he also thinks of freedom loving people as, well, read on...

Well yes, and that's kinda why I wrote:
(b) Some people (not me you understand) might say that a senator who would malign in such a vitriolic and despising way any opponents to his proposed legislation to erode citizens' statutory rights would seem to be acting unprofessionally and against the interests of citizens, and that may indicate that he has a vested interest in the proposals getting pushed through - but I couldn't possibly comment.

It's such an amazing thing for a Senator to say about opponents to a bill he is proposing. As someone on this reddit thread commented:
Quote
[–]Selfcommit 4 points 8 hours ago
How is this not front page?

That would seem to be a good question.

Just supposing: If you were a Senator who was being put under enormous pressure to shut your mouth and propose a bill that you knew with certainty would inevitably chip away at US citizens' constitutional rights, then might you make the sort of seemingly daft and outlandish remarks that this Senator is making, just to publicise the issue and get people's attention about what was going on?
It's certainly getting attention now, isn't it?
1435  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 16, 2013, 08:44:32 PM
How the White House became a confusing place to work:

When Barack Obama met with Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of England , he asked her…
"Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give me?"

"Well," said the Queen,  "The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people."

Obama frowned, and then asked, "But how do I know if the people around me are really intelligent?"

The Queen took a sip of champagne. "Oh, that's easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle - watch."
The Queen pushed a button on her intercom.
"Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?"
Tony Blair walked into the room and said, Yes, your Majesty?"
The Queen smiled and said,"Answer me this please Tony. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?"
Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered…"That would be me."
"Yes! Very good." said the Queen.

Obama went back home to ask Joe Biden the same question.
"Joe, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It's not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?"
"I'm not sure," said Biden."Let me get back to you on that one."
He went to his advisors and asked everyone, but none could give him an answer.
Frustrated, Biden went to work in the congressional gym and saw Paul Ryan there.
Biden went up to him and asked, "Hey Paul, see if you can answer this question."
"Shoot Joe."
“Your mother and father have a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it?"
Paul Ryan answered,"That's easy, it's me!"
Biden smiled, and said, "Good answer Paul!"
Biden then, went back to speak with President Obama.
"Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It's Paul Ryan!"

Obama got up, stomped over to Biden, and angrily yelled into his face,
"No! You idiot! It's Tony Blair!"
1436  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 16, 2013, 07:43:53 PM
...Of course it helps to have a link where you can send your letter in opposition:
[url]http://act.demandprogress.org/letter/CISPA_IBM

It does indeed! (That's why I it right at the start of the post and not as an embedded link in the copied email.)    tellme
1437  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 16, 2013, 07:39:51 PM
I presume this ArsTechnica news item is true (one can't be too sure, given some of their aparently mediocre journalism): Obama threatens CISPA veto, sponsor calls opponents basement-dwelling 14-year-olds

If it is true, then:
  • (a) It looks like the Obama administration are wanting to block this CISPA legislation that could threaten to erode citizens' statutory rights - whereas the same administration is at the same time apparently intent on shoving through other legislation that would ... threaten to reduce citizens' statutory rights!?
    Is this some kind of "good cop, bad cop" play?

  • (b) Some people (not me you understand) might say that a senator who would malign in such a vitriolic and despising way any opponents to his proposed legislation to erode citizens' statutory rights would seem to be acting unprofessionally and against the interests of citizens, and that may indicate that he has a vested interest in the proposals getting pushed through - but I couldn't possibly comment.
1438  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 16, 2013, 05:36:53 PM
[attach]
1439  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: 4.02 beta is up on: April 16, 2013, 05:25:23 AM
@mouser - some feedback: I tried altering those transparency settings in all the different ways you suggested above. It didn't appear to make a blind bit of difference what I did. It was like the settings didn't work (had no effect whatsoever), however I tweaked them. All the screenshots looked identical, regardless.
I have restored the SC defaults anyway.

SC says it is v4.02.0.
1440  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: 4.02 beta is up on: April 16, 2013, 04:36:06 AM
^ Ah, Thanks @mouser. I should have known it would be already built in to SSC. I could have figured that out for myself I guess, but I am not all that familiar with the tweaks there are in the current version of SSC. I hadn't needed to get opaque objects before now - this Calculator object thing was a one-off. I probably won't need it again or for a while.
1441  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 15, 2013, 10:41:19 PM
Email from Sam Adler-Bell <info@demandprogress.org>:
Go to https://act.demandprogress.org/letter/CISPA_IBM/ to support the protest.
(Most of the email is copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
16 April 2013 10:55

...It's on.

In anticipation of a full House vote in the House on Wednesday, industry giant IBM has sent nearly 200 senior execs to Washington to lobby in support of CISPA.

And their intentions couldn't be more clear. CISPA would empower them to share your private data with the military without a warrant -- and they wouldn't hesitate to do so.

Chris Padilla, IBM's VP of governmental affairs told TheHill.com that IBM and other corporations "should be able to work directly and share information directly"  with the National Security Agency "because that's where the expertise is."

We have to stop this bill from becoming law and eviscerating our hard-won civil liberties and privacy rights. Click here to urge your reps to oppose CISPA on Wednesday.

Despite an outpouring of opposition from the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and over 100,000 Demand Progress members, the House Intelligence committee has voted to approve CISPA--a cyber-security bill that would give companies unprecedented power to share your private information with the government, including the intelligence agencies like the NSA, without a warrant.

Now the bill moves to the House for a full vote on Wednesday. We need to reiterate our opposition to this dangerous legislation loud and clear.

Click here to tell your representatives to protect online privacy and oppose CISPA on Wednesday.

Our collective efforts stopped CISPA from becoming law last year, and we can do it again. But we must be vigilant and keep putting our representatives on notice.

Now, as before, we cannot sacrifice our hard-won liberties and privacy rights in the pursuit of a misguided and over-broad conception of "security."

Click here to urge your representatives in Congress to oppose CISPA on Wednesday.

 Thanks,
-Demand Progress
1442  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: 4.02 beta is up on: April 15, 2013, 10:14:08 PM
Looking very nice. Thanks.
Post-capture pop-up dialogue seems to be fine so far on my laptop (Win7-64 Home Premium).

Just a user question: Is it possible to copy a "solid" object on the screen without the OS GUI artefacts?
e.g., artefacts as shown in the SSC capture of the Calculator, below.

[attach]
1443  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Peer Review and the Scientific Process on: April 15, 2013, 06:22:32 AM
...but what I found interesting and important was Professor Moriarity's discussion about the absolute requirement for peer review in the scientific process.  This discussion starts at about the 8:43 point in the video.
I work in an industry where opposition groups bring forth so-called "research" or "evidence" that has not undergone this peer review process, and don't seem to understand why our whole scientific process depends on it.

Psychologists do tell us that we seem to be an irrational species by nature, and critical thinking therefore requires learning and practice - i.e., because it doesn't come naturally to us. (It certainly didn't come naturally to me either - I had to work at it. Critical thinking is no friend to the ego.)
Thus, you may find that a lot of people might accept that some absurd piece of reasoning, or loudness or strength of opinion, was sufficient to prove something.
So the scientific method, whilst being something that is recommended for use in science, is not necessarily always used, whether by "laymen" or "scientists". Such people - assuming that they know about the scientific method in the first place - seem to sometimes choose to (say) consider it as being optional or de rigeur only, especially where, if they did use the method, then their pet beliefs/theories could be at risk of being debunked.

[attachthumb=#]   [attachthumb=#]   [attachthumb=#]

Of course, critical peer review is a very useful thing, but if the reviewers are unable to review something critically, or are not skeptical, or lack rigour in their critical/scientific thinking, or are of one mind with the author of the thing being reviewed - or some combination of these things - then you are as likely as not going to just get GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). The only thing that could generally and probably forestall this is the proper and rigorous application of the scientific method.

Peer review of itself has been shown to be unreliable for the elimination of any bad or fraudulent science.
For example, there is an informative report in Forbes.com (2013-01-09) with various links to investigations of published bad/fraudulent science (these links are all well worth a read), which would all presumably have had to get through some "gates" in a peer review process, before being published. The examples given in these links are quite egregious:
A Barrage Of Legal Threats Shuts Down Whistleblower Site, Science Fraud

The thing is that we generally seem to irrationally expect/assume/believe scientists to be good people and good scientists, incorruptible and upholding the highest standards of scientific integrity and following the scientific method at all times.
The vexing reality is that there have been many cases where so-called "scientists" have fallen far short of this  expectation, and have been seen to be sadly deficient, the facts showing them to be variously outright frauds or con merchants, or just severely unscientific, incompetent/misguided - regardless of their qualifications. The modern degree-mill universities would seem to have a lot to answer for, regarding the inferior and mediocre intellectual/academic outputs.

There has been quite a bit of discussion on some aspects of this in the DC Forum - e.g. here, and in my neck of the woods (Australasia) there has been a collection of very recently discovered examples of this in the case of the Australian CSIR (see post from The Age, dated 2013-04-12, copied below), and in 2010, NIWA (the New Zealand government's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research) suffered a legal defeat over the important matter of apparently falsifying some of its climate data ("tainted climate reconstruction") implicated in temperature data fraud - e.g., see here.

Here is The Age's report re the CSIR:
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Call for inquiry as CSIRO comes under the microscope
April 12, 2013
Nicky Phillips and Linton Besser

EXCLUSIVE
Demanding answers: Science Minister Don Farrell.
Call for answers: Science Minister Don Farrell. Photo: Supplied

Confidential reviews of the CSIRO by some of the world's most accomplished scientists show that the once great institution is now unable to act in the best interests of advancing research.

They found the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation was being strangled by a bureaucratic labyrinth stifling innovation and persuading science leaders to abandon the 87-year-old institution, the reviews say.

One of Australia's most renowned scientists, who wished to remain anonymous, said the nation's peak research body had lost its way and should ''remove the S from its name''.
Critical: Former division chief Max Whitten believes CSIRO has lost worldwide credibility.

Critical: Former division chief Max Whitten believes CSIRO has lost worldwide credibility. Photo: Supplied

On Thursday night Science Minister Don Farrell demanded answers from the CSIRO after Fairfax Media reported that officials and others involved in a spin-off joint venture knowingly passed off cheap Chinese chemicals as their trade-secret formula.

In a deal believed to be worth $2.5 million, the venture sold the technology to the Swiss drug company Novartis, one of the biggest pharmaceutical makers.

It was part of its high-security anti-counterfeit technology to protect hundreds of millions of injectable Voltaren ampoules distributed overseas. Voltaren is an anti-inflammatory.
Former CSIRO CEO Dr Geoff Garrett: Introduced the controversial 'matrix' management system.

Former CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Geoff Garrett. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

Novartis has confirmed it has begun an investigation into the affair and the federal opposition has called for an independent inquiry into the entire organisation. A dozen previously unreleased assessments reveal the organisation had become bogged down in bureaucracy, doubling the number of managers and putting excessive emphasis on basic paid consulting work at the cost of time and resources for real science.

Its focus on short-term projects was ''paralysing the ability of the groups to act creatively and strategically in the best interests of advancing the science''.

Former CSIRO staff, including division chief Max Whitten, said it was no longer recognised as a world-leading scientific institution, an accusation it vigorously disputes, citing a separate review by a former chief scientist in 2006.

One previously unpublished review, of the earth science and resource engineering division, reported consistently negative responses from all research groups it interviewed about the management model.

''The panel considers that this is … seriously undermining the quality of the research,'' the review says. ''In our opinion, the costs significantly outweigh the putative advantages.'' The sentiments were echoed in many other reviews, including the nutrition group which found its ''once world-leading laboratories have lost that position, and with a number of exceptions, are now followers of the best front-line centres''.

The reviews commend some areas for world-class research but repeatedly criticise the management structure, which it has dubbed the ''matrix''.

This matrix was incrementally introduced from 2003 by former chief executive Geoff Garrett, aimed at conducting more science targeted to specific problems facing industry, government and the community. Dr Garrett dismantled many of the 22 divisions. In their place he introduced entities called ''flagships'', which are more focused on generating revenue.

Critics say that while the goals of many flagships were worthy, it was inappropriate for the research of the country's leading scientific organisation to be tied to financial benchmarks because it stifled scientific discovery.

Under the present structure, the 12 divisions host the organisation's scientific capacity - its staff, infrastructure and expertise. But these resources are mainly used to service projects run not by the divisions but the flagships.

In the past, the CSIRO's reputation for producing highly valuable and independent science was based on its divisions, led by internationally respected scientists. ''Now CSIRO doesn't enjoy a good reputation in many areas,'' said Dr Whitten.

The reviewers found the matrix fragmented researchers among multiple projects and answerable to several managers. Reviewers of the land and water division found the needs and priorities of the flagship dominated decisions about what science to undertake.

Despite the criticism of the inner workings, staff scientists have achieved successes in the past few years, including developing a hendra vaccine and securing Australia as a co-location for the world's biggest radio telescope. The review's complaints also contrasted sharply with a review of the flagship program conducted by the former Australian chief scientist Robin Batterham in 2006, which praised the matrix structure. The deputy chief executive, science strategy and people, Craig Roy, rejected suggestions the matrix had increased management, saying the organisation had reduced its 27 divisions and flagships in 2003 to 23 entities now.

''In 2002 the organisation wasn't structured to focus on the big issues of low emissions energy, water, oceans, health, food. Those are the places where, in many cases, we're leading the national R&D agenda today,'' he said.

The organisation was also addressing criticism its divisional research was fragmented and researchers were too stretched. ''In the last six months we've been working … to address … [the issue] of fragmentation [to] make life easier for scientists so they can focus more on their science,'' he said.

The general manager of science excellence and standing, Jack Steele, said only a ''sliver'' of the CSIRO's work was contract testing for industry. ''Almost all of our activity has a component of discovery associated with it.''

In 2012 the organisation made $410 million, almost 30 per cent of its total revenue, providing services to the private sector, government and other research groups.

Do you know more? investigations@smh.com.au
___________________________________

Slashdot had a post referring to the above, on 2013-04-14, which adds even more unsavoury stuff to the pile:
Quote
Corruption Allegations Rock Australia's CSIRO
Posted by samzenpus on Sunday April 14, @12:38PM
from the say-it-aint-so dept.

An anonymous reader writes "Australia's premiere government research organization the CSIRO has been rocked by allegations of corruption including: dishonesty with 60 top-class scientists bullied or fired, fraud against drug giant Novartis, and illegally using intellectual property, faking documents and unreliable testimony to judicial officers. CSIRO Boss Megan Clark has refused to discipline the staff responsible and the federal police don't want to get involved. Victims are unimpressed and former CSIRO scientists are calling for an inquiry."
___________________________________
1444  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 13, 2013, 11:26:13 AM
As I said in our PM exchanges on this: if you don't like it, you should remove it. It's your living room after all, and it won't bother me.

I also said that I sit on the fence regarding abortion, and:
Quote
Well, it might be that I am a bit thick, but I actually hadn't perceived any religious or political aspect to it. It's just a trial for mass murder, isn't it?
All I perceived was censorship apparently making an ass of itself, and us.

It came into my feed aggregator on http://www.breitbart.com/.
I was in a hurry (as usual) and didn't really notice that it was via some religious/Christian(?) blog, and I don't think I ever went to the latter to look at it (still haven't), but hastily googled the trial to get the gist of it. Made me feel a bit sick.

I suppose I can understand why a religious blog might post about it, but that doesn't in any way discount or detract from the hugely ironic and black humour of that photo. It really does speak volumes. It'd be a bit like holding the Nuremberg Trials in camera, if you see what I mean.    Wink
...
...I am a skeptic. I distrust and despise most politicians of all varieties, and religions, and the same goes for any religio-political ideologies and any associated cant and hypocrisy...
1445  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 13, 2013, 09:56:41 AM
^^ Yes, Mao's butt would seem to be a potentially  limiting factor for China.
A potentially bumpy ride for us all though, if the US$ is being incrementally removed from its mandated position as the primary currency/unit of global exchange. This rather looks like a first brick being removed from the wall.
1446  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: April 13, 2013, 07:07:17 AM
A picture worth a thousand words?
Photo: Empty 'Reserved Media Seating' at Abortion Doc Gosnell's Murder Trial

[attach]

The trial that wasn't?
1447  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Does anyone here use Bitcoins? on: April 13, 2013, 07:01:03 AM
Bitcoin or some other crypto-currency might yet be the place of calm in turbulent times. I would suggest this news (following) will further destabilise the world currency of the US$, and inflate Bitcoin prices:
Quote
Here It Comes – Australia to Abandon the U.S. Dollar
April 13, 2013 - 07:00 America/
The Trumpet

Australia’s announcement that it is abandoning the U.S. dollar for trade with China is the latest broadside in the global currency war. Starting April 10, Australia and China will no longer use the U.S. dollar for trade between the two nations. For the first time, Australian businesses will be able to conduct trade in Chinese yuan. No more need for U.S. dollar intermediation.

This is a significant announcement and key development for China as it continues its campaign to internationalize the yuan and chip away at the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard made the announcement during an official visit to Shanghai on Monday. She noted that China is now Australia’s biggest trading partner and that the direct currency trading would be a “huge advantage for Australia.”

She called the currency accord a “strategic step forward for Australia as we add to our economic engagement with China.”

(Read the post for more.)
1448  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Internet freedoms restrained - SOPA/PIPA/OPEN/ACTA/CETA/PrECISE-related updates on: April 13, 2013, 04:21:46 AM
^^ Yes, people seem to be waking up to this, albeit belatedly.
For example: CISPA Amendment Proves Everyone's Fears Were Justified While Failing To Assuage Them
1449  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Get 50GB of Free, Encrypted Online Storage from Tresorit (offer ends 2013-05-20) on: April 11, 2013, 08:45:31 PM
Could be a great offer via Lifehacker Dealhacker: (I'm signed up anyway.)
Quote
Get 50GB of Free, Encrypted Online Storage from Tresorit
Melanie Pinola   

Windows (Mac, Android, iOS coming soon): There are a ton of online syncing and storage services, but not all of them locally encrypt your data for higher security. Just out of limited beta, Tresorit is a new Dropbox alternative with client-side encryption. The company offers 5GB of free space, but for a limited time Lifehacker readers can grab 50GB free for life.

Tresorit's biggest selling point is the strong security. Your files and folders are encrypted before they're uploaded to the cloud. To get technical about it:

Files are encrypted with AES-256 before being uploaded to the cloud. Additional security is provided before upload by HMAC message authentication codes applied on SHA-512 hashes. Encrypted files are uploaded to the cloud using TLS-protected channels.

The company is also putting its money where its mouth is: On April 15, Tresorit is inviting the world's hackers to try to break its encryption and win $10,000. So Tresorit is pretty confident in its security claims.

The Windows software (Mac, Android, and iOS versions coming before June) is also really easy to use. You can select any folder to be synced (as a "Tresor"), share folders with other users, and also adjust permissions of shared folders by user.

On the downside, there's no web-based access for your files, people you share folders with will also need the software installed, and it takes a few seconds longer for your synced files to appear on another computer (probably because of the encryption that has to happen first). Other Dropbox alternatives with client-side encryption, SpiderOak and Wuala, have more features, but Tresorit's interface is a lot more user-friendly. And it's hard to beat 50GB of free encrypted space.

If you want to try it out, you'll need to register via the link below to get the 50 gigs free. This offer is good until May 20.

Update: Some people are reporting only getting 5GB. Tresorit has fixed the glitch, so it should work fine now, but if you were one of these people, email support@tresorit.com and they'll set you up with the 50GB. Also, you can follow @tresorit on Facebook or Twitter to be notified when Mac and mobile apps are available.

Tresorit

EDIT: It seems to work OK:

[attachthumb=#]
1450  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / MS Excel Power Map (was “GeoFlow”) - 3D cartographically distributed data maps. on: April 11, 2013, 05:53:20 PM
Retitled - this initial opening post was originally entitled:
Public preview of Excel “GeoFlow” - 3D cartographically distributed data maps.

Wow.
For a while now (since 2010-07) I had been playing with Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope, but I had not realised that it might lead to this "GeoFlow" exercise.
You can follow this up on the Excel blog, and you can get a download of the app via that route also.

Here's the post on the Excel blog which gives the background to the preview of this development. This looks like a bit of a statistician's "dream modelling tool" for presentation of data.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Quote
Public preview of project codename “GeoFlow” for Excel delivers 3D data visualization and storytelling
by Ari Schorr
on April 11

Today we are announcing the availability of the project codename "GeoFlow" Preview for Excel 2013, a result of collaborations between several teams within Microsoft. GeoFlow lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create interactive "tours" to share with others.

GeoFlow originated in Microsoft Research, evolving out of the successful WorldWide Telescope project for scientific and academic communities to explore large volumes of astronomical and geological data. Researchers collaborated closely with the Office product team to usher GeoFlow from its research lab inception to this public preview availability in Excel. GeoFlow adds to the existing self-service Business Intelligence capabilities in Excel 2013, such as Microsoft Data Explorer Preview and Power View, to help discover and visualize large amounts of data, from Twitter traffic to sales performance to population data in cities around the world.

With GeoFlow, you can:
  • Map Data: Plot more than one million rows of data from an Excel workbook, including the Excel Data Model or PowerPivot, in 3D on Bing maps. Choose from columns, heat maps, and bubble visualizations.
  • Discover Insights: Discover new insights by seeing your data in geographic space and seeing time-stamped data change over time. Annotate or compare data in a few clicks.
  • Share Stories: Capture "scenes" and build cinematic, guided "tours" that can be shared broadly, engaging audiences like never before.

Unlocking insights within geospatial data like ticket sales is now possible with GeoFlow.

To learn more about how people are already using GeoFlow to gain and share insights in conjunction with existing self-service business intelligence tools in Excel, go the Excel blog.

Download the Add-in for Excel 2013 with Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus 2013.

Find out more about Microsoft BI.
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