The 9pm Private House Forum 1: Hobart

In an episode recorded live but in private in Hobart, Tasmania, we hear about sexuality and neuroscience, the sexuality of the stars, and the curious sexualities of the sex industry.

In this episode there’s talk of truth in advertising, Pluto, foetal development, frisbees, autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), the recently-discovered glymphatic system, the escorting business, the beginning of the universe, and much more.

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Links for 15 October 2009 through 19 October 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 15 October 2009 through 19 October 2009, gathered with bile and soaked in vinegar:

  • 50 Years of Space Exploration | Flickr: A brilliant infographic summarising interplanetary exploration. In an excellent demonstration of Chaos, the landing on asteroid 443 Eros is accidentally tagged as “443 Eris”. All hail Discordia!
  • They Shoot Porn Stars Don’t They: Susannah Breslin’s fascinating and somewhat challenging feature article on the recession-hit US porn industry.
  • ISP in file-sharing wi-fi theft | BBC News: UK ISP TalkTalk staged a wireless stunt, illustrating why it thinks Lord Mandelson’s plans to disconnect illegal file sharers is “naive”. It’s easy to blame others just by hacking WiFi connections.
  • Prince Philip tussles with technology | ABC News: This story is a few days old, however I found it curious that a perfectly good story about the design of technology was tagged as “offbeat” and the teaser written to make Prince Phillip look like a silly old man.
  • NPR News Staff Social Media Policy: Another example of a good corporate social media policy. There’s plenty of these policies around now, so there’s no excuse for any big organisation not to have caught up.
  • Federal Court of Australia Judgements: Some judgements have been recorded on video. “The Court is keen to continue to improve public access with the use of live streaming video/audio. Further live and archived broadcasts of judgement summaries are posted on this page as they become available.”
  • Televised Patel trial an Australian first | ABC News: The trial of Dr Jayent Patel for manslaughter to be held in a Brisbane court will be shown in Bundaberg, where the deaths happened, via closed-circuit TV. Given this “local interest”, one wonders why it couldn’t also be available anywhere there were interested parties.
  • Vivian Maier – Her Discovered Work: Maier was a Chicago street photographer from the 1950s to 1970s who died earlier this year. Some 40,000 negatives have been found, and they’e now being blogged.
  • 100 years of Big Content fearing technology — in its own words | Ars Technica: Copyright-holders have objected to pretty much every advance in media technology, it seems.
  • Mac Sales Spike When A New Version Of Windows Comes Out | Business Insider: A curious interpretation of the figures, but they reckon that when Microsoft releases a new version of Windows it drives people to buy Macs instead.
  • The Federal Trade Commission’s Coming War on Bloggers | Valleywag: While I normally don’t read Valleyway, I caught someone mentioning this article and was caught by one useful new term: conceptual gerrymandering. If the US FTC wants to give tax breaks to “news organisations” they’ll have to define what they are. Could it be old journalists versus bloggers battle writ large?

Space: we’ve still such a long way to go

Hubble Space Telescope imagery of newly-discovered planet around Fomalhaut b

This morning I watched the Space Shuttle Endeavor [sic] rocket into orbit on NASA TV. Exciting. But now I see this new photograph (above) of a planet found orbiting Fomalhaut, and realise we’re still only taking the tiniest of baby-steps into the universe.

I’m a child of the Space Age. When I was born, no-one had been outside the earth’s atmosphere. I was too young to be aware of the flights of Yuri Gararin or Alan Shepherd. But when Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong walked upon the Moon we got the day off school to watch the grainy video imagery — our rural school didn’t have enough TVs for everyone to see.

Today I watched quietly as Endeavor became a tiny blue dot in the empty black sky — oh so quickly! And yet… And yet in the full-sized Hubble Space Telescope imagery the newly-photographed planet Fomalhaut b is also just a faint dot.

25 light-years away.

Endeavour would take more than 900,000 years to get there at its low Earth orbit speed of 8 kilometres a second.

Tiny. Baby. Steps.