My name on TV!

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Last Monday night one of my #QandA tweets was selected to be broadcast during the show. The newly appointed Free Speech Commissioner Tim Wilson appeared on Q and A, so the right to free speech became a topic.

I asked if anyone would ask about the anti-protest laws recently introduced in Victoria, robbing millions of free speech. My question was tweeted, but it wasn't asked. Commissioner Tim Wilson appears in all his public statements to only support free speech of the wealthy to be racist, as the LNP government wishes. Tim Wilson thinks its unfair that ethnic minorities can use words (particularly one beginning with "N") to describe themselves that are currently illegal for rich white men to use to describe them.

Tim Wilson is a former staff member of the IPA, an extreme right-wing group who have long advocated abolishing the Human Rights Commission. The Australian Human Rights Commission had to sack staff to free up $300 000 for Tim Wilson's salary, as this was a newly created position. The LNP government appear to be working down the IPA's policy wish-list, despite all the election promises they break.

Guaranteed TV

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UPDATE 7th March 2014: Sony have phoned to tell me that as my TV is beyond repair, they will replace my TV with the latest model that is just about to be released. They will phone next week to organise delivery!

My 2.5 year old Sony TV started looking like this last night: red ghosting across the bottom 3/4 of the screen, with images and text ghosted for 30 seconds. 

I phoned Sony and they told me their warranty was only 12 months. I pointed out that 2011 Australian Consumer Law says TVs have to last a reasonable time, so they had to fix it or replace it. Sony told me that I could "pursue that path", but they would only honour their warranty, not the Australian Government's consumer guarantee. They offered to collect the TV from me for a fee, and then fix it for a larger fee. They opened a case file. It was completely illegal for them to even quote me a fee.

I tried phoning Bing Lee, where I bought the TV on 17th June 2011, and they told me that they don't have any repair facilities, they would only send the TV back to the manufacturer under the 12 month warranty, and as the TV is over a year old, they couldn't help me. I invoked the Australian Consumer Law with them as well, and they repeated that there was nothing they could do. I pressed and they suggested I bring the TV in so they could see the red screen, and they would see what they could do, no promises.

The CheckOut at ABC covered this last year
Australian Consumer Law Guide
Fair Trading on Consumer Guarantees and the Australian Consumer Law
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission
Broken but out of warranty? You still have rights
CHOICE Magazine
ACCC raps Apple and Harvey Norman for deceiving customers over warranties: why The Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi could be next

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Shauna Murray is an associate professor and ARC Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney in the Climate Change Cluster C3 Centre where she researches microalgae that produce toxins that are eaten by fish and could end up on your dinner plate, giving you an illness like Ciguatera. Ciguatera fish poisoning can cause major problems with circulation, digestion, breathing and the nervous system. Shauna's work includes identifying where the microalgae are growing so that fishers can be warned not to take any seafood from those areas and prevent the spread of the illness.

Gurjeet Singh Kohli is a Research Associate studying the genes of the microalgae that cause Ciguatera with both Shauna at UTS and Bret Neilan UNSW. He has recently handed in his PhD thesis. I asked him why it was so difficult to make a test kit that detects the toxins that cause Ciguatera.

Sustainable Aquaculture Group UTS
What is Ciguatera Fish Poisoning?

Sydney Mini Maker Faire gallery

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The Sydney Mini Maker Faire was held for one day at the Powerhouse Museum. I recorded 13 interviews which were broadcast over the last month on Diffusion Science Radio, and I took 78 photos, which you can browse by clicking below:

iwoolf's Sydney Mini Maker Faire 2013 photoset iwoolf's Sydney Mini Maker Faire 2013 photoset

Click above to see the rest of the photos.

Cycle reindeer

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Cycle reindeer
Cycle sleigh

PLoS ASAP video interview

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The Public Library of Science has announced the six finalists for their ASAP Accelerating Science Award Program. They hired me as a freelancer to record an interview with finalist Professor Matt Todd about his Open Source Science project to crowd-source a cure for Malaria. Adrian Tan worked as my videographer.

Lynne's Sci-Fi News is back online!

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Lynne Gryphon produced a top-rating video podcast back in 2006, and became very popular. Then her show was broadcast on Canadian TV with ads but no pay, copied by people with ads all over the internet. Lynne felt she'd been exploited and so she took everything down. This year she's uploaded the episodes to youtube.

Here's episode 12 where I was a guest. Subscribe to Lynne's youtube channel, she's creating new content. Her website is

This bird actually opened the lamp-cover itself before climbing in.

Cockatoos playing with street-lamp
Cockatoos playing with street-lamp

Cockatoos playing with street-lamp
Cockatoos playing with street-lamp

Review of "We Steal Secrets"

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At Nerd Nite Sydney in the Cafe Lounge, Dr Peter Jonason lecturer in personality and individual differences from the University of Western Sydney, spoke about the evolutionary functions of the different kinds of sexual relationships people choose to have from casual, to committed. He hung around after the gig, we went outside the noisy club, and spoke to me about the behavioral ecology of sexual relationships.

Peter Karl (PK) Jonason, Ph.D

Nerd Nite Sydney

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In light of the revelations that the US and UK spooks are treating us all like criminals by spying on our every move, I went to the very noisy Pitt St Mall to talk with David W. Campbell Senate candidate for the Pirate Party about PRISMbreak and the Protect Our Privacy protest.

Pirate Party Australia
PRISM break
Snowden reveals Australia's links to US spy web
NSA Surveillance of Australia Exposed!
Agreements with private companies protect U.S. access to cables' data for surveillance 

NSA recruitment drive goes horribly wrong

iwoolf's PRISMbreak  Sydney 2013 photoset iwoolf's PRISMbreak Sydney 2013 photoset

Your brain has a backup

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At Nerd Nite Sydney, outside the noisy Cafe Lounge I spoke with Astrid Zeman about her research into using optical illusions to improve computer vision. (This interview was recorded on my phone, surrounded by a crowd, before I bought the new microphone, so my apologies for the noise).

Astrid Zeman's profile at Macquarie University

Astrid's paper 2013 paper: The Müller-Lyer Illusion in a Computational Model of Biological Object Recognition

NBC coverage of Astrid's work

Going up or coming down?

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iwoolf's items tagged with rocket More of iwoolf's stuff tagged with rocket


Chocolate Mmm

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While searching for chocolate videos for Diffusion, I found this on the Internet Archive:
Chocolate Mmm

CeBIT 2013 gallery

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I took these photos at the CeBIT exhibition in Darling Harbour as I recorded interviews for Diffusion.

iwoolf's CeBIT 2013 photoset iwoolf's CeBIT 2013 photoset

I took these photos last night at Eat The Collection at the Powerhouse Museum, featuring 3D printing of chocolate. I'm editing an interview for next week's Diffusion about 3D chocolate printing.

Laboratory meat limerick

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I've been writing a story about a hamburger being made from muscle cells grown in a petri dish. Here's a limerick the story inspired:

The problem with laboratory grown meat
Is the fact that the meat has to eat,
cultured cells must be fed,
with blood from the dead,
Its a pity the flavour's so sweet!

Angus Deveson talks RoboWars

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Angus Devenson is the organiser of RoboWars Sydney 2013. He spoke to me about the sport of building and battling robots, funded by the crowd. RoboWars Sydney 2013 will be on the 3rd and 4th of August, in Redfern.

RoboWars Sydney 2013 crowd-funding


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Dr Sara Lal and PhD student Diarmuid Kavanagh spoke to me about their research into wiring up driver's brains to detect fatigue, and intervening before it causes accidents, at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney. This interview was recorded as part of the Science Communication Education Project, in which I was Project Officer.


Open Accessed

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Steve Mann's wearable computers

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Diffusion has been axed

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The Diffusion science show has been cut by 2SER, to make room for new
shows by new volunteers.

After 19 years on air, and 15 years of contributions from me, it was the
final Diffusion Science Radio broadcast from 2SER last night.
Now you will only be able to hear the show by subscribing to the
at, listening on one of the 14 stations
on the Community Radio Network that broadcast us around Australia, on
the National Science Foundation's Science360 internet radio station in
the USA, and on Astronomy.FM in the UK.

Diffusion has 700 weekly subscribers to the podcast, with 10 000
downloads every month.

Its the end of an era of funny, quirky, weird and wonderful science that
started in 1995. Over 50 volunteers have broadcast more than 180
interviews as captured by the podcast at, along
with well researched reports, panel discussions, book reviews, science
songs, trivia games and radio plays.

Diffusion has been an institution where volunteers were trained by
fellow volunteers to do all the jobs of producing a radio show, from
operating the panel, conducting interviews, presenting, script writing,
editing and producing.

In 2005 the Discovery show was asked by a cable Science network to
change its name, due to similarities.

In 2011 astronomer Matt Dawson named a planetoid "VictoriaBond". The
Minor Planet Ephemeris Service says:
"Victoria Bond is the name of the popular Australian science show
presenter of "Diffusion Science Radio". Her catchphrase "Planetoid! I
love that word!" and accurate astronomy coverage have endeared her to
listeners worldwide". Ironically, the voice saying the phrase in our
theme music actually belongs to Jacqui Hayes.

Later in 2011, Diffusion won the 2SER Best Talk Show award.

Then in 2012 Diffusion was granted $10 000 for content development from
the Community Broadcasting Foundation.

Here's the final 2SER broadcast, complete with a compilation of our different show themes over 15 years.

I'm now looking to find funding for professional recording gear, courses in marketing my journalism, while singing the words to Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive".
Diffusion won!

Best Talk Show award

Brain scanning technology is quickly approachi...

Brain scanning technology is quickly approaching levels of detail that will have serious implications (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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For Brain Awareness week 2013, the Museum of Human Disease held Get Into Your Head to help people experiment with their brains. I visited the Museum and spoke with Thomas Fath, Christine Froud, and Bridget Murphy about the experiments.

Museum of Human Disease
Brain Awareness Week 2013

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