Australian PM Tony Abbot ousted in own-party coup

Australia's Liberal Party voted out its own leader, Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and replaced him with Malcolm Turnbull. Read the rest

Overgrown sheep sheared back to safety


In Australia, an animal humane society brought in a champion sheep-shearer to trim a badly overgrown sheep that was found wandering in the woods near the capital.

From the Guardian:

A bushwalker spotted the sheep near Mulligan Flats, just outside Canberra, and called the RSPCA, which mounted a rescue mission on Tuesday.

Tammy Ven Dange, the chief executive of the Australian RSPCA, said five staff members were needed for the job.

It appeared the sheep had become lost from its herd. Ven Dange said merino sheep were bred to grow wool and could suffer infections or flystrike if they were not regularly groomed.

Of the wool removed by that award-winning sheep shearer, the RSPCA rep said, ““It’s pretty disgusting. I don’t think anyone is going to want it.”

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Beautifully shot video of a different kind of string quartet

Jordan sez, "Fourplay are a one-of-a-kind string quartet. Much more of a band than a classical ensemble. They jam out songs, they have vocals, they rock. We did a film clip!" Read the rest

Mirrored Ziggurat melds earth with stairway to the skies


Sydney's Underbelly Arts Festival included this cool Mirrored Ziggurat by Iranian artist Shirin Abedinirad.

Inspired by the pyramidal structure of Ziggurat in ancient Mesopotamia, this installation offers a transformative view of the self. The Mirrored Ziggurat acts as a staircase, which seeks to connect nature with human beings and to create union of ancient history and today’s world. For Abedinirad, mirrors amplify this paradise, giving light; an important mystical concept in Persian Culture, and a medium creating an optical illusion.

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You probably need more Tasmanian imps in your life


Baby Tasmanian devils are called imps. There's a big push underway to breed the ornery marsupials in captivity due to a facial tumor epidemic ravaging wild populations. Upside: lots of baby pictures. Read the rest

Australian court hands copyright trolls their own asses

The studio behind "Dallas Buyers Club" will be able to demand that people caught downloading the movie without permission pay for the cost of a legit download, plus a small surcharge to cover the cost of getting their details through a court. Read the rest

Video: Rare white humpback whale sighting


Humpback whales with albinism are extremely rare, so it was a real treat when one appeared off the coast of Australia this week. Read the rest

Gorgeously designed studio feels like a treehouse


Australian architect Max Pritchard's Tree Top Studio looks like the perfect place to work while surrounded by the sights and sounds of trees and water. Read the rest

Koala baby won't let go of mom while she undergoes surgery. Both survived being hit by a car.

If your "aww" reflexes don't fire after seeing these images, you should get your heart checked.

Australia outlaws warrant canaries

The exceptionally broad new surveillance bill lets the government do nearly unlimited warrantless mass surveillance, even of lawyer-client privileged communications, and bans warrant canaries, making it an offense to "disclose information about the existence or non-existence" of a warrant to spy on journalists. Read the rest

Razorhurst: blood-drenched gang warfare and ghosts in Gilded Age Sydney

Justine Larbalestier's Razorhurst is an historical novel that skilfully weaves in a ghost story that puts the action of gang-warfare exactly where it belongs: in the relationship between the living and the dead.

Death ray free to a good home

An ad on the Gumtree notice-board site offers up "Simon Hackett's Internode Death Ray" -- a TV ad prop -- free to a good home in South Australia. Read the rest

Tabletop Superheroes: remixable RPG

The Parkes Library in NSW, Australia mashed up my Dungeons and Dragons variant for toddlers with School for Supervillains, creating a superhero game for kids of all ages for its Fun Palace week, Read the rest

LISTEN: The post-American Internet, with Schneier, ICANN boss, global academics

Michael writes, "The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Future Tense hosted a panel discussion on post-USA/NSA controlled Internet possibilities. The United States has signalled its willingness to give up its unofficial stewardship role of the Internet. Who should take over, and who will?" Read the rest

Australian PM trades freedom for security, deserves neither

Tony Abbot's given a speech warning Australians that the police state is inevitable, saying there would be "more restrictions on some so that there can be more protections for others." Read the rest

BBC tells Australian govt to treat VPN users as pirates

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster, has told an Australian government proceeding that people who use VPNs a lot should be assumed to be engaged in piracy, that ISPs should surveil their users, that websites should be censored by Chinese-style national firewalls, and that the families of people accused of watching TV the wrong way should be disconnected from the Internet. Read the rest

Australian surveillance law will legalize snooping on and hacking the entire Internet

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation wants the power to break into any computer on the Internet and to spy on any person in the world: Liberal MP Philip Ruddock says "We are now looking at how you find out what people are thinking about even before they do it." Read the rest

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