Wikinews interviews Australian Statistician Brian Pink

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Australian Bureau of Statistics is responsible for some of Australia’s largest surveys, including the Census of Population and Housing, held every five years. At its head is the Australian Statistician. The current Statistician, Brian Pink, started in his position on March 5, 2007, following the retirement of predecessor Dennis Trewin. Wikinews recently caught up with Brian Pink to talk with him about his first year in the position, as well as his previous tenure as Government Statistician at Statistics New Zealand, and the state of mathematical education in Australia.

((WikiNews)) : Good afternoon.

Brian Pink: Good afternoon.

((WN)) : And congratulations on spending a year as Australian Statistician.

BP: Yes, it’s gone very quickly. (laughs)
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A Superior Battery For All Your Electronics Needs Is Duracell Procell

A Superior Battery For All Your Electronics Needs Is Duracell Procell


Claire Winters

Batteries have been around since the 1800s, and since then they have become ubiquitous in virtually every household. Creating electrical energy from a chemical reaction inside the battery cell is done by utilizing electrochemical cells. A primary or secondary battery are the different kinds of batteries in which the first being disposable and the secondary being rechargeable. Rechargeable is precisely what the name suggests, they are able to be recharged and used again until they need to be replaced while the other type of battery is used once and then disposed of hence the use of the word disposable.

There are a few battery manufacturers in the United States currently. Of these, one is Duracell, who has rather recently come forth with their Procell battery line. Side by side, it s tough to see the difference between Duracell Coppertop batteries and Duracell Procell batteries. The nominal voltage, weight, volume along with other specifications are all the same.

One of the main differences between Duracell s regular Coppertop battery and the Duracell Procell batteries is the totally different target consumer for these lines. While the Coppertop line is created for the average consumer, Procell batteries are designed and marketed specifically for industrial and professional use.

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The Procell battery is more acceptable for a more professional environment even though a side-by-side comparison between the Coppertop and Procell lines are hardly apparent. In the industrial and professional setting, battery life is much more important because of the high demand and necessary functions they are relied upon for. Because of this vital need, Duracell created the Procell battery line to ensure reliability. Developing a more dependable product that would be more durable was accomplished through Duracell’s rigorous process of testing. Considering an environment like hospitals or other medical setting, guaranteeing life sustaining equipment function is critical for patient care.

The result of such extensive and rigorous testing is that Duracell is able to provide a long lasting battery. They have come up with a very thorough analysis that details regular battery usage. To create the best battery, these tests have provided Durcell with important information in regards to how they can make their batteries far better. While Procell batteries are given a somewhat higher charge, that is also an indicator of the difference of the Coppertop and Procell batteries A standard 9 volt Duracell battery is given a 9 volt charge, while a 9 volt Procell battery has a 9.5 volt charge.

Typically, consumers will be unable to locate the Procell batteries in stores because they are for a more industrial type use. To be able to purchase Procell batteries, you must search online or order them through a supplier and you will likely need to purchase them in bulk with the minimum purchase volume differing depending on the supplier. In addition to being more difficult to find, Procell batteries can be more expensive than regular consumer batteries, but they are also more reliable and have a longer life than consumer grade batteries.

It might be worth considering buying the Durcell Procell batteries if you are looking for batteries. Many reviewers rave about their longevity and dependability versus regular consumer batteries. People can use them for their CD players until finally they can t work anymore, then transfer them to hand-held game consoles until they don t work for those, then to their television remote’s, all while lasting longer than the regular batteries they can purchase at the store. Worth looking into, Procell batteries can be used in so many everyday electronic while offering you a longer life cycle as well.

You’re going to get longer life in your

Duracell Procell Batteries

, when compared with other types, to power all of your electronic products. For further particulars on, view them at the website,


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A Superior Battery For All Your Electronics Needs Is Duracell Procell

Science curriculum director resigns from Texas Education Agency

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christine Comer resigned this month as the director of the science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency‘s (TEA) director after more than nine years. Comer said her resignation was due to pressure from officials who claimed she had given the appearance of criticizing the teaching of intelligent design.

According to documents obtained by the Austin American-Statesman, “Comer was put on 30 days paid administrative leave shortly after she forwarded an e-mail in late October announcing a presentation by Barbara Forrest, a critic of the intelligent design/creationist movement. Forrest served as an expert witness at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial. At Dover, intelligent design was ruled “a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.” There is widespread scientific support for evolution, while creationism has been described as pseudoscience by the scientific community.

Comer’s resignation comes shortly ahead of the TEA’s State Board of Education (SBOE) reviews of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which determine what should be taught in the classrooms and what textbooks are bought.

The advocacy group Texas Citizens for Science have released a statement saying, in part, “The real reason [Comer] was forced to resign is because the top TEA administrators and some SBOE members wanted her out of the picture before the state science standards—the science TEKS—were reviewed, revised, and rewritten next year. Plans are underway by some SBOE members and TEA administrators to diminish the requirement to teach about evolutionary biology in the Biology TEKS and to require instead that biology instructors ‘Teach the Controversy’ about the ‘weaknesses’ of evolution, that is, teach the Creationist-inspired and -created bogus controversy about evolution that doesn’t exist within legitimate science.”

Professor PZ Myers, biology professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, wrote that Forrest is “exactly the kind of person boards of education ought to consult before going down the road of attempting to legislate religion into the public schools.”

In reaction to the news Forrest told National Center for Science Education, “In my talk, I simply told the truth — about the history of the ‘intelligent design’ movement, about the complete rejection of its claims by the scientific community, and about the Kitzmiller trial and my involvement in it. Maybe the TEA can’t afford to take a position on what constitutes good science education — maybe it must remain neutral on whether or not to lie to students about evolution — but if so, that’s just sad.”

Agency officials declined to comment, saying it was a personnel issue.

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Man claims Blue Man Group put camera down throat; allegations denied

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Blue Man Group issued a press release Friday morning refuting a man’s claims that they forced a tube down his throat as part of a show.

Earlier this week, audience participant James Srodon filed a court claim in Cook County Circuit Court that members of performance trio forced a dirty tube down his throat against his will while he was part of a skit called “Esophagus Video.”

The description of the incident is not true, says the musical performance group.

“We are shocked and surprised to learn of the allegations made in reference to one of our comedic pieces, ‘Esophagus Video,'” the group said.

Srodon claims that he was unexpectedly approached and had a tubular camera forced down his throat during an October 2006 performance at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre. He claims he had his head was forced back and one of the Blue Men forced the tube in him. The joke is to show footage from the inside of the audience member.

The Blue Man Group says that nothing actually goes down anyone’s throat.

” ‘Esophagus Video’ is simply an illusion,” the group wrote in its press release. “A camera is held in an actor’s hands, the actor’s hands are placed near an audience member’s mouth (not on or in). The live-feed video screen then switches to a pre-recorded medical video, resulting in the hilarious and absurd illusion that the audience is peering down an individual’s esophagus. Because the camera never enters the mouth, the execution of this illusion could not possibly put anyone at risk of injury.”

The group added the skit and skits like it have been performed for the past 15 years by them without complaint.

The Californian is suing on the basis that the alleged tube was unsafely dirty and that his experience being cornered gave him post-traumatic stress and nightmares.

Srodon also claims he lost fillings and dental work because of the tube. The suit is reported to be seeking damages of more than $500,000, however the group reported that they have not been served papers as of Friday morning.

The Blue Man Group has a lot of audience participation as part of their show and is a Las Vegas fixture. The music and comedy group came to public consciousness around 2000.

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Emergency declared in US state of Washington, eight additional casualties, many still without power

Monday, December 18, 2006

A state of emergency was declared Sunday for the U.S. state of Washington by governor Christine Gregoire, as additional reports of storm-related casualties surfaced. The state National Guard has been deployed to aid in distributing supplies.

Thousands were still without power in the coastal and Puget Sound regions, though most urban areas were back with power as late as Sunday afternoon, and outages were mostly contained to rural and unincorporated areas. Puget Sound Energy reported that roughly 500,000 energy customers out of the 700,000 who lost power were back in service by Sunday evening. Seattle City Light, the city’s independent municipal utility, reported only 18,000 customers still without power as of Monday morning, down from a peak of 175,000.

Four additional deaths related to the post-storm power outage had been reported as of Monday, bringing the total number of casualties to eight. A man in Gig Harbor was electrocuted by a downed power line while walking his dog. Another man in Spanaway died when an unattended candle caused a house fire.

Two died from carbon monoxide poisoning in separate incidents related to use of combustion devices indoors. Roughly a hundred additional cases of non-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning were reported from people using generators or grills indoors. News radio stations and authorities warned the public to stay away from downed power lines and not to use grills indoors. Dr. Neil Hampson at Virginia Mason’s hyperbaric unit, where a number of victims were being treated, warned it could be “the worse case of carbon monoxide poisioning in the country”.

On Monday, four new carbon-monoxide deaths were reported in a family of five in Burien due to an indoor generator. In Canada, which had some damage from the week’s storms, two southern British Columbia carbon monoxide deaths were also reported. Despite continued warnings, hospitals are still seeing cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, including a family in w:Shoreline, Washington which was taken to the hospital after they reported symptoms due to their indoor grill. Neighbors of the Burien family suggested that noise concerns are leading people to place noisy generators indoors.

The massive power outage left many stores and gas stations unable to operate. Some businesses opened with the help of backup generators, conserving power by foregoing heat and refrigeration, exterior lighting, and half the interior lighting. Most stores had run out of “D” size batteries, the most common size for flashlights, as well as firelogs and other essentials. Gasoline shortages were reported throughout the area, with one man selling excess fuel for as high as $15 per gallon, over 5 times the average retail price.

The Red Cross set up shelters throughout King and other affected counties for those without power or food. Hotels reported no vacancies as whole families took shelter in powered hotels, especially in Seattle. Restaurants also reported brisk business as people sought out a hot cooked meal. Tons of perishable food were expected to have become unsafe after the prolonged outage disabled refrigerators and freezers both in homes and stores.

Many of those without power visited nearby friends and family living where power had been continued or restored, while others traveled out of the area to places that had not been affected. The widespread outage made long-distance traveling treacherous on some major routes, with roadway lighting, cellular towers, and services disabled by the outage.

Most major roadways which were closed during the storm were reopened on Friday. The 520 Floating Bridge over Lake Washington, a major conduit to the technology-rich Eastside, sustained minor damage. Amtrak, which had halted its Cascades service, resumed Saturday evening. Sea-Tac Airport resumed operations with a reduced flight load, after a transient power outage on Friday disabled the airport radar and caused all planes to be grounded until it was repaired.

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Digital Hearing Aids: Is The Cost Worth It?

By Steve DeWall

With the selling price of most digital goods over the spectrum in a freefall, why does it seem to be that electronic digital assistive hearing devices prices are still stratospheric? Digital assistive hearing aids are the latest and greatest but their associated costs feel unrestrained. We review what tends to make these types of high tech products so costly and exactly what you’ll be personally gaining for your hard earned money.

The cost of just one digital assistive hearing device may range from around $1750 to over $5000 at the retail level. The prices are undoubtedly great but let’s take a look on the reason why digital hearing assistive devices enjoy such a high price tag specifically in comparison to their analog brothers and sisters. A good reason that hearing aids command high costs is because of all the time that is invested into development and research. Another cause for the large price tag is that these devices incorporate miniaturized computer chips, helping to make them much more effective, but also highly priced. You can often expect to pay more when you are purchasing the latest electronic devices and assistive hearing devices are no different regrettably. Just take a look at the latest noise reduction headphones. You can see that it’s the very same with assistive hearing aid price tags as with the best noise canceling headsets available; the latest and greatest take a while for prices to fall.

Don’t worry though; specials on digital hearing aids are available to a thrifty purchaser. Don’t forget that there is a great deal of competition among assistive hearing aid retailers. Moreover, the World Wide Web allows consumers to obtain a far better deal. You can easily pay less if you are diligent in thoroughly conducting research.

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As stated above, assistive hearing aid devices are excessively expensive. However, should you search intelligently you’ll be able to uncover many inexpensive choices on the market. The money necessary for digital assistive hearing aid devices is based mostly on the brand and model of assistive hearing device plus exactly what features it possesses.

The more cash you are prepared to invest, the more you’ll be pleased with the fine detail and top quality of the sounds you are able to pick up. If you are able to enter the high end of electronic digital assistive hearing aid device market, you will be totally fascinated with the wealth of sound you can pick up. Consumers say that they are able to pick up even the faintest noises, and perhaps the most talked about outcomes tend to be the way these high end designs have the ability to eradicate all feedback. These high tech devices also have a directional microphone, which may be directed at the user’s front, thereby removing extraneous surrounding noises.

For those individuals that already wear analog units, an upgrade to a digital design will provide arresting sound quality in regular day-to-day scenarios. A profound enhancement in hearing common everyday sounds is only the start. Where electronic hearing aids really earn their money is eradicating background noises. Adjustments can be done without having to mess with the volume control. A short time ago my brother-in-law, who sports high tech hearing assistive devices, pointed to a chat involving two individuals around forty feet away and asked me if I wanted to know what they were discussing. He had that much fidelity and enhancement!

If you decide that an electronic assistive hearing device is for you then first check with an ear doctor. Your ear doctor will run tests to help find out the level and root cause of your hearing disability. Digital hearing assistive devices are in general programmable so do not be surprised if you must go back to the doctor’s clinic a few times to get the product tuned in precisely the way you like. It could take some patience from you but the advantages are really worth your time. Assistive hearing aids cost a lot, but you ought not cut corners with something as essential as your hearing. Start by exploring the best hearing assistive devices and go from that point.

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Internet group Anonymous hacks No Cussing Club’s website, owner’s e-mail account

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wikinews has learned that the internet group known only as “Anonymous” has hacked the website of the No Cussing Club (NCC),, for at least two days in a row. On day one, the group hacked into the website, replacing the content with links to images of alleged e-mail conversations. The e-mails appear to be from the founder’s e-mail account, accusing organization members of forgery and using the site for their own personal financial gains. The website was also replaced with Anonymous’s logo and a message. On January 22, they again attacked the website, by means of a Distributed Denial-of-service attack (DDoS), bringing it offline periodically throughout the day. Anonymous attacked the Scientology website in 2008 with a DDoS attack, taking it off-line for at least two days.

“It has come to our attention that the creators of the no cussing club, McKay and Brent Hatch have done so at great personal gain. Their material promotes the organization as the brainchild of their 14-year-old son, when actually the material is written by his parents, who also manage his profitable career while using his speaking events to plug their own material,” said Anonymous on the hacked website. On Encyclopedia Dramatica, a satire Wiki, they claim further responsibility for the hack and exposition saying they managed to break into McKay and Brent Hatch’s email accounts. “[the accounts got] haxx0rd and via this astonishing development passwords were got and a certain website got its shit ruined.”

According to the NCC’s website, it has 20,000 members worldwide, was founded in 2007 by McKay Hatch, a 14-year-old boy, and aims at discouraging swearing in public places such as schools. In 2008, McKay even succeeded in making cussing illegal in his hometown of South Pasadena, California and has appeared on various talk shows such as that of Doctor Phil. However, according to e-mails leaked to Wikinews, allegedly written by the boy’s father Brent, a motivational speaker also owning Dawson Publishing, the parents are allegedly using the site and their son’s material for their own personal financial gain. Anonymous also claims that the parents have forged some of their son’s writings and claim it to be his.

The e-mails allege that Brent along with his publishing company, the name which “” is also registered under, were trying to set up assemblies in the No Cussing Club’s name at schools across the United States for US$1,500.00 per show and would then pocket the money, doing the same for postcards they created for churches and schools.

“McKay spoke last night to a group of 40 people, and at the end of his presentation, there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. I know this is going to work because the message is so important. Thanks for all you do and I hope we can work together for a long time, and of course make money in the process,” said Brent in an alleged e-mail conversation on November 25, 2008. Earlier in August 2008, Brent spoke about hoping to reach a “goal” of “2.5 million dollars” by selling thousands of postcards to “schools and churches”.

On January 19, 2009, ABC reported that McKay claimed Anonymous was sending him and his family hate e-mail and death threats, nearly 50,000 per day, “almost all of them filled with obscenities” and spam. On the NCC’s website, McKay calls himself the “most cyberbullied kid on the planet” because of Anonymous’s attacks.

“A lot of people were saying I was taking away their freedom of speech,” said McKay to ABC News on January 16. “All I was trying to do was raise awareness.” He says he formed the club because his schoolmates were sick of hearing people swear in public. Wikinews contacted the NCC to confirm or deny the reports, but would only say that “the FBI is [working] on it [the case]” including “our attorney and we will press charges” against those who are responsible for the crimes.

Anonymous is known to prank and hack websites and e-mail accounts. In September 2008, the group hacked into, the official website of Fox News Channel commentator Bill O’Reilly, exposing personal information of the site’s users in a document posted on the internet.

The NCC is located in South Pasadena. According to the California Penal Code §502 part C of the computer hacking laws, depending on the offense if caught, punishments could be a “fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three years, or by both that fine and imprisonment, or by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment”.

On October 20, 2008, Dmitriy Guzner, aged 18 from New Jersey, admitted to the charges related to carrying out the DDoS attack on Scientology’s website. He was subsequently charged with computer hacking crimes and faces a maximum sentence of ten years imprisonment.

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Fire burns home of late singer Johnny Cash

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A fast-moving fire engulfed the home of late singer Johnny Cash on Tuesday. The lake-side home, located in Hendersonville, Tennessee, was the home of the late singer and his wife, June Carter, from the late 1960s until their deaths in 2003.

The home was purchased by former Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb in 2006, and was undergoing renovations at the time. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but it is believed that a flammable wood preservative that construction workers had applied contributed to the speed in which the flames spread. Firefighters responded within 5 minutes of the fire breaking out. No workers were killed in the fire, but one firefighter suffered minor injuries.

“Maybe it’s the good Lord’s way to make sure that it was only Johnny’s house,” said Richard Sterban of The Oak Ridge Boys, who lived down the road from Cash. Neighbor Marty Stewart said “So many prominent things and prominent people in American history took place in that house—everyone from Billy Graham to Bob Dylan went into that house.” The home was where Cash wrote many of his hit songs, and appeared in the Cash music video for “Hurt“.

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Printing Posters As Marketing Tool

Submitted by: Johnray Daniels

When what you want is a high impact form of marketing, then posters is what you need. When designed effectively from a reliable printing service, your posters can double as the wallpaper of your store for a more personalized interior atmosphere. But, though may seem easy to produce, poster printing can go wrong and cost you a lot of money. Here are some tips to get the best investment out of your poster.

When to use posters? Your first though would probably be concerts and movies. Well that is true as we often see posters of these events plastered all subway stations. Basically, this material is used for these occasions because of the impact it offers. But even the business industry can use posters. Some of the occasions this material can be use in business are when offering buy 1 get 1 offers, offering special promos, introducing products, an upcoming business event such as trade shows, conferences, etc., cross promotion such as a hotel promoting accommodation in a restaurant.

Design rules. You can get people to look at your poster and read your message with these ideas:

oUse images of people

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oUse attractive colors.

oYou can use stylish fonts, but be sure that your message is still readable

oTell the benefit your product or service to your customers whether it is to save money or enjoy get a new experience

oUse a unique element to draw attention

oDon t stuff too much information or graphics. If your poster looks too confusing and unorganized, no one would be encouraged to read furthe

Keep your poster short and easy to read. It s easy to get tempted to put a lot of information in your poster. But if your overcrowd information in your material, you are only making it unreadable. Be sure to create a copy that is simple and direct. Choose your words carefully. When organizing details, make a hierarchy with the most important information on top and descending according to relevance. Keep in mind that the eye reads from top to bottom, left to right, so you need to meet that impulse. When it comes to the font, you can use stylish and elaborate fonts as long as it is legible from a distance of 8 to 10 feet.

The materials to use. If your poster printing will be posted outside from a long period of time, be sure to use heavy and durable material. Ask the printing company about heavy duty materials that they offer. Naturally, this would cost you more, but the investment will be all worth it in the end. There are printing companies that will give your display options such as stands or hangers, and there are others who will create your design on an adhesive that post straight on the window. Ask your printer about these. These options will likewise cost you more.

It is important that you keep your poster fresh and current by creating new ones once in a while, or reusing your old posters. You can consider creating new ones as the season changes or during the important holidays of the year. Just keep your material fresh and you are will be sure that people will pay attention to what you have to say.

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Genetically altered mice are “superathletes”

Friday, November 2, 2007

Researchers at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio have announced the creation of transgenic mice with substantially improved athletic endurance, which live and breed longer and are more aggressive than genetically unmodified siblings, and are leaner despite consuming 60% more food. The mice have been dubbed “mighty mice” or “supermice” by the popular press and have been compared to cyclist Lance Armstrong.

The changes were created by adding an extra copy of a single gene, PEPCK-C. This gene is already present in the mouse genome, but the modified gene is designed to be strongly active (transcribed) in skeletal muscle. (The natural copy of the gene, most active in the liver, continues to function normally). The gene mediates a crucial rate controlling step of gluconeogenesis and glyceroneogenesis, and its activity helps to allow energy production by the mitochondrial citric acid cycle. In the transgenics, more energy is available to muscle through the burning of fatty acids, with much less production of lactate (a chemical that leads to sore muscles when one exercises). This is not as major a change to the mouse genome as it might seem to the layperson. The PEPCK-C gene is already present in the mouse and a variety of natural mutations could likely cause similar results. The study appears today in the Journal of Biological Chemistry in a paper with lead author Parvin Hakimi from the laboratory of Richard W. Hanson.

The altered mice can run at 20 meters per minute (0.75 miles per hour or 1.2 kilometers per hour) for up to six kilometers (nearly four miles) without stopping. The average treadmill time for strenuous exercise on a 25-degree incline is 31.9 minutes, well in excess of the 19 minute average of unmodified mice. Females can breed at two and a half years of age, whereas most female mice cannot breed after the first year.

A colony of 500 mice has been bred, starting from six independent germline transformations (“founder” mice). The level of PEPCK-C in muscle is 9 units per gram of muscle as opposed to only 0.08 in normal mice. Levels of triglycerides and the number of mitochondria are also increased.

Hanson said that he did not expect that the results would be applicable to humans due to both practical and ethical considerations in addition to the fact that the genes might not function the same way in humans.

This is not the first time that the press has dubbed a genetically modified mouse a “mighty mouse”. Earlier scientists at John Hopkins University announced that they had made mice with massively increased muscle mass that were larger and stronger than their normal cousins. These alterations increased strength rather than endurance through the genetic modification of myostatin and follistatin, or by injection of a soluble form of ACVR2B to block myostatin activity in normal mice.

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