Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Elvis Frog

"Love me tender- uh, huh, uh!"
 
 ✴ Funny Animal Photos by Ty Buchanan 
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Netflix Begins in Australia - Foxtel Trembles!

As Australians get ready to get Netflix this month, rival media companies are trembling in trepidation. Prices are falling and packages are getting larger for Foxtel, which has held a monopoly in TV and movies mainly over a satellite network. It is partially owned by Telstra the largest phone company in Australia and Telstra does include the premium Foxtel package in its phone/broadband offering.
Foxtel got in early with its movies over broadband being already established. It is not taking the market by storm, however. Foxtel movie signups are a bit dated now that Netflix is gathering content. Unlike Foxtel which is mainly only on satellite, cable and basic broadband; Netflix will ultimately be available on all smart phones, tablets, smart TVs and gaming consoles. Foxtel Go is still only offered on ipad and Samsung GALAXY devices.

When Netflix is fully operational, users will abandon the Telstra bundle with Foxtel because it is still very expensive. A short ago Foxtel threw in two free movies each month. This is turning back the clock. A few years ago two movies a month was part of the package. It amazes me how company CEOs treat customers as if they are stupid. We do know the real value of products.


Smaller Australian media companies are entering the movie-over-Internet market.  It is not yet known how they will get their content.  Offering movies later but cheaper seems to be their only option.  This could  suit some customers.
Technology by Ty Buchanan
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Sunday, March 01, 2015

New Species of Seadragon Found after 150 Years

While new animals are regularly identified, all species of seadragons were thought to be known. Indeed, it has been 150 years since all were classified. A surprise was on hand for Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Western Australia Museum. A new type of seadragon was found off the WA coast.
Ruby Seadragon Phyllopteryx dewysea
A sample had been in a lab untested since 2007. The latest DNA testing system enables new kinds of creatures to be singled out. Named Phyllopteryx dewysea, the new seadragon is bright red in color. This is an ideal color for camouflage in deep water.

No one expected a new type, so it remained undetected until the new technique made 5,000 X-ray slices of the sample. The Ruby Seadragon has a distinct skeletal structure. It increases the number of known seadragon species by 50 per cent, because there were only two other kinds of this mysterious animal previously.
Technology by Ty Buchanan
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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Solution to Bee Die-Off?

It is not widely known just how important bees are to maintain our food output, let alone to increase it as demand strengthens. There are so many mysteries to why bees are dying off across the world. Many theories are put forward. Unfortunately, there are few answers to the problem.
Bees feeding on nectar

We need to look after the human friendly insect. It could eventually be found that bees are being killed off by chemicals. However, like other animals bees need chemicals to treat illnesses. When they become infected they change their foraging habits seeking pollen from plants that store certain chemicals. The solution to bee die-off could lie in studying this phenomenon.

Plants synthesize chemicals that attract select species of pollinators. Other substance also deter potential attackers. Herbivores have been real pests to plants for millions of years. Eating the leaves can kill plants. Insects have evolved to go where plant toxins drive herbivores away.

All nectar is not the same. If toxins can drive away herbivores, beneficial elements could attract bees as and when the insects needs it. A study infected bees with a gut parasite. One group was fed on sucrose while another group was given secondary compounds from plant nectar. The amount of parasite infestation was greatly reduced in the group which consumed secondary compounds.
✴ Chemistry by Ty Buchanan
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Cat Fool

Cat and dog play
"You don't fool me, cat."
 
 ✴ Funny Animal Photos by Ty Buchanan 
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Friday, February 27, 2015

New Peacock Spider Species in Australia

The discovery of new species in Australia is no longer a surprise. However, it is extremely interesting. Jumping (peacock) spiders, Salticidae, are the largest family of the Araneae. Peacock spiders are so called because of their bright colors.
Skeleton spider Skeletorus, Maratus sceletus
Two new species have been identified. They are named Skeletorus, Maratus sceletus, and Sparklemuffin, Maratus jactatus. The former is black with white stripes and some blue in the background. It does look like a skeleton. Sparklemuffin is blue with a unique red pattern.

Peacock spiders jump and dance around showing off their colorful abdomens. Due to prevalent predators males need to be seen by females to successfully breed and continue their existence. They have adapted well and have diversified into many types.
Science by Ty Buchanan
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Flying Dogs

"We always have such fun together, buzzing here, bouncing there."
 
 ✴ Funny Animal Photos by Ty Buchanan 
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Magic Cat

"I can do this all day."
 
 ✴ Funny Animal Photos by Ty Buchanan 
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Australia is Heading for Economic Disaster

The Australian economy is heading southward and this does not mean we are moving closer to Antarctica. Our financial health is still in primary products. The price and demand for iron ore and coal still drives the economy. At the moment the foot is really off the accelerator and we are idling downhill. We will eventually reach the bottom. Then the country will have big problems.

Tax revenue is already falling due to lower demand by China. US demand for Chinese good remains sluggish. As the world economy falls it impacts strongly on Australia. We have not made the move away from agriculture and manufacturing. This is mainly because our resource bowl has kept wages high. Manufacturing countries always have a wage differential advantage. In time, wages will rise in China as they have in Japan. Then companies will probably move to Southeast Asia.

The hope that Australia will have a increase in IT start-ups to offset the fall in resource exports is not well founded. Products in the Internet sphere have short lives, a few years at most. IT moves on the initiative of individuals. It never will be a mass employer. We need to forget this pie in the sky and concentrate on something else.
It will cost to improve employment. Government will have to subsidize companies to keep jobs here. Politicians make the same incorrect assumption over and over again - the free market will solve all economic problems. The free market has never done much without human input.  International trade exists due to comparative advantage. If a country does not have this in a sector, other sectors that do must pay.

A start would be tax breaks for enterprises who bring home their support services from India and the Philippines. To allow mining employment to fall without stimulation elsewhere is economic suicide. The country will fall into a very deep hole down the track. Opening more shopping centres is not the way go. This is not increasing the capital base. It is dividing up the market between too many sellers.
Economics by Ty Buchanan
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