Tag Archives: Australia

The Purpose of a Dairy Cow is a Life to be Used

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Cows-in-field

A group of Dairy Cows. Source

Wherever we have technology there are humans who created it and change it, and wherever we have humans we have animals that are having technology used upon them for better and for worse. With an ongoing relationship between humans and animals, technology provides itself as a catalyst to further aide in the development of that relationship. Looking at the humble dairy cow and the technology that has changed the way we engage with them we can see both the positive and negative aspects that technology has created. The ethics involved around using technology throughout a cows’ life for its purpose in life.

Starting with the birth of baby cows; calves. We are greeted with the way in which the mother is kept and looked after. As the need to create more and more food to look after more and more people research has found that utilizing the proper housing space for your animals is beneficial to the longevity of your animals and for producing more milk. From the time of just having an open field with cows roaming, barns have been built to house cows with soft mattresses, sand beds or water beds for them to sleep on. This change of behaviour from people towards their cows is a simple matter of thinking about the care of the cow. This answered the question about what would make a cow comfortable to produce more milk with barns and mattresses among other things were the solution. This aided in the cows producing more milk but is a small scale of growth in getting results as more has been done.

The building of the barn also benefited in the birthing of calves. As with any creature that gives birth there can be complications – cows are no exception. Technology has aided in finding out signs in knowing how far along a cow is along it its production cycle and being able to identify signs that show birth is close. Those signs being change in body temperature, respiration and heart rates, enlargement of the vulva and udder changes among other things. These signs provide a guideline for when the birth may occur but the time can still change so much and the handlers would not be ready. Research conducted by R. G. Mortimer proves that the difficulty a cow faces when birthing can be detrimental to the purpose of the cow in the long run. A milking cow that faces trauma from giving birth can subsequently end up producing less milk and have difficulties getting pregnant again. Cameras and sensors have been used as a simple solution to dealing with surprise time-of-day births. As human involvement as well as technology is the solution for this crisis.

For cows that live the life of being on a dairy farm they are only useful if they produce large quantities of milk as over the years a greater demand for milk has occurred. Dairy Australia has found that over the past 30 years milk production has nearly doubled – 5,432 million litres in the 1979/80 to 9,539 million litres in 2015/16. Further research showed they produce larger quantities of milk when that have gone through the pregnancy cycle. It is now in the farmer’s best interest to get their cows pregnant as quickly as possible, having one calf after another. Technology plays a part in finding the right times of a cows’ life that “forced” pregnancy would be ideal to occur and to close the window from subsequent births. Software called AfiFarm is the most comprehensive management software that can be tailored to the farmers needs that creates an efficient way to get the most out of dairy cows. Being able to analyse weight, milk conductivity, pedometers, and the milk the cow is producing for fat:protein ratio. Problems such as illnesses and natural defects can be found and solved before they get serious and affect the milk yield from the cow. As the purpose of these dairy cows is to produce milk, if they lose their purpose then they are killed. The average life span of a dairy cow is seen to be around 20 years, however with the forced involvement of humans and technology a lot of dairy cows barely make it past 7 years old.


Looking at how often dairy cows need to be pregnant and how many calves need to be born not for the purpose of being a part of the herd but for the purpose of having the mother gestate for milk. Technology has been used in a darker, less compassionate way. These little calves that are born with no purpose and in a majority of cases are killed, or sold overseas then killed. The main purpose if not killed as soon as being born is to be crated in a small 22 inch by 54 inch for 5 to 14 weeks then killed for veal. Male dairy calves serve no purpose for producing milk or being a beef cow as the breed of cows are different, so every male calf is sent away and killed. Not every female calf escapes this fate either as the only need for a female calf is to replace a member of the herd. The Department of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin reports that the gender ratio of dairy cow’s calves is Male 53.3% to Female 46.7%. Taken from their mothers within 12 – 24 hours (sometimes immediately), the mothers will never see their calf again. In Australia, it has been estimated that 400,000 calves each year serve no purpose – not wanted for replacement of the herd or wanted for veal. These calves are considered as “waste products” and are destroyed within 5 – 6 days of being born.

In cases where the farmer sees the benefit in getting a pregnant cow that is close to giving birth back into the milking herd. They will call a veterinarian to induce the cow into giving birth sooner than expected, seen to be at least 3 weeks premature. In most cases the premature calf is too weak and killed instantly on the farm by the farmer. While the mother is sent back through the milking station as that is the purpose of her. The purpose that dairy cows have is straight forward, but the technology used on them as people change with technology continues to affect the animals that humans use. When there are animals that no longer serve a purpose then what happens to them is simply death. When animals serve a purpose then they are cared for and looked after as much as possible to maintain that purpose.

Solutions have been talked about in providing a more stable environment for dairy cows and their calves. Looking at having cows that are useful for both milk and beef production like the Holstein breed of cow in the pictures above is useful for multiple purposes. Farmers have also initiated an understanding of limiting the amount of milk a cow will give each day so there is always enough to raise a healthy calf. The dairy cow is quintessential to the cow milk industry so being looked after and cared for is a priority, though as technology develops and demand has been increased then there is the difficult solution of putting which priority over another.

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Aussie Film In Crisis

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The Australian Film Industry has been facing a crisis. Australians aren’t interested in watching or creating Australian made films without being tied to big budget Hollywood movies and actors. The Queensland film industry has declined by two-thirds in 2012/13 from what it once was. The belief of a high Australian dollar, the lack of effort from Government business who are supposed to attract over-seas films being created and worked on in Australia, and the Australian people who don’t support Australian made movies has all impacted on the decline of Australian productions and needs to be changed in order to rejuvenate the industry.

Though there is only speculation about what Australia can do to revitalize its Movie Industry we can look at other countries and see how they managed to keep their Industry alive.

The United Kingdom’s Government has invested money in creative industries. By investing in the creative services and building state-of-the-art sound stages that are purposely built for the Film Industry, the UK is able to promote the best resources for any potential interest for film as well as allow for the reduction of red tape costs as creating a space dedicated for big productions allows for an ease in getting a start up in the UK.

Australia has both the Australian Film Commission (AFC) and the Film Finance Corporation (FFC) that aides in funding, the comparative cost of filming a big budget film is lackluster compared to other countries that create films. Such as that of Canada where their film industry problem was that they have the money to create big budget films but they don’t have the audience. Canada implemented two changes to cater this issue. The first being to preference commercial creations that are linked to user-friendly genres and number two being to relax transnational elements such as foreign actors.

The United Kingdom and Canada have fixed their Film Industry issues Australia is still in need. While Australia can invest money in creative industries, put preference in commercial creations or lift the cost of bringing transnational talent to Australian shores will these tricks get the Australian people to go an Australian created movie.

Top 10 Aussie grossed films in Australia

Top 10 Aussie grossed films in Australia

Looking at Australia’s Top 100 grossing feature films of all time, listed here, there are only two movies that made it in 2013, those being The Great Gatsby at number 6 and The Railway Man at number 40, 26 Australian movies were made in 2013. In 2012 there were only four movies that made it onto the list. The Great Gatsby and The Railway man while nice to see on the list that Australians are watching some movies it could be that the movie star well known Hollywood actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby and Colin Firth and Nicole KidmanĀ  in The Railway Man.

NBN and high-control speed

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Julia Gillard becomes Australia’s 27th Prime Minister with a promise to fulfill an idea of a National Broadband Network (NBN) first brought to our attention by ex Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with the intention of every Australian having access to high-speed internet regardless of location within Australia. This undertaking of the NBN would bring Australia to a new era of high-speed internet that has never been seen before and comparable to other developed countries. By stripping out the old copper network and replacing it with fiber cable straight to the premise the connectivity Australia would have to the internet would be comparable to other developed countries with direct links to the internet, the world and the benefits. This plan however with the logistics and undertaking of implementing the NBN is Australia’s largest infrastructure project in history and has gone through some hurdles since it first started.

One of those hurdles was the changing of Australian Government. Changing from Labor to Liberal with Tony Abbott as Australia’s newest Prime Minister, the NBN changed with him. The first proposal of fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) became fiber-to-the-node where fiber was only being introduced to the nodes around Australia with the copper wiring staying from the node to the premise. This presented the idea of information bottlenecks – where the speed was reduced because of mass information being carried and strained at the node, which would slow down the overall speed of the internet based on the amount of users per area which want to connect.

The impact of the NBN on people would depend on the needs of individuals, families and businesses. This impact of the NBN would be seen based on the connectivity that people have now. Families with children are more likely to connect to the NBN based on the demand for information for the children. People who are single look at the cost of internet providers to justify why they should connect and how they should connect. This difference of interest based on who wants to connect impacts on the interest of the NBN. While valuing high-speed internet and what it can do – better connectivity, better information and more of an impact in the digital economy It is the potential possibilities of the NBN that are an interest to those that connect. (Nansen, B)

The capabilities of the NBN are shown to be a positive thing where the NBN is the next step for future Australia and is something that Australia can not go without. Currently with Internet Service Providers (ISP) the power for control over information can be even greater. Not specific to the NBN but those that will control the next stage of internet access there is a need to understand Network Neutrality. Network Neutrality deals with the equal treatment of Data, explained by the following video:

Network Neutrality deals with ISP’s showing equality with every piece of information on the internet. So there is no favorable information that organizations and businesses are pushing for consumption and no information that is restricted. Currently Australia has no Network Neutrality, the idea has never been suggested as it doesn’t cause much of a problem because of healthy competition thanks to Telstra ADSL as it is free to use for other competitors, and thanks to consumer protection laws by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), that is when big providers block or slow down consumer access purposely to take out competitors then the ACCC will get involved. While the ACCC keeps providers relatively inline there are some situations where there is intentional favoritism.

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Big Pond showing favoritism to websites with a green dot. Source

The impact of Network Neutrality in Australia has developed in a way where the gradual process of technology becoming more of an important aspect of everyday life has self-monitored its way where the subtle anti-competitive behavior blends in – there may be no slowing down of competition but an interest in providing free downloads for particular websites.

In America, Network Neutrality has come under threat as the big providers AT&T and Verizon have challenged the Network Neutrality rules that are in place and have successfully been allowed to control what information is monitored and restricted. This successful challenge has the potential to restrict popular sharing sites such as Netflix on how they maintain an audience and what they can provide as a service. The control over companies that use ISP’s would come under threat as they would have to follow what the big providers suggest or be at risk of having there service limited. This also impacts on the individual user, the freedom to get information from any company would also be restricted based on the preference for the ISP that they are with. Depending on the ISP affiliations and interests the user would have to deal with it and not have the ability to do anything about it. While there is always the option to change providers, if the big providers secure a monopoly then there will no room for other options.

Comparable, Australia to America are at different stages for what their networks do and how they are maintained. The introduction of the NBN could give way the same possibilities that America currently has and possibly worse scenarios of control information already shown in Australia. The control of data is already present but how will it affect Australia with an increased digital economy when the NBN comes around.

 

References (in order of appearance)

National Archive of Australia, Australian Prime Ministers – Julia Gillard, accessed 25 August 2014 http://primeministers.naa.gov.au/primeministers/gillard/in-office.aspx

Advanced NBN, The National Broadband Network, accessed 25 August 2014 http://www.anbn.com.au/aboutanbn.html

Hackett, S 2011 ‘Peering Policy Gaps with the National Broadband Network’ accessed 24 August 2014 http://blog.internode.on.net/2011/05/16/peering-policy-gaps-nbn/

Nansen, B Arnold, M Wilken, R and Gibbs, M 2012 ‘Broadbanding Brunswick – High-speed Broadband and Household Media Ecologies: A report on Household Take-up and Adoption of the National Broadband Network in a First release Site‘, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Sydney

Schaffarczyk, K 2014 ‘Australia’s net neutrality lesson for the US’ accessed 25 August 2014 http://theconversation.com/australias-net-neutrality-lesson-for-the-us-22245

Mick, J 2014 ‘Network CEO Warns of Possible Future, Post-Net Neutrality’, accessed 25 August 2014 http://www.dailytech.com/Netflix+CEO+Warns+of+Possible+Grim+Future+PostNet+Neutrality/article34189.htm

What am I this week Media?

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Celebrating a mate’s birthday at the local club – being the designated driver, I find myself watching my mates and their behaviour as they are constantly consuming alcohol. I am noticing the typical early signs of being intoxicated – odd movements, random bursts of laughter and obscure ideas, higher confidence, lower social awareness and the increase of volume and vulgar language when speaking to someone that is right next to them. I also noticed the increase of appearances from security guards and staff watching us, so… it wasn’t just me paying attention to my mates.

It isn’t odd that we were being watched, the establishment, the guards and staff do have to do their jobs. Watched from across the room or being watched from all of the cameras – that were obvious. It was more about being watched about the potential dangers that could happen, not the actual behaviour going on. Watching through the cameras I suspect there to be no audio just video, so It would be not until an action that could be seen as a potential escalation of something more dangerous that my mates and I would be able to stay.

This seems to be how surveillance/CCTV/phone footage is being used by the media. To produce content for, yet against, the public by controlling the potential dangers society has to offer, until a danger occurs, then it is displayed in the media everywhere alerting the audiences to the troubles of people and countries.

For example with the current label of Australians being racist in the media shown by:

From 2 weeks ago – discussion on Sunrise

From 4 months ago

When I type “racist” then press space, I am greeted with “racist Australia” as the 4th most searched phrase in both Google and YouTube. If I type in “racist a” I get “racist Australia”, “racist Aussie jokes”, “racist Asian names” and “racist Australia jokes” rounding out the top 4 displayed on Google.

It is not just Google, YouTube and the news showing some simple clips that portray racial discrimination in Australia – sticking with the racism in Australia’s media, we are shown documents, research and interviews that both portray Australia as racist. Such as this ground breaking SBS report (published 23/2/11 – brought up each time racism enters Australian media) that says 1 in 10 Australians are racist, this story (published 5/4/13) of daily real life events from Waleed Aly (appears also on Tens The Project) who describes the passive, pervasive racism that has always been in Australia or the following video from website All Together Now

Our media has focused on a topic that creates discussion and concern to everyone. Looking at the videos above, comments made and looking at what is being searched on the net (globally), Australia is racist… until the next news story when fickle Australia becomes something else.