Monthly Archives: September 2013

Zombie Attack Leaves Students Stunned

Today, terror gripped the students of this morning’s QUT Online Journalism 1 lecture as they found themselves facing a shamble of zombies.

A traumatised first-hand account.

The Zombies took off with the Journalism lecturer Susan Hetherington as terrified students looked on. She is still missing and presumed turned or eaten.

A hubcap torn off in the mindless destruction.

A hubcap torn off in the mindless destruction.

A student who cannot be named was almost attacked by the undead, staving off the decomposing horrors with a simple but powerful phrase, “Don’t smell me.”

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Ms Hetherington will be remembered by friends and family in the coming days in a private ceremony. It will not be an open casket.

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Racing Queensland crackdown on drenching with i-Stat

Mounting pressures on Racing Queensland have caused the executives to step up the controls in place keep illegal practices out of stables, announced earlier this week at Eagle Farm racecourse.

One of the biggest issues is the practice of drenching on race day, which will be combatted with random inspections of stables with the help of a newly acquired technology.

The machine used by RQ

CEO Racing Queensland Darren Condon said the planned racing crackdown is a result of the State Government pressuring the industry to clean up its act.

“[This is] a new initiative of Racing Queensland as part of the mandate of the new government, that our integrity unit of the business would grow and be more focused on eliminating unfair practices and illegal practices in racing,” he said.

Queensland racing authorities say they will carry out spot checks on horses, stables and trainers in an effort to reduce illegal activities on race day; the aim is to level the playing field for all involved.

Racing Queensland Chairman of Stewards Wade Birch said, “We’ve now got to work towards eliminating any other opportunities for participants to gain an unfair advantage over their fellow participants.”

Drenching is when administrating bi-carbonate directly to a horse’s stomach with a pipe inserted through the nose artificially increases a horse’s blood-oxygen levels.

This insures all the bi-carbonate is absorbed by the horse, making it run faster for longer.

The entrance to Eagle Farm

Authorities plan to monitor illegal drenching using their new i-Stat machine.

The machine tests a horse’s blood and can tell if the bi-carbonate level is above the legal limit.

Inspectors will also monitor medical records and other suspect practices in racing stables.

The racing industry is one of Queensland’s largest and concerned members have welcomed the crackdown. Veteran horse trainer John Meagher is one of those in favour of the new steps taken.

“Its the third biggest employer of people across the board,” he said.

“It has its place.

“People who are cheating, I have no time for them.”

Racing Queensland has dealt with two serious suspensions and at least 20 minor breaches since the scheme began last month. They also have said the average bi-carbonate level in horses in Queensland have lowered sharply since the scheme began.

And if you were wondering where Eagle Farm is located:

Define: “Social Media, Redux”

Redux – noun. Recycling a topic because I wrote a slightly relevant column for it in Feature Writing. Wouldn’t you?

I’m a big fan of social media. Judging by how much of my day I spend checking Facebook or Instagram for the latest scoop on just what my friends are doing, I could even be considered an addict. Snapchat is also a driving force behind my social media consumption. Who doesn’t want to endlessly spam their friends with pointless photos of your lunch, shoes or even study you’re desperately trying to avoid by roping some poor shmuck into a Snapchat conversation that spans hours? Maybe even posting a witty or widely appealing status on Facebook to watch the likes and gratifying comments roll in? Just me? Okay then.

As it turns out, the prevailing attitude regarding the recent phenomenon that is social media isn’t all that pleasant. Granted I get this general impression from a quick Google search where I literally searched “social media is making us less social.” This is an entirely different story on its own, with research pointing toward the fact that we remember and learn things entirely different because of the ease of access that comes with the advent of Google and other search engines. I digress though, if you want to learn more about it, you should Google it.

An article by the website elitedaily.com was the first result in my Google search (which took no more than 0.25 seconds), and their stance on the subject of social media is a negative one. Paul Hudson over at Elite Daily seems to think that the miasmic effect that social media has on social behaviour doesn’t come from the technology itself, but from the need for constant stimulation and relief from boredom desired by humanity as a whole. In fact, in the time I’ve been writing this article I’ve checked Facebook no less than three times. Make that four.

The constant checking my phone for news on the activities of my friends can be attributed to one of the countless mantras of the social media generation which was brutally cut down to an acronym, FOMO. FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. If you’re scared of heights, you’d avoid ledges. If you’re scared of spiders, you squash them (or run away screaming, but I don’t judge). To squash the proverbial spider of FOMO, sufferers keep their three-to-five-inch screens inches away from their faces as frequently as possible.

A website who I thought would be more favourable toward the use of social media, socialmediatoday.com, posted an article last year asking the same question I am, “is social media is making us less social?” While the author, Stephen Dale, set out a few good arguments and statistics, he eventually took the “social media is indeed making us less social, wake up sheeple” approach (NB: I may be paraphrasing here). If anything, I think my social media-driven FOMO makes me more social. But that’s just me.

Going back to a point I made earlier, for some people Facebook (and similarly, Twitter and Instagram) can be a fantastic source of gratification. Comedian Marc Maron articulated this really well on his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. Maron likens the obsession of the world at large with social media to a seven-year-old child crying out for acknowledgement. A webcomic called Zen Pencils took Maron’s words on the subject and visually represented the phenomenon as similar to the way a heroin user gets a hit.

Despite all this, I’ll remain a faithful user of social media. It keeps my FOMO pressed down and keeps me in touch with people I wouldn’t generally be social with. It makes me more social, but I’ve never been one to check my phone at the dinner table.

Define: “Employment Anxiety”

Employment Anxiety – noun. Anxious feelings toward the prospect of leaving Uni and getting a job.

FAIRFAX FULL YEAR RESULTS

I’ve run out of ideas. Sort of. Well, interesting ideas. So that is why for this blog post I want to talk about one of the things running around my head.

And that is my latest made up term, “Employment Anxiety.”

Some, if not most, if not all university students will at some time feel this. It’s not really made up I suppose. I may have made that part up.

In any event, I’m getting near the back end of my university career. Then I get to start my career career. If I can get a job. Which is a pretty terrifying concept. So where am I going with this? Well in journalism getting a job seems more like an insurmountable task than something to look forward to.

I feel this way generally because we keep being told that journalism is competitive business. Like I said in my first blog post, one of the first things we were taught were to blog consistently to keep our readership up and increase the odds that we’d be selected for a job doing what we’ve spent a minimum of 3 years working to achieve.

With ominous threats of downsizing and shrinking news rooms, lecturers don’t really fill us students with confidence. Of course this isn’t just some negative noise we’re exposed to, these things really are happening.

It’s concerning enough that when I hear about another journalism student say they’re not sure what they’ll be doing when they finish Uni or say they’d rather do something else on completion I have a little moment of internal victory.

Employment Anxiety is also affecting what I put on this blog. If I wanted to write a scathing report on the state of the Murdoch media, would that hurt my chance of getting a job later on? This is all providing someone is actually listening.

So there you have it. Witty outro.

Hey look, another exercise!

This is practice for an exam I’ll be doing next week. Yikes.

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With the impending election rapidly approaching and Kevid Rudd and the Labor Party’s heads all on a chopping block, he stands ready to launch his campaign to keep the Parliment in Labor hands. By all accounts a Labor victory isn’t a sure thing, so what the Prime Minister says now could have a lasting impact on the election. Live from the Brisbane Powerhouse and Convention Centre.

3:13 Kevin Rudd welcomes the audience, denies that Labor is done, “If you say the fight is up, you haven’t seen nothing yet.” “we can prevail and we will prevail.” ” A fair go for all.”

3:15 KRudd lists the acoplishments of the Labor Party, Whitlam to Gillard. Labor believes in progressive politics. They build up services,  conservatives tear them down.

3:17 KRudd admits Labor makes mistakes. “Those who make mistakes are those who have never done anything in life.” According to Rudd this is how they move forward.

3:18 Rudd wants to live in an Australia where people don’t fear losing their jobs, considering his position – not surprisning.

3:19 New industries to drive the economy in Australia. Better broadband, schooling and health are what Rudd wants to bring to Australia.

3:20 Rudd and Labor want Australia to be free of descrimination; racial, homophobia.