The Null Device
It looks like Australia may be facing another tightening of its already notorious censorship laws, this time governing TV nudity; Australia's equivalent of the Janet Jackson nipple outrage is reality-TV-show contestants getting it on in a hot-tub, which has made it into Federal parliamentary debates:
"What we basically have is pornography and full frontal nudity on television at a time when children are watching. These people have an aspiration to be porn stars," Draper told Reuters.It's hard to believe that this is the country that, only five years earlier, was considering introducing a "non-violent erotica" film classification.
At least Howard/Hillsong Australia c.2005 isn't quite as bad as Iran, where the government is microwaving its own population to save them from satellite-TV-borne "westoxication". The huge volumes of microwaves being pumped into population centres as Iran's elections approach are claimed to cause everything from migraines to birth defects or worse; though what are a few brain tumours compared to eternal salvation?
Google Maps now has satellite imagery (of varying resolution) and coastlines/borders for the entire world. While Australia is probably far from getting anything like street maps (in terms of potential AdWords revenue per square kilometre, for example, it'd probably trail some way behind Europe and Asia, making it a low priority, unless they just do the major cities or something), it does have maximum-resolution satellite maps. Here, for example, is a view of Brunswick St. and the Fitzroy Pool. And here is Merri Creek and the last house I lived. (Searches on "fitzroy north" draw a blank right now, though; apparently there are no places by this name in the UK or North America. There are quite a few Brunswick Streets in Britain, though.)
Interestingly enough, much of Carlton/Parkville is shrouded in cloud, and the resolution drops off sharply just east of the State Library (it appears that they only have high-res photos for a chunk of Melbourne from Hobsons Bay to Geelong and some adjoining chunks). This, however, is a lot better than Sydney appears to have fared; I believe that this is the coathanger at the highest resolution they've currently got it; though things get much clearer below that for some reason. Meanwhile, Brisbane gets some nice photos, as do Perth and Adelaide. Darwin and Hobart, however, are blurred. It also manages to find Ballarat, Wollongong, Cairns and Albury (though be sure to put in "australia", otherwise it'll ask whether you want the one in Hertfordshire or Surrey), but draws a blank at suburbs and smaller places.