[Architecture] Response that Melbourne’s Federation Square Voted as One of the World’s Best Public Squares

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Where I read the article:

Melbourne’s Federation Square voted one of the world’s best public squares

Commentary:

I’m surprised that it’s already August, but what’s more unbelievable is this…

This news came to me totally by surprise. I still remember how Melbournians were blasting how the Federation Square was a total disaster years ago.The random designs, the boring atmosphere and the visual eyesore.

“Often voted one of the ugliest places due to the deconstructivist style of the buildings, the square has come to be very successful. Why so? Well, with a constant stream of entertainment, dining and free Wi-Fi, it’s always busy with people.”

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Ah.

‘Free Wi-Fi’ – I don’t see how free Wi-Fi would help to make Federation Square one of the world’s top public squares, given that so many other places offer free internet. I think I have used the free Wi-Fi in Federation Square a couple of times before. Nothing special. It wasn’t lightning speed fast and yet it wasn’t like my home Dial-Up internet 10 years ago (Yes I am old).

Constant stream of entertainment – I have mixed feelings about this one. I do agree that Fed Square has a lot of community events happening often, whether it was the Multicultural Victoria Festival back from March, the place where Queen Elizabeth II visited back in 2011 and where everyone gathers for New Years Eve. However, I still think that Federation Square is quite empty. It feels like a large space just to walk by. Inside the Federation Square apart from ACMI (great place to go by the way), there’s basically a book store, same cafes and gift stores. To become one of the world best public spaces I would have certainly wanted more.

It’s always busy with people – Sometimes when it’s a sunny day yes I agree there are quite a lot of people sitting on those long benches.

Don’t worry. I don’t hate Federation Square, I just think it could have offered much more given that it’s in the centre of Australia’s cultural capital city. It’s not as bad as what everyone thinks and 6th place I guess is fair. I have completely nothing wrong with the architecture design (it has the Australian style feel) and I like how it’s a very relaxing and casual place. Easily accessible public transport (tram lines across the road, Flinders St Train Station on the other side, tourist shuttle bus right outside) and nice music everywhere are also bonuses. Some entertaining street performances. You name it.

A look at how other public squares were ranked against the Fed Square:

“BEST IN THE WORLD

1. Naghsh-e Jahaan Square, Isfahan, Iran

2. Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy

3. Red Square, Moscow, Russia

4. Trafalgar Square, London

5. St Peter’s Square, Vatican City

6. Federation Square, Melbourne

7. Rynek Główny, Kraków, Poland

8. Plaza de Armas, Cuzco, Peru

9. Times Square, New York

10. Tahrir Square, Cairo”

I’m surprised that Fed Square overpassed New York’s Time Square by a noticeable three spots, given that it’s so much more famous. Visually, Time Square beats Fed Square by a million bucks, but maybe it’s the loud and crowded atmosphere in Times Square that’s unbearable. Period.

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[Weather] Response to Melbourne’s Temperature dropping 11 degrees over a few minutes

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Where I read the article:

Wild weather strikes south eastern Australia, but we promise you, the weather has not gone mad. Mostly

Commentary:

I’ve lived in Melbourne all my life and yes the weather here is changing all the time. 

“THE cold front has hit Melbourne. Tullamarine Airport plummeted from 18 degrees to 7.7 in a matter of minutes this evening, while the Yarra river is bursting its banks.”

I was at Melbourne CBD today and I looked outside the window at around 3:30pm. It looked humid and warm outside, and frankly you couldn’t see any signs of rain coming. But then before an hour even passed by, I could tell that the room was getting darker as the dark clouds were. Suddenly, it was starting to rain and the temperature outside went from 18 degrees to 7.7 degrees Celsius, making me all soaked by the time I was at home. Bizarre. 

People around the world have always noted this special feature from Melbourne and in all honesty I don’t quite like it. Not when I thought that I didn’t need to bring my umbrella. Not when I was planning to browse around the streets thinking it would be a good day to. 

Today really challenges the beliefs of anyone who denies Melbourne’s ‘4 seasons in 1 day weather. 

[International] Response to the MH17 Plane Disaster Today

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Where I read the article: Malaysia Airlines MH17 shot down over Ukraine: 28 Australians among 298 dead

Commentary:

This is tragic news not only for Victorians but for people around the world. This time it’s not only Malaysian Airlines that’s in hot water, but President Putin from Russia. 

Let me start off by outlining the details of the incident:

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED:

The Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people on board, including at least 28 Australians, was downed about 12.15am today Sydney time.

The flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur but was shot down in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.

Plumes of black smoke could be seen near the rebel-held village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine, at the crash site 40 kilometres from the Russian border.

WHO were Involved: 

  • 298 passengers from the MH17 commercial air plane who were killed. Among them, 28 were from Australia, 154 Dutch passengers, 43 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, 9 British passengers, 4 Belgium passengers, 4 German, 3 Philippines, a Canadian and 40 other unverified passengers.   
  • Pro-Russian Rebels from Ukraine are reported to be behind this disaster

WHERE did it happen:

  • The flight was scheduled to depart from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • The flight was interrupted in Eastern Ukraine, where it was reported that a missile/s had shot down the air-plane

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WHEN did it happen:

  • It happened at 2:15pm local time (GMT) in Eastern Ukraine

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: 

This is the question that is puzzling over peoples’ head and as reported I suspect that it might be a case of mistaken identity where the Pro-Russian rebels mistaken it was an Ukrainian Cargo Plane instead and decided to shoot it down. It was all too late before they realised that it was a big mistake. I praise the Ukrainian Government for intercepting telephone conversations after the event and successfully recorded a conversation where one of the rebels said:

‘We shot down a plane’

by Russian rebel military chief Igor ‘The Terrible’ Strelkov.  This is a good piece of evidence to verify who is responsible for this disaster and he needs to pay for his stupid actions. 

My Opinion:

I send my deep condolences towards the victims of the Malaysian airplane. It is no doubt an ‘unspeakable crime’ committed by the rebels behind this and whilst some experts say that it is too early to determine the perpetrators, I think it is already quite obvious that President Putin deserves to be blamed.It’s quite ironic for his initial response that Ukraine is to be blamed for this when it’s his officials who have shot down the plane. 

What a tragedy, for passengers in which some were planning to attend the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne to be killed just like that. Parents, students, teachers, grandparents, ordinary citizens to end their life in such an avoidable incident.

Moments ago I watched an uncensored video of the crash site and I can say it was utterly revolting to watch. Bodies were scattered everywhere and it was all debris full of suitcases, passports and plane equipment. I find it very disheartening to know that some local civilians came to the crash site to steal money and precious items left there. Shame on you.

As for Malaysian airlines, I truly sympathise with them this time. It was completely beyond their control for this to happen and they made a prompt action to waive any fees for flight changes, amid passengers cancelling their flights from Malaysian airlines. The MH370 plane is still nowhere to be seen, and already they have to suffer another plane from falling into the same fate. If I was Malaysian airlines, I would actually consider closing down the business and then rebuild a new airplane company named something else instead. There’s no way that this time they will have a chance to recover and it will only be months away perhaps that their sales would decline to a point they are making huge losses. 

I applaud our Prime Minister Tony Abbott for making a firm stance that President Putin is ‘very unsatisfactory’ and he should be condemned. I respect Tony’s decision for a national mourning day where flags would only be partially lifted. And also we should applaud Victorian Premier’s decision to cancel the fireworks display in Docklands tonight, and make a low-key opening ceremony for the International HIV Conference to pay respect for those who have sacrificed their lives. 

The big question though is if the war between Ukraine and Russia didn’t exist, this incident would never happen in the first place. I think it’s time that governments from all around the world force Russia and Ukraine to confront their conflicts and for a time to end all this. 

What a tragedy. 

 

 

[Science][Business] Response to the Carbon Tax Axe

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Where I read the article: Carbon tax scrapped: PM Tony Abbott sees key election promise fulfilled after Senate votes for repeal

Commentary:

Today marks a very important day in terms of politics and the concern for the environment. You will either be celebrating today or cringing your head on what the hell happened to Australia. 

“”Because the price of power is a component of just about every price in the economy, when the price of power falls, other prices should go down as well,”

 

“households will benefit on average by $550 a year from the repeal, with gas prices to fall by 7 per cent and electricity prices by 9 per cent.”

For those celebrating, you may be celebrating in the sense that Carbon Tax may mean goods and services will be cheaper now. Businesses that emit carbon emissions will now not be required to pay for the price on pollution, and automatically people would assume that we consumers would now have less financial burden. Period. 

For those however upset about the decision made in the Parliament House today, you are probably angry in the sense that nothing will really stop businesses causing greenhouse gas. The incentive for businesses to divert their resources away from using fossil fuels and try renewable energy methods will be gone, and that’s definitely bad news for the environment. 

Either way you think about it, I have simplified the effects and the Carbon Tax is no doubt a really complicated issue.  It’s also going to affect the future of  Australia’s economy and environment drastically. From my humble opinion, I tend to believe that the Carbon Tax is an effective general policy to encourage businesses who are polluting the environment to change the structure of the business, but I find that it is a bit too overwhelming for ordinary citizens who have to suffer from raising prices. But don’t worry, even though the Carbon Tax is gone and marks Australia as the first country to back away from environmental policies from an international perspective, we can still find other ways to preserve our environment. But ladies and gentlemen, time is running out.    

 

Share your thoughts by commenting below:

 

[MELBOURNE CITY] Response that Melbourne is named World’s 3rd Best City

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Where I read the article: Melbourne named world’s third best city

Commentary:

Melbournians rejoice! We have been recently claimed as the World’s 3rd Best City! Not bad at all.

“Falling from second last year, Melbourne won praise for recent public transport upgrades and its low crime rate – though Monocle’s data gave it the highest murder rate on its index of 25 cities.  “

Although we dropped from third place to second place, it’s still good enough considering there are so many cities in the world that are hungry to grab the title. I think this title for Melbourne is well-deserved, for many reasons that this article did not say:

1. We are an international sports city (2014 Sports-Business Ultimate Sports City). Every year we host the Grand Slam Tennis Tournaments (Australian Open) in Melbourne, featuring top-notch tennis players like Roger Federer, not to also mention our amazing Nick Kyrgios from Australia who defeated World No.1 Nadal before. Also, out of the whole Australia we have the highest attendance rates of AFL fans. 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup, Melbourne Cup, you name it.

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2. We have rather unique architecture. Examples include the Art Preinct, Eureka Tower, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, all which are known for their design (maybe Federation Square is renowned for its architecture infamously).

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3. Nice Public Transport. Ever since the Metcards were abolished, I can happily say that Melbourne’s public transport system has improved tremendously in terms of efficiency even though we have few technical problems here and there. In particular, our recently upgraded trams make us different compared to other cities, where I believe we are the first city in Australia to have trams operating. Down at Swanston Street there’s even an opportunity for you to be on a horse carriage.

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Besides these reasons, we have a great Health-care system, relatively low crime rates for a city and more importantly we are a multicultural and multi-faith society.

In order for me to not be overly Melbourne-patriotic, I acknowledge that there’s also quite a few things that we could improve on, and I know we will.

Do you agree with me? Feel free to comment below.

[TRANSPORT][REVIEW] City Circle Tram

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“Embarrassing Hard to Use but Overall a Great Present by the Local Government”

See my original review from: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g255100-d522372-r210424385-City_Circle_Tram-Melbourne_Victoria.html

✶✶✶✶☆

One of the major contributing factors as to why I gave this 4 stars is because the tram service is 100% free for tourists! But don’t expect it to be nicely air-conditioned and well-spaced out. Because it is not. Nine out of ten of the time there will be crowded people full of local residents wanting to get a free ride and stressed tourists trying to know when their stop is. A redeeming factor however is that the tram drivers are usually accommodating and nice, the timetable is rather frequent and there is a recorded commentary being a virtual tourist guide informing you about the famous tourists destinations as you pass them and you can decide whether you want to hop off and visit the attraction. This is also a special tram service in terms of its design and history as it is one of the last existing historical trams still operating. Ignore the forgiveable inconveniences and use it as a free transport service to guide you around the heart of Melbourne!

[Business][Interesting] Response to New Watermark Technology to ‘Stop’ Illegal Music Downloads

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Where I read the article: Watermark technology from Deakin University touted as key to stopping illegal downloads

Commentary:

What a breakthrough news. Since 2000s onwards, people have been downloading music illegally and now Melbourne researchers have found a way to stop all this? In all honesty I am not too confident that this Watermark technology will work because those illegal down-loaders will always find a way to get through loopholes.

“Artists deserve protection and it’s been an area of great frustration, so if anything that’s come out of Deakin becomes reality, I’d be not just proud of Deakin but proud of Australia.”

I personally think that we shouldn’t download illegal music because it’s not just businesses that are impacted from this, so are the singers from the first place. Musicians basically earn nothing when people download illegally, and they still don’t receive much commission from CD resellers either, amid the music industry is dying. But I guess at the end of the day it’s up to people to decide if they want to download songs illegally or not.

“Almost all Australian music downloads illegal”

“Professor Yong Xiang said 95 per cent of music downloads in Australia were illegal, with about 2.8 million Australian using illegal file sharing networks.”

This is a very true fact. People download illegally. It’s free. It’s convenient.

For starters, I only sometimes listen to music from my phone. When I do, I either listen music off from YouTube (partly because you can see the music video visually) or pop on ‘Freegal’ (where you download music legally but there are limits on a weekly basis as to how many songs you can download). By the way, I highly recommend people to check out Freegal. It’s a cool site and you don’t get into trouble with the law.