Campus News Blog: Mustangs Travel to Australia

April 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Posted by TJ Faust

Through SMU’s wide variety of study abroad programs Mustangs have the ability to travel to the land down under! Students who are of at least junior standing can pack the bags and notebooks and take courses in Australia.

Australia is known for its natural beauty. It has every type of topography any person would love to explore. The skies are vast and large and look over towering granite bluffs that lead to sandy white beaches. Imagine doing your homework overlooking this scene. Imagine no longer, Australia is just an application away.

SMU-In-Australia is open to current juniors and seniors wishing to study anthropology, biology, business and business administration, business law, cultural formations, economics, finance, history, management and organization, marketing, political science, sociology.

After study in Australia concludes students embark upon a three-week study tour throughout Asia. This gives students the unique opportunity to explore the Far East while progressing their degree plans.

Students come back missing Australia and the natural beauty that they experienced while down under.

Global News Blog: Swine Flu… Is It On Its Way to Australia?

April 28, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Lauren Kuhner

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the Government is moving immediately to the “next phase of protection” against the disease.

“This is a very serious matter,” Ms Roxon said. “The World Health Organization has declared it a public health emergency.” And Queensland Health chief officer Jeanette Young, who had four possible cases of swine flu on her hands until late yesterday, warned it was likely to be a matter of time before the disease came to Australia.

To prevent the flu from entering Australia’s boarders the federal health department has said that the captains of all flights from the Americas and Mexico are obliged to report before they land in Australia whether anyone on board has flu-like symptoms.

Quarantine officers will be called in on arrival if at-risk passengers are identified.

Is the Australian federal Health department taking this to far? Well, In Mexico the confirmed death toll has hit 103 and 1614 more people are under observation, triggering a $205 million World Bank loan to help the developing nation battle the contagion.

Europe confirmed its first case of swine flu, in Spain, while the U.S. has 20 cases and Canada has reported six new infections. I took a crisis communications class this year and I think what the Australian health department is doing is what every country should have done.

They see the prodromes and protecting their people is what is most important to them. So I they feel if the health officials want the captain and flight attendants to look for people who might have flu like symptoms on the plane, and quarantine them when they get off they are just taking necessary precautions.

I don’t think they are being ridiculous they are just trying to protect their people and their country from this deadly disease.

Global News Blog: Is There An Al Capone Cyber-Stalking You?

April 27, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Chase Smith

A report this weekend was put out by The Verizon Business Investigative Response Team, which handles data breaches on behalf of major corporations. According to The Australian, “Verizon Business Investigative found 90 breaches yielded per 285 million separate records last year. In a rather sobering statistic, 85 percent of these files were harvested by custom malware.”

What this means is that our data is now more desirable that ever. What data are these hackers looking for? Bank accounts information, specifically PIN numbers, that would allow criminals to steal directly from bank accounts.

Because of companies like Verizon that try to search out and stop cyber-criminals, these organized groups of hackers are creating new types of viruses and malware that are targeted at retrieving PIN data. Hard economic times have spawned innovation and criminals and becoming more organized and elaborate in their attempts to re-engineer their means of data acquisition.

“More elaborate utilities bypass data controls and encryption, and spying tools are designed to hide quietly while capturing and storing data for later transmission to a remote machine,” said Verizon. “Ninety-one percent of cases we studied could be traced to organized activity rather than insider or other threats.”

Australia claims that even though they are a remote continent, their banking information is still greatly at risk through the internet. Here in America, we are definitely more at risk because of our sheer numbers of internet users. America also has careless internet users, and some web-surfers who are oblivious that someone may be monitoring their key strokes for bank data.

My suggestion: Keep banking to a minimum online, update and change passwords, and most importantly… if you think or know you’re computer may be infected with malware don’t disclose important information! Be smart people, and hopefully more companies like Verizon are looking into this new type of “mobster” activity.

Global News Blog: Take note American DMV’s and Visa

April 24, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Josh Bryant

Tired of the old laminated drivers license? Feel like they reveal too much personal information? Well you’re not alone! The three million motorists in Queensland, Australia will be the first in the country to carry around the new smartcard drivers’ licenses.

These licenses will be the same size and there will still be a picture on the front but instead of having personal information on the face of the card too, it is stored in a computer chip that can only be accessed by a pin code that the owner has created.

However, transport authorities will be able to override this for enforcement purposes, or to obtain access in the event of emergencies.

That doesn’t sound too bad right? No personal information on the face of the card can prevent identity theft as well as prevent the art of making fake I.D.’s : maybe not such a good thing for future college underclassmen. But what intrigued me most about the creation of these smart drivers’ licenses was the possibilities of future smartcards, in particular credit and debit cards.

So many times we enter our credit/debit card numbers online into a supposed secure transaction with the hopes that the only thing that will be stolen is the amount we spend for over-priced items.

Even if you don’t purchase things online the thought of losing a credit card is worse than not having any money. Why don’t we extend the technology of these smart drivers’ licenses to the credit card system?

Instead of having the name, card number, expiration date, and verification code visible to anyone that holds it; just store it on a similar type computer chip and only have a picture and the card type on the cards face.

Perhaps it’s too far-fetched to assume that this could happen but I don’t see why not. There’s no doubt that identity theft is on the rise and credit card companies have taken some steps to prevent it from occurring.

However, their prevention sometimes doesn’t take place until after some suspicious activities have already taken place. With the implementation of the smart credit cards, identity theft could be reduced significantly.

But perhaps, I’m just jumping the gun and we aren’t advanced enough to do these types of things but by using these smart drivers’ licenses as stepping stones it can be accomplished.

Then credit card owners can sleep in peace without worrying if their bank accounts have been cleaned out by some punk hacker.

Global News Blog: Australian ISP Preserves Free Speech, Despite A Questionable Website

April 19, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Chase Smith

Australian internet service provider Adam Internet defended an anti-Semitic website despite a court-ruling earlier this week. The case involved a local Aussie internet user that made a website that denied the Holocaust’s existence around 2002. The user had been ordered by the court in 2002 to take down the website because the offensive nature. This past week they convicted the user with contempt of court for not taking down the site, because it’s still working and obviously years have passed.

This put the ISP that supplied the individual in an interesting position. Adam Internet has had the option all these years to cancel the users service, or dismantle the site on their own. However, because of an interest in free speech, the Aussie provider decided to let the site be.

Adam Hicks, managing director for Adam internet told ZDNet Australia, “Due to the continuing nature of this site and its sensitivity, Adam hasn’t simply been sitting back waiting to see what happens. I have made regular correspondence with ACMA(Australian Communications and Media Authority) over the last two to three years in relation to this site and to ensure Adam is doing the right thing; needless to say, we are,” he said.

As a blessed U.S. citizen, protected by my first amendment rights, I am happy to see freedom of expression upheld elsewhere. I do not know the full extent of Australia’s laws on these matters, but I believe that a little tolerance goes a long way these days and Australia is making a great stride for the internet. I can not say I support this anti-Semitic website, but I support Adam Internet for trying to increase secular tolerance.

Global News Blog: College GPA’s Lower Among Facebook Users

April 13, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Chase Smith

If you have ever been in the middle of a paper and stopped to check if you’re friends are bored on Facebook, you are not alone. Students across the world, especially those in college, are finding it harder and harder to stay social online while maintaining a good GPA.

A study out of Ohio State University found, “Sixty-eight percent of students who used Facebook had a significantly lower grade-point average than those who did not use the site.” On the other side of the world, Australian college students are noticing that their grades seem to be following a similar pattern.

It is easy to become distracted when working tediously on a long project, but it seems that people just can’t help themselves anymore. Whether we try to blame it on convenience or just plain laziness, this technology has shown itself to be harmful if overused. One Aussie student admitted that his addiction to Facebook definitely aided to his bad grades. The fact that we can check Facebook pictures or upload photos while in class is not helping the situation.

The key for all the upcoming social technology sites is going to have to be moderation. Many students are doing fine in school, while having a Facebook account. You just have to have enough self-control to not want to check it every hour. It may be on your Blackberry, but try downloading the New York Times application and read the news. Or if you need to get away from intellectual thought all together, check ESPN or watch a 30-minute comedy to relax. There are always other ways to take a 10 minute break in the middle of your papers. Just make sure to pick one that doesn’t have a link to something else, and then to new photos or another friend’s photos.

If you do feel that you are out of control with a social site addiction, there is hope though. According to The Australian, college students in Sydney are even going as far as creating support groups for their fellow students. I haven’t researched Facebook sites personally, but I can imagine there are several groups on Facebook that are about Facebook addiction.

Next time you’re confronted about your Facebook addiction, maybe you should listen. Otherwise you may be at SMU a semester or two longer than you planned. So Facebook and Twitter moderately, SMU, or face the wrath of your parents who already pay too much.

Global News Blog: Does Anyone Have a Good Time in China?

April 6, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Josh Bryant

Besides Michael Phelps, the Redeem Teem, and Usain Bolt it seems that no one is loving China these days. The news coverage has been convincingly slanted. Some think the Chinese will just keep buying everything and eventually rule the world while others believe China’s rise as a world power has just begun and the worst is yet to come. With that being said, I’m going to blog about another Chinese horror story involving the Australian Prime Minister and his visit to Beijing.

It’s been reported that while on a visit to China, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his entourage were subject to numerous cyber-attacks from the Chinese Government trying to infiltrate laptops and cell phones. The advantages of an successful attack could provide key military and economic strategies about Australia, an ally of the U.S.

I have no doubt that the attacks did take place but I also don’t doubt the notion that this happens nearly everywhere where the technology is capable. However, what should be the risk level of the Chinese actually infiltrating the Australian IT system? Mr. Rudd stressed his concerns by stating this:

“Electronic espionage in particular will be a growing vulnerability as the Australian Government and society become more dependent on integrated information technologies. Both commercial and state-based espionage, while not visible to the public eye, are inevitable. This challenge must and will be met with full vigour.”

Australia is making numerous changes to it’s countries technology capabilities including a nation-wide broadband campaign, a switch to digital cable, and a $13 billion merger in its phone sector which could all leave cracks for the Chinese Government to penetrate. It’s awesome to think about advancements in technology but starting to get scary to think about who could be part of the advancements and their motives.

With stories like these popping up online and in newspapers, I wonder what it’s going to do to a Chinese person living in the U.S., or one of our ally countries like Australia, who has the hopes of entering a career in IT. Will they be over-looked because of fears of espionage or will they get a fair chance? It’s been said, don’t remember by who but I will give credit, that increased knowledge about science could lead to increased fear and this is prime example.

The more we know about the advancements of technology and the vulnerabilities that come with it, the more frightened we get for future advancements. The Australians are on high alert for any suspicious business along its IT advancements but it will be interesting to see just how far they push the envelope considering China is waiting for the slightest mishap to exploit.

Global News Blog: Kids Will Never Lose a Ball Ever Again

April 6, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

Posted by Chase Smith

In one of the coolest ideas I have seen in a while, the Australian Football League will be trying out a new football that contains a GPS micro chip. Along with other ideas presented in an article by The Australian, technology is about to change the face of sports forever.

“The prototype ‘gBall’, developed in partnership with the AFL and search and online mapping giant Google, will be tested in junior football matches this weekend.

The balls are fitted with durable global-positioning and motion-sensing chips that measure the location, force, and torque of a kick.

Global News Blog: Is There Any Credibility and Trust Left In the World?

April 5, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Lauren Kuhner

According to the Sydney Sunday Telegraph, “The key elements of media brand building are credibility and trust. Consumers must be able to believe that the news content of their chosen program or print title is fact-checked and accurate and opinion is put forward by credible voices.”

That’s why the Sydney Sunday Telegraph has a job ahead of it, rebuilding trust in the wake of the fake Pauline Hanson nude photos. And it’s why New Idea should be looking at their own approach to celebrity news after its similarly awful stuff-up involving Bec Hewitt’s “new man”.

The Sydney Sunday Telegraph, the New Idea, and Women’s Day are magazines that are seriously down on the million-plus sales figures they enjoyed in the early 90’s. There are arguments that it is because of the changing market, but I believe it is because their magazines have lost all credibility. In my PR class one of the big things we learned is building a trust bank for your company and keeping people there. When a company fails your trust it is hard for one to ever want to go back to them…and why should you?

For example: Women’s Day put on the cover of their magazine photos of Bec Hewitt relaxing beside a pool with a male identified as a “manny” – that is, a male nanny – who was helping with the kids. They stated that this man who is not her husband is “the new man in her life.”

He was a “special guy who’s always by her side” and “the kind of hunk every young mum dreams about”. The magazine sales burst through the roof, until reports from Bec Hewitt came out and said, “minder Mark” is not the new man in my life. He’s my brother, Shaun Cartwright. He travels with my family on the tennis circuit.

When I discover that a magazine lies to me they lose my trust. There are so many different kinds of magazines out there for me to choose that I will just switch in a heart beat. I know other consumers’ like me do not like to be treated like idiots and will take our business ells where. It is hard to gain back ones trust so this is why these magazines profits are declining.

Global News Blog: Motorcycle Gang Wars Continue

March 31, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

Posted by Lauren Kuhner

Last week I bloged about the brawl between the Hells Angels and the rival bikie gang the Comancheros in the domestic terminal at Sydney Airport on the afternoon of March 22. There, Anthony Zervas, 29, was bludgeoned to death during a fight.

Now today Hells Angel Peter Zervas, 32, brother of Anthony, is believed to be the victim who was shot several times at about 11.30 p.m. (AEDT) while getting out of his vehicle.

Following the latest attack, Peter Zervas was rushed to St George Hospital where he remains in a serious but stable condition.

Det. Supt Lanyon would not be drawn on whether police had information that Peter Zervas was in any danger prior to the shooting. “We obviously receive a large amount of information … certainly if the person does need protection police have the duty to provide that.”

“The police are in control of these matters, the police are certainly taking them seriously,” he said.”Obviously I’m not about to tell you these matters will stop today but certainly we treat them seriously.”

Meanwhile in Canberra, more than 300 members of the Rebels motorcycle club rode through the northern suburbs on their way to the funeral of slain bikie Richard Roberts. Roberts, and fellow gang member Gregory Carrigan were shot dead in suburban Canberra last week, adding to tensions created by Sydney’s biker war.

Police officers will be present at the funeral, but will keep their distance from mourners. The head of the police department informs civilians that everything is fine, and there is nothing to worry about.

I hope everything is under control, but I feel the police have there heads in the wrong places. How did they not think to protect the brother of the Hells Angel that was killed at the airport?

They should have used common knowledge that maybe they who ever killed this man is also out to get his family members. They could have prevented the whole accident in the first place.

Also if the police say they are getting matters under control, then why in a nice suburban neighborhood were two other Hells Angels killed? I feel the Australian police department made the statement “there is no reason to worry” just so they would not have chaos among civilians.

Why not just warn people to pay a little more attention to their surroundings until then know for sure a peace agreement is made.

Next Page »