The Struggle to get on Facebook

By Dylan Schrom

One of the biggest modern problems here at Wesley, and anywhere else in Australia, is the difficulty to get on the Internet with the number of students using it. The problem is that the current Internet connection in Australia does not have the bandwidth to support the need for Internet Australians seem to have. Luckily, the process of installing new fiber optics cables to greatly modernize and quicken the Australia’s Internet has already begun.

Currently, most of Australian Internet is supported by copper wires, which were first installed for land-lines when phones first came to Australia [much like Dial-Up connection](Maxwell 2013). There is much talk about replacing these slow, copper wires with more modern fiber optic lines. This material will allow the speed of the information to be much faster over longer distances. Australians are also in the transition where they require more reliable Internet connection. The new fiber optics system will allow the bandwidth that Australians currently need. But two problems arise when trying to modernize the Auzzie Internet experience.

The first is time. Much controversy revolves around the fact that Australia won’t experience this innovation for another three to six years. By that time, the bandwidth will meet the needs of the current Australian, about 25mps by 2016 and 50mps by 2019. That’s the problem though; just as the use of Internet has dramatically increased from two decades ago, many are predicting the same increase in the next two decades (Griffith 2013). Some people don’t see the point in paying for an increased broadband width when they will have to further renovate it to meet their new needs. While the plan will support their current needs, they may do little for them after it’s actually installed. “It’s like the M5 tunnel,” said Brad Howarth, “by the time it was completed, it was already jamming up.” Some have requested a larger bandwidth to be constructed in light of this prediction, but the problem is that the tunnels do not currently exist for that type of installation (Moses 2013).

The second is cost. Australia’s spread towns make it expensive to connect a handful of people to everyone else. The cost is estimated to be around 29.5 billion dollars for the entire project. Some estimate it will cost 90 billion dollars [although these are unreasonable claims] (Griffith 2013). This is not including the cost of potential need for new tunnels in support of what may be desired in the future. Somehow, the people are going to pay through with higher taxes, or through higher cost of Internet. The point is, what used to be a free upgrade, has now turned into an expensive process that must, somehow be paid for.

A lot is still in the process when determining how much and how long this will take. As society modernizes, Australia must keep up with the ever-quickening world. This renovation to the broadband will drastically change Australia’s communication among its own people and internationally.

Bibliography

Griffith, Emma.  Coalition boosts commitment to broadband network, accessed April 10, 2013, from ABC News.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-09/conroy-hits-out-at-coalition-policy/4618232

Moses, Asher.  NBN: how much speed do we really need?,  accessed April 10, 2013, from The Sydney Morning Herald Digital Life.
http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/nbn-how-much-speed-do-we-really-need-20130410-2hky4.html

Maxwell, Terrance.  Live interview, April 10, 2013.

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Sushi, Service, Fireworks and Frustrations

Excerpt from Spring 2013 student Fiona Tranquillo’s blog “My Aussieland Adventure”. Reproduced with permission http://myaussielandadventure.blogspot.com.au/

My first week of classes had a very delicious ending… sushi!!! As I mentioned earlier, my host mom is from Singapore, so many of the dinners we have are oriental. On Friday, she told Tarah and me that she was going to teach us how to make sushi! I had mixed feelings. First let me say, I do NOT do raw fish… ew. Just thinking about it gives me the heeby jeebies (I think I just made up that spelling). I was QUITE relieved to see that everything she had for us to use was fully cooked. It was the sweetest thing… Bee-Hoon got everything totally prepped and set up a little sushi rolling station for each of us. She had prepared cucumber, carrots, crab, omelette strips, chicken, and radish. I put everything in every roll and it was SO delicious. Also, good news, I wrote down all of Bee-Hoon’s tricks for the sushi so that I can repeat it at home! This was not easy, however. Bee-Hoon, being quite the thrifty one, told us that taking her recipe AND her being in our blogs was going to require a contract and some major cash. Good news, though, we were able to pull it out of her, free of charge. 😉

Fiona

Fiona and her host mom

I think I may have become a sushaholic.

The best part about the night, however, wasn’t just eating the sushi. More than that, I felt like I really connected with my host family and started to feel “at home” for the first time. I was able to joke with them, laugh with them, and just be myself. I went to bed feeling very thankful.

Saturday started off bright and EARLY. Part of the ASC program is that all participants are required to put in 35 hours of service in a placement of their choosing. I, along with about 7 other ASC students, was placed on the Hillsong Street Team. This is a group of people from Hillsong Church and Hillsong College that go out every Saturday morning to different harder areas of town, knock on doors, and simply build relationships and help in any way they can. If often consists of yard work, but other times is just being good company for people who are often lacking in that area.

It was a really neat experience. Most of my group’s time was spent talking with this older woman named Shirley. We didn’t clean her house, preach the Gospel, or bring radical change… we simply sat and enjoyed chatting with her and listening to whatever she had to say. This was a bit of a challenge for me. So many Americans are engrained with the belief that service means doing. I left feeling like I hadn’t actually DONE anything to help. The more I’ve thought about it, however, the more I am finding value in the simple act of being there for Shirley and building a relationship with her… showing her that we care. I think that being on this team will challenge my view of service and teach me that spreading God’s love and light doesn’t necessarily mean serving a meal or handing out Bibles.

Saturday had a pretty slam-bang finish. I’m not sure what the occasion was or how often it happens, but we had heard that there was going to be fireworks that night. To sum it up… it was magical. Darling Harbor is one of my favourite spots so far, and seeing it lit up with fireworks was incredible. The icing on the cake was some really good conversations with a couple of girls in the group… some serious bonding, which I’m a huge fan of.

There were many wonderful highlights of the weekend, but there was also a lot of frustration. I’ve found myself being frustrated that Australian wifi stinks and that we’re never allowed to use it. I’ve found myself being frustrated with how stinkin’ expensive everything is. I’ve found myself being frustrated with how long public transportation takes. Most of all, I’ve found myself being frustrated with myself for being so darn frustrated all the time! I was expecting everything to be easy and happy-go-lucky, but it hasn’t really been that way a lot of the time. It is in these moments, though, where the Lord is teaching me so much. First of all, the things that are frustrating me are so trivial, and I need to open my eyes to the world around me and to the needs of others. Like seriously… being frustrated about wifi?? Let’s be real, Fiona. Second, when things really are hard… that’s okay! I have been clinging to the words of Psalm 34 that tell us that, as Christians, things are not going to be easy. Our hope is not in a promise of all happy-go-lucky circumstances, but rather, our hope is in a God who will be with us and FOR us no matter what the circumstances are! It is because of that hope that we can “bless the Lord at all times” and “have His praise continually on our lips.”

Praising Him in the good and the hard,

Fiona

For the Greater Good?

by Fiona Tranquillo

Sometimes, the rights of an individual must be given up for the common good. The question, then,  is… when? This is the basis of a legal power struggle going on in Australia right now. Currently, gang violence in Australia is dealt with on a state-to-state basis. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is on a five day campaign in Western Sydney to change this.

The nature of gangs is that they aren’t confined by state borders. Gangs will go where they need to to do what they want to, and they will spread their assets out over multiple territories. When states don’t have uniform anti-gang laws, the local police lose their power to effectively deal with gangs. In particular, they lose their power to seize “unexplained wealth.” Gillard’s plan is to reform Australia’s system for dealing with gangs to be modeled after the FBI in the United States. By unifying anti-gang laws across the nation, all police would have the power to seize illegally obtained assets, and all courts would have the power to recognize a gang as a criminal organization.

To me, this plan sounds very effective. The states of Australia, however, do not share my view. They see Gillard’s plan as another example of the federal government being money-hungry and power-hungry. In their eyes, they are being asked to give up their state rights so that the federal government can benefit financially from any seized assets. Gillard does, however, address this in her plan, stating that all assets would be divided equally among the states.

I can see both sides of the debate. Nobody likes surrendering power, so I can understand the states’ resistance. More than that, though, I can understand Gillard’s vision for putting up a uniform stand against gang violence and activity. If this legal reform will be as effective as the proponents claim it will, then the right decision is obvious, and hopefully Gillard will be able to lead the state governments to this conclusion as well.

Gillard will continue with her campaign over the next few weeks, urging states to surrender their rights to the Commonwealth for the good of all. There will be a meeting next month to address the issue and hopefully reach an effective decision.

 

Sources

Cullen, Simon. “Government to roll out FBI-style gang laws.” ABC NEWS. 6 March 2013.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-03-06/government-to-roll-out-fbi-style-gang-laws/4555514

“Gillard seeks state help on gangs, guns.” skyNEWS. 6 March 2013.

http://www.skynews.com.au/topstories/article.aspx?id=851949

Swan, Jonathan. “States under pressure on national anti-gang laws.” NationalTimes. 6 March 2013.

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/states-under-pressure-on-national-antigang-laws-20130306-2fkdn.html