In the year to June 30, 2012, Australians downloaded 421,147 terabytes of data, an increase of 52 per cent, while the total internet subscribers increased to 28.23 million.
Nearly half of us (10.8 million) are going online at least once a day and the typical Aussie spends 82 hours a month on the internet.
The figures are contained in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) Communications Report, tabled in federal parliament this Thursday.
ACMA found that the huge increase in data downloaded was due to the growth in online streaming of digital media, including user-generated video (increased by 67 per cent to 4.4 million people), TV programs (47 per cent to 1.6 million) and radio services (34 per cent to 1.2 million)
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/internet-use-rockets-as-australians-dependence-grows-20121206-2ax3g.html#ixzz2EEfy4efF
Also see ACMA’s annual communication report tabled in Federal Parliament today (link)
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I have been thinking a little more about this the relationship between ‘eResearch’ and the ‘Digital Humanities’ of late; partly because it is the subject of my talk at the Digital Humanities conference in Hamburg in July, and I want to do justice to what I see as a very important topic that hasn’t been particularly well handled in the past.
There are certain unique challenges in Australia in that the eResearch agenda is quite established but the digital humanities aren’t. And this has caused quite a lot of conflict in the past in that many in the humanities have seen themselves as being locked out of the eResearch agenda by Science and many in eResearch have viewed the humanities as high-risk and being ill-prepared to lead large infrastructural developments in their disciplines.
There is perhaps some truth in both these assertions, but I do see a way forward. eResearch is largely an infrastructural movement (largely led by science) and thus often lacks a theoretical base and set of arguments to convincingly communicate its worth within humanities research. But if there is a theoretical base or conceptual core to the eResearch agenda; then is it ‘data’: data management, data re-use, and data interoperability. But there is a problem here in that the data collected by agencies within the eResearch agenda is often only collected and not much else. Data is an idea (not a ‘thing’) and ideas can never speak for themselves; ideas (data) must be attached to the arguments in scholarly research (humanities research is interpretive, not positivist).
This is where the digital humanities can lead. If eResearch is building a ‘data commons’ (ie. through agencies such as the Australian National Data Service), then the digital humanities are building a ‘methodological commons’. A method is a vital component of the research process and if we develop lots of methods, we will be able to use lots of data. So the digital humanities needs to be strengthened to rise to the challenges otherwise we have lots of data (and lots of ideas) with no heads to put them in. And if data doesn’t have a head then the data doesn’t actually exist (ie. data is interpretative and doesn’t really exist outside of that interpretation). And yes, I am not such a relativist to believe that there is not a world outside of interpretation, but data is not ‘of this world’ it is merely someone’s interpretation of the world.
Today there is a growing abundance of data often in large-scale collections or with great complexity. It is pertinent to every pressing strategic challenge, to the deep questions that research addresses and the urgent application sciences. A great deal of thought is needed to improve our capabilities to use data well in a wide variety of research endeavours. The workshop will bring together practitioners, theoreticians and technologists with a wide range of viewpoints to shape a strategy for the thinking and research that is needed.
An interesting twist on the Climate Change debate. When data is made public, so too is the basis in which this data was collected. Data is part of a scientific argument; it isn’t ‘absolute truth’.
It appeared to have shaken the credibility of one of the most important global warming data sets in the world. A blog-inspired campaign by amateur climate sceptics seemed to show that numerous weather stations across the US were so poorly located they could not be relied upon (link).