Monthly Archives: June 2019

What’s Selling: New $1.8 million record set for Gordon Avenue

NEW HIGH: This Hamilton South home has been sold for $1.8 million – a new street record. It comes after the highest ever sale for the suburb last month.A new street record of $1.8 million has been set for Gordon Avenue after No.118 sold on the eve of its scheduled auction.
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The renovated four-bedroom Hamilton South residence on 612 square metres with a pool was marketed by First National Newcastle City’s George Rafty with a price guide of $1.65-$1.75 million.

The previous highest sale for a home in Gordon Avenue was $1.4 millionand the sale continues some strong results in the suburb.

A new suburb sale record was set on September 28 when 19 Alexander Street was sold off market for $2.625 million by Mr Rafty.

There were also a new suburb record set in September forAdamstown Heights ($1.6million) and last month in Stockton ($2 million), Kotara South ($1.07 million) and Fern Bay ($920,000).

Mr Rafty also sold 78 Patrick Street, Merewether during the week for an undisclosed sum to local buyers. The property was marketed with a price guide of $1.3 million to $1.43 million.

No.81 Patrick Street was sold by Sean Redpath of McGrath Estate Agents Newcastle on October 30 for $1.8 million.

Robinson Property’s Ben Robinson sold a three-bedroom townhouse at Aventine onThe Hillfor $1.11 million.

McGrath’s Todd Mason sold a two-bedroom home at 86 Orchardtown Road, New Lambton for$722,000 prior to auction.

Creer Property’s Brendan McKell sold afive-bedroom home at50 Grayson Avenue, Kotara on 1132sqm for$710,000.

Ray White Newcastle sold 1 Sheridan Street, Adamstown Heights($910,000) and 12 Brisbane Waters Road, Adamstown ($1.045 million)this week.

First National’s Luke Murdoch sold a three-bedroom home in Abbott Street, Wallsend for $599,500 and Street Property Group’s Damon Sellis sold 35 Acacia Ave, Waratah West for $600,000.

How to fix Facebook? We asked nine experts

Colin Stretch, the general counsel of Facebook, will soon appear before US Senators who are investigating how Russia spread misinformation online during the 2016 presidential campaign.
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Along with Google and Twitter, Facebook has been blamed for helping Russian agents influence the outcome of the US election.

But the cloud over Facebook extends far beyond Russia. Critics say the company’s central role in modern communication has undermined the news business, split users into partisan echo chambers and “hijacked” our minds with a product designed to keep us addicted to the social network.

Of course, criticism of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is easy to come by; solutions aren’t as clear.

We asked nine technologists, academics, politicians and journalists to propose the steps they would take to improve Facebook – as a product, a company or both.

Their responses, edited slightly for length and clarity, are below.

1. Jonathan Albright, Research director at Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

With a recent Facebook change that algorithmically prioritises “reactions” in the news feed over the standard “like,” the company appears to be pushing further into the realm of emotion-centred engagement.

As they stand, and especially with algorithmic reinforcement, “reactions” and “likes” are like megaphones for echo chambers and news outrage.

The single most important step Facebook – and its subsidiary Instagram, which I view as equally important in terms of countering misinformation, hate speech and propaganda – can take is to abandon the focus on emotional signalling as engagement.

This is a tough proposition, of course, as billions of users have been trained to do exactly this: “react.”

What if there were a “trust emoji”? Or respect-based emojis? If a palette of six emoji-faced angry-love-sad-haha emotional buttons continues to be the way we engage with one another – and how we respond to the news – then it’s going to be an uphill battle.

Negative emotion, click bait and viral outrage are how the platform is “being used to divide.” Given this problem, Facebook needs to help us unite by building new sharing tools based on trust and respect.

2. Kevin Kelly, Co-founder of Wired magazine.

Facebook should reduce anonymity by requiring real verification of real names for real people, with the aim of having 100 per cent of individuals verified.

Companies would need additional levels of verification, and should have a label and scrutiny different from those of people. (Whistleblowers and dissidents might need to use a different platform.)

Facebook could also offer an optional filter that would keep any post (or share) of an unverified account from showing up. I’d use that filter.

3. Ro Khanna, Democrat representing California’s 17th Congressional District, which includes sections of Silicon Valley.

Ultimately, whether from tech companies or Congress, what people want is more transparency.

Facebook should expand on its Hard Questions blog to explain how its news feed algorithms work, how it uses data in targeting and how it makes decisions about third-party verification and removing offensive content. It should make it simple for users to provide feedback and be responsive to their concerns.

The company also should make its executives readily available to the press, and they should spend time on Capitol Hill to explain their decision-making.

Everyone understands that new technology platforms are not perfect and that bad actors find ways to abuse them. The key is for Facebook to be upfront about technical challenges, open about its mistakes and willing to answer the tough questions honestly. If it does that, it will continue to earn the public’s trust.

4. Kate Losse, Early Facebook employee who recounted her time at the company in her book, “The Boy Kings: A Journey Into the Heart of the Social Network.”

It would be interesting if Facebook offered a “vintage Facebook” setting that users could toggle to, without News Feed ads and “like” buttons. (Before “likes,” users wrote comments, which made interactions more unique and memorable.)

A “vintage Facebook” setting not only would be less cluttered, it would refocus the experience of using Facebook on the people using it, and their intentions for communication and interaction.

Somehow, no matter how “smart” the Facebook algorithms and behind-the-scenes data processing get, the site felt more engaging as a tool for human communication when interaction was primarily driven by what users wanted to do and say, rather than where the algorithms want people to look.

5. Alice Marwick, Assistant professor of communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Facebook should allow users to sort their news feed chronologically by default on all platforms, rather than rely on an algorithmically sorted News Feed. This would increase the diversity of items in the News Feed, and would make it more likely that users were exposed to people and information that didn’t support their own confirmation bias.

It should also greatly increase the human oversight of ad targeting systems – specifically, oversee algorithmically generated categories (rather than basing them solely on user-inputted interests). Political and interest-based advertising should be under much stricter scrutiny than, say, the advertising of T-shirts or hair products.

6. Ellen Pao, chief diversity and inclusion officer at the Kapor Center for Social Impact and a former chief executive of Reddit.

Facebook needs to replace its focus on engagement quantity with interaction quality. To really do that means replacing at least half of the leadership team and board with underrepresented people of colour who are informed and value diversity and inclusion – and, as my colleague Freada Kapor Klein suggested, have journalistic principles.

At Reddit, I was able to effect positive, lasting change (at least according to this research) to content quality and interaction quality by building a diverse executive team.

7. Eli Pariser, Chief executive of Upworthy and author of “The Filter Bubble.”

Facebook should open itself up for independent research. Right now, Facebook is a black box: It’s very difficult, and in many cases impossible, for researchers to independently look at behaviour on the platform.

While opening private data to research creates risks, there’s a ton of explicitly public data on the platform that Facebook makes difficult to query at scale. Facebook could also open up many of the tools advertisers currently use for free use by research scientists.

It would be a bold move for transparency, and one that would help us understand much better what’s happening on the world’s most important social platform. And it’d be wise to do this before regulators forced them to.

The company should also optimise for “time well spent.” Facebook’s greatest superpower is figuring out how to eat as much of our attention as possible.

But as Tristan Harris and others have pointed out, that attention often doesn’t yield much – leaving us poorly informed and feeling worse about ourselves.

Instead of measuring clicks and likes, what if Facebook optimised for how much value an article or video or game gave us weeks or months afterward?

The company could survey of the kinds of content we’ve spent the most time on, and ask us which gave us the most and least value, as a way to balance our impulsive present selves with our greater aspirations.

8. Vivian Schiller, Adviser and former news executive at NPR, NBC News and Twitter.

The single most important thing Facebook must do is come clean. Tell us what you know. Tell us what you know but can’t share. Tell us what you don’t know. And tell us what you don’t know that you don’t know.

Stop hiding behind bromides like “we are not a media company.” That makes us think you don’t understand you have a serious set of problems that need fixing. Coming clean may not be the only thing, and may not be the main thing, but it’s the first thing.

9. Tim Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School and author of “The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads.”

Facebook should become a public benefit corporation. These companies must aim to do something that would aid the public, and board members must also take that public benefit into account when making decisions.

Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook’s goals are “bringing us closer together” and “building a global community.”

Worthy, beautiful goals, but easier said than done when Facebook is also stuck delivering ever-increasing profits and making its platform serve the needs of advertisers.

What if Facebook were actually free to do what it says it wants to? What if it didn’t need to devote so much energy to the evil sides of the business, whether catering to filter bubbles, addicting and manipulating users, seizing data, bending over backward for advertisers and destroying competitors?

As a nonprofit or public benefit corporation (like Kickstarter), Facebook could be a much better institution. It could shed its “two masters” dilemma, truly pursue its lofty goals and become a firm of which its users and the world could actually be proud.

New York Times

Luxury residence on New Lambton ridge line listed for sale

Exquisite home hits the market DREAM HOME: This five-bedroom residence in New Lambton is set on three-quarters of an acre with beautifully manicured gardens and breathtaking views.
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DREAM HOME: This five-bedroom residence in New Lambton is set on three-quarters of an acre with beautifully manicured gardens and breathtaking views.

5 Ridge Lane, New Lambton is being sold through an expressions of interest campaign.

5 Ridge Lane, New Lambton is being sold through an expressions of interest campaign.

5 Ridge Lane, New Lambton is being sold through an expressions of interest campaign.

5 Ridge Lane, New Lambton is being sold through an expressions of interest campaign.

5 Ridge Lane, New Lambton is being sold through an expressions of interest campaign.

5 Ridge Lane, New Lambton is being sold through an expressions of interest campaign.

5 Ridge Lane, New Lambton is being sold through an expressions of interest campaign.

Space and privacy are key features of this stunning New Lambton residence.

Space and privacy are key features of this stunning New Lambton property.

This New Lambton home the entertainer’s dream.

5 Ridge Lane, New Lambton is being sold through an expressions of interest campaign.

TweetFacebookDomain one Saturday morning 11 years ago that the owners of 5 Ridge Lane found their “ideal home”.

It was love at first sight when theyfirst viewed the property, aluxurious five-bedroom residence with polished marble flooring, soaring ceilings, cathedral windows and panoramicviews of the city.

The home is privately set along New Lambton’s ridge lineand enjoys residence on three quarters of an acre of manicured gardens including a small orchard.

National Newcastle City’s George Rafty is marketing the exquisite residence through an expressions of interest campaign with a price guide of $4.2 milltion to $4.6 million.

“My husband was originally from the country, so it gave us the perfect blend of space, land and privacy as well as still being close to the city,” the owner said.

“We also love entertaining and it was good for our children, who have had plenty of room to run around.”

The panoramic city views were also a key selling point.

“The sunrise is gorgeous andnight time is just like a diamond,” she said.

Viewings of the property are by appointment only.

Cat on a Mat Yoga for Hunter Valley Cat Haven

Stretched: Cat yoga will be held to raise money to rescue and rehome moggies across the Hunter. Picture: Simon Bennett The fat cat sat on the mat is widely known as agood phonic method for teaching how to read and writethe English language.
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But what about “the cat sat on the mat and did yoga”? It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Nevertheless, cats and dogs do have their own version of yoga.Hence, the yoga poses downward dog and cat-cow.

Hunter Valley Cat Haven is tapping into these connections, with an event to be held on Thursday called Cat on a Mat Yoga.

This two-hour workshopinvolves humans doing yoga while kittens roam about. Patting is encouraged, but not mid-pose.

Money raised goes toHunter Valley Cat Haven, which rescues andre-homes our feline friends across the Hunter Region.

The cat haven’s presidentTracey Burkill said she hadheard of yoga with baby goats, but she wasn’t too keen on getting into that.

“I’d be a bit worried about that because they do poo a lot,” she said.

Yoga with kittens, though, sounded much more fun.

“Everybody loves a kitten. They’re gorgeous,” she said.

Cats, she said, were “very individual”.

“You don’t pick a cat, a cat picks you. You have no say in the matter,” she said.

Tracey herself has four cats.

So not quitecat-lady status, just yet?

“No, but getting there,” she joked.

“We’re allcrazy cat ladies in this rescue, we really are.”

Seriouslythough, she said the cat haven was particularly busy at present.

“This time of year is kitten season. We can’t keep upwith the requests. It’s really sad,” she said.

“There’s no cat shelter,” she said.

Theycould do with more foster carers.

“We can’t take the catsinunless we havefoster carers,” she said.

Theevent will be held at Free Spirit Yoga in Singleton at 6.30pm on Thursday.

Handy HintsWarners Bay’s Ian King has a few handy hints he’d like to share.

He pointed out that super glue, onceopened, tends to dry up quickly.

“With those little tubes of glue, you use them once and have to throw them away. But put them in the fridge and they’ll last.”

Ian also has atip for fixing feet marks in patches of carpet,next to lounge chairs.

His lounge suite recently had to be removed to be repaired. Heasked the bloke who came to repair the lounge’s upholstery about the feet-mark problem.

“He said you put an ice cube,perhaps twoor three times,in the dent where the feet were.

“It’ll raise the patch of carpet and you’ll never know there was a dent there.”

Send your handy hints to [email protected]成都夜总会招聘.au.

Koala-sniffing DogsWe’ve heard of drug-sniffing dogs, but never koala-sniffing dogs.

Apparently, though, they do exist.

Greens MP Dawn Walker called on the NSW governmentto commit to independent trials of these so-called koala-sniffingdogs.

“We believe that the deployment of koala-trained sniffer dogs in our state forests will be a much more reliable and accurate way to detect koalas and their core habitat.”

She added that the current method “requires loggers to manually search through dense leaf litter looking for koala scats”.

A trial in2013using the “world’s firstkoala-snifferdog, Oscar”detected severalkoalas in Royal Camp State Forest near Casino, she said.

[email protected]成都夜总会招聘.au

Lottoland to stir more controversy with Melbourne Cup Day blitz

The Age 16/08/04 Business rlh040816.001.001 Tattslotto Generic. Tatts. Lotto. Lottery. Pic by Rebecca Hallas DIGICAM TATTSA controversial lottery-betting company will embark on a provocative advertising blitz in the run-up to Melbourne Cup Day, despite the widening political push in several states for the service to be banned.
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Lottoland’s marketing has been noticeably restrained since the start of the “Lottoland’s Gotta Go” campaign, in which newsagents and gambling giant Tatts are attacking the “fake lottery” site for eating into the real lottery business and undercutting state tax revenue.

Governments in Victoria, Tasmania, New South Wales and Western have flagged plans to restrict services including Lottoland, which allow punters to bet on the outcomes of n lotteries and higher-value overseas lotteries without buying a ticket in the draw.

The James Packer-backed digital bookmaker CrownBet recently dumped its lottery-betting site, CrownLotto, just weeks after launching it.

CrownBet declined to comment on the decision, but is understood to have withdrawn the service following the concerns raised by state governments about lottery betting.

Tensions surrounding the contentious issue of online lottery betting in are set to escalate again this week when Lottoland begins a new wave of TV, radio and online advertising for its latest campaign, “The Jackpot That Stops The Nation”, which, it says, will give gamblers the chance to win a $100 million “jackpot” on Melbourne Cup Day.

Melbourne Cup Day is the biggest gambling day on the n calendar.

“‘s best racehorses will compete for $6 million on the first Tuesday of November,” a Lottoland statement says, “but Lottoland customers will have the chance to win a much more lucrative prize betting on Oz Lotto.”

Lottoland’s n chief executive, Luke Brill, said results would be based on the official Oz Lotto draw.

“Our innovative business model gives ns more choice, bigger jackpots and faster payouts than ever before,” he said.

“This jackpot is just another reason why ns continue to flock to Lottoland.”

The n Lottery and Newsagents Association disputed Lottoland’s use of the word “jackpot”, given Lottoland does not operate lotteries.

“ns must remember, that despite its misleading name and misrepresented products, Lottoland does not operate lotteries,” the group said, “and any attempts to appear as a lottery are deceptive and alternative facts.”

n newsagencies claim Lottoland’s “synthetic” lottery service is cutting into their livelihoods and eroding tens of millions of dollars in taxes that would otherwise pay for schools, hospitals and roads.

But Lottoland has condemned the large-scale campaign against it as a “smear campaign”, orchestrated by the Tatts Group in order to protect its monopoly.

Since arriving in about 18 months ago, Lottoland says it has built a local customer base of 600,000 punters.

Mr Brill rejected claims that Lottoland was cutting into newsagents’ customer base, saying the the majority of Lottoland’s customers were sports betters, who had never set foot inside a newsagency.

Last month, Lottoland proposed a “partnership” with newsagents, whereby it would ask registered members to nominate their newsagency to receive a 10 per cent cut of every bet the customer makes with Lottoland. Newsagents would be asked to put up Lottoland promotional material in their stores.

“The shift to online betting is a reality,” Mr Brill said. “While companies like Tatts are busy using newsagents as pawns in a campaign to maintain their monopoly, we are proposing a model that puts cash back into small businesses.”