Sunday, 13 January 2008

From sports to outer space

While sport took Sydney Olympic Park around the world in 2000, a company is now taking the precinct to outer space. Peregrine Semiconductor Australia makes a million microchips, just one millimetre square, a week to meet demand. For example, the chips are installed in NASA's Mars project, being used in a super computer being developed for US security agencies to search for terrorist activity and will be integral to a $1.8 billion international radio telescope project linking 100,000 antennas in a 3500-square-kilometre network around Australia and overseas.

The leading-edge, high-technology company, incorporated in 1996, has some 80 full-time staff, with sales revenue in 2006 of $31 million. Over $4.1 million was invested in research and development.


Student union membership drops dramatically

Student union membership at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) has dwindled from 30,000 in 2006 to 500 last year when the former Howard government made it voluntary thus reducing income to student bodies. Funding for clubs and societies at UWS had been reduced by at least 50 per cent, shuttle bus had been closed and most staff positions were gone, according to Angus McFarland, president, of the National Union of Students.


Comedy group builds up audience

The Laugh Garage Comedy Club, the first venture of its type in Parramatta, has been forced to move on after three years following a dispute with the landlord of its upstairs location on the corner of Church and Phillip streets. Ironically, the venue has been leased to The Comedy Club Parramatta.

"We did all the legwork and it involved a lot of time and risk," Darren Sanders told the Parramatta Advertiser, having built up audience numbers to 150-200 on Friday and Saturday nights, and sometimes a full house of 300. He has moved his venture to the Riverside Theatres where he will hold a comedy night every Saturday from 9pm.