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Environment and Ecology

A mathematically representative climate change debate

John Oliver*, commentator and satirist, NAILS IT. And in case you didn’t see the news last week? Well, I’m just super glad I’m not investing in seafront property. Or anything close. Distinctly worried about most of our major cities, though, given humanity’s apparently inability to get its arse into gear around climate change-related issues. —– * If you don’t listen to satirical podcast The Bugle, I highly recommend it. This episode on climate change, particularly […]

Classifying plankton: more fun than you might think

One of my favourite things to do with this blog these days is to catalogue/chronicle awesome citizen science initiatives. And there’s a new one! And it’s lots of fun! In Plankton Portal, you get to help identify plankton from images taken . I’ve just started playing, and so far it’s actually trickier than it looks, but one gets added benefit of learning heaps about plankton which, lets face it, are amazingly cool (my favourite are […]

Happy World Octopus Day!

Today is, apparently, the tenth annual World Octopus Day. So, I figured you’d all enjoy this fun infographic, courtesy of the National Aquarium. And what better time to go and read this stunning article about these stunning creatures (my favourite form of the plural), and, if you live in Wellington, make a date to go meet the octopodes at the Island Bay Marine Education Centre!  

Meet the newest members of our family

Our family just keeps growing and growing. In addition to me and Partner, there’s Beefcake, Monster and (very recently) Hank, the motorbikes. And of course Derek, the car. Leviathan, my bicycle, is on long term loan, but we haven’t forgotten it, heh. And now? I’d like to introduce you to Tim, Hippolyta, Mary-Sue and Pip (short for Pipsqueak, because it’s much littler than the others). They’re the shrimpies which live in the Ecosphere that Partner […]

Getting ‘weather bomb’ right

Before moving to New Zealand I had never heard the term ‘weather bomb’ before. Since then, though, I’ve heard it used aplenty. The media are particularly fond of it – it’s such a dynamic term – and, well, I had thought it was fun, fuzzy phrasing for sudden, very inclement weather. Imagine my surprise and delight, then, when a colleague pointed out that it has a proper, technical definition. One which excludes the bad weather […]

Future Timeline – a visual representation Pt 2

After some agonising, I’ve decided to go with the easy route. Confused? See Pt 1 for an explanation of what this is all about :) So, here’s the full thing, in two formats: 1) Future Timeline – visual (a webpage, sorry about some of the mashed formatting. Time mutter grumble grumpy grumble) 2) A PDF (see below) Remember, in both versions EACH ENTRY is hyperlinked back to the fuller explanation for it :) I’m not going […]

Future Timeline – a visual representation Pt 1

Future Timeline is an extremely interesting site.  Calling itself a “speculative timeline of future history”, it has page upon page of really interesting content. Some of it is very much based on fact, while others is based more on supposition and hypothesis. It’s an excellent exercise for casting one’s mind forward. Unfortunately, however, the structure of the website means it’s impossible to get an overview of trends and changes. Something which, I hope, I’ve been […]

The danger of science denial

This, ladies and gentlemen. THIS. Journalist Michael Specter gives an impassioned TED Talk on the danger of science denial. A brilliant talk, and something to be shared as widely as possible. _Especially_ with the anti-science people you know! Vaccine-autism claims, “Frankenfood” bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public’s growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress. [And no, […]

Sky farms are HERE!

I’ve blogged before about sky farms, and how I think they’re a truly excellent idea. When last I wrote about it in 2009, it was a mad (yet extremely rational), science fictional solution to agriculture. Now, as with so much of its ilk, it’s HERE.     I literally just threw my hands up in the air and shouted ‘F**k yeah!’ :) Singapore has built the world’s first sky farm: it opened this year. And […]

Wash ALL the things!

We all know that fresh water is going to become more and more of an issue over the coming decades.  Climate change and an ever-growing population will be placing ever more stress upon this most essential of resources, and so anything that helps to save water is, at least in my books, a Bloody Good Thinfg. If combined with some awesome design, well, so much the better. And so, allow me to introduce to you […]