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Growing things

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Factory farming of the vegetable kind

Well, I’m back!  We survived not only the Mongol Rally, but the ensuing two weeks in Ulaanbataar (more on that in another post, though). In the meantime, I bring you some Chinese science journalism, courtesy of the free newspaper* on the plane between Ulaanbataar and Beijing. Or possibly Beijing and Hong Kong… According to the article, a number of countries in East Asia are looking at a new-but-not-really technology for getting their daily 5: factory […]

Introducing a new blog: Southern Science

Hurrah! Today, I introduce the first of a number of new bloggers starting over the next few months.  The Southern Genes blog, to be contributed to by a number of people from Genetics Otago, aims not only to talk about genetic science, but also to examine its effects on our society and to showcase some of the brilliant work which goes into it. Welcome, everyone, and we look forward to all that lovely knowledge you’ll […]

The first mathematical model for cow behaviour (I kid you not)

Apologies for the slightly dodge agrarian pun in the subject line. Reading the headline for this, however, has had me hanging onto my chair in hysterics for the last 5 minutes (a long time, believe me).  And, given the extent to which kiwis care about cows (and their climbing numbers here), it was, I thought, something to be shared immediately. So, on to details! The paper in question aims to explain, and predict, how it […]

Cows up, sheep down

Statistics New Zealand’s just released its figures for New Zealand’s agricultural production to June 2009. The overall message? Dairy cows are up 5% to almost 6 million, with a particularly big increase in the South Island.  On the other hand, sheep are down 5% to a little over 32 million: half their peak 1982 level of 70.3 million, and now at levels last seen in 1948. Happily for wine lovers, we’re also increasing the amount […]

New ways of farming?

The discussion of how to increase our agricultural/horticultural output is hardly a new one. In fact, it’s been a mainstay of human development – ever-larger populations of people has brought with it the challenge of how to ramp up ways of feeding the…

Shrodinger's tobacco mosaic virus

I’m sure everyone is familiar with Shrodinger’s Cat, the infamous quantum-mechanical thought experiment (apparently, it was first posited as a sort of laughing attempt to put in real terms some of quantum mechanics’ more…interesting…theories). We…